[FFmpeg-cvslog] [ffmpeg.org]: r377 - trunk/src/legal
Tue Jun 30 14:58:24 CEST 2009
Date: Tue Jun 30 14:58:23 2009
New Revision: 377
legal page rewording, part I:
Attempt to give somewhat more useful answers and use a more neutral language.
--- trunk/src/legal Sat Jun 27 10:55:12 2009 (r376)
+++ trunk/src/legal Tue Jun 30 14:58:23 2009 (r377)
@@ -98,14 +98,14 @@
-<b>Q: Is it legal to use such patented algorithms?</b>
+<b>Q: Is it safe to use such patented algorithms?</b>
-A: Patent laws change wildly between jurisdictions. Besides, even in places where
-software patents are recognized, there is serious doubt about the legitimacy of such
-legislation. Note that patents on algorithms are illegal in many countries. Plus
-the use of patents to prevent the usage of a format or codec on a specific
-operating system or together with specific other software might violate
+A: Patent laws vary wildly between jurisdictions, and in many countries
+patents on algorithms are not recognized. Plus the use of patents to
+prevent the usage of a format or codec on a specific operating system
+or together with specific other software might violate antitrust laws.
+So whether you are safe or not depends on where you live and how judges
+interpret the law in your jurisdiction.
@@ -117,39 +117,12 @@
-<b>Q: Since FFmpeg is licensed under the LGPL, is it perfectly alright to
+<b>Q: Is it perfectly alright to
incorporate the whole FFmpeg core into my own commercial product?</b>
-A: You might have a problem here. Sure, the LGPL allows you to incorporate the
-code. However, there have been cases where companies have
-used FFmpeg in their projects, usually for such capabilities as superior
-MPEG-4 decoding. These companies found out that once you start trying to
-make money from certain technologies, the alleged owners of the technologies
-will come after their protection money. Most notably, MPEG-LA (licensing authority) is
+A: You might have a problem here. There have been cases where companies
+have used FFmpeg in their products. These companies found out that once
+you start trying to make money from patented technologies, the owners of
+the patents will come after their licensing fees. Notably, MPEG LA is
vigilant and diligent about collecting for MPEG-related technologies.
-<b>Q: You called the patent license fee protection money, is this a joke?</b>
-A: No. The legal validity of these patents is highly questionable. Still in
-many current legal systems it is very easy to ruin a company with patents
-even if the patents are invalid. Paying the (small) license fee is much cheaper
-than a patent lawsuit during which you would not be able to sell your product
-as the patent would be valid until you win the lawsuit 5+ years in the future.
-That is assuming you did not go bankrupt in the meantime...
-<b>Q: Can I be safe if I have paid my protection money?</b>
-A: You can never be safe as long as your country recognizes software
-patents as valid. There are companies that own many patents, pay and
-cross-license for other companies patents, but even such companies are
-being found guilty of infringing some obscure little-known
-patent and end up paying millions for it.
-That's why lobbying against software patents is in your own interest.
-Of course none of this is related to you using FFmpeg or another codec
-implementation. If you want to be safe the only option is not to touch
-any software at all.
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