[FFmpeg-devel] GPL version matter

Loren Merritt lorenm
Sun Jul 1 18:48:40 CEST 2007

On Sun, 1 Jul 2007, M?ns Rullg?rd wrote:
> Uoti Urpala <uoti.urpala at pp1.inet.fi> writes:
>> On Sun, 2007-07-01 at 13:17 +0200, Michael Niedermayer wrote:
>>> you are assuming here that a ffmpeg under GPL3 is distributeable to begin
>>> with, iam not so sure here, the GPL3 is a scary complex document
>>> which at least makes non personal use of multimedia software practically
>>> impossible, that is your choice is between violating the GPL or going to
>>> court with MPEG-LA about their dubios patent claims
>>> due to that i likely will never accept GPL3(+) submissions
>> I think your interpretation of the license is incorrect. I see no such
>> requirements in the license, and the FSF would not want to create such a
>> situation.
> Actually, I believe that is exactly what they want.  They are
> desperately holding on to the notion that by making patented
> algorithms incompatible with the license, people will choose to
> implement a different algorithm rather than use another license.
> Of course reality is quite different from their utopian visions.

Agreed. In particular, GPL3 section 11:

> A patent license is "discriminatory" if it does not include within the
> scope of its coverage, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on
> the non-exercise of one or more of the rights that are specifically
> granted under this License. You may not convey a covered work if you
> are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the
> business of distributing software, under which you make payment to the
> third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying the
> work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties
> who would receive the covered work from you, a discriminatory patent
> license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by
> you (or copies made from those copies), or (b) primarily for and in
> connection with specific products or compilations that contain the
> covered work, unless you entered into that arrangement, or that patent
> license was granted, prior to 28 March 2007.

I interpret that as:
Under (L)GPL2, people who don't believe in software patents can use ffmpeg 
and ignore the patents, while people who have to cover their asses can 
use ffmpeg and pay off MPEG-LA or whoever.
If ffmpeg were (L)GPL3, people who don't believe in software patents could 
use ffmpeg and ignore the patents, but people who pay off MPEG-LA would 
be prohibited from distributing ffmpeg.

--Loren Merritt

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