[FFmpeg-devel] GPL licence break (MovieGate)

Christophe Ducommun cducommun
Mon Mar 31 21:16:28 CEST 2008

Hi all,
sorry for all of these messages and the issue of the GPL with my  

I have re-re-read the GPL in my native language on wikipedia.
I prefer to explain how work my software and how it is using FFmpeg.

FFmpeg is build from SVN as Universal binary for Mac OS X.
An universal binary is an executable which contains the PPC and Intel  
in order to work on all Mac.

This binary of FFmpeg run as a commande line tool in the terminal.

My application "is just" a front end (GUI) for FFmpeg and some other  
open source
software. My app fork the ffmpeg binary and pass all the necessary args
to execute the needed work.

My application :
1) Isn't compiled with any FFmpeg source code
2) Isn't linked with any FFmpeg or any open source library
3) Contains an Universal binary of FFmpeg for OS X which is included  
in the bundle of my application.

Now after reading the GPL one more time, I note :
1) I can distribute myself a compiled binary of FFmpeg BUT I need to  
provide the source code

Yes, I will give the source code (if you want) of FFmpeg which is  
included in my application, but it's the
same as SVN rev 6244, I don't have made any changes.

2) I need to add credit for FFmpeg on my website and in my application

Yes, I will add credits to your work on my application and on my  
website for the next minor revision of my software.

What is a bundle on Mac OS X ?

An application on Mac OS X is composed of the following hierarchy. The  
icon of the Application is a folder, and this folder
have a "Contents" folder which include :

MacOS folder, this folder contain the Mac OS X binary (executable) of  
MY application

Resources folder, this folder contains all the resources of the (MY)  
application AND the FFmpeg binary compiled by myself
as Universal binary for Mac OS X.

The reason why I distribute the FFmpeg binary in my app is only for  
easy installation, and avoiding regressions in
my software when FFmpeg or any other lib is updated. The FFmpeg binary  
is compiled as a static binary and provide
the most convenient way to avoid regressions with my application.

I can simply remove the FFmpeg binary from the bundle of my app, and  
ask people to compile and install FFmpeg
in the usr/local/bin folder of the system and it will work with my  
software (after changing the path for the fork of the FFmpeg process).

But you know that all user are not geek. And all users doesn't know  
how to retrieve the source code, compile it, install it.
The majority of all users doesn't know how to use the terminal !

It's the reason why the FFmpeg binary is distributed with my  
application as a separate binary included in the bundle.

I think, I must only make the following changes to be compliant with  
the GPL :
1) Add credits on my web site and on my application.
2) Distribute the source code of FFmpeg from SVN rev 6244

Am I right ?

Thanks for all of your good job. I doesn't want to steal your work. I  
just want to develop a software which use the latest Mac OS X
technologies for using with your software and offers the best tool as  
easy as possible for users (included the one which doesn't know
how to use the terminal).

If I'm not right, please tell me what kind of changes I need to make  
to be fully compliant.


Le 31 mars 08 ? 15:25, Diego Biurrun a ?crit :

> I would appreciate if you could refrain from top-posting in
> communications with me.
> On Sat, Mar 29, 2008 at 08:09:17PM +0100, Christophe Ducommun wrote:
>> I am the developer of MovieGate and I have seen this issue about a
>> L(GPL) violation issue
>> about MovieGate.
>> https://roundup.mplayerhq.hu/roundup/ffmpeg/issue352
>> I am not very familiar with the GPL licence and I want to know  
>> exactly
>> what I need to change to be fully compliant with the GPL licence and
>> MovieGate.
> I find it quite astounding that you start selling your shareware  
> program
> that is based on FFmpeg/MEncoder without reading the licenses of these
> programs.  Are you sure you are allowed to do what you are doing?  Are
> you sure you do not have to split your earnings with the authors of
> FFmpeg/MEncoder?  Are you sure you are not committing a crime?
> Unfortunately this attitude is not at all uncommon.  Still it is  
> unforgivable.  Would you buy a house or a car without going over the
> fine print in the contract?  Would you sign any contract at all  
> without
> knowing what obligations it entails for you?
>> Actually MovieGate include an Universal binary of ffmpeg in the  
>> bundle
>> of MovieGate.
>> This binary is compiled from SVN rev 6244 and I don't have change
>> anything in the source of ffmpeg.
>> I have some questions :
>> 1) Can I include a binary of ffmpeg in the bundle of my application ?
>> 2) Can I build and distribute myself a binary of ffmpeg for my
>> application ?
>> 3) What kind of information about ffmpeg do I need to add on my  
>> Website ?
>> I am sorry to break the GPL licence, and want to fix this issue as  
>> soon
>> as possible.
>> I will release a new version of my software but I need some help to  
>> tell
>> me what do I need to change.
> What you need to do now is
> 1) read the LGPL v2.1,
> 2) read the GPL v2,
> 3) read the FAQ of those licenses.
> That should put you in a position to satisfy all licensing terms with
> your program.  Sorry, I cannot be bothered to spell out all these  
> things
> for you here, unless you wish to hire my consulting services on the
> matter (which are available).  It gets tiresome to repeat things,  
> and it
> ends up being more work and back and forth that you would initially
> imagine.
> The fact that you have contacted us before we contacted you will be
> interpreted as a sign of good will.  Let me/us know when you have  
> fixed
> your license violations.  You can also contact me with further  
> questions
> *after* you have read the above documents.
> best regards
> Diego

More information about the ffmpeg-devel mailing list