[FFmpeg-devel] [PATCH] LICENSE: remove incorrect statements that leaked in from libav

Michael Niedermayer michaelni at gmx.at
Mon Aug 13 19:07:04 CEST 2012

This is based on the ubuntu technical committee understanding of
the libfaac license:

That is
1. libfaac is not LGPL itself as a whole
2. libfaac is not GPL compatible (additional restrictions violate GPL)
3. libfaac is distributable (ubuntu distributes it)
4. libfaac contains LGPL code itself (stated in libfaac README and other places)
from above axioms one can conclude libfaac must be linkable with LGPL code
because where it not, it itself could not be distributed

also AFAIK all "libfaac is LGPL incompatible" statements can be traced to
a single person who isnt qualified to have ever made such statement.

Comments and other viewpoints, especially if i have missed something
are very welcome!

Signed-off-by: Michael Niedermayer <michaelni at gmx.at>
 LICENSE |   16 ++++++----------
 1 file changed, 6 insertions(+), 10 deletions(-)

diff --git a/LICENSE b/LICENSE
index 7dff535..6385ab6 100644
@@ -56,9 +56,6 @@ external libraries
 FFmpeg can be combined with a number of external libraries, which sometimes
 affect the licensing of binaries resulting from the combination.
-compatible libraries
 The libcdio, libx264, libxavs and libxvid libraries are under GPL. When
 combining them with FFmpeg, FFmpeg needs to be licensed as GPL as well by
 passing --enable-gpl to configure.
@@ -68,11 +65,10 @@ license is incompatible with the LGPL v2.1 and the GPL v2, but not with
 version 3 of those licenses. So to combine these libraries with FFmpeg, the
 license version needs to be upgraded by passing --enable-version3 to configure.
-incompatible libraries
-The Fraunhofer AAC library, FAAC and aacplus are under licenses incompatible
-with all (L)GPL versions. Thus, unfortunately, since both licenses cannot be
-satisfied simultaneously, binaries resulting from the combination of FFmpeg
-with these libraries are nonfree und unredistributable. If you wish to enable
+The Fraunhofer AAC library, FAAC and aacplus are under licenses which
+are incompatible with the GPLv2 and v3. They are possibly compatible with the
+LGPL but this combination may lead to complex requirements for the person
+distributing them. If you wish to enable
 any of these libraries nonetheless, pass --enable-nonfree to configure.
+If you wish to distribute the resulting binary then you should carefully read
+and understand the requirements of the licenses involved before doing so.

More information about the ffmpeg-devel mailing list