[FFmpeg-user] Can I use FFmpeg.exe command line in my proprietary software

Phil Turmel philip at turmel.org
Sun Aug 7 15:45:06 CEST 2011

Good morning Prashant,

[Please don't top-post on this list, and do trim your replies.]

On 08/07/2011 09:18 AM, Prashant Rathi wrote:
> Thanks Reindl,
> Since I am new to this. To take the safer side I wanted to be more specific
> about my implementation.
> I am using FFMpeg.exe command line tool programmatically and running
> FFMpeg.exe commands programmatically.

Calling FFmpeg via its command line interface is generally accepted as a way to keep your software proprietary.  Some purists disagree, but their's no court decisions I'm aware of that have addressed the question.

> For this I need to distribute FFMpeg.exe command line tool with my
> proprietary software.

You could point your customers to ffmpeg.org, with detailed instructions, and have them install it themselves.  You might discover that some will already have it installed.

> I hope this will not cause any Legal issue..

It might.  Any time you distribute GPL software, you must offer your customers the source code and build instructions for the version you ship.  If they can compile a new copy of ffmpeg.exe to use with your software, you've given them enough material.

I hope that it is obvious that you need to compile FFmpeg.exe yourself, to be sure that your customers will also be able to.  Similarly, as the GPL version of FFmpeg includes other GPL libraries, you need to do the same with all of those libraries.

It is *not* sufficient to point your customers at the same website you got a copy of FFmpeg.exe from.

> http://www.ffmpeg.org/legal.html

Most of the legal advice on the link above applies to "LGPL" usage of FFmpeg, which you are avoiding.  But the patent mini-FAQ would still apply.

Of course, I Am Not A Lawyer, so the above is solely my opinion.  I suggest you read the actual GPL and make sure you understand it.  If you can't, you should hire a real lawyer who has experience in this area.



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