[FFmpeg-devel] GPL version matter

matthieu castet castet.matthieu
Sun Jul 1 19:25:38 CEST 2007


Loren Merritt wrote:
> On Sun, 1 Jul 2007, M?ns Rullg?rd wrote:

>> 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.
I believe they wanted to avoid stuff were a company modify a GPL 
software and add patented technology they own to make sure they control 
the modified version and only people they choose can use it.

Now, I didn't read GPLv3 and I don't know the consequence on software 
like ffmpeg. Also because each country have it's own patent policy, it 
could be very hard to write a patent-free software for all countries.


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