[FFmpeg-devel] Support master branch of OpenJPEG and Grok J2K codecs

Timothy Gu timothygu99 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 5 01:27:28 CEST 2016

On Mon, Apr 04, 2016 at 06:06:28PM -0400, Aaron Boxer wrote:
> I could  give you an OS image that has a version of FFmpeg that uses
> proprietary codecs.

Aside from Carl's comment, please define "proprietary codecs." Proprietary
codecs have different licenses, just like how both ISC and GNU AGPL are
"open-source" licenses.

In fact, let me list out all the possibilities for such a "proprietary codec"
you can possibly talk about:

- cuda: No OS I know distribute CUDA by default. Not even Ubuntu.
- faac: Ditto.
- nvenc: Ditto.
- fdk-aac: The OS can distribute it legally if GPL is not enabled.
- openssl: Ditto.

Some other proprietary libraries not listed here do not need
"--enabled-nonfree" since they are system libraries (explicitly excluded in
GPL), and are irrelevant to this discussion.

> If you run it without knowing and without paying license, then you have a
> similar problem.

False. For all the libraries above, running alone does not pose any problems
with licensing.

cuda: "2.1  Rights and Limitations of Grant.  NVIDIA hereby grants Customer
the following non-exclusive, non-transferable right to use the SOFTWARE, with
the following limitations:" 2.1.1 says users cannot copy NVIDIA products.
2.1.2 gives an additional permission for Linux users. 2.1.3 concerns reverse
engineering, separation of components, and rentals.

faac: "ISO/IEC gives users of the MPEG-2 NBC/MPEG-4 Audio standards free
license to this software module or modifications thereof for use in hardware
or software products claiming conformance to the MPEG-2 NBC/ MPEG-4 Audio

nvenc: "Subject to Licensee’s compliance with the terms of this Agreement,
NVIDIA grants to Licensee a nonexclusive, non-transferable, worldwide,
royalty-free, fully paid-up license and right to install, use, reproduce,
display, perform, modify the Source Code of the Software" Limitations do not
include running.

fdk-aac: "Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
modification, are permitted without payment of copyright license fees provided
that you satisfy the following conditions" For the five conditions that
follow, 1, 2, and 4 concern only redistribution, and 3 and 5 concern only
documentation and advertising.

openssl: The clauses that makes OpenSSL GPL-incompatible are about

> Should we then ban closed source codecs from FFmpeg?

No. Why ban them if it's perfectly legal to run them?


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