[FFmpeg-user] [x264-devel] use of x264 "within ffmpeg" in a non GPL application [legal]?

Edward Richards edward at edwardandalison.com
Tue Nov 20 23:27:06 CET 2012

While the end binary may or may not be GPL there is the other issue that
using x264 does not grant you a patent license - in at minimum the USA -
since MPEG LA holds the patent pool for the H.264 protocol.

-----Original Message-----
From: x264-devel-bounces at videolan.org
[mailto:x264-devel-bounces at videolan.org] On Behalf Of Jason Garrett-Glaser
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 8:54 AM
To: Mailing list for x264 developers
Cc: FFmpeg user questions and RTFMs
Subject: Re: [x264-devel] use of x264 "within ffmpeg" in a non GPL
application [legal]?

On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 8:47 AM, Roger Pack <rogerdpack2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I've gotten this question a few times:
> If somebody is building a proprietary app, which uses "ffmpeg.exe"
> underneath (for example for streaming), where ffmpeg was compiled with 
> --enable-gpl and includes x264:  What's your take on this? Should it 
> be "allowed" license wise?

The fact that it's within ffmpeg is meaningless; by using --enable-gpl,
ffmpeg is now GPL, and you're using a GPL application within your program.

However, it is often considered okay, because you're calling ffmpeg.exe as a
separate program, not linking to it, so the provisions of the GPL may not
apply.  I think this is okay, but I'm not a lawyer, so if you're worried
about that, I suggest talking to one.

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