[MPlayer-users] Legality of binary codecs

Kichigai Mentat kichigai at comcast.net
Thu May 26 23:48:44 CEST 2005

On May 26, 2005, at 16.29, Gregor Richards wrote:

> What is the legality status on the array of binary codecs provided  
> at MPlayerHQ.hu?  I am particularly interested in Windows Media  
> codecs in a business environment (that is, with intranet  
> distribution), in the United States prmarily but also worldwide if  
> possible.
I'm no expert on this, but I'm pretty sure the Windows Media codecs  
are built into FFMpeg, which is an open source project. If memory  
serves, I believe that the codecs are reverse engineered, not derived  
from Microsoft codec software. FFMPEG is covered under the Gnu LGPL  
and has components covered under the GPL.
>   Are the codecs legal to users who have valid copies of some  
> specific license, such as an OS license with Microsoft?
I would assume so. There is a Windows version of MPlayer. Unless  
there is some kind of contract between you and Microsoft where you  
state that you will exclusively use Microsoft's audio/video software,  
this should be 100% legal with just about any license you hold.
> Are they legal outside of the US?
Well, unless the particular country has a law against them, or  
software patents where MS holds the patents to the WMA/WMV codecs,  
they should be.
> If the binary codecs provided aren't legal for use, is there any  
> legal way to play Windows Media content?
Windows Media Player. There are (of course) Windows versions, as well  
as Macintosh versions. VLC also has WMA/WMV playback capability and  
is available on practically every platform imaginable.
>   (Not just ASF/WM* files, but the Windows Media codec itself)
I'm not sure I quite understand this. Are you inquiring as to where  
one can obtain the Windows Media codecs themselves legally? Well, as  
states above, I believe that the FFMPEG codecs are 100% legal, so you  
should have no problems with that.

Again: I'm not lawyer, and this is all from what I remember, so I  
wouldn't take this as law.
> Thanks for any response.
> - Gregor Richards
>    Open Source Software Build Engineer,
>     Intel Corp
> _______________________________________________
> MPlayer-users mailing list
> MPlayer-users at mplayerhq.hu
> http://mplayerhq.hu/mailman/listinfo/mplayer-users

More information about the MPlayer-users mailing list