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Old 9th May 2010, 17:09   #1  |  Link
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When and why you CANNOT use FFMPEG in your programs!

Unofficial FFMPEG 'How not to get into Hall of Shame' FAQ. Read if you use ffmpeg/libavcodec in your programs, this covers some typical delusions:

1. You think that FFMPEG as LGPL can be used in closed-source programs?
FFMPEG folder contain source files with both GPL and LGPL licenses, to use ffmpeg as LGPL you must check SOURCES very carefully to make sure GPL parts are NOT used.
VERY common mistake: copying ffmpeg files folder from other program, like ffdshow, without checking actualy sources - license file can be wrong and you will get in trouble.

2. You think that FFMPEG (GPL) as command-line program with arguments can be used with any programs, as you can stream data inside-outside program via cli?
"Where's the line between two separate programs, and one program with two parts? This is a legal question, which ultimately judges will decide. "
"... if the semantics of the communication are intimate enough, exchanging complex internal data structures, that too could be a basis to consider the two parts as combined into a larger program..."

3. You think you can try not to follow licenses, so you can fix license problems later after someone explain it to you personally?
After you break license, author whos right was damaged can prohibit you from using his program in your software.
Most likely they will agree to grant permission back if you switch your software to GPL open source license.

4. You think open source program is not protected and you can trick authors?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SFLC - SFLC is focused on any GPL/LGPL Infringement lawsuits, and have many successfull cases in court.
You MUST read carefully license texts, things like download ffmpeg binaries during installation instead of distribution do not help to resolve problem.

Disclaimer: I am not part of ffmpeg team, I am not a lawyer (this text can be inaccurate), I am just observer on http://roundup.ffmpeg.org/ - you can see TONS of violations and some program authors (who also visit this forum) didn't undestand why they was put into Hall of Shame (and many of them have good intention).
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faq, ffmpeg, gpl, lgpl, libavcodec

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