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Old 20th August 2010, 21:19   #1  |  Link
komisar
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FFMPEG violate MPEGLA licensing?

Where is the THRUTH?

As neuron2 say:
Quote:
2. Interestingly, FFMPEG and related projects stand in blatant violation of the MPEGLA licensing. There is no exception for free or open source products and they ship more than the threshold number of units to be liable for payment of royalties. FFMPEG does not appear on the MPEGLA "good standing" list.
And as banned Dark Shikari say:
Quote:
This is not correct. ffmpeg ships zero units, and thus is not in violation of anything. Companies that distribute ffmpeg binaries often do have MPEG-LA licenses. I work for one that does. Please spread your FUD elsewhere.
I have something (or someone) should be afraid?
Where is the THRUTH?
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:23   #2  |  Link
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Thank you for starting a dedicated thread about it as I originally requested! Keep this civil and do not discuss forum rules or their interpretation and we can have a fine discussion about it.

The truth is this:

FFMPEG is in violation. They are a supplier of AVC decoders to end users and so are subject to MPEGLA licensing.

A licensed supplier that happens to supply FFMPEG cannot pass its license backwards to FFMPEG. If FFMPEG supplies to end users, it must be licensed, period. And it makes no difference whether they supply the decoder free. This was personally told to me today by telephone by Ryan Rodriguez, a licensing agent for MPEGLA.

Since FFMPEG supplies decoders directly to end users via its download page, it must be licensed by MPEGLA. Of course if they want to fight the patent pool on other grounds, good luck with that.

*** EDIT: As seen below, the FFMPEG project is *not* in violation, to the extent that they do not supply binaries, because source code is not a "product". I am sorry for my incorrect statement about this (which originated from a not fully clear phone conversation with MPEGLA), and for any confusion/bad feelings it may have engendered. ***
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:27   #3  |  Link
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Then the question. What do you mean by "supplier of AVC decoders" when they only supply source code?
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:27   #4  |  Link
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neuron2, sorry, but is the FFMPEG project contribute binaries for the end-user? Or I misunderstood the licenses?
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:31   #5  |  Link
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Well, now you raise an interesting question. I don't know the significance of the binary/source code distinction. I will call again to inquire right now.

Stand by...
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:33   #6  |  Link
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What about DGDec's mpeg-2 decoder?
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:38   #7  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuron2 View Post
Well, now you raise an interesting question. I don't know the significance of the binary/source code distinction. I will call again to inquire right now.

Stand by...
Alright, thank you. This is a sound way to get some kind of an official opinion on the matter. In my personal opinion source code is there, while actual units of the application aren't given out (binaries).

But we shall see, thanks for taking the time and calling out to MPEG-LA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieranrk View Post
What about DGDec's mpeg-2 decoder?
Now that's a good question as well. These kind of things do actually affect most, if not all, of us.
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:39   #8  |  Link
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Ryan has just clarified that indeed source code is not a "product" in the required sense. He clarified that anybody creating a product using FFMPEG source code is a supplier, so anyone compiling and supplying the binary library would be subject to licensing.

I will clarify my original post. Thank you for educating me about that important distinction.

Isn't it interesting how civil discourse can quickly lead to a resolution of disagreements where insults and profanity cannot.
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:41   #9  |  Link
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Originally Posted by JEEB View Post
Alright, thank you. This is a sound way to get some kind of an official opinion on the matter. In my personal opinion source code is there, while actual units of the application aren't given out (binaries).

But we shall see, thanks for taking the time and calling out to MPEG-LA.


Now that's a good question as well. These kind of things do actually affect most, if not all, of us.
I do not supply binaries for DGMPGDec at neuron2.net.

Note that DGDecNV is not affected as it does not supply the decoder.
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:42   #10  |  Link
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Sorry if this is a dumb question , but is there a distinction between commercial distribution and non-commerical ?

For example, I can download ffdshow from sourceforge , and that has various MPEG2/4 decoders, would they need a license ?

EDIT: sorry I didn't see the last post about decoders before posting
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:49   #11  |  Link
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Originally Posted by poisondeathray View Post
For example, I can download ffdshow from sourceforge , and that has various MPEG2/4 decoders, would they need a license ?
If sourceforge is making available binaries, then they are "supplying an AVC decoder product" and so they must be licensed.

If only source code is supplied, then no license is required.
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:51   #12  |  Link
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Is this one licensed?

http://neuron2.net/dgmpgdec/dgmpgdec.html
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:51   #13  |  Link
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neuron2, but as x264-free-builder I need to pay to MPEGLA for my x264.kMod (because it include compiled FFMPEG decoders)?
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Old 20th August 2010, 21:59   #14  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kieranrk View Post
JEEB already asked and I already answered.
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Old 20th August 2010, 22:02   #15  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by komisar View Post
neuron2, but as x264-free-builder I need to pay to MPEGLA for my x264.kMod (because it include compiled FFMPEG decoders)?
If you supply a compiled product containing an AVC decoder to end users, then you must be licensed.

Please feel free to call Ryan directly, as he is very friendly and helpful. Here is the exchange I had earlier when I asked for the materials I need for licensing:

-----
Hi, Don.

Thank you for your kind remarks. It is my pleasure to assist you and I
am glad to know that my explanation was helpful.

As promised, today I will send you an execution copy of our AVC License
for your signature. You should receive the License document shortly via
FedEx.

In the meantime, if you have additional questions or need assistance
during your review, just let me know. I look forward to hearing from
you again soon.

Best regards,

Ryan

Ryan M. Rodriguez
Licensing Associate
5425 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 801
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
USA
Telephone: +1 301 986 6660 x211
Fax: +1 301 986 8575
Email: rrodriguez@mpegla.com


-----Original Message-----
From: Donald Graft [mailto:donald.graft@cantab.net]
Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 2:46 PM
To: Ryan Rodriguez
Subject: RE: AVC licensing for very small provider?

Hello Ryan,

Thank you very much for taking the time to advise me and for
the PDF of the AVC license agreement. The situation is now
crystal clear after your cogent explanation.

Please do send me the license file for execution.

My company can be listed simply as neuron2, as that is my
identity for sales of my product. So:

neuron2
c/o Donald A. Graft
[snip address and phone numbers]

Once again, thank you for your prompt attention and for making
contacting MPEGLA a very pleasant experience.

best regards,
Don


>Hi, Donald.
>
>Thank you for taking my call. It was a pleasure speaking with you.
>
>As discussed, I have attached a .pdf copy of our AVC License for your
>easy reference. Please note that the electronic copy is provided for
>informational purposes only. When signing the License, only the hard
>copy provided by MPEG LA may be used. Therefore, if you will please
>provide your company and physical mailing address, I will be send you
an
>execution copy of the License immediately FedEx.
>
>I look forward to hearing from you again soon.
>
>Best regards,
>
>Ryan
>
>Ryan M. Rodriguez
>Licensing Associate
>5425 Wisconsin Avenue
>Suite 801
>Chevy Chase, MD 20815
>USA
>Telephone: +1 301 986 6660 x211
>Fax: +1 301 986 8575
>Email: rrodriguez@mpegla.com
-----
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Old 20th August 2010, 22:08   #16  |  Link
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Is the license needed even if the binaries are only provided in regions that don't have software patents (we are talking about a pure software en/decoders here)? If yes, on what basis?
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Old 20th August 2010, 22:13   #17  |  Link
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I'm not qualified to address that. Please consult your attorney and/or MPEGLA.
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Old 20th August 2010, 22:21   #18  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuron2 View Post
Yes, of course. I will get the license and then decide whether to become street legal or to withdraw it (or just withdraw the binaries). My recollection from the past, however, was that MPEG2 decoders had a "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" exception. But it's better to be on firm legal ground, so I will follow up and report back here.

Note that DGDecNV is not affected as it does not supply the decoder.
Alrighty then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neuron2 View Post
If you supply a compiled product containing an AVC decoder to end users, then you must be licensed.

Please feel free to call Ryan directly, as he is very friendly and helpful. Here is the exchange I had earlier when I asked for the materials I need for licensing:

--
And thank you for this information. Now I have some kind of actual contact information towards MPEG-LA instead of the faceless side it shows up on its informative sites. Might come up helpful if I ever get this certain project of mine under actual work that's been brewing for a few months now >_>
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Old 20th August 2010, 22:25   #19  |  Link
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Yes, in fact I was surprised how easy it is to get licensed. For little people like you and I, there are no royalties due to the low volumes. If you get to the point of having to pay royalties, you will be very happy about it.
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Old 20th August 2010, 23:19   #20  |  Link
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" The FFMPEG project is *not* in violation. "

Dark Shikari unbanned yet? Given an apology yet? Did you order a make good cake yet?
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