Re: Helix player virtual team meeting

On 11/12/2003 6:11 PM, Bill Haneman wrote:

The patent issue is a little more thorny, unless the patent holder is willing to open the gates wide for a particular free implementation. In most cases the best solutions are:
* avoid patented technologies in preferred codecs;
* create a plug-in framework that allows non-GPL-compatible modules to be created.

In practice this means IMO an LGPL plugin framework (since LGPL can be used with both GPL and most proprietary licenses) with an open-source, but non-free, plugin for the patent-encumbered codec.

Note that an LGPL media framework won't act as "protection" from the GPL under certain forms of distribution. For arguments sake, consider that there are three components:

   * GPL'd media player app
   * media framework under LGPL or BSD style license (used by the media
   * proprietary or patent encumbered media codec (as far as the GPL is
     concerned, these are pretty much the same).

It is clear that distributing the codec on its own doesn't violate the GPL, since your codec isn't explicitly targetted at the GPL media player. It is also okay to distribute the media player and the media framework together, since their licenses are compatible (you can distribute the combination under the GPL, so you haven't broken the license on the media player).

Now things are a lot less clear if you want to distribute all three components together. When the media framework library is linked to the GPL media player app, you need to think about it in terms of the GPL. You are in the same position as if the codec plugged directly into the media player.

This does make it a bit more difficult for someone to distribute a media player that can play a decent selection of files "out of the box", but that's what the GPL says.

Of course, you probably want to ask a lawyer about all of this.


Email: james daa com au

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