[whatwg] Google's use of FFmpeg in Chromium and Chrome Was: Re: MPEG-1 subset proposal for HTML5 video codec

Silvia Pfeiffer silviapfeiffer1 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 2 18:38:53 PDT 2009

On Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 11:29 AM, Daniel Berlin <dannyb at google.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 8:20 PM, Chris DiBona <cdibona at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Looping in Danny (in transit)
>> On Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 1:38 AM, Geoffrey Sneddon
>> <foolistbar at googlemail.com> wrote:
>>> On 2 Jun 2009, at 02:58, Chris DiBona wrote:
>>>> One participant quoted one of the examples from the LGPL 2.1, which
>>>> says "For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free
>>>> redistribution of the Library by all those who receive copies directly
>>>> or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it
>>>> and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the
>>>> Library."
>>> I'm still unclear as to how this does not apply to Chrome's case. If I get a
>>> copy of Chrome, you are bound (by the LGPL) to provide me with a copy of the
>>> source ffmpeg, and I must be able to redistribute that in either binary or
>>> source form.
> Which you can.
>>  I would, however, get in trouble for not having paid patent
>>> fees for doing so.
> No more or less trouble than you would have gotten in had you gotten
> it from ffmpeg instead of us, which combined with the fact that we do
> not restrict any of your rights under the LGPL 2.1, is the important
> part.

Let me ask for more clarification here, since you seem to have a
really good understanding of the legal implications.

It seems to me that if I have decided for whatever reason (probably
because I did not want to use a library that is likely to infringe on
patents) that I did not want to have ffmpeg installed on my computer,
and I installed Chrome, that in this case I would get a library
installed on my computer without being aware of it. Or turned the
other way - if I knew that Chrome comes with ffmpeg and I really
didn't want ffmpeg installed on my computer, I could not use Chrome.
Is this correct?

I know full well that this is a theoretical example and that patent
holders don't normally go after end users for patent infringements.
However, I am asking for legal clarification and whether this has been
thought through.


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