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

Chris DiBona cdibona at gmail.com
Wed Jun 3 00:34:08 PDT 2009

Yeah, this is really pretty difficult stuff. The lgpl is probably the
least understood and most complicated free software licenses.


On Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 2:49 PM, Silvia Pfeiffer
<silviapfeiffer1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 3:28 PM, Daniel Berlin <dannyb at google.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 11:51 PM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 10:18 PM, Daniel Berlin <dannyb at google.com> wrote:
>>>> On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 9:50 PM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 9:29 PM, Daniel Berlin <dannyb at google.com> wrote:
>>>>> [snip]
>>>>>>>  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
>>>>> For the avoidance of doubt,
>>>>> Are you stating that when an end user obtains Chrome from Google they
>>>>> do not receive any license to utilize the Google distributed FFMPEG
>>>>> code to practice the patented activities essential to H.264 and/or AAC
>>>>> decoding, which Google licenses for itself?
>>>> I'm not saying that at all. I'm simply saying that any patent license
>>>> we may have does [not] cause our distribution of ffmpeg to violate the terms
>>>> of the LGPL 2.1
>>> I now understand that your statement was only that Google's
>>> distribution of FFMPEG is not in violation of the LGPL due to patent
>>> licenses. Thank you for clarifying what you have stated. I will ask no
>>> further questions on that point.
>>> But I do have one further question:
>>> Can you please tell me if, when I receive Chrome from you, I also
>>> receive the patent licensing sufficient to use the Chrome package to
>>> practice the patents listed in MPEG-LA's 'essential' patent list for
>>> the decoding of H.264?  I wouldn't want to break any laws.
>> Yes, you do.
> Ah, that's interesting.
>>> I believe I know the answer, based on your statement "No more or less
>>> … than … ffmpeg" as ffmpeg explicitly does not provide any patent
>>> licensing,
>> :)
>> Again, that was specifically about ffmpeg as a component of Google
>> Chrome, not about Google Chrome as a whole.   Licensing of projects
>> that use a lot of open source components with a lot of different
>> licenses is a complicated matter, since each component can have a
>> license that is separate than the license for the work as a whole.
>> I'm trying to make sure I am being as explicit as I can about what
>> each subject i am talking about is while still providing answers, so
>> that the answers are the actual answer, but as you can imagine, it's
>> tricky.  It can be hard to differentiate between the questions people
>> want to know an answer that is more general than what they asked, and
>> those where they want to know just about that specific thing.  When it
>> comes to matters like these, it's usually best for me to just answer
>> the question people actually asked explicitly, and let them ask
>> followups, than it is to try to anticipate what they really wanted to
>> know.  It can come off as dodging at times, but i'm doing the best i
>> can ;)
> Glad you did, since I think this discussion has clarified a lot of
> things - at least for me. Thanks a lot!
> Regards,
> Silvia.

Open Source Programs Manager, Google Inc.
Google's Open Source program can be found at http://code.google.com
Personal Weblog: http://dibona.com

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