[whatwg] Google's use of FFmpeg in Chromium and Chrome

Daniel Berlin dannyb at google.com
Sat Jun 6 13:47:30 PDT 2009

On Sat, Jun 6, 2009 at 4:35 PM, Håkon Wium Lie<howcome at opera.com> wrote:
> Also sprach Daniel Berlin:
>  > >>> "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."
>  > Note that the actual *clause* (not the example) in question says
>  > "If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your
>  > obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations,
>  > then as a consequence you may not distribute the Library at all. "
>  > It then gives the patent example as an example of when you could not
>  > fulfill your obligations under the license.  The restrictive license
>  > in the example falls afoul of this condition (part of #10): "You may
>  > not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the
>  > rights granted herein."  Nothing in any licenses we have with other
>  > parties imposes any *further restrictions* on the recipients who get
>  > ffmpeg from us.  You get *exactly* the same set of rights and
>  > obligations we got from ffmpeg.
>  > As such, we can simultaneously satisfy our obligations under this
>  > license (which again does not require us to pass along patent rights
>  > we may have obtained elsewhere, it only requires we grant you the
>  > rights you find in terms 0-16 and place no further restrictions on
>  > you) and any patent licenses we may have, and do not run afoul of this
>  > clause.
> I get parsing errors in my brain when reading this. While I understand
> that you do not impose any new restrictions (as per #10), I still
> don't understand how you can claim that #11 (the first two quotes
> above) has no relevance in your case. To me, it seems that the example
> in #11 (the first quote) matches this case exactly -- assuming that
> Google has a patent license that does not permit royalty-free
> redistribution.
As i've said in other messages, this example doesn't match this case
at all, since the patent license was not given to us by the same
people who gave us the library, *and* our patent license doesn't even
say anything about the library used to do encoding/decoding. I.E. Our
patent license has 0 to say about our distribution of ffmpeg, only
something to say about our distribution of Chrome, which is only
covered by section 6 of the LGPL 2.1 (which allows distribution under
whatever terms we choose so long as we meet certain requirements,
which we do).

> I also understand that the LGPL doesn't explicitly "require [anyone]
> to pass along patent rights we may have obtained elsewhere". However,
> it seems quite clear that the intention of #11 is to say that you
> cannot redistribute the code unless you do exactly that.
> What am I missing?
That our patent license does not restrict/grant/say anything about
ffmpeg, only Google Chrome, and Google Chrome itself doesn't fall
under the LGPL 2.1 except through section 6.


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