[XviD-devel] Re: License/legal discussions

Christoph Lampert chl at math.uni-bonn.de
Sat Dec 20 12:45:00 CET 2003

Hi Christian,

I think, the problem is not that the copyright holders of XviD would
have to "allow" Jan's company to use XviD, or that it would have to pay
money for it. 
We released XviD under GPL, and all Jan's company wants is to use XviD
according to the terms of GPL. This includes the opening of sources, which
for all other companies so far was the problem.

The only problem is, that although we "try to" release XviD under GPL, 
because of the patent situation it might not be possible for anyone else
to redistribute XviD under GPL, totally contrary to what we intended. 

So, changing the license is much more fundamental than just making some 
company happy, it's about the fundamental rights we give to all users. 
We shouldn't come up with just a quick-and-dirty solution for Jan, but 
find a good solution for the future, too. 


On Sat, 20 Dec 2003, ChristianHJW wrote:
> charact3r wrote:
> > Even without the GPL restrictions, there is another
> > reason why open-source + patents is a deadly mix for
> > corporations:  If a company is using open-source in
> > it's products, then a litigious patent-holder can use
> > the source as evidence to prove infringement.  Let's
> > make the reasonable assumption that there are several
> > aspects of the xvid decoder implementation that
> > infringe non-MPEGLA patents.  
> My original reply to Jan, copied to the list, was not forwarded by the 
> list moderators ( i hope this one will be sent trough ), but i was 
> sketching the solution to this already :
> The developers working on XviD can release their code under any license 
> they want. Even double or triple licensing is no problem, as long as 
> *all* devs agree. That way, the XviD team can allow Jans's company to 
> license the XviD code from them and release a closed source product 
> based on it. This being done, nobody can prove Jan's company easily that 
> any other patents are infringed in the code, as they can claim to have 
> rewritten those parts where XviD's sources maybe will have 
> infringements, and nobody can easily prove different.
> In contrary, Jan's company could pay the XviD team some money, and this 
> money could be used by the XviD team to
> - hire Gom-Gom or SysKin or God knows who to continue improving the code
> - pay MPEG4 licensing fees and distribute binaries for free, until 
> somebody actually steps in and accuses them for patent infringement ( 
> this is no problem then, because XviD Ltd. is poor and has no money, 
> other than Jan's company ;) .. you get me ? )
> - pay for hosting costs, etc.
> Just my 2 cents .....
> Regards
> Christian

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