[XviD-devel] Re: License/legal discussions

charact3r charact3r at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 20 13:22:50 CET 2003

Christoph Lampert <chl at math.uni-bonn.de> wrote:
> But, if you read GPL closely (which maybe we didn't
in the beginning), it
> says that you are not allowed to redistribute, if
the code contains any 
> patented algorithms unless they are free to

This is the upshot but it is not the GPL that says you
are not allowed to redistribute, it is the patent
holders.  So distributors of xvid are maybe infringing
patents, they are not breaking GPL unless they place
restrictions on redistribution.

"If, as a consequence of a court judgment or
allegation of patent infringement or for any other
reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are
imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this
License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of
this License.  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 Program at

which means:

"Scary patent lawyers from big companies are not an
excuse to violate the GPL conditions of
redistribution.  If they say you can't distribute
freely then you can't distribute at all."

Anyway, we all agree on one thing:  GPL ain't gonna
work for someone wanting to use xvid in a commercial

> We could therefore modify XviD's license to be "GPL,
with exception
> of the patent restriction which is replaced by
somethink like
> "Usage and/or distribution may need a license, which
every user and
> distributor has to care about him- or herself." 

I would urge the xvid team to try to find a standard
OSS license that fits their needs before hacking GPL. 
A non-standard license makes things more complex: e.g.
could other GPL projects still incorporate your code?

Christoph/Jan:  Did you (Christoph and Jan) look at
the Mozilla license?  When I had good intentions of
doing a ton of work on hdot264 I decided to go for a
GPL/LGPL/Mozilla triple license.  Would this work for

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