[FFmpeg-user] GPL implications of ffmpeg in the browser

Tom Grant tom at insidersense.com
Fri Oct 23 16:05:55 CEST 2015

Hi All,

I have found a version of ffmpeg compiled for execution in the browser: https://bgrins.github.io/videoconverter.js/

This could be a great solution for me, but I am unaware of the potential GPL issues that accompany this. 

The gist of my situation is that I am considering building a SaaS application that utilizes video streaming, and so involves transcoding videos to the proper format. Cloud solutions (Zencoder, Amazon’s Elastic Transcoder) exist, but are prohibitively expensive on a large scale. Running
ffmpeg on my own server would involve a significant engineering effort and would not be worth it in the end as the costs would probably meet or exceed those of the cloud transcoders. 

It would be ideal to use this browser-based library and make use of the client’s computing power to lower costs significantly, but as ffmpeg is GPL’d, I worry about the implications of this for the business. The library would be separately included, unmodified, and just called by the javascript run in the browser. 

I know you are not lawyers, but would I have to GPL my application as well? All of the front end javascript is distributed to the browser anyway, but this will be a for-profit business.



P.S. I am aware of licensing to MPEGLA for use of their formats

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