[Libav-user] FFmpeg License Violation - What Are My Remedies?

Matthew Lawrence matthew.c.lawrence at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 21:09:47 CEST 2012

Can you provide a citation for your claim?

Section 5 of the LGPLv2.1 states in part:

"5. A program that contains no derivative of any portion of the Library,
but is designed to work with the Library by being compiled or linked with
it, is called a "work that uses the Library". Such a work, in isolation, is
not a derivative work of the Library, and therefore falls outside the scope
of this License.

However, linking a "work that uses the Library" with the Library creates an
executable that is a derivative of the Library (because it contains
portions of the Library), rather than a "work that uses the library". The
executable is therefore covered by this License. Section 6 states terms for
distribution of such executables. "

Under the first paragraph, the app is a "work that uses the Library".
However, because the work is distributed together with the Library in a
single executable (DEX file within an APK), the work is not "in isolation"
and is therefore not outside the scope of the License.  Instead, the second
paragraph applies.  When they build the APK from source, they are
statically linking the "work that uses the Library" with the Library.  The
final product (the APK and the DEX file inside it) is a derivative work
because it contains the Library.  This is precisely the condition covered
by Paragraph 2 of Section 5.  As a result, the APK is covered by the
License, and they are bound by Section 6 which requires them to distribute
the source of their "work that uses the Library" to anyone who requests it.

What am I missing?


On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 12:45 PM, Gonzalo Garramuño <ggarra13 at gmail.com>wrote:

> El 10/10/2012 02:34 p.m., Matthew Lawrence escribió:
>  I recently purchased an app from Google Play that incorporates the FFmpeg
>> library.  Because the app is a derivative work under the LGPLv2.1, I
>> believe I am entitled to a copy of the source code for the entire app.  I
>> have e-mailed the developer's support staff, but they are refusing to
>> release the source code. I have cited the LGPL to them, but hey claim they
>> are required to provide only the source code for the FFmpeg library.  I
>> believe that they are in violation of the license and are violating both my
>> legal rights and those of the FFmpeg team.
> They are right.   Under the LGPL they only need to release the source code
> to any changes to ffmpeg.  Under GPL they would require to release source
> code to all their code.
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