[vlc-devel] LGPL and VLC

Jean-Baptiste Kempf jb at videolan.org
Tue Oct 4 01:25:19 CEST 2011

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Started from an idea of Pierre, Rémi and Sam, and as announced at the
VideoLAN Dev Days, and on our website, we are now actively trying to
relicense parts of VLC to LGPLv2.1+.

This move was motivated by several reasons, especially to increase
the use of libVLC engine. This move is backed up by VideoLAN and ECP.

While this would be cool, if you think that this will cure cancer,
solve the NP != P problem, increase the numbers of VLC by 200, or just
be the silver bullet you are waiting for, then you are a fool (a nice one
though :D)

So here is a bit of clarification of the current process.

What parts are concerned:
 - 1st phase is to relicense libVLCcore+libVLC, aka "VLC core",
   aka "include/"+"lib/"+"compat/"+"src/";
 - 2nd phase is to relicense modules one by one, depending by the
   difficulty, aka "concerned modules";
 - 3rd phase (can be concurrently to the 2nd) is to relicense the libVLC
   bindings and derivated projects.

What parts are NOT concerned:
 - the interfaces modules WILL NOT change license;
 - any modules that helps too much people to do scams based on VLC,
   will stay under GPLv2+;
 - modules based on strict GPL libraries do not make much sense to

What I don't know yet is, and that doesn't matter yet:
 - share and artwork license;
 - testsuite.

Copyright clarifications to help:
 - the GPL modules should be under 'GPLv2 (or later)';
 - the LGPL modules should be under 'LGPLv2.1 (or later)';
 - more permissive licenses than LGPLv2.1+ are ok too, but not advised.

 - As far as authorship and copyright are concerned, VLC is a creative work
   done by the "VLC authors", under the "direction of VideoLAN".

 - "git blame -C -C" is the right tool to know what commit created the
   work. And "git show" is the right way to know who is the author of
   the commit (beware of SVN age "code by")
 - Copyright statements, while probably legally irrelevant, should be
   "VLC authors and VideoLAN" or the author of the file...
   "the VideoLAN team" does not exist, please replace with "VLC authors
   and VideoLAN"
 - The right copyright dates are 1996-2011

 - Small contributions matters too.

 - Code heavily inspired an another piece of code should be considered as a
   derivative, even if not copy-pasted.

How to help the process?
I) authorisation
 - If you haven't given your written authorisation, please mail
   lgpl at videolan.org to give your authorisation.

   Please state _very_ clearly:
    - your full name and emails used;
    - if you are ok for the relicensing to LGPL of your work on the "VLC core"
    - if you are ok for the relicensing to LGPL of your work on the
      "concerned modules" too.
    - Signed mails are a cool bonus.

   If you are a core contributor, you should have already been contacted
   and have already agreed. If you are a recent core contributor and you
   haven't been reached yet, it might come in the next few days...

 - If you have already given your authorisation, you can mail too :D
   One is never too sure :D

 - If you think you are an author (one patch is enough) and you are
   against those changes, please mail legal at videolan.org too.

   Important: We prefer a "no" to a lack of answer.

 - If you don't know if you are a author, please mail us too your
   authorisation. This will not cost much :D

II) relicense your code by yourself
In the very unlikely case that you are the ONLY author of a module, or
that you know for sure that the small number of authors are ok with the
relicensing, you can do the change of license of a module by yourself.

You just have to change the headers accordingly and state in the commit
who agreed on this change.

I would advise to ask for a review on IRC, though...

If you have any questions, you know how to contact me...

May the license be with you,

Jean-Baptiste Kempf
http://www.jbkempf.com/ - +33 672 704 734
Sent from my Electronic Device

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