[x264-devel] X264 commercial licensing question

Jason Garrett-Glaser jason at x264.com
Tue Sep 27 18:47:54 CEST 2011

On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 8:45 AM, Aditya Kadambi <aditya at yuney.com> wrote:
> Hello x264 developers;
> I had a question about the commercial licensing for X264. I am referring to
> this email and contacting this list per instructions in that email:
> http://mailman.videolan.org/pipermail/x264-devel/2010-July/007508.html
> This email clearly states that there is no fee for doing server side
> encoding (non-redistributable).
> We are looking at using x264 library on the client side. We clearly
> understand the licensing fee/structure per the above email.
> However, I came across this site:
> http://x264licensing.com/
> Which talks about server/LAN/cloud licensing. Per the original email, I
> thought the pricing was:
> Price = X264 commercial license fee + Patent license fee from MPEG LA.
> However, from the above website, it looks like:
> Price = X264 commercial license fee + any encoding done on server side using
> x264 even if it is not redistributed + Patent license fee from MPEG LA.
>  Is this true?
> I cannot find any relationship between X264 LLC and the above website.
> Apparently, it belongs to a company called Corecodec.
> http://corecodec.com.
> According to them, they manage the licensing for X264.
> I am confused at this point and need clarification on the price/license.
> Thanks,
> Aditya

x264 is licensed under the GPL, a free software license.  Typically,
when doing server-side encoding as part of a web service, there's no
need to distribute x264, and thus the terms of the GPL (which trigger
when distribution occurs) don't apply.

However, many customers purchasing x264 commercial licenses aren't
doing quite this: rather, they *sell* server-side applications to
customers.  This does involve distributing x264, so they would either
need to abide by the terms of the GPL or purchase a commercial

Also, some companies just like buying them, likely for support
reasons, or the ability to show management that they spent money on
something.  You wouldn't believe how hard it is to convince some
people that the free thing can also be the best.


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