[Matroska-general] Matroska in closed source products

Steve Lhomme steve.lhomme at free.fr
Thu Dec 4 21:30:57 CET 2003

Hauke Duden wrote:

> Hello all,
> I'm currently evaluating on whether we will include Matroska support in 
> our free - but closed source - media player (Ashampoo Media Player+).
> However, it seems that this is not possible with either of the two 
> licenses you offer for your libraries. The GPL is of course not an 
> option for closed source programs. And I'm not too familiar with the 
> QPL, but it seems to me that it also requires applications using the 
> libraries to be open-sourced.
> Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the following part of the license 
> seems to make that pretty clear:
> """
> 6. You may develop application programs, reusable components and other
> software items that link with the original or modified versions of the   
> Software.  These items, when distributed, are subject to the 
> following    requirements:
> <snip>
>      b. You must explicitly license all recipients of your items to use
>         and re-distribute original and modified versions of the items in
>         both machine-executable and source code forms.
> <snip>
> """
> If I understand this correctly, then "items" refers to application 
> programs using the matroska libs and 6.b requires those to be open source.

That's correct.

> However, I have seen commercial players with Matroska support. Have 
> these programs implemented their own Matroska libraries from your specs 
> or is there some aspect to this license that I don't understand?
> Thanks for any insights,

If your player is DirectShow based, you don't need to link your software 
to the filter directly. So you can have Matroska support with this 
filter (that you can distribute) free of any legal problem. Also please 
note that the major DirectShow filter to read Matroska 
(matroskasplitter.ax) is not based on libmatroska/libebml anyway. IIRC 
it's GPL licensed. But the same applies for legal problems.

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