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FAAD2 Licensing, Now GPL Incompatible?
spoon
post Jul 15 2005, 09:35
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QUOTE (NumLOCK @ Jul 14 2005, 06:18 PM)
Still, what if people want to use FAAD2 code in an "closed" (ie: embedded) system - for example if I developed a portable player with no LCD screen, which therefore couldn't display acknowledgements ?
*



You would be best using Reals HE-AAC implementation, with a less restrictive license:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....=32051&hl=helix

and for community contributions, that would be the one to focus improvements on.


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Garf
post Jul 15 2005, 09:50
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QUOTE (spoon @ Jul 15 2005, 10:35 AM)
QUOTE (NumLOCK @ Jul 14 2005, 06:18 PM)
Still, what if people want to use FAAD2 code in an "closed" (ie: embedded) system - for example if I developed a portable player with no LCD screen, which therefore couldn't display acknowledgements ?
*



You would be best using Reals HE-AAC implementation, with a less restrictive license


Real's license is not GPL compatible.
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Klyith
post Jul 15 2005, 21:30
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QUOTE (NumLOCK)
Still, what if people want to use FAAD2 code in an "closed" (ie: embedded) system - for example if I developed a portable player with no LCD screen, which therefore couldn't display acknowledgements ?

I would have thought that publishing the full firmware source code (including the authors' source code, its acknowledgements and my changes to it) would be enough..  Does that mean now, the authors' names would have to be advertised in the product itself ?
A device wouldn't be software, and wouldn't "read commands interactively when run". So it wouldn't count as far as that bit goes. You would still have to follow the other provisions (publishing source, attribute copyright, etc). For example, the Sveasoft replacement firmware for the Linksys WRT54G uses chunks of GNU and BSD code, but they don't follow 2c.

QUOTE (Garf)
QUOTE (spoon)
You would be best using Reals HE-AAC implementation, with a less restrictive license:

Real's license is not GPL compatible.
The RPSL is actually not a bad license as far as corporate OS goes, much better than Sun's for example. The RCSL is far more restrictive, but as far as I can see is only for anyone who also does proprietary commercial software. But they also put a EULA on binaries, which goes against the GPL in spirit if not in law. EULAs are totally at odds with copyleft ideals.

I guess it depends on how he means "restrictive". It's more restrictive on developers because of the derivative works clause, which requires you to send your modifications back to Real. But it's less restrictive than the GPL because it doesn't have any of the restrictions on incorporating the code in other non-free software. Note that the RCSL forbids corporations other than Real from using the code in non-free software. The whole idea of the licenses for this kind of corporate controlled (as opposed to sponsored) os project is that new innovations stay out of the hands of competitors, but are able to be rolled back into the proprietary product. As opposed to the GPL where everything that touches it must become free, or at least the LGPL where at least all descendent modifications will stay free.
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Otto42
post Jul 16 2005, 06:05
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QUOTE
** Software using this code must display the following message visibly in the
** software:
** "FAAD2 AAC/HE-AAC/HE-AACv2/DRM decoder Ahead Software, www.nero.com"
** in, for example, the about-box or help/startup screen.


That line in the license DOES make the code GPL-Incompatible. I refer you to the "obnoxious BSD advertising clause" in the original BSD License. The reasons jstembridge refers to in the first post do, in fact, render it incompatible with the GPL. You can't tack on extras like that.

More info on the "original BSD license" problem here: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list...patibleLicenses

And here: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html

Despite Klyith's take on it, it's still incompatible because of the wording. The fact that you require software to visibly display that notice is the problem. If you required source to have that notice in it, then fine. That's already part of the GPL and you're just giving the wording of your notice. But forcing it to be displayed in the program is a problem.

That's my take anyway. As somebody who works with a lot of various licenses in my own coding, that line would prevent me from using your code.

Since I have already used the FAAD2 code, I now will have to remove that code from distribution unless this is fixed. I wrote an AAC plugin for musikCube based on the BASS_AAC library for the BASS system which musikCube uses. BASS_AAC is based on FAAD2. I also directly used parts of FAAD2 in my own code. musikCube format plugins don't have any way to make the program display an about box. Therefore I am in violation of FAAD2's license. So if it's not fixed, I'll have no choice but to remove the code or open myself up to civil action.

Edit: Note that I am trying to add a way for musikcube to be able to display about boxes for format plugins (not too hard, just haven't gotten round to it), but until that's done, this is still a real problem for me, and it's a real GPL problem in any case.

This post has been edited by Otto42: Jul 16 2005, 06:33


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rjamorim
post Jul 16 2005, 06:20
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QUOTE (Otto42 @ Jul 16 2005, 02:05 AM)
The fact that you require software to visibly display that notice is the problem. If you required source to have that notice in it, then fine. That's already part of the GPL and you're just giving the wording of your notice. But forcing it to be displayed in the program is a problem.
*


Correct. That's an "advertizing clause", and that clause renders it incompatible with the GPL.

Also, check out this entry in the GPL FAQ:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#ModifyGPL

As it stands, FAAD2 simply isn't GPL-compatible, and therefore can't be used in GPLd software like Dream, FFMPEG, Videolan, ffdshow...

Even if these software abide to the obnoxious clause and display proeminently about Ahead's ownership, it would still generate conflicts with other modules participating in the same software and licensed under the GPL.

This post has been edited by rjamorim: Jul 16 2005, 06:25


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Garf
post Jul 16 2005, 08:43
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I know about the BSD-with-advertising problem and it is an entirely different manner. Specifically, the old BSD license said:

QUOTE
3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
  must display the following acknowledgement:


Now *that* is an "advertising clause". Requiring copyright attribution is *not* an "avertising clause".

The snip above is obviously a problem with the GPL and something entirely different from what is in our license. We require copyright attribution which is something the GPL also does.

I still maintain our license is the GPL, and that we only clarified an *already existing part* of that license, namely section 2)c).

This is the second time I see someone post something in the order of "x had a problem, and this is the same" without giving *any* evidence that is the case here.

And read this, too:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....ndpost&p=313279

This post has been edited by Garf: Jul 16 2005, 08:54
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Otto42
post Jul 16 2005, 08:53
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So, how, exactly, am I supposed to adhere to this requirement to display something if I don't have an about box or the ability to display one?

Nowhere does the GPL require me to display your copyright message unless my plugin is interactive in some fashion. Which I have no problem with, but the plugin isn't interactive, as such. It has no visible display. Yet this line in the source still requires me to display this message somewhere. I cannot adhere to this additional requirement, it's impossible for the plugin to do, at present.

So if it is clarifying part 2c, as you state, then it needs to be reworded to reflect that fact. At the moment, it's not; it's imposing an additional requirement. One that I never noticed until reading this thread, I might add.

As long as you're aware of the possible problem and working on it, then cool. That's all I really need to hear. smile.gif

This post has been edited by Otto42: Jul 16 2005, 08:55


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Otto42
post Jul 16 2005, 09:01
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Heh. You edited while I posted and then I did the same thing. tongue.gif

Like I said, as long as you're aware of the potential conflict there and are presumably addressing it, then it's all good.


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Garf
post Jul 16 2005, 10:06
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Yeah, sorry. I guess it's better to make multiple posts if you forgot/want to clarify something.
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rjamorim
post Jul 19 2005, 02:36
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QUOTE (Garf @ Jul 16 2005, 04:43 AM)
This is the second time I see someone post something in the order of "x had a problem, and this is the same" without giving *any* evidence that is the case here.
*


OK, since you want evidence...

As nobody here seems interested in taking initiatives, I took the plunge and e-mailed licensing@gnu.org

Here is my e-mail, followed by the e-mail they sent back:

QUOTE
> [rjamorim@yahoo.com - Sat Jul 16 01:57:04 2005]:
>
> Hello.
>
> I'm a developer of Dream, a Digital Radio Mondiale software player and
> decoder for Windows and GNU/Linux. Our software is licensed under the
> GPL
> http://drm.sourceforge.net
>
> Recently, one of the components used in our software, an AAC decoding
> library also licensed under the GPL called FAAD2, added this clause
> to their source code files:
>
> ** Software using this code must display the following message
> ** visibly in the
> ** software:
> ** "FAAD2 AAC/HE-AAC/HE-AACv2/DRM decoder Ahead Software, www.nero.com"
> ** in, for example, the about-box or help/startup screen.
>
> Other than that, they use the standard GPL version 2 text.
>
> While we have no problem abiding to that request, I would like to know
> if that change doesn't render said library GPL-incompatible and,
> therefore, incompatible with our software.

Yes, that's definitely GPL-incompatible.  It's an additional
restriction.  It's not required by section 1's "appropriate copyright
notice" provision, because section 1 would permit such a notice to be
extrinsic to the software itself -- on the box or CD or associated
files, for instance.  And it's not required by (2)© because it doesn't
meet most of the (2)© requirements (interactive, already displays,
no-warranty, license is GPL, GPL can be found where).

Can you fork off an earlier version of the library, or ask that they
change that requirement to a request?

--
-Dave "Novalis" Turner
GPL Compliance Engineer
Free Software Foundation


OK, I'm not really a Dream developer, but I didn't feel like explaining the lenghty story that I'm their webmaster and release manager, and I help them on licensing issues, because I admin RareWares, and that forced me to learn about licenses... yadda yadda.


So here is your proof kids, from the mouth of a FSF representative. FAAD2 is GPL incompatible, and therefore software such as CoreAAC, Dream, ffdshow, VideoLan, MPlayer, etc. etc. should not be using it.

Regards;

Roberto Amorim
licensing jerk


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spoon
post Jul 19 2005, 09:17
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Just stick with the older version, pre-that clause (it was added a few months ago?).


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rjamorim
post Jul 19 2005, 15:08
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QUOTE (spoon @ Jul 19 2005, 05:17 AM)
Just stick with the older version, pre-that clause (it was added a few months ago?).
*


I'll have to check the CVS and see the exact point where that happened.


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Mr_Rabid_Teddybe...
post Jul 20 2005, 07:46
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I hope the developers will be willing to change that requirement to a request, or else I guess we'll see AAC support in Linux go >>>>POOOOFF!!!<<<<


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rjamorim
post Jul 21 2005, 17:37
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OK, as it turns out, the obnoxious clause was added in the last CVS sync with Ahead's CVS, that happened on February 1st.

So, for people writing GPL projects that use FAAD2, I uploaded a CVS sweep with files dated January 30th to my web space:
http://www.rarewares.org/rja/faad2-2005-01-30.rar

Enjoy;

R.


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jstembridge
post Aug 15 2005, 12:45
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Any progress on changing the license header? CVS seems to be unchanged.
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kode54
post Aug 15 2005, 13:17
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No PS for yuo! <owned>

Is it really so hard to add copyright attribution to your about box, or if you have none, then the accompanying documentation? I know I can't recall seeing random copyrights smattered all over some piece of electronics, but I have seen indication of relevant patents listed all over the back of some device or package...

Perhaps the license should be clarified to indicate alternatives where "in the software" is not convenient. I would be a bit miffed if I had to stare at a series of copyright notices every time I powered on my portable player. Although, I wouldn't be likely to notice or care if one of the menus were to have an About entry with a full list of version information and copyright crap.
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rjamorim
post Aug 15 2005, 14:38
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QUOTE (kode54 @ Aug 15 2005, 09:17 AM)
No PS for yuo! <owned>

Is it really so hard to add copyright attribution to your about box, or if you have none, then the accompanying documentation? I know I can't recall seeing random copyrights smattered all over some piece of electronics, but I have seen indication of relevant patents listed all over the back of some device or package...

Perhaps the license should be clarified to indicate alternatives where "in the software" is not convenient. I would be a bit miffed if I had to stare at a series of copyright notices every time I powered on my portable player. Although, I wouldn't be likely to notice or care if one of the menus were to have an About entry with a full list of version information and copyright crap.
*


The issue here is not really having "to add copyright attribution to the about box" or the documentation. That can be done in a moment, and several apps using FAAD2 already do that.

The problem is that a single word - "must" - made FAAD2 in its entirety GPL-incompatible. Now, GPL apps using FAAD2 would be forced to change their license or start adding exceptions for it. Also, often, it's not even these apps' choice to change licenses, as themselves are linked against other GPL code. In the case of Dream, FFTW and Freeimage. In the case of FFMPEG, several codecs.

If the Ahead team of lawyers could only replace "must" with "should", all the issues would be magically solved.


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stephanV
post Aug 15 2005, 15:01
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Not to start a grammatical discussion (well maybe it is necessary anyway) but "should" can be just as obligatory as "must". I don't know how this applies to legal documents though, and the correct usage of "should" remains a bit of a mystery anyway.


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Otto42
post Aug 15 2005, 16:21
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QUOTE (kode54 @ Aug 15 2005, 06:17 AM)
Is it really so hard to add copyright attribution to your about box, or if you have none, then the accompanying documentation? I know I can't recall seeing random copyrights smattered all over some piece of electronics, but I have seen indication of relevant patents listed all over the back of some device or package...

It really has nothing to do with that.

If I were to take FAAD2 (with this "must" clause) and some GPL software and write some application using those two, I would be unable to release that application without breaking one of the two licenses as written. I couldn't release it under the GPL (as I'd have to do having used GPL'd software) because the "must" clause in FAAD2 makes it GPL-incompatible.

It's not really about not wanting to stick attribution in where possible. No problem, the about box is a perfect place for it. But by making it mandatory like that, you're unable to release it at all because of the incompatibility.

This post has been edited by Otto42: Aug 15 2005, 16:22


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robert
post Aug 15 2005, 16:45
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I would say the FAAD2 licensing is fully GPL conform. Read the GPL, especially TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION.
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rjamorim
post Aug 15 2005, 18:34
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QUOTE (robert @ Aug 15 2005, 12:45 PM)
I would say the FAAD2 licensing is fully GPL conform. Read the GPL, especially TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION.
*


Please, not Garf's and Ivan's old arguments again. Have you read the assestment done by the FSF engineer? (it's at post #35)

This post has been edited by rjamorim: Aug 15 2005, 18:39


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rasher
post Sep 22 2005, 00:08
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So, has there been any progress in this case?

Is FAAD2 going to be released under a GPL compatible license again?


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rjamorim
post Sep 22 2005, 14:00
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Heh, the Nero AG employees here are quite fast to reply claiming FAAD's license is compatible to the GPL, but won't answer that simple question :B


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rasher
post Sep 28 2005, 02:52
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What I don't get is, how they can claim that it is "just a clarification". If the clause was already there, why not go after people breaking it?

They obviously know that this was not a requirement in the GPL, so they felt the need to add it - why else would they?

There's no way to be "halfway GPL compatible". Either you are, completely, or you're not. This is not, and it means that any and all code wanting to use this code will have to add restrictions to the license, so you cannot use other people's GPL code in your project.

Say in the case of a music player. You write a music player and include FAAD2 with this new license. So far so good, you just add the clause to your own local modified GPL. But now you want mp3 support and decide you want to use libmad. Ooops, danger Will Robinson! You can't. Libmad is licensed under the GPL, and you cannot change this license.

FAAD2 ate your GPL.

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rjamorim
post Nov 14 2005, 21:49
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http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.p...9&forum_id=7131

QUOTE
> Xine-lib include a own version from libfaad2. The used version isn't the
> latest one for this reason:
> http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=35535


QUOTE
MPlayer already maintains its own libfaad2 fork which is i think
synchronized to the latest gpl compatible version. It also contains
some portability patches and random fixes. So this might be a good
starting point.


Bad news. Now because of this licensing fiasco, we're seeing several FAAD2 forks surfacing sad.gif


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