[vorbis-dev] Vorbis license terms?

Lynn Winebarger owinebar at free-expression.org
Mon Feb 14 19:21:25 PST 2000

On Mon, 14 Feb 2000, David Terrell wrote:
> Also, vorbis is going to have an uphill fight in the commercial arena, 
> where 90% of the userbase still is.  mp3 is heavily entrenched, and
> most windows developers have little interest in open sourcing their code.
> If you want to see the codec succeed, LGPL is a minimum, but a 
> restrictions-free license would boost the adoption of vorbis.
> How much of a difference that would make, I don't know.  But it would help
> the codec gain acceptance and make it more useful.
    I think it depends on what you mean by seeing the codec succeed.  I
would say if people who want to use a codec whose
author/designer/inventors don't encumber them via licensing
fees/restrictions, then I'd say a GPL codec library would be more than

> There's nothing that stops someone from taking GPLed code as a baseline,
> writing their own very similar version, and using it.  Or for that matter,
> if someone wrote "WinVorbis" and used libvorbis compiled in, is there
> any way to know?  Probably not.  That's what I mean by honor system.

     If you have reason to believe your copyright is being infringed by a
proprietary software producer, there are legal recourses that don't depend
on the honor system.  You can force the vendor in question to produce
their source code, if you have enough evidence (how much evidence, I don't
know).   Damages in such a case of blatant infringement could easily wipe
out a small business who depend on using infringing copies, and put a
decent dent even in larger companies.  There are also criminal penalties
to be considered for willful infringers.  


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