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Most files in FFmpeg are under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2.1
or later (LGPL v2.1+). Read the file COPYING.LGPL for details. Some other files
have a MIT/X11/BSD-style license. In combination the LGPL v2.1+ applies to
Some optional parts of FFmpeg are licensed under the GNU General Public License
version 2 or later (GPL v2+). See the file COPYING.GPL for details. None of
these parts are used by default, you have to explicitly pass --enable-gpl to
configure to activate them. In this case, FFmpeg's license changes to GPL v2+.
Specifically, the GPL parts of FFmpeg are
- some x86 and AltiVec optimizations in libswscale
- optional x86 optimizations in the files
- the AC-3 decoder in libavcodec/ac3dec.c
- the X11 grabber in libavdevice/x11grab.c
Some external libraries, e.g. libx264, are under GPL and can be used in
conjunction with FFmpeg. They require --enable-gpl to be passed to configure
The nonfree external libraries libamrnb and libamrwb can be hooked up in FFmpeg.
You need to pass --enable-nonfree to configure to enable them. Employ this
option with care as FFmpeg then beomes nonfree and unredistributable.
There are a handful of files under other licensing terms, namely:
* The files libavcodec/jfdctfst.c, libavcodec/jfdctint.c, libavcodec/jrevdct.c
are taken from libjpeg, see the top of the files for licensing details.
* The file libavcodec/fdctref.c is copyrighted by the MPEG Software Simulation
Group with all rights reserved. It is only used to create a DCT test program
and not compiled into libavcodec.