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14 July 2010, 12:37

Commercial licences for H.264 encoder x264

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X264 Logo On the x264 developer mailing list, Jason Garrett-Glaser ("Dark Shikari"), the main developer behind the open source H.264 encoder, has announced a license programme for commercial users. According to Garrett-Glaser, this means software vendors are no longer dependent on "overpriced and inferior competitors", but can use the MPEG-4 AVC encoder developed as part of the VideoLAN project without being subject to the restrictions imposed by the GNU General Public License (GPL). x264 is used by a number of web services, such as Facebook, Avail Media, Vudu and Hulu, as well as Blu-ray/AVCHD productions, IPTV and many open source and freeware programs.

A commercial x264 license is only required by users who link the x264 library to proprietary software or software which is otherwise incompatible with the GPL and who want to sell their software commercially. Interested users should contact x264 LLC. Garrett-Glaser points out that all vendors are obliged to pay license fees to the holder of the H.264 patent, i.e. have to sign a contract with MPEG LA.

Anyone obtaining a commercial license for the encoder from x264 LLC has full access to the source code and is required to forward any modifications to the code to the x264 developers, who will when decide whether to merge the changes into the official x264 development tree.

Garrett-Glaser has assured the x264 community that commercial licensing will not lead to proprietary forks. The majority of income from licenses will be fed back into x264 development. x264 LLC also plans to support open source projects such as FFmpeg.

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