Bug#317129: LGPL module linked with a GPL lib

Jeff Licquia licquia at debian.org
Sun Jul 24 21:40:05 UTC 2005

On Sun, 2005-07-24 at 20:50 +0200, Loïc Minier wrote:
>  The GStreamer suite ships a lot of plugins which are dlopened() when
>  needed.  Some of them link with GPL libraries.
>  I received a bug report (#317129) to change the copyright files of
>  libgstreamer0.8-0 and gstreamer0.8-mad to GPL.
>  The upstream README mentions the situation, so I think I will mention
>  it in the README.Debian with the next upload, but is the "copyright"
>  supposed to reflect this?  Does the whole distribution switch to GPL?
>  I believe not, but would like a confirmation.

The copyright of all the source code is independent of its dependencies.
Thus, the license of the source is the LGPL, full stop.

The copyright of the plugin binary itself is affected by dynamically
linked libraries, since it's the "combined work" that's involved.  I
would expect the MAD plugin binary is effectively the GPL, since it
cannot function without the MAD library.  Still, technically, the binary
has its own license, which is only required to be GPL-compatible (as the
LGPL is).

The copyright of the rest of GStreamer depends on how it's distributed.
In Debian, it's clear that GStreamer is distributed with MAD support,
which makes its effective license the GPL.  However, someone interested
in distributing proprietary plugins or apps for GStreamer (as part of a
derivative, for example) could do so by removing the GPL plugins from
the distribution before adding the non-free bits.  This wouldn't even
require a recompile to do.

Unless, of course, Debian elects to exercise the upgrade-to-GPL clause
in its particular copies of GStreamer.  As I understand it, you're not
asking about what's allowed, but what's required, so this isn't

All this probably warrants mention in the copyright file, but overall I
do not think it's accurate to say that the license, effective or
otherwise, for GStreamer is the GPL.  There are too many exceptions.


More information about the Pkg-gstreamer-maintainers mailing list