Frequently Asked Questions
- 1 VideoLAN
- 2 Legal concerns
- 2.1 May I use the VideoLAN logo?
- 2.2 Are there any restrictions about usage of VideoLAN software?
- 2.3 May I redistribute a piece of VideoLAN software?
- 2.4 May I redistribute libVLC in my application?
- 2.5 What about personal/commercial usage?
- 2.6 Is libdvdcss legal?
- 3 VLC media player
- 4 Miscellaneous
What is VideoLAN? What is the VideoLAN Team?
VideoLAN is a group of people that produce and distribute free and open-source software for video and multimedia purposes, released under Open Source licenses.
It started as a student project at the French École Centrale Paris, but is now a worldwide project with developers from everywhere and dozens of millions of people using VideoLAN's software.
What is the legal structure of VideoLAN?
VideoLAN is a French non-profit organization. VideoLAN has its own bank account and is fully responsible for this website.
What are the differences between VLC, VLC media player, VideoLAN Client, VideoLAN Server and VideoLAN?
VLC media player is the official name of VideoLAN's main product, most often called VLC. VideoLAN Client is a former name of this product.
VideoLAN Server is another product of VideoLAN, but is discontinued since VLC media player can do more.
VideoLAN is NOT a software, see VideoLAN.
How may I help VideoLAN?
You might either contribute time, material, or money. You DON'T NEED to be a programmer to help us. Translators are always welcome. You will find all the information you need on the Help VideoLAN page.
May I use the VideoLAN logo?
You may freely use the VideoLAN logo using the following copyright:
Copyright (c) 1996-2018 VideoLAN. This logo or a modified version may be used or modified by anyone to refer to the VideoLAN project or any product developed by the VideoLAN team, but does not indicate endorsement by the project.
Are there any restrictions about usage of VideoLAN software?
You can use the software in the way you want, for personal, educational, professional or research use.
May I redistribute a piece of VideoLAN software?
Yes, you may distribute an original or a modified version of a piece of VideoLAN software as long as you comply with its license terms. It is the GNU General Public License Version 2 (referred herein as GPL), and it is in the file named COPYING in our products.
- You do not need to ask the VideoLAN team for permission to do so!
May I redistribute libVLC in my application?
Yes, you may distribute an original or a modified version of libVLC as long as you comply with its license terms. It is the GNU Lesser General Public License Version 2 (referred herein as LGPL), and it is in the file named COPYING.LIB in the VLC source distribution.
- Beware that some modules are licensed under the GPLv2, in which case you must license your result under the GPLv2 as well. Check the modules in question before redistribution!
How do I do comply with those terms?
The easiest way to conform to the GPL is to accompany the product you want to distribute with its sources.
For example, if you plan to distribute the latest binary version of VLC on a DVD-ROM, you should also include the VLC sources on the same medium.
If you plan to distribute the latest binary version of VLC on a website, you should provide a link to the VLC sources.
There are other ways to comply with the GPL, but this should be the simplest because it does not rely on a contract.
What about personal/commercial usage?
Some of the codecs distributed with VLC are patented and require you to pay royalties to their licensors. These are mostly the MPEG style codecs.
With many products the producer pays the license body (in this case MPEG LA) so the user (commercial or personal) does not have to take care of this. VLC (and ffmpeg and libmpeg2 – which it uses in most of these cases) cannot do this because they are Free and Open Source implementations of these codecs. The software is not sold, and therefore the end-user becomes responsible for complying with the licensing and royalty requirements. You will need to contact the licensor on how to comply with these licenses.
This goes for playing a DVD with VLC for your personal enjoyment ($2.50 one time payment to MPEG LA) as well as for using VLC for streaming a live event in MPEG-4 over the Internet.
Is libdvdcss legal?
The use and distribution of the libdvdcss library is controversial in a few countries such as the United States because of a law called the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). If you are unsure about the legality of using and distributing this library in your country, please consult your lawyer.
- Beware: VLC media player binaries are distributed with the libdvdcss library included.
VLC media player
Please see the FAQ for your platform:
Why are your mailing-lists and your website in English?
VideoLAN's developers come from all around the world and English is the only language they can use to communicate together. Although great care is given to the translation of VLC in various languages, maintaining translations of our website costs more time than we can afford.
What do I do if I can't find an answer to my question here?
Please try to search the wiki. There is a lot of very useful information on here, often just a search away. Many questions regarding the usage and compilation of the VideoLAN software, as well as technical terms on streaming and multimedia can be answered using a simple wiki search.
Search the forums for your question. There are many solutions to problems on using our programs.
If your question still was not answered, post it on the forums or mail a fitting mailing-list. More information on support provided by the project or consulting companies can be found on the support page.
Please read the Documentation Editing Guidelines before you edit the documentation