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this is my first question on this particular stackexchange node, not sure if it's the most appropriate place for this question (if not, guidance to the appropriate node would be appreciated).

the abstract: I'm interested in modifying existing video codecs and distributing my modded codecs in such a way as to make them easily added to a users codec library... for example to be added to their mpeg streamclip, ffmpeg etc.

some details: I've had some experience modifying codecs by hacking ffmpeg source files and compiling my hacked code (so that for ex: my version of ffmpeg has a very different h.263 than yours). I'm interested now in taking these modified codecs and somehow making them easily distributable, so others could "add them" to their "libraries." Also, I realize there are some tricky rights/patent issues here, this is in part my motivation. I'm interested in the patent quagmires, and welcome any thoughts on this as well.

ctx link: if it helps (to gauge where I'm coming from) here's a link to a previous codec-hacking project of mine

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If you can resolve it legally, you will win the internet. – user7071 Jun 2 '12 at 1:33

I guess it depends on who owns the codec you are changing and the license that is associated with it. Also if you intend to sell or give away. Probably the best/safest way is to approach the codec owner - amybe they will even assess your hack with intent to absorb it into the codec itself. As with anything potentially coprighted, there are mine fields everywhere - some that come back and bite years later too.

(seen that happen, when permission WAS granted for supplying modified middlewear code to subsidiary partners of a large company as part of a solution by the middleware vendor - when almost a decade later, new ownership of the middleware company, then sued for multi-millions as one of the partners had split off and thus were no longer subsidairies, but still had the code - albeit no longer used - on their servers - it was settled out of court, rumour was for a million pounds sterling).

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