AfterDawn: Tech news

XviD source code abused by Sigma Designs

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 23 Aug 2002 4:32

XVID is a leading open source MPEG-4 video research project, founded by the German student Michael Militzer in August 2001 to continue the efforts of DivXNetworks' former OpenDivX project.
Sigma Designs' headquarters are located in Milpitas, California. The company specializes in MPEG based video hardware for encoding and decoding. Recently Sigma Designs' introduced the Xcard, the first consumer hardware MPEG-4 decoder in the form of a personal computer add-on card.


ERLANGEN, GERMANY -- August 22nd, 2002 -- The XVID development team, author of the popular XVID MPEG-4 video codec, claims that Sigma Designs' REALmagic MPEG-4 Video Codec is an illegal copy of the XVID software and publicly requests the company to stop violating their software license and copyrights.

XVID is a leading open source MPEG-4 video research project: software distributed by XVID is covered by a Free Software license, the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). The XVID team announced that Sigma Designs' REALmagic MPEG-4 Video Codec includes wide portions of XVID codec software. By not offering a corresponding source code distribution and by claiming sole authorship on the product, Sigma Designs' Inc. is violating the GNU General Public License and the copyrights of the XVID authors.

XVID learned about the license violation in early July, soon after the initial release of the REALmagic software (version 1.0). Sigma Designs' were immediately contacted, and replied confirming the violation and promising to replace all violating code.

Version 1.1 of the REALmagic software was released on the 9th of August. After examining the new version, XVID developers concluded that the violating code was not replaced, but disguised by programming and compiling tricks. Sigma Designs' were again contacted and asked to remove the REALmagic download link from their website. Thus far, they have not shown any sign of cooperation.

In a statement to the XVID development team, project founder Michael Militzer showed his disappointment regarding Sigma Designs' behaviour: "We have been quite reasonable and have given Sigma Designs' ample opportunity to resolve this issue. Apparently none of our demands have been taken seriously. Nearly two months after the initial release of the REALmagic MPEG-4 Video Codec, Sigma Designs' is still knowingly infringing the GNU General Public License."

Militzer believes this infringement might be of high general interest: "This is an unfortunate event, not only for us but for the whole Free Software movement. Therefore we hope to receive wide support from the Free Software community in our efforts to convince Sigma Designs' to respect the terms of the GPL." and

Previous Next  
Comments have been disabled for this article.

Latest user comments

News archive