I was reviewing the personal (non-commercial) license of FMOD, to ascertain whether it is compatible with the Lesser GPL. what I found, however, has made me very concerned.

the second paragraph of the license text in the file README.TXT reads as follows:

> The contents of the FMOD distribution archive may not be
> redistributed, reproduced, modified, transmitted, broadcast,
> published or adapted in any way, shape or form, without the
> prior written consent of the owner, Firelight Technologies,
> be it by tangible or non tangible media.

this effectively removes any hope of using FMOD with LGPL licensed code, as one would need to distribute the library files with any linked binary, in order to allow re-linking with a modified version of our software.

the FMOD license then goes on to say:

> The FMOD.DLL file may be redistributed without the authors
> prior permission, and must remain unmodified. The use of dll
> ‘static linking’ tools is strictly forbidden.

but there is no file named FMOD.DLL in the Macintosh distribution, and no exemption is made from the above restrictions for any other file in this distribution. the only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that there is no legal way to distribute a binary linked with this version of FMOD, only with the above specified Windows version. this is true regardless of the license on the rest of the binary’s code, and is therefore equally relevant to non-commercial closed source and public domain software.

in other words, any binary linked with the personal edition libfmod.a, fmod_cfm.lib or cfmod_cfm.shlib and fmod_cfm.shlib.xSYM combo CANNOT be legally distributed AT ALL, completely REGARDLESS of the software’s license.

I can only assume that this is due to an oversight when preparing the documentation for the Macintosh platform. however, unless these licensing problems can be solved, we have no choice except to abandon FMOD and look for legally compatible alternatives, and neither would any other user of the non-commercial Macintosh version.

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email support@fmod.org

Brett is away until the 11th – but still contactable by email

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