GPL issues with ML post processing software

Started by Thomas Worth, May 15, 2014, 08:12:10 PM

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For what it's worth: here is my twopenneth.

As mainly a still photographer, although I am a timelapser, I have always 'favoured' the photography side of the ML developments.

I have said elsewhere, that ML creates an EOS camera system that is second to none, especially when you integrate all the features.

In fact some of the ML features are simply not obtainable elsewhere. As an example, on my IR converted 50D I can get perfectly exposed images through A-ETTR. and on my TSE-24mm Tilt-Shift, I can also use the A-ETTR to ensure perfect photon capture.

The latest ND module is great for my LE work.

The intervalometer is a boon for my timelapse; as is the emerging silent DNG feature.

And, of course, Dual-ISO is in a league of its own.

Etc, etc etc.

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes, ML's (photo) developments get 'shadowed' by some of the RAW video excitement. And before someone shoots me, I fully understand that RAW video is critical to some.

The issue we seem to face is that we have two user groups, ie photographers and videographers (with an overlap group in the middle); and two 'development' communities, ie those that code and those that can't code but can test and feedback (I ignore those that simply wait and 'do nothing').

Bottom line: I hope we as an ML community can find a way through this stage of our development, ie I understand the 'hurt' in seeing your work 'abused'. I seems we need to find a way of bringing together this 2x2 community, ie photographers vs videographers and coders vs testers.


Quote from: a1ex on August 25, 2014, 03:48:24 PM
I'm actually thinking to move away from the video side of ML, and let those actually interested in video do the hard work instead. I'd rather focus on the still photo stuff, which is what I actually use.

+1 on this.
Lots of forum questions regarding video. With the upcoming 4K hype I think time will tell what happens to ML video but the focus should definitely be on photo stuff.
[size=8pt]70D.112 & 100D.101[/size]


If I may...

I'm a video person, I use ML primary because of the pro video features it brings to DSLRs, and I have many friends who do that as well. And I can speak for them - we highly appreciate all the hard work done on ML, many of the features actually at the end saves us money, because saves us time. Thank you! but some of the features are not working for many cameras, like audio monitoring on 7D, or even the audio features as such now on latest builds for 7D. If we would be able to fix it we would, but we are not or that would require a grate effort to learn how to do that, not mentioning that would take us away from the job we do best - film and edit. I know that fixing half done things is not interesting, the cool new features like full res silent images which is grate, but please at don't leave us behind.

As I said I and I know many of my collages that use it really appreciate the humongous work done! Kudos!
Canon EOS 7D & 40D, EF-S 17-85mm IS USM, EF 28-300mm IS USM, Mir-20, Mir-1, Helios 44-5, Zenitar ME1, Industar 50-2, Industar 61L/Z-MC, Jupiter 37A, TAIR-3


Quote from: a1ex on August 25, 2014, 04:17:14 PM
Thanks. What is really demotivating me is when some third party - with skills - chooses to take our hard work, ignores license issues, slaps a fancy GUI and starts selling it here, without contributing back. And gets the community support.

When this happens, I think it's fair to ask that third party to continue the development. Let them get their profits from their own work, not from mine.

I was under the impression this issue was sorted with rawmagic, especially since he implemented stripes correction? Apparently not.


I'm not aware of that (the thread was left open without a solution), but I'd like to see some proof.

Either way, it's easy to estimate the profits, given that ML had over 1 million downloads in the last two months, remembering that MLV requires the paid version, and judging from thread activity. With this in mind, if you think this is fair and fits the community spirit, then I think it's fair for Thomas to continue ML development on the video side, fix issues, implement feature requests, polish the user interface, cleanup the code and so on.

Why should I keep doing it?


I totally agree. Without your efforts and open source philosophy magic lantern would be nothing close to what it is today. It would be a huge loss if development on videoside stopped. Huge.


Quote from: Danne on August 25, 2014, 07:39:30 PM
..Without your efforts and open source philosophy magic lantern would be nothing...
Without his efforts one of the next cams appearing with armv6/7 processor and 4k raw video possibility will be nothing cause all his brain will be needed to get it working asap. Others may do the work too but until they get it done 8K will be available  :P
[size=8pt]70D.112 & 100D.101[/size]


I appreciate the free nature of ML thus far, but I've been aching to make a donation. The amount of good work that A1ex and the other devs do with this software should not go unrewarded and I want to show my support and appreciation. I don't need "supporter" next to my name here or anything like that. I just want to do what I know is right. However, the fact that I have to set up a Bitcoin account is keeping me from doing this. I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. Why not offer an email address to which users can send donations via PayPal, and see what happens?
5DmIII | January 27 2017 Nightly Build (Firmware: 1.23) | KomputerBay 256GB CF Cards (1066x & 1200x)


I would also like to have option for donating by PayPal, if it doesn't create any fiscal problems for the receiver, ofc.

As for the RawMagic issue... well, as far as I understand, there's opinion, that Thomas Worth misuses something that was intended to be a non-profit community effort started by Trammel Hudson and now developed by A1ex and other devs.

If those who contributed most to the project feel, that what Thomas does is against the idea, why not to remove the RawMagic thread and discussion from this forum and stop promoting it here? If someone doesn't respect suggestions from people who gave him tool to make money, and doesn't want to contribute to development process, why bother? You moderate the forum, you know what attitude and what tools you want to promote here.

Looking from outside, for me it's simple: if there are doubts, remove (unfair) moneymaking from the forum. When problems and are solved and situation is clear, welcome the businessman back as part of community.

I have great respect for all skilled people who GAVE us Magic Lantern and sacrificed own free time to do this. Thank you.


Respect to all developers but nobody would have been able to do things like raw video..

...but you alex!

If the number of downloads is increasing further just think about this:

2 solutions for the most problems

. Make paypal donations available and
. Make your own gui platform independent app

I asked for a paypal donations option 1 year ago, but there was no interest from developer side?! Just make it possible and you will will see that we noobs honor your hard work.


Walter Schulz

Would you please explain which problem may be addressed and solved by donations?


@ Walter: good question

i think the answer could be "frustration".

greets. sw

Walter Schulz



I use ML primary for the video part which brings incredible quality to my shooting needs (all what Canon hasn't given me due to protection purposes). But the workflow asks more steps, so we have to find ways to simplify them. I've tried to use raw2dng first but the lack of a simple UI made me choose Mystic over it (which is really great, simple, all I need is there). As I have understood Mystic is no longer in development because of parts of ML code used. So I was planning to buy RawMagic instead (I've tried to use the last raw2dng but my MLV files weren't recognized). As I have red the forum, RawMagic seems not to be a good choice now because it doesn't support all a1ex and other coders' work. I encourage all people to do the same until licence issues have been clarified. They clearly not coding ML to make profit but I can understand the frustration to see others take their work to make some. So, for me, a paypal account would be a good and natural thing to support the work (we all have paypal accounts but bitcoins is more under the hood). Just my two cents to ask a1ex not to stop the video part development, we need it to continue to express our passion.

ML is free and free is great but it is as fragile as liberty so we as a community must be vigilant to support all efforts done.

Thanks ML!



The following is not legal advice. It is not to be acted on as such.

RareVision's taking the code first and asking permission later was bad form. It was also misguided arguing the relative value, size or significance of piece of code. If the code was trivial, Mr. Worth could or should have written it himself and the infringement discussion would be moot.

Mr. Worth was quick to highlight his need to recoup his investment, without acknowledging that others need to recoup theirs. In cases of typical open-source development, people like contributor A1ex can be said to recoup their investments through the contributions of other developers. Code is the currency, and the GPL is the rules.

But beyond sour grapes and on to the meat of the matter. Mr. Worth has violated the license by taking code from the project, using it within derivative works, and publishing them as proprietary. This is a presumed matter of fact based on release notes published by RareVision, and the original author's assertion that the code was not trivial. The latter point is subject to argument, but RareVision's admitted dependence on the original GPL code indicates in favor of the original author.

Selling GPL-based products is allowed, but to not compensate the project with the resulting code is a direct violation of the license, and therefore copyright infringement. It is not an ethical matter but a legal one.

Regarding remedy, understand that the horse has already left the barn. The derivative works have already been created and distributed, and are therefore either copyright infringements or licensed under existing terms. Negotiating new terms or re-architecting a new product does not negate that derivatives already exist and were published concurrent to the GPL. All Magic Lantern contributors should be concerned, not just member A1ex.

As a solution, Mr. Worth could publish or make his company's product source code available according to the GPL terms, and continue to sell the product if he chooses. This is the only valid acknowledgement of copyright law and the license, which are the only mechanisms by which RareVision was allowed to incorporate and redistribute the GPL work in the first place.

Barring that, one or more contributors could perform US DMCA takedowns with hosts of the infringing material, most significantly the Apple App Store. Most international jurisdictions honor the procedure for practical if not legal or ethical reasons, as well as to be protected by the safe harbor provisions of the law. Takedowns are simple to perform. Anyone who has contributed materially to the code can assert as an authorized agent and has standing to issue a takedown notice.

Also, although officially registering a copyright is not required to seek relief from infringement, it has advantages. To register the Magic Lantern source code with the US Copyright Office, at least, allows that if RareVision or others are judged via a suit to have infringed, Magic Lantern contributors may be awarded statutory damages. This is important since Magic Lantern is generally an unpaid product(s), and compensatory damages are arguably nil. This has no bearing on the Magic Lantern community's prospects for injunctive relief at least with regard to currently infringing material, and possibly future ones, given RareVision's willingness to continue with apparent impunity in spite of warnings.

Putting legal engagement aside, the simplest solution is of course corrective action on the part of RareVision and, ideally, mutual agreement that the terms of the GPL are satisfied. However, it must be made clear that no one GPL contributor should speak for all others in such a way as to explicitly or effectively waive their rights under the GPL. Therefore, there is likely no legal basis for a "deal" outside the terms of the GPL, which preceded any one's contribution. To compromise on this could be to undermine the present veracity of the GPL.

If contributors choose to initiate takedowns, official and layman's instructions for "DMCA takedown" are readily available on the web, and are best followed carefully. But hopefully this can be resolved amiably and to everyone's mutual benefit.


agree. Alex should get paid for his hard work.


It`s not always about the money!
Supporting is good, and yes they should all be billioners (cause they are that gooood)

But sometimes it is actually nice that we all can do something for each other =) We all know and have different skills in life, and if we made a little effort, we could together make Magic Lantern really MAGIC :D  Not just swing by and grab whatever we can for our own profit..
I guess if everyone said THANKS MagicLantern dudes every time they replied to something, every time we had a silly question, or even better, we stopped asking silly questions, that would be nice for everyone involved..less unrelated/non develop posting.

But again, millions of "thank you`s would also be a lot of posting :P

If you have not noticed it in between the many lines of codes and questions, the Devs keep developing and take a lot of TIME out of their private LIVES, FAMILIES and so on, to give us the fun stuff, and sometimes the same answers all over again and again, and they try doing that with a SMILE!

Com`on humans, let`s make love to magic lantern, appreciate them, thank them and help them help all of us ;D
Would we, make such an effort for everyone else, strangers online..

Thanks developers! All of you  :D
I am thankful that Jesus and MagicLantern exist, because they both change lives!


Donations are nice, but a better idea could be something along the lines of: If a new canon is realised we can raise money for the devs to buy one and work on it.

Problem with paying the devs is it can cause problems with the S&!&$Y noobs, for example.. "I pay towards ML and i demand a fix now!" or "I demand this feature to be added as i pay you guys!"

Wish ML was out for my GoPro Hero 3+ :)

Thomas Worth

QuoteRawMagic seems not to be a good choice now because it doesn't support all a1ex and other coders' work.
There is no code in RAWMagic written by anyone else but me, save of course for the usual C and Objective-C libraries that you're forced to use if working with the Mac OS X API. Vertical stripes correction is implemented, but RAWMagic uses an external binary (which itself is GPL'd code) to apply it. This causes a performance hit, but is necessary to maintain compliance with the GPL and frankly, done out of respect for the ML developers.

I am a filmmaker, own multiple Canon DSLRs and use RAWMagic on my own projects. I know what is needed from the software to make it just plain work. If a feature is missing that makes the workflow impractical (based on real world testing), I add it. I need the software to work in a professional setting, as do other professionals. Filmmakers up against deadlines don't want to mess around with "entering DOS" into a Terminal.

Just thought I'd clear that all up. ;)


You may also want to take a look here:

Therefore, this challenge remains valid:


Here's a challenge for you.

As discussed here, I'm thinking to move away from the video side of ML. Naturally, video users will need somebody who does what I used to do - fix bugs, implement feature requests, polish th user interface, cleanup and maintain the code and so on. Since you are directly interested in ML RAW video - you are getting a nice profit out of it after all - I think it's high time you started contributing.

What do you think?



I'm a professional in the camera department of a local IATSE union. While I haven't yet been able to convince union shows to install your software on DSLRs that we've used, I have used your software extensively on smaller productions. I cannot tell you how elated my colleagues are with your work. It really is humbling to see what you've done and I'm working with those same productions to ensure that you and the ML team are credited appropriately, and that any owner/operators lend a helping hand. I recently bought a 50D to experiment with ML on my own time, and I'm really looking forward to participating and helping out the community.

Sadly, I will admit that I bought RAWMagic. I'd used 5DtoRGB and simply hadn't really considered were the code was coming from or how releasing commercial products like this affected the ML community. It is helpful software but I believe that the philosophical implications of what Thomas is asking are troubling. While I can't imagine the frustration you're going through, I want you to know that I regret purchasing RAWMagic. 

I think you're a talented developer. I paid for 5DtoRGB and RAWMagic, and both can be tremendously helpful. With that said, I have to side with A1ex on this one. You are standing on the shoulders of giants. Yes, it does help ML users to have software that smooths out their workflows but asking a developer to relax a licensing scheme so that you can include that code in your commercial product is appalling. I do not agree that any of the ML code should be anything other than GPL. I know that I'm not a saint--I haven't contributed much of anything to this community, and one of my early posts was actually pretty inflammatory--but I hope you're going to take the time to consider the ramifications of what you're doing.

Considering the tumultuous nature of this issue, and the value of ML to artists everywhere, I will not be using RAWMagic any more and I will be recommending other applications to my colleagues from here on out. I hope that this isn't always the case but, until I can be sure that I am not hurting the community by using your software, I am going to avoid it like the plague. Convenience is not worth exploiting these guys.


Thomas, "out of respect for the ML developers" and thousands of people around the world using Magic Lantern, stop using funny emoticons like everything was a joke.

At this point situation is clear and not funny: if you don't stop doing what is considered by the authors of Magic Lantern as something at least unfair, it will be your, Thomas Worth's responsibility for sabotaging the whole project, and you personally will be responsible for stopping development of something, that was a common work of many talented people across the globe for many years.

So far, everybody involved in the project did it for free. So don't be an ass$#&% and don't try to be the first smart here, who got the idea how to make money on it.

Try to imagine that you are not greedy and arrogant, and let the development of Magic Lantern continue. You are one. But thousands of people, including many professionals, will be directly hurt by your actions if A1ex - the one who made RAW filming possible - gives up on development.

Thomas Worth, do you want to help Magic Lantern users, as you claim, or you want to stop this collective effort by making some money on it?

This is not your private business. Try to care and realize, that there are other people out there.

Thomas Worth

Quote from: beagle on August 27, 2014, 10:22:41 AM
the simplest solution is of course corrective action on the part of RareVision
Already done.


Quote from: nikfreak on August 28, 2014, 12:52:42 PM
Time to push out a final nightly (call it 2.4 or whatever) and at the same time an announcement of raw video stuff being thrown out of ML in future nightlies releases. Code will be cleaned up on bitbucket to get focus on photo stuff. Maybe that would be also the time to announce unsupporting some old cams or cams with less contributors. All video'ers might use that final nightly and others will shoot fullres-silent pics up to 1/8000 in future releases incorporating much more photo stuff which gets contributed. Something like that should do the trick to get the internet's eye on ML. Afterwards we will see what happens and who pops up here to help and get all back into development branch - if that will be ever needed.

and btw that's no joke.

[size=8pt]70D.112 & 100D.101[/size]

Thomas Worth

I have complied with the wishes of the developers and have dealt with any GPL code in a way that satisfies the GPL. This is what I said I was going to do, after going to great lengths to assure the ML community I would follow the rules.

I refer you to this:

Yes, I'm fine with commercial programs that are also free software, working with ML file formats and being supported here on this forum.

I'm also fine with proprietary software (aka closed source) supporting ML file formats, but if they want to make a profit, that should come from their own code, not from a closed-source modified version of my code.

I'm not really sure why this is an issue anymore.