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I am considering creating a product which has 2 parts:

  1. Client (video screengrabbing) - which makes use of an existing (GPL licenced) screen grabber and uploads video + metadata to …
  2. Server (video post Processing) - … receives video from (1) and does clever things with the video + metadata.

There would be a REST API on the server which the client uploads to. I was considering open sourcing the 1. client part because:

  • The client isn't doing anything particularly novel.
  • Can make use of an existing screencasting tool (released as GPL) to speed up development.

However, the clever stuff is happening in the server which receives the video e.g. slowing / speeding up video, change detection etc.

So my questions are:

  1. Is it OK to have a product of 2 parts where one is open sourced (because it makes use of a existing screen-casting application with a GPL licence) and the other is closed source (where communication between the 2 parts is via a REST API).

  2. If this is OK, I'm assuming the license of the open source client must be GPL also (because it's using an existing GPL program) - mostly likely to be forked on GitHub and modified slightly.

NOTE: The 2 parts can live completely independently of each other e.g. if server REST API isn't available then it could simply save screencast / metadata to local disk.

  • Can you elaborate on how you use the GPL client? modified or not? linked with your code? as-is as a cli utility spawned in a process? Andy link to the screen grabber project? – Philippe Ombredanne Aug 4 '17 at 8:29
  • It's to be used as part of a testing framework which will take a video per test (agent) and upload to a server which then creates nicer videos from the raw test video. The GPL client may need modified e.g. if it lacks parameter support. It may not need to be linked with code - i.e. if the param support is OK then it could be called as a CLI. – bobmarksie Aug 4 '17 at 13:38
  • If the "upload to server" doesn't depend at all on how the data will be processed later, I see no reason for any restrictions. But keep in mind that I'm not your lawyer, and I haven't looked at your exact problem. – vonbrand Aug 7 at 12:42

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