VST 3 SDK Licensing FAQ

SDK for VST 3 audio plug-in and host development.
ygrabit
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:52 am
Location: Hamburg

VST 3 SDK Licensing FAQ

Postby ygrabit » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:18 pm

VST 3 SDK Licensing Issues
This developer use case guide will help you to decide which VST3 licensing model to choose.

1. What are the licensing options for VST3?
You can choose between the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" or the "Open-source GPLv3" license (dual-license) depending on how you like to distribute your plug-in/host. This license can be found at http://www.steinberg.net/sdklicenses.

1.1 "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" license
The "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" license allows you to distribute your plug-in/host in a binary form. It comes with requirements though.
You need written permission from Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH in order to distribute your plug-in/host.
You need to mention ***Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH*** in the about box and/or documentation of your plug-in/host.

For more detail please read the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" License agreement, if you accept it you have to fill it, sign it and send it back to us per post (at the Steinberg address mentioned in the license) or per email (reception@steinberg.de) or per fax (+49 (0)40 210 35-300). We will sign it and send it back to you.
  • as PDF : Licensing Issues PDF
  • as HTML: Licensing Issues HTML

1.2 "Open-source GPLv3" license
The open-source license lets you share the source code of your plug-in/host ***including the VST3 SDK's sources which are put under the GPLv3***.

Note that VST2 sources are NOT part of the GPLv3!

It also gives you the ability to change and modify the VST3 SDK's sources as long as you share your changes and make them available for everyone (e.g. on an internet hosting service like GitHub).

2. Which files of the VST3 SDK are under which license?
all files describing the VST3 interface except VST2 files, located in folder "pluginterfaces" of the SDK, are under the dual-license described previously.
Each of these files includes this text:
//-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
// This file is part of a Steinberg SDK. It is subject to the license terms
// in the LICENSE file found in the top-level directory of this distribution
// and at http://www.steinberg.net/sdklicenses.
// No part of the SDK, including this file, may be copied, modified, propagated,
// or distributed except according to the terms contained in the LICENSE file.
//-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

for all other files of the VST3 SDK the respective embedded license text is applicable, for example:
  • all VSTGUI files are under a BSD style license
  • all Helper files (base and public.sdk folders) except VST2 files are under a BSD style license
  • all VST2 files (pluginterfaces and public.sdk folders) are under the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" License

3. Developer use cases
The following use cases support you to choose the right license.

3.1. I would like to share the source code of my plug-in/host on GitHub.

You can choose the GPLv3 license and feel free to share your plug-ins/host's source code including the VST3 SDK's sources on GitHub.

3.2. I would like to distribute my plug-in/host as freeware.

You can distribute your plug-in/host in a binary form.This always requires you to choose the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" license.
Even though you distribute your plug-in/host as freeware you need to fulfill the requirements of the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" license.


3.3. I would like to sell my plug-in/host in binary form.

If you work for-profit and distribute your plug-in/host in binary form, you need to choose the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" license.


3.4. I would like to sell my plug-in/host in binary form.

You can adapt and modify the VST3 SDK's source for your needs, but if you want to distribute these sources under GPLv3 you have to distribute your plug-in/host's sources under GPLv3 too.
It is allow to modify the VST3 SDK's when you distribute your plug-in/host in binary form and choose the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" license.
If you are of the opinion that we should include your changes in the SDK, please contact us (use the sdk.steinberg.net).


3.5. I would like to reuse a distributed modified version of the VST3 SDK for my own plug-ins/host.

Yes, but you have to make sure that your plug-in/host sources are under GPLv3 too!


3.6. I would like to distribute my plug-in/host in binary form based on a modified version of VST3 SDK which is under GPLv3.

Yes, but you have to make sure that your plug-in/host sources are under GPLv3 too!
If you do not want to be GPLv3, you have to build your plug-in/host based on the original version of the VST3 SDK and choose the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" license.

Your Steinberg Team
YVan Grabit

tytel
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:53 pm

Re: VST 3 SDK Licensing FAQ

Postby tytel » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:47 pm

Wow! This is unexpected and great :D

Big question though. Why didn't you also GPL the VST2 files?
I make an open source GPL3 synth (http://tytel.org/helm) and not being able to redistribute the VST2 files really makes the build process difficult.
There's also a slew of other logistical issues that come up because those (3?) files are still under the proprietary license.

ygrabit
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:52 am
Location: Hamburg

Re: VST 3 SDK Licensing FAQ

Postby ygrabit » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:39 pm

If you want to make your plugin fully open source you have to port it to VST3.
YVan Grabit

sandiego
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:42 am

Postby sandiego » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:28 am

Hi,

My company has developed a VST3 Plugin, which we intend to distribute in binary form. We are now ready to distribute our Plugin.
From what I understand, my company needs to use the "Proprietary Steinberg VST3" license.
We printed and signed the agreement by hand, then re-scanned it and sent it to reception _at_ steinberg _dot_ de .
We sent it on 2017/07/24, however we do not heard an answer from Steinberg yet.
How long does it usually take to receive an answer from Steinberg?


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