Live Studio, TikTok’s new live streaming app for Windows, supposedly uses code from the free Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) live streaming program (via Protocol). This wouldn’t usually be a problem when done correctly because OBS is open source – however, TikTok does not meet OBS licensing requirements.
The situation came to a head on Twitter after a user posted screenshots of what appears to be code for Live Studio. The programmer who originally took the screenshots alleges the app “is an illegal fork of OBS” and also claims that TikTok used OBS and then slapped its own UI.
As another user emphasizes that if TikTok uses code from OBS, the platform is required to make the source code publicly available in accordance with the GNU General Public License (GPL), version 2. If TikTok fails to do so, OBS could potentially take legal action against the platform.
Ben Torell, commercial developer of OBS, later replied to this tweet agree, but noted that OBS is open to working with TikTok: “We are committed to addressing violations of the GPL in good faith, and in the case of TikTok/ByteDance, we would welcome a relationship working friendly with them as long as they are license compliant.The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) ran into trouble for a similar reason in October when it failed to release source code for Truth, Donald Trump’s next social network, publicly available after using the open-source Mastodon to build the site.
TikTok quietly started testing Live Studio with a small group of users just a few days ago. In its current state, it appears to be barebones streaming software with the ability to allow users to live stream whether from camera, phone, game or program . TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, OBS was embroiled in a controversy with Streamlabs, which also unfolded on Twitter. OBS admitted that it did not authorize Streamlabs to use OBS on its behalf, but Streamlabs used it anyway. After popular streamers like Pokimane threatened to stop using and promoting Streamlabs due to the situation, Streamlabs agreed to drop “OBS” from its name.