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Which files of the VST 3 SDK fall under which license?

All files describing the VST 3 interface, except VST 2 files, located in the folder "pluginterfaces" of the SDK, fall 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 
// 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 VST 3 SDK, the respective embedded license text is applicable, for example:
    • all VSTGUI files fall under a BSD style license
    • all Helper files (base and public.sdk folders) except VST 2 files fall under a BSD style license
    • all VST 2 files (pluginterfaces and public.sdk folders) fall under the "Proprietary Steinberg VST 2" license
    • all mda-vst3 examples (public.sdk/samples/mda-vst3 folder) fall under a BSD style license: Copyright (c) 2008 Paul Kellett

Whats about VST 2?

The "Proprietary Steinberg VST 2" license, which is the VST 2 license agreement, allows you to distribute your VST 2 plug-in/host in a binary form. However, please note the following requirements:

  • You need written permission from Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH in order to distribute your VST 2 plug-in/host (which was to be done before October 2018).
  • You need to mention Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH in the about box and/or documentation of your VST 2 plug-in/host and follow the Steinberg VST usage guidelines.
  • Note that the "Proprietary Steinberg VST 3" license does not include the "Proprietary Steinberg VST 2" license, you have to sign it separately! It was available in the VST 2 SDK and in the VST 3 SDK old version.
  • Note that from the first of October 2018, Steinberg does not accept any more submissions of license agreement for VST 2 plug-in/host! This means:

If you do not have a license agreement signed with Steinberg before October 2018, you are not allowed to distribute VST 2 plug-ins or VST 2 hosts!

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