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

  • all files describing the VST 3 interface except VST 2 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 
    // 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 are under a BSD style license
    • all Helper files (base and public.sdk folders) except VST 2 files are under a BSD style license
    • all VST 2 files (pluginterfaces and public.sdk folders) are under the "Proprietary Steinberg VST 2" License
    • all mda-vst3 examples (public.sdk/samples/mda-vst3 folder) are 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. It comes with requirements though.

  • You need written permission from Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH in order to distribute your VST 2 plug-in/host (Steinberg will send you back the License agreement included in the SDK that you signed and sent to us).
  • 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" does not include the "Proprietary Steinberg VST 2", 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 anymore submissions of license agreement for VST 2 Plug-in/host! => If you do not have a license agreement signed with Steinberg before the october 2018 it means that you are not allowed to distribute VST2 Plug-ins anymore.

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