[vlc-devel] FSF position on GPLv2 & current App Store terms

Jean-Baptiste Kempf jb at videolan.org
Wed Nov 3 00:01:59 CET 2010

Hello Brett,

Despite your employer's actions, I will ask for further
questions and clarifications.

On Tue, Nov 02, 2010 at 12:17:23AM -0400, Brett Smith wrote :
> distinctions that we would make.  So to keep this discussion simple, for
> the sake of argument, I'll assume for the rest of this e-mail that this
> section *does* create exceptions for the GPL.

Let's do that. And if MobileVLC is not in this case, adding a dummy
GPL-compatible EULA would make it this way.

>         You agree that the Services and certain Products include
>         security technology that limits your use of Products and that,
>         whether or not Products are limited by security technology, you
>         shall use Products in compliance with the applicable usage rules
>         established by Apple and its principals (“Usage Rules”), and
>         that any other use of the Products may constitute a copyright
>         infringement.o

I believe that now all of us agree that this section 'USE OF PRODUCTS
AND THE SERVICES' is the problematic one.

> [...]

> These rules do not grant you permission to: 
> use the software commercially,
Let's assume this one is true.

>  distribute it beyond "five iTunes-authorized devices," or
> modify the software in any way.
I disagree on that part.

> And remember: the paragraph I quoted
> earlier makes clear that Apple *only* allows you to do the activities in
> the list of Usage Rules.
NO. The terms does not say "do the activities", but "use of Products", so
distributing and modification are out of scope.
And they are in Usage Rules.

But agreed, the terms might read that you cannot use the software
I am still trying to understand the part (ii) and its negation, as your
analysis clearly showed.

    ii) If You are a commercial enterprise or educational institution,
    You may download and sync a Product for use by either (a) a single
    individual on one or more devices You own or control or (b) multiple
    individuals, on a single shared device You own or control. For
    example, a single employee may use the Product on both the
    employee's iPhone and iPad, or multiple students may serially use
    the Product on a single iPad located at a resource center or

Maybe you can explain how you see the negation of (ii)?

> ## III. The GPL Prohibits These Restrictions ##
> Section 6 of GPLv2 says:
>         Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
>         Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from
>         the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program
>         subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any
>         further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights
>         granted herein.

Ok, now, I don't understand.

Do those "rights" include running (use) of the product or not?

> When the App Store terms prohibit commercial use, general distribution,
> and modification, these are exactly the kinds of "further restrictions"
> that are not allowed thanks to the last sentence here.


> Some people have argued that, because section 0 says "Activities other
> than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this
> License; they are outside its scope," Apple is not prohibited from
> imposing restrictions on the software's use.  This is not true, and is
> based on a misunderstanding of how activities "outside its scope" relate
> to section 6.  The license places *no* conditions on activities "outside
> its scope."  In fact, the very next sentence in section 0 confirms this;
> it says: "The act of running the Program is not restricted...."  Thus,
> section 6 is properly understood to mean that no external conditions can
> be placed on those activities, either.

I don't understand what you are trying to prove, here, can you explain?

> Again, if any of you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.
Please answer the 3 above questions.

Best Regards,

Jean-Baptiste Kempf
+33 672 704 734

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