[vlc-devel] Apple AppStore infringing VLC media player license

Rémi Denis-Courmont rem at videolan.org
Tue Oct 26 09:49:05 CEST 2010

[ Since thew Planet website and my RSS feed have been removed without
explanation, I have to resort to the mailing list. This was written
yesterday. ]

"Espoo, Finland - Today, a formal notification of copyright infringement
was sent to Apple Inc. regarding distribution of the VLC media player for
iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. VLC media player is free software licensed
solely under the terms of the open source GNU General Public License
(a.k.a. GPL). Those terms are contradicted by the products usage rules of
the AppStore through which Apple delivers applications to users of its
mobile devices. At the time of writing, the infringing application is still
available. However, it is to be expected that Apple will cease distribution
soon, just like it did with GNU Go earlier this year in strikingly similar
circumstances: http://www.fsf.org/news/2010-05-app-store-compliance . Thus,
users of iOS-based devices would be deprived of VLC media player, as a
consequence of the intransigently tight control Apple maintains over its
mobile applications platform. In any case, while the rules for distribution
of open-source or "free" (as in speech) software are extremely relaxed,
they do exist and have to be abode by. VLC and open-source software in
general would not have reached their current quality and success if it had
not been for their license. Therefore, blatant license violation cannot be
tolerated at any rate. Concerned users are advised to look for application
on more open mobile platforms for the time being."


Some people have commented that this will damage the project's reputation.
Maybe so. Blame those who published and/or advertized VLC for iPad. The
fact of the GPL incompatibility was already well known. JB himself
described it as a "grey area". They decided to take the risk anyway, and
they bear full responsibility for any consequences. Personally, I don't
blame them because I know very well how a geek feels when writing cool code
for a cool new gadget.

But it seems that people are now accounting ME responsible for this,
evidently including the people who censored me as of today. This is
entirely intolerable. I am not the one who took the risks of violating
copyright here.

Rémi Denis-Courmont

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