[vlc-devel] STOP! Think. Act... (was Re: Formal complaint -censorship)

Juho Vähä-Herttua juhovh at gmail.com
Wed Oct 27 20:58:46 CEST 2010

On 27.10.2010, at 20.21, "Rémi Denis-Courmont" <remi at remlab.net> wrote:
> It's a bit more complicated. GPL does cover software usage if indirectly. It 
> covers usage because it forbids distributors from restricting usage, thus 
> allowing all usage - within the boundaries of local laws.

In fact, the way I read GPLv2 it doesn't forbid restricting usage, only restricting rights related to modifications and distribution. (which effectively gives the user the right to remove possible usage restrictions) It explicitly states that for using a GPLv2 program you don't even need to agree with the license.

> Furthermore, as far 
> as it clearly restricts copying and modifying the software, it does still 
> restrict what the user can do with the software.

It does, but until the user distributes the program, none of the GPL restrictions apply. This means that there is no "agreement in place" at the moment, as required by Apple for their EULA not to apply.

> However, the GPL is not an *agreement*, it's only a *license* granted by the 
> copyright holder(s) to recipients of the copyrighted material. In other words, 
> there is nothing for the user to agree or disagree with: the license allows 
> him/her to use the copyrighted material in certain ways.

Rather it gives the user partial copyrights. The user already has the right to use anything that he has legally acquired in any way he wants. Only copying is restricted by copyright laws.

>> Therefore the Apple EULA applies for the
>> current VLC binary and it seems to conflict with GPL since it also
>> involves restrictions on distribution.
> It's not that simple anymore. It seems Apple changed the terms so that third 
> parties could use a different license. Laws and contracts are up for 
> interpretation. And the intent can play an important role in interpretation, 
> even if actual wording may be inaccurrate.

As mentioned, even with new terms I haven't agreed to anything when I download the VLC from the App Store and DRM restricts me from copying it, therefore my personal interpretation is that Apple's rules apply. But as you say, it's not simple.

> That would be consistent with Apple not having removed VLC from their store 
> about 48 hours after they acknowledged my copyright notification.

I would be much more comfortable with a popup stating the user his rights and an agree button. This way it would seem much more clear than it is now.

It's possible that EULAs are not effective in most countries at all, but that's another discussion I'd rather not get into. All I know is that the Apple one seems to go beyond EULA by giving limited right to copy the program. That's a license in addition to EULA.


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