[vlc-devel] update on AppStore situation please

Pierre Ynard linkfanel at yahoo.fr
Mon Jan 10 20:20:42 CET 2011

> Copy, redistribution and modification don't seem to be of an issue, as
> per past discussion and per clarification of the AppStore terms.

In my understanding, (ii) is still an incompatible restriction on
copying and usage, although it can be easily circumvented at no cost if
the app is free. (iii) is an indirected limitation on copying, and is
still dodgy, but relatively unimportant. Even if they are not practical
issues, they are still legal ones, and we should be reminded that
turning a blind eye on possible legal issues, saying that they had no
real consequences, is what led us in this situation in the first place.

> The part that is interesting has changed a bit:
>     `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.`

> Now, what is unclear:
>  - should the first "may" be considered as a possibility or a fact?
>    Seeing the French translation, I would say "a possibility".

I didn't get your point at first, but now I do. I acknowledge your

>  - whose copyright would be infringed, Apple's or the Products?
>    The French translation doesn't help much here.

That section refers to "security technology" (aka DRM if I follow) :

`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. Any security technology is an
inseparable part of the Products. Apple reserves the right to modify
the Usage Rules at any time. You agree not to violate, circumvent,
reverse-engineer, decompile, disassemble, or otherwise tamper with
any of the security technology related to such Usage Rules for any
reason—or to attempt or assist another person to do so.` And so on.

Is this the famous Apple's DRMs? Who puts that security technology in
there? VideoLAN publishes code for an iOS port of VLC, but I don't know
what happens next with the build/packaging process. So to answer your
question, given the context, it could mean that breaking the DRMs would
be an infringement on whomever wrote them. As for other infringements,
language like "Apple is not a party to the license between you and the
Application Provider with respect to that Third-Party Product", which
suggests that the only copyright there is to infringe is the product's
editor. And then we know that for a GPL'd VLC, commercial use and so on
is no infringement, so everything would be fine.

>  - What to understand from the "may" of the Usage Rules?
>    French says: "you are allowed to download and synchronise..."

That's not where the issue is.

> notably seeing that Apple markets the iDevices as commercial tools
> (notably with iWork suite),

Makes sense.

> notably seeing that Apple people have confirmed that the "(iv) You shall
> be able to store App Store Products on five iTunes-authorized devices at
> any time." sentence was to be understood to be a minimum and not a
> maximum and that the French translation makes it even clearer.

I haven't seen any such explanation from Apple, but (iv) was removed

Rémi claimed a GPL infringement. Apple eventually removed VLC from the
AppStore, and it sure sounds like an acknowledgement that there was an
infringement. But what prevents us from petitioning Apple to clarify
that this reading of the *new* version of the AppStore terms, which
would be compatible with the GPL, is the right reading, and would allow
putting back VLC on the AppStore? What would happen if, based on this,
we submitted VLC to the AppStore again? What do you think, Rémi?

Pierre Ynard
"Une âme dans un corps, c'est comme un dessin sur une feuille de papier."

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