[vlc-devel] update on AppStore situation please

Jean-Baptiste Kempf jb at videolan.org
Mon Jan 10 22:53:34 CET 2011

On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 08:20:42PM +0100, Pierre Ynard wrote :
> > 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.

Well, I disagree here, since the "valid end user agreement" should
overrun the specific part. But I have to say that my e-mail wasn't
clear, since what I meant is section "LICENSE OF MAC APP STORE AND APP

> > 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
> reasoning.
Thanks. I hate legalese :D

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

It is my understanding that free apps have no DRM.

> >  - 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.
Then where is it?

> > 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
> anyway.
True... Is it legal in Europe to have ToS changing that often?

> Rémi claimed a GPL infringement. Apple eventually removed VLC from the
> AppStore, and it sure sounds like an acknowledgement that there was an
> infringement.
No, they removed VLC from the AppStore saying that "the matter was not
resolved amically by the parties quickly enough". They refuse to
consider themselves as a party.

> 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?

Sure, it could be a way.

Best Regards,

Jean-Baptiste Kempf
+33 672 704 734

More information about the vlc-devel mailing list