[vlc-devel] Android market terms

Rémi Denis-Courmont remi at remlab.net
Sun Jan 30 17:04:34 CET 2011


Over the past few months, a number of people have asked what I thought of the 
Android market (that is, compared to the Apple AppStore). Firstly, I would 
like to emphasizes that I am not a lawyer and I cannot give legal advice. I am 
"only" a (major) copyright holder of the VLC media player and LibVLC. 
Secondly, I will probably not review the developers agreement, much like I did 
not review that of Apple. It is up to the developer(s) to determine whether 
(s)he is able and willing to agree with those terms. If said developer 
violates that kind of agreement, then it is a contractual matter between the 
store and the developer. Thirdly, the terms are subject to change and I cannot 
predict the future.

With that said, as of today, I have the following concerns with the "Android 
Market Terms of Service" (available at:
http://www.google.com/mobile/android/market-tos.html )

Generally speaking, we are interested in the "Products" here, if it were be 
VLC. We are not interested in the "Market", which belongs to Google.

§3.4 "You agree that you will not use any of the Products found on the Market 
in a way that interferes or disrupts any servers, networks, or websites 
operated by Google or any third-party."

-> This seems like an incompatible restriction on usage. In practice, 
interference and disruption of that sort is typically illegal, so this might 
be just fine. However, it might require restricting distribution to countries 
that do NOT ban interference and disruption ??? (GPL §8).

§3.8 "You agree that you will not, and will not allow any third party to, (i) 
copy, sell, license, distribute, transfer, modify, adapt, translate, prepare 
derivative works from, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble or otherwise 
attempt to derive source code from the Products,"

-> That would be awfully bad, but fortunately...

" unless otherwise permitted,"

-> ...it's otherwise permitted.

"(ii) take any action to circumvent or defeat the security or content usage 
rules provided, deployed or enforced by any functionality (including without 
limitation digital rights management or forward-lock functionality) in the 

-> This would be OK if (and I guess, only if) the GPL'd "Products" do not 
contain anything that could be circumvented or defeated.

"(iii) use the Products to access, copy, transfer, transcode or retransmit 
content in violation of any law or third party rights,"

-> OK.

"or (iv) remove, obscure, or alter Google's or any third party's copyright 
notices, trademarks, or other proprietary rights notices affixed to or 
contained within the Products."

-> Hmm, this seems like this is not OK, at least not in countries that don't 
legally protect legal notices.

§4.2 "Some components of Products (...) may also be governed by applicable 
open source software licenses. In the event of a conflict between the Terms 
and any such licenses, the open source software licenses shall prevail with 
respect to those components."

-> Hmm, so it seems all of the above §3 is irrelevant...

So I guess, there are currently no (legal) problems.

Rémi Denis-Courmont

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