[vlc-devel] Android market terms
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:
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,"
"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.
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