[vlc-devel] Update on AppStore (yet again)

Jean-Baptiste Kempf jb at videolan.org
Wed Mar 9 23:05:03 CET 2011


I am sorry, but here is yet again an update on the AppStore situation... :D
And some news are interesting (as far as legal things can be interesting,
which is, as far as I am concerned, close to nil, but well...)

The AppStore terms have been updated lately (at least twice, since

First, and foremost, Apple seems to have decided to respect Open Source,
in their license (no kidding!):

  "(except as and only to the extent that any foregoing restriction is
   prohibited by applicable law or to the extent
   as may be permitted by the licensing terms governing use of any
   open-sourced components included with the Licensed Application)"

and, it is not a mistake, since it is also in the French version:

  "dans la mesure de ce qui est autorisé par les conditions de licence régissant
  l'utilisation de tout composant d'un logiciel libre intégré dans l'Application sous

However, this doesn't really concern VLC on the AppStore, since, VLC is still
under the othe valid user-license agreement:

   "unless that App Store Product is covered by a valid end user
   license agreement between you and the Licensor of that App Store
   Product, in which case the terms of that separate end user license
   agreement will govern."

But this strengthen the position if the fallback interpretation was
taken (see other mails from me and Brett on this very mailing list).

However, another part that was problematic, and was about the Usage Rules,
and this was updated in a few ways too.

The first subproblem was regarding the Usage Rights, and their explicit
authorization of the correct usages as said here:

"you shall use Products in compliance with the applicable usage rules established
by Apple and its licensors (“Usage Rules”), and that any other use of the Products may
constitute a copyright infringement."

translated in French ToS:

"Vous reconnaissez en outre que votre utilisation des Produits, qu’ils
soient ou non protégés par une technologie de sécurité, sera
conforme aux règles d’utilisation applicables fixées par iTunes
et les Éditeurs (« Règles d’Utilisation »), et que toute autre
utilisation des Produits pourra constituer une violation de droits

The first remark here was that the "Éditeurs" have now their take in
what Usages are valid and which ones are not.
My understanding here is that an apps that authorise all usages, if approved by Apple,
would indeed allow all Usages to the user.

The second subproblem was regarding those rules, and to understand if
they were minimum rights or limiations, and notably, how to understand
the following part:

  (i) You may download and sync an App Store Product for personal,
     noncommercial use on any iOS Device you own or control.
  (i) Vous êtes autorisé à télécharger et synchroniser un Produit App
  Store à des fins personnelles et non commerciales sur tout Appareil iOS
  que vous possédez ou contrôlez.

And these formulation should be compared to the similar formulation when
speaking about Music/Video Content:

  (i) You shall be authorized to use Products only for personal,
     noncommercial use
  (i) Vous êtes autorisé à utiliser les Produits uniquement pour un usage
  personnel et non commercial.

We see that the "may" seems more an autorisation to do something more
and a minimum of rights than a limitation (like on the Music/Video part)

And this goes the same for the other rules that are:
  "Vous pourrez simultanément stocker des Produits App Store" vs
  "Vous aurez le droit d’utiliser les Produits, à tout moment, sur un
  nombre maximum..."

Of course, since I am not a lawyer, those formulation could be understood
differently, but I see a change trending here too.

Maybe, if the application clearly re-explains the absence of usage
limitation, it could be ok to have a GPLv2 application on the Appstores?

Best Regards,

PS: I still don't own any stock in Apple, Google or any other phone
PPS: I can't believe we are totally foreign to those changes of
situation, but I may mistake...

Jean-Baptiste Kempf
+33 672 704 734

More information about the vlc-devel mailing list