VLC developer claims App Store infringing VLC license | iLounge News


VLC developer claims App Store infringing VLC license

Rémi Denis-Courmont, one of the primary developers of the VLC Media Player has sent a formal notification of copyright infringement to Apple regarding distribution of the VLC media player for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Denis-Courmont indicates that VLC media player is free software licensed solely under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and Apple is violating the terms of the GPL through its App Store usage rules which restrict free and open distribution of applications by applying Digital Rights Management (DRM) that prevents users from freely sharing the application.

Denis-Courmont goes on to state that although VLC is still available on the App Store, “it is to be expected that Apple will cease distribution soon” pointing to the example of GNU Go which was removed by Apple earlier this year under similar circumstances. Denis-Courmont notes that the developers who published VLC for the iPad should have been fully aware of the incompatibility of the GPL with the App Store distribution model and “they bear full responsibility for any consequences” however he also notes that “users of iOS-based devices [will] be deprived of VLC media player, as a consequence of the intransigently tight control Apple maintains over its mobile applications platform.” The GNU General Public License requires that works licensed under it must be free to be used for any purpose, freely shared with others, and open to modification by individual users to suit their needs and share those changes with others. The iOS and App Store distribution model precludes most of these uses through Digital Rights Management of the application as well as the inability for end users to create their own modifications to the source code without being a member of Apple’s iOS Developer Program.

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What a JERK!  Rémi can’t you think of some less jerky way to make your point!  Your pathetic grab for attention, especially given you were BEGGING for Mac developers as few as six months ago, does nothing to but screw those of us in the middle.

Do you really want to be “that guy”?  The Dave Winer of iOS apps?  PIck up your ball and go how now?

Please….back ofF before your screw us all over your precious GPL the SAME GPL that gives us locked carrier modified Android Phones.

Please GAWD I am so pissed that these people!

Posted by NotTellinYOU on October 31, 2010 at 12:45 PM (CDT)


Buec,  you write:

I wish Apple wouldn’t be so possessive about their platform and just fix their TOS

How ironic!  Apple ... possessive about “their platform”. You could have easily said it with an apostrophe s Apple’s platform. Because indeed it is. And THEIR terms of service which were plainly set from the beginning. It is VLC that either was incompetent at reading those TSO, or they submitted the app just to pick a fight. Either way, they’re the losers here.

People complain about Apple’s closed walled garden. Well, guess what, we had open garden disaster full of weeds for the past twenty years with Microsoft’s platform and people are finally sick of it and choosing otherwise. GET OVER IT. They were given a choice and they chose to change. They chose the other in the first place. It is about choice.

And it’s been made.

Posted by BayouMan on October 31, 2010 at 1:34 PM (CDT)


Let’s be clear here.

Applidium is a third party developer not associated with the VLC project. They took the VLC code and made it run on iOS devices, as they are allowed to do since VLC is free and open and the source code is available. This gentleman is a member of the main VLC project, and is understandably concerned about a license violation.

(If every time someone said “Don’t stick to your principles and it will make life easier for the rest of us” they didn’t, we would live in a very different world.)

The issue here is not that the source code must be available, but that the GPLv2 specifically states that the usage of GPL software cannot be restricted by any other licenses - which is what the iTunes Terms of Service do.

Posted by Valashtar on October 31, 2010 at 3:57 PM (CDT)


Meh, I’ve disabled apple’s kill switch on my iPod anyway.

Posted by Crusavor on October 31, 2010 at 8:35 PM (CDT)


Done. Just uninstalled it from my iphone. Do not need these arrogant developers.

Posted by George on November 1, 2010 at 2:48 AM (CDT)


same here.. i’ve just removed VLC player from my iphone4.

Posted by dennis on November 1, 2010 at 1:08 PM (CDT)


Valashtar, I partly agree with you. I think the majority of these comments is out of a lack of understanding of this point. The App developer and VLC developer are DIFFERENT people.

Still, to rob so many users of this software in this instance is counter to the whole point of an open source GPU released software.

Posted by Dean on November 1, 2010 at 5:12 PM (CDT)


Valashtar, first, my virtual hat is off to you because unlike 25 of the previous posters, you can actually read instead of reflexively attacking anything perceived as anti-Apple like an immune system run amok without even understanding what was at issue.

However, while the principle being tested is a real one, there is, of course, a dilemma here. There simply is no way to make a GPL compliant iOS app, it cannot be done, and so sticking to the principle is not an admirable thing when doing so works against what the principle is supposed to preserve. Nobody on another smartphone platform will be deprived of VLC because of the iOS app - the app is compiled for the iOS platform, that’s all it will run on, and as it is freely available to any and all iOS users, it, in practice, no different than complaining that the Windows compiled version of the app won’t run on Linux or Mac OS.

If a precedent is created that open source with such restrictive licensing cannot run on closed platforms such as the iOS, these programs will find themselves irrelevant on the computing platforms of tomorrow.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on November 2, 2010 at 10:28 AM (CDT)


Very well done. Keep on complaining Apple fangirls, a great piece of FOSS like VLC is not for preppies like you. I bet you’re missing things like VLC and FLAC so much.

Apple has become the Big Brother they supposedly tried to destroy.

This guy Rémi Denis-Courmont is one of the core VLC developers and he’s totally free to choose how to license his original works. Leechers such as Apple Computer and its jailed legion cannot take unfair advantage on GPL’ed software.

Posted by Copyleft for the Win on January 28, 2013 at 2:47 PM (CST)

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