VLC in Apple Store; GPL violation?

VLC is a popular multimedia player distributed under GPLv2 license.

Few weeks ago one of the main VLC developers, Rémi Denis-Courmont, claimed against VLC distribution in Apple Store, arguing GPL violation due to Apple’s restrictions on usage for the software downloaded to iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Free Software Foundation announced this also in one of their blogs, noticing the previous and similar case of GNU-Go, a game which finally was removed from AppleStore after their complain of GPL violation.

Without any public statement of Apple regarding this issue, main discussion is held on vlc-devel mailing list, where other VLC developer, Jean-Baptiste Kempf, holds that this case is not the same as GNU-Go since Apple Terms of Service have changed, stating that if any 3rd party program has its own license, this license rules instead of Apple’s Term of Services.

You can read here Kempf’s complete analysis.

On the other hand, Brett Smith from FSF clarified that this change on Apple’s Term of Services only affects to the End-User license agreement, while other parts of these terms are still in force when Apple distributes GPLed software to its customers. And in these other parts for example you can find statements as “you shall use Products in compliance with the applicable usage rules established by Apple and its principals (“Usage Rules”)”; or “You may download and sync a Product for personal, noncommercial use on any device You own or control.”

At the day of November 15th, the case is still under internal investigation by the VLC team, while on the other hand, the player is still announced and downloadable in Apple Store.

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My name is Laura Arjona, I am a libre software user and fan of the free culture. If you want to contact me you can write an email to larjona [at] larjona [dot] net I am @larjona at identi.ca in the Pump.io social network. --- Me llamo Laura Arjona, soy usuaria de software libre y fan de la cultura libre. Si quieres contactar conmigo puedes escribir a larjona [en] larjona [punto] net Soy @larjona en el servidor identi.ca, de la red social Pump.io.
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One Response to VLC in Apple Store; GPL violation?

  1. Kris Khaira says:

    Won’t allowing Apple distribute VLC in App Store encourage its adoption by Mac users?

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