Apple Users Forced to Pirate VLC Player? Whatever Next?

LazyLion

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http://torrentfreak.com/apple-users...tm_campaign=Feed:+Torrentfreak+(Torrentfreak)

Apple Users Forced to Pirate VLC Player? Whatever Next?

Last year, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users were delighted to learn that VLC media player had become available for their device via the App Store. But now, thanks to a licensing and copyright dispute, that particular party has been cut short and the software pulled offline. Bizarrely, the only way people can get this free and open source software now is to pirate it. You couldn’t make it up.

VLCpirateVLC media player is resident on the PCs of millions of Internet users. It’s an almost perfect tool capable of playing videos and audio in just about any format found anywhere on the web, especially file-sharing networks. Free and open source, when something can’t be played, VLC almost always provides the answer.

Last September it was revealed, much to the delight of millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users, that a version of VLC would now be available on Apple devices through the company’s App Store. Developed in the open source spirit and offered for free by mobile company Applidium, the app was given the blessing of VideoLAN. The reach of the mighty VLC had been extended and users far and wide rejoiced, but not for long.

One of the original developers of VLC, Rémi Denis-Courmont, angrily pointed out that incompatibilities exist between Apple’s DRM policies and the terms of the GNU General Public License under which VLC is offered. While the GNU license allows Apple to offer an iOS version of VLC, the layer of DRM it puts over the top of the application was a no-no.

“Today, a formal notification of copyright infringement was sent to Apple Inc. regarding distribution of the VLC media player for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch,” wrote Denis-Courmont on October 26th 2010, adding that the likely outcome would be that Apple would be forced to pull the free app from the App Store.

And yesterday, that’s exactly what happened.

In a post titled “There’s no app for that (anymore),” Denis-Courmont celebrates his victory.

“At last, Apple has removed VLC media player from its application store,” he wrote. “Thus the incompatibility between the GNU General Public License and the AppStore terms of use is resolved – the hard way. I am not going to pity the owners of iDevices, and not even the MobileVLC developers who doubtless wasted a lot of their time. This end should not have come to a surprise to anyone.”

While disclosing that i’m the fairly happy user of three iOS devices, i’m going to take the stance of the layman here and risk incurring the wrath of the hardcore supporters of the GNU public license. For the man in the street this decision sucks and this statement from Denis-Courmont is insensitive to say the least.

Look, I loathe Apple’s restrictive practices and DRM with a passion too but the vast majority of Apple users – the vast majority of regular computer users, period – couldn’t give a rat’s ass about this kind of dispute. And why should the layman care? DRM? Open source what? GNU? Isn’t that some kind of cattle?

The net result is that a perfectly good product, a free product wrapped in DRM that serves no practical use in this case, is no longer available to the masses. And understandably the man in the street won’t give a damn about the great philosophy of freedom behind the GNU license nor the evils of DRM. He will care only that VLC is not available any more and he can’t play his videos.

The great irony here is that it’s these kind of disputes, between the interests of one company and those of another, that causes all sorts of complex licensing issues in the music and movie industries. Those issues cause distribution problems and an inability to fulfil demand. The result is gaps in the market which cannot be served because of legal issues.

And what fills that void every time? Piracy.

It’s no surprise then that the free, open source VLC for iDevices is only easily available from the likes of Installous. What has the world come to?

This is exactly the kind of Apple conduct that makes me sick to the stomach.
 

bwana

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They should come up with a version that works well, just to spite Apple.
 

Drunkard #1

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It's always nice to see fanbois suffering for their cause.

Anyway, here's more from Rémi Denis-Courmont

Why Apple removed VLC from the App Store?

On January 7th, I was notified by an Apple attorney that VLC media player had been removed from the App Store. That is how I was able to break the news first. However as can be expected from an attoryney, there was not really any explanation. A number of people and -unfortunately- popular bloggers have jumped to the obvious conclusion: the VideoLAN project, and I in particular would be idealist morons who care more about technical license details than users, and we would have constrained Apple. This is not quite true.

First, even I do not know for certain why Apple removed VLC, and Apple will probably never state the truth.

Second, Apple has already removed VLC from the "old" Mac Store for computers... already about 4 years ago, at a time when VLC was one of the most popular applications, and I am yet to learn the reasons why.

Third, Apple received my copyright notification more than 2 months before they pulled the application. This was not expedited, as the US copyright law would require. As such, it seems dubious that my well-publicized notification from last october is the root cause of the removal. It is nevertheless the reason why I was learnt directly from Apple that VLC was removed.

Last, Apple had the power and plenty of time (2 months) to adjust and clarified the terms of the App Store. Indeed, the terms were modified several times since then. Alternatively, it could even have continued to carry VLC implicitly distributed under the GPL by Applidium. This is effectively what I believe the situation was before the removal.

All in all, we will probably never know the truth. But I am inclined to believe what Eben Mogel, from the Software Freedom Law Center, foretold me 2 months ago: Apple would remove VLC simply because it cannot stand software distributed under the GPL on its stores. But, it is Apple's choice and business decision, therefore Apple would have no reasons to expedite the process.

I know this would be disappointing to the many Apple fanboys who have insulted or slandered me on the web or over email. And therefore, they will discard all of this. But in any case, here you have my analysis.

January 09, 2011 10:52 AM
 

murraybiscuit

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"if you don't like it, nobody's forcing you to buy it"
i heard that somewhere before.
 

Lounger

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What happens if you already have it? When you sync , does it get removed?
 

ponder

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This is exactly the kind of Apple conduct that makes me sick to the stomach.

Gary,

This is not Apples doing, not directly anyway or maybe it is :D

VLC is released under the GNU GPL license. Apples Appstore has it's own ToS.

The ToS from apple has restrictions that infringe on the GNU GPL. In effect no software released under the GNU GPL can thus be hosted on Appstore.

Apple did not remove VLC until they were served with legal notice to do so initiated by the main developer and custodian of VLC. They were instructed to pull it.

In the same breath it also shows one how restrictive Apples ToS is. I mean who are they to tell people what they can and cannot do with free software. They DRM the crap out of stuff but as with everything else in life you have choices.

Similar things have happened in the past between the BSD & Linux folks as the BSD/MIT licenses & the GNU GPL are not compatible.

Someone has already setup a site for OS X users to download the (mobile) VLC software from, I can't remember the URL though.
 
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TJ99

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While disclosing that i’m the fairly happy user of three iOS devices, i’m going to take the stance of the layman here and risk incurring the wrath of the hardcore supporters of the GNU public license. For the man in the street this decision sucks and this statement from Denis-Courmont is insensitive to say the least.

Look, I loathe Apple’s restrictive practices and DRM with a passion too but the vast majority of Apple users – the vast majority of regular computer users, period – couldn’t give a rat’s ass about this kind of dispute.

With that kind of attitude people had it coming. If you can't even be bothered to inform yourself, you deserve all the iCrap and anal reaming Apple sends your way. The writer admits that he owns 3 iThings, so really, if he spent inordinate amounts of money on locked-down, restrictive, proprietary, overpriced toys, it's no one's fault but his own.

Also, how can you "pirate" VLC Player? it's free after all...
 
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burn

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This is just a stupid post. People must learn to look beyond the app store, there is something called the internet out there ;)
 

ponder

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This is just a stupid post. People must learn to look beyond the app store, there is something called the internet out there ;)

Ja but the Appstore is so cool dude.
 

MVGL

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Not Really - Hate the $ signs for all usefull stuff.
 

Hotentot_UK

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VLC removed from app store

Disagreement over Apple App Store distribution leads to pulling of VLC application.

Playing video files on an iPod or iPhone can be a pain, requiring lengthy and cumbersome conversions using third party software just because iOS doesn't support your choice of video format. Then along came VideoLAN, creators of the hugely popular play-everything media player VLC, with their own app for iPhone. And now it's gone.

After a lawsuit filed by one of the VLC team's original developers Remi Denis-Courmont, the app which allowed iPhone and iPod users to watch videos in almost any format was pulled from the Apple App Store. The dispute was apparently over Apple's imposition of DRM (digital rights management) on all apps in the App Store, in direct conflict with VLC's open source philosophy.

But while on the one hand we're happy to see open source advocates standing up to Apple, the upshot of the decision is that iPhone and iPod users who depended on the app to watch content are now stuck once again with Apple's less-than-extensive list of compatible formats. Users who downloaded the app while it was still available report that, for now at least, it continues to function, but for everyone else, watching videos on their iDevice is now business as usual.

Source : http://www.t3.com/news/vlc-media-pla...p-store?=52283
 

Keeper

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So let me get this straight....

The main developer of VLC served a legal notice to Apple to remove their OWN VLC App from the Appstore?

I Don't get it?
 

Synaesthesia

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More like VLC kicks itself out of Apple store.

Honestly, if you're using VLC, you're probably jailbroken anyway. It's always gonna be available through those channels. It's quite a buggy app, although very cool.
 

assagai

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I prefer buzz player which can handle many more formats and is smb/FTP enabled too.
 

Ravilj

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I am using VLC and have not had any issues with bugs or such. That really is unfortunate, having to convert AVI's through to MP4's and then sync'ing them through iTunes is a pain in the arse!
 
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