VLC for iOS Going, Going...
The popular VLC video viewer may be the latest app to be removed from the App Store, but interestingly, this time it's not due to a violation of Apple's restrictive policies, but rather the fact that the App Store itself
violates the terms of the GNU Public License (GPL) that covers VLC. The GPL requires that not only the original software but also any works derived from it have to be free and open source, and this isn‚Äôt the case when you download it from the App Store. The lead developer of the VideoLAN Project has sent a letter to Apple
complaining of copyright infringement, and it's expected that Apple may remove the app at any time.
Based on a student project at the École Centrale Paris in 1996, VLC was rewritten and made open source in 1998
. After more and more developers extended the original application, ownership passed to the VideoLAN organization last year. The software has been available for years under the GPL
, which expressly states that programs covered under that license should not run on "devices... designed to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside them, although the manufacturer can do so." This sounds exactly like the closed, unjailbroken iOS platform, and the GPL refers to such platforms as "fundamentally incompatible with the aim of protecting users' freedom to change the software."
The VideoLAN project was not responsible for the iOS port, but rather the devs at Applidium, who put the free app on the App Store. Rémi Denis-Courmont of the VideoLAN Project sent a formal notice of copyright infringement
to Apple, saying that the "products usage rules" of the App Store violate the GPL. He notes that in a similar circumstance, Apple removed the iOS port of Gnu Go from the App Store,
and that he expects Apple to remove VLC soon. Denis-Courmont insists it's not his fault if the app does get removed from the App Store, saying that Applidium is responsible for the port and that he is "not the one who took risks of violating copyright here."
Source: Cult of Mac