VLC Developer Forces Apple to Kill iOS App

VLC, a popular cross-platform media player, is no longer available for download on the App Store. Three and a half months after its iPad debut, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) has taken down the application, citing problematic licensing issues. Making this removal even more strange, it appears Apple acted on the basis of a copyright infringement notice filed by Remi Denis-Courmount -- one of the developers working on VLC!

The problem is, the team that ported VLC to Apple's iOS ecosystem has published the program under the GNU General Public License, which means the app should be available to anyone under a free and open distribution model.

The App Store is a curated and closed platform which distributes digital-rights managed software to the extent that it clashes with the promise of open distribution of the GNU General Public License.

Therefore, Apple had no choice but to comply with the formal request if it didn't want risking copyright infringement accusations. Remi Denis-Courmount commented on the removal on the official site of the VideoLAN project by saying it was the only possible outcome:

At last, Apple has removed VLC media player from its application store. Thus the incompatibility between the GNU General Public License and the AppStore terms of use is resolved -- the hard way. This end should not have come to a surprise to anyone, given the precedents.

So there you go. This time blame it on developers, not Apple. VLC Media Player was ported to the iPad in September of last year by developer Applidium. The app was later provided as a universal binary that allowed any i-device to play a wealth of video file formats outside H.264 and .mov, including damaged files.

With VLC, owners of the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad can transfer and watch ripped DVD and Blu-ray movies on their devices and play dozens of media formats, including the most popular ones like Xvid, AVI, DivX, and the Matroska video (.mkv) container. If you've downloaded this app on the App Store, you will still be able to use it on your device, but don't count on any future updates until VLC Media Player for iOS re-appears on the App Store.

Want to read more about Apple? Add it to My Watchlist, which will find all of our Foolish analysis on this stock.

More from Bright Side of News*:

The Motley Fool has written puts on Apple and owns shares of Apple, which is also a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2011, at 6:26 PM, ConstableOdo wrote:

    Too bad. I'll have to go back to converting videos to watch them on iOS devices since most of my videos are in XviD form. I've got a Turbo.264, but I wish I could buy some device that did conversions even faster. I guess you can't have everything.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2011, at 9:45 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    "So there you go. This time blame it on developers, not Apple."

    No, DO NOT blame it on the developers. Apple was clearly in violation of the GPL. You don't imagine that Apple wouldn't put a stop to someone sellling OSX without a license, would you? In fact, in such a case, Apple would press both criminal and civil charges.

  • Report this Comment On January 09, 2011, at 2:47 AM, nhvzr wrote:

    I wouldn't be so quick to blame VLC's developers either. They've donated a substantial portion of their lives to creating something extraordinary; they have every right to ensure that the result of their time and effort is not abused by third parties.

    VLC and GNU have been around a lot longer than the iPhone, and both have seen tremendous success. Apple's failure to encourage open source software distribution in their app store is actually a radical move. Given VLC's popularity (literally hundreds of millions of downloads), it could even be called a poor business decision.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1419343, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/1/2014 10:49:43 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 hour ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,804.71 -238.19 -1.40%
S&P 500 1,946.16 -26.13 -1.32%
NASD 4,422.09 -71.31 -1.59%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/1/2014 4:00 PM
AAPL $99.18 Down -1.57 -1.56%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****

Advertisement