No sooner had Apple allowed VLC’s video-playing app onto the App Store, and the developer wants to yank it, claiming Apple’s “violating GNU public licence under which VLC is released by applying DRM to it”.
VLC’s lead developer, Rémi Denis-Courmont, said that “it is to be expected that Apple will cease distribution soon”, due to the “intransigently tight control Apple maintains over its mobile applications platform”.
Basically, Apple’s used of DRM when it distributes the app, where it must be downloaded separately for each individual iOS device (rather than being able to be copied from device to device), doesn’t sit happy with the VLC developers, who support the GNU General Public licence, or GPL for short – which describes itself as “a free, copyleft licence for software and other kinds of works”.
It’s slightly bizarre, considering the app is free, but you’ve got to give Denis-Courmont respect for sticking to his guns. He told iLounge that:
“Some people have commented that this will damage the project’s reputation. Maybe so. Blame those who published and/or advertized VLC for iPad. The fact of the GPL incompatibility was already well known. JB himself described it as a “grey area”. They decided to take the risk anyway, and they bear full responsibility for any consequences. Personally, I don’t blame them because I know very well how a geek feels when writing cool code for a cool new gadget.”
If you haven’t already downloaded the app, we’d suggest you do it now before Apple removes it from the store (Denis-Courmont has already sent Apple a formal notification of copyright infringement), otherwise the only way to be able to play all those obscure file formats in the future is if you jailbreak the iOS device and use Cydia instead. [iLounge via TUAW via Redmond Pie via MobileCrunch]