VLC iPhone App To Be Yanked From App Store - By Developers?

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]



    talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face

    Idealistic and self righteous over something that is made available to the public for free is pathetic -these guys knew the rules well before they released this awesome product ... which makes the whole thing feel evenmore like an exercise in politics and making a point rather than devotion to "cool code for a cool new gadget”

      It's their app, they can do what they want with it.

        Think you've missed the point Peter,

        Update; https://twitter.com/videolan/status/29322066997#

        Seems like it will stay there for a while, at least until the developers stop disagreeing over Apple's terms

    +1 on what Dean said
    The awesome app VLC which I use on every electronic device I can works perfectly now on my iPhone 4, for FREE. Only prob I will have is if it does get yanked then I can't get it anymore without jailbreaking. Bit ridiculous really and isn't going to affect apple but all the idevice supporters of VLC.

    Quick get it now!! I love the App... finally I can see all my non-mov attachments in my emails (almost 95%).

    Sorry but here's a newbie question - what does this app actually allow me to do, I have a rough idea but not quite sure... please help!

      Basically when you want to watch a movie on your iPod/iPhone/iPad you need to convert it to the appropriate format. With the VLC Media Player App, there's no need to convert the movie anymore, just associate the movie file with iTunes and sync.

        Ok, cool thanks. Yeah I downloaded a movie attachment in a email and it played straight up! Will have to look into it more once I get home.

    Damn it, don't have any iDevice yet. Will probably be gone by the time I get one :/

    god damn I hate open source hippies so much!!

    I mean, I hate Apple's closed system as much as anyone. but this is fruitless.

    so... YOU, VLC developer, YOU are the one who is now taking it out of the hands of the excited public! not apple, not anyone else, no, YOU! so who REALLY is the controlling bureaucrat now!

    I mean ffs! just put a web link to the source on the app if it matters so much!

    Glad I got it when I did now.
    But this is rather stupid.
    All that is going to happen is people will be pi**ed off at VLC not Apple.
    I get the point that he is trying to make but it does seem like a rather dickish move.

    Seems like good marketing on VLCs end. Created hype when it came to iDevices, creates hype when it is pulled from iDevices, everyone who has the app gets swept up in it all (i.e. this post and subsequent comments) and those on the edge of the VLC app's demographic get swept into getting it too...

    Well, it is up to the developers and I see it as a perfectly acceptable move.

    If anyone was infringing on Apple's licences you could be pretty sure they wouldn't like it. So really what is so bad about sticking up for FOSS?

    It's free as in speech, not free as in beer.

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