VLC iOS app devs criticize licence allegations

The developers of VLC for iPad and iPhone have responded to Apple yanking the media player software from the App Store, criticizing Rémi Denis-Courmont – one of the original developers of VLC, and the person who complained to Apple about the apparent GNU licence infringement – in the process. According to a statement passed to 9 to 5 Mac, VLC's removal came as a "surprise" to the Applidium team responsible for the iOS version, and in fact they claim to have received approval from the VideoLAN association before embarking on the port.

"Much to our surprise, we received this friday an email from Apple that said "We regret that the dispute regarding your application named 'VLC Media Player' could not be resolved amicably between the parties. We have removed your application from the App Store. For any questions relating to this matter, please contact Rémi Denis-Courmont directly." This was a follow-up from an email we received from Apple last October : "On 10/20/2010, we received a notice from Rémi Denis-Courmont that Rémi Denis-Courmont believes your application named 'VLC Media Player' infringes Rémi Denis-Courmont's intellectual property rights. In particular, Rémi Denis-Courmont believes you are infringing their copyright." Rémi Denis-Courmont's complaint came pretty much unsuspected, since we did receive approval from the VideoLAN association before starting the iOS port of VLC. As a matter of fact, some members of VideoLAN even helped us porting VLC to the iOS. It goes without saying, we still believe the AppStore licence is compatible with the GPLv2 under the which VLC is released. Therefore, together with the VideoLAN association, we'll do our best to not let this be the end of VLC/iOS. As a final word, we think it's pretty sad to deny millions of users the right to enjoy a nice piece of open source software ... in the name of freedom." Applidium

In fact, the team continues, some of the members of VideoLAN actually helped them with the port to iOS. Denis-Courmont's complain centered around the DRM Apple apply to App Store titles and how that contravenes sections of the GLPv2 licence under which the media player is released. Applidium still believe there's room for both to exist, and will be pushing to have the VLC app reinstated.