Apple removes VLC Media Player from App Store

An iOS application based on the VLC open source multimedia framework has vanished from Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store in the wake of a licensing dispute that erupted late last year. Although nonprofit association VideoLAN manages the VLC initiative, developer Applidium created the VLC Media Player app in question after receiving VideoLAN's blessing; in exchange, Applidium consented to open up all written source code behind its work, per terms of version 2.0 of the GNU General Public License. But Rémi Denis-Courmont, one of the programmers who contributed to the original VLC code, complained that the App Store developer rules run counter to the GPLv2, contending that open source ethos are fundamentally incompatible with the App Store, which imposes its own licensing and DRM restrictions on top of all software it distributes.

Denis-Courmont filed a copyright complaint with Apple in October 2010, alleging VLC Media Player infringed on his intellectual property rights. Apple removed VLC Media Player from the App Store earlier this month--in an email received Friday by Applidium, the computing giant explains "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."

Applidium's response: "We still believe the App Store license 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."

For more:
- read this Applidium blog entry

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