Apple Prefers To Keep GPL'd Software Out Of App Store So It Can Keep DRM On All Apps

from the drm-vs.-gpl dept

Slashdot points us to the interesting bit of news that the developer of the popular VLC media player is complaining that the way in which Apple distributes apps through the App Store (including a port of VLC) contradicts the GPL license for VLC by putting all sorts of restrictions and DRM on the product. The FSF is noting that Apple's response to similar complaints in the past isn't to remove the restrictions, but to remove the software instead. Pretty sad considering Steve Jobs' own words about DRM, which apparently he doesn't even believe for any industry outside of music. Just for the fun of it, let's take a look at some of what Steve Jobs said three years ago:
[One] alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven't worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.
Now there are some caveats there, focused on music, but it seems like much of that certainly applies to other areas as well, so perhaps Steve Jobs can listen to Steve Jobs.


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    Rich Kulawiec, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 5:13am

    What Apple fails to grasp...

    ...is that DRM makes computers insecure -- by design. (Or perhaps they really do get it, but are just pretending otherwise in order to placate their masters in the RIAA/MPAA/etc.)

     

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    lfroen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 5:42am

    Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

    According to GPLv2 developer can distribute the program any way he see fit as long as source code is available. And source code for VLC is definitely available.
    All this "tivoization" crap has been added in GPLv3 and does not apply to application in question (and makes not sense anyway).
    I actually read GPL and it doesn't take law degree to understand requirements. There's no limitations on hardware design in GPL text; and if my hardware require signed binaries, that's my business.

    Anyway - isn't Apple serve as service provider in this case? And not liable for actions of users (developers)? Why don't I see reminder about "safe harbor" provisions that Mike love so match? Hypocrisy maybe?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:39am

      Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

      Psst.

      GNU GPL V2:

      "6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License."

      DRM imposes additional restrictions, thus, violates the GPL.

       

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        lfroen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:06am

        Re: Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

        >> You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein

        Since sources are available, recipients can "copy, distribute or modify the Program" any way they choose. No restrictions (in GPLv2 sense of word) are introduced here, that's why GPLv3 was needed to explicitly spell this out.

        Binary file may have inherent restrictions - like ARM binary doesn't work on Intel CPU, or Windows program doesn't work on Linux or .... unsigned binary doesn't run on iPhone. As mentioned already - in GPLv3 last one is prohibited; but VLC is v2, so it is OK.

         

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          The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

          Those aren't the restrictions being talked about.

          (i) You shall be authorized to use Products only for personal, noncommercial use.

          (ii) You shall be authorized to use Products on five Apple-authorized devices at any time, except for Content Rentals (see below).

          (iii) You shall be able to store Products from up to five different Accounts at a time on compatible devices, provided that each iPhone may sync ringtone Products with only a single Apple-authorized device at a time, and syncing an iPhone with a different Apple-authorized device will cause ringtone Products stored on that iPhone to be erased.


          Those conditions being added on violate the GPLv2.

           

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      Pangolin (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:53am

      Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

      I absolutely agree. The software is even FREE for distribution - no charge. The source is available. The only "problem" may be the fact that the source for the API's used in the Apple SDK are closed. Is that REALLY a problem with the GPL?

      I don't think it's a fight apple wants to get into. So the easiest thing is to just remove the application. Sad but I can see where they would not want to assume legal liability for every application and developer.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:20am

        Re: Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

        If that was a problem with the GPL, there would be no GPLed Windows software.

         

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      Robert P (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:43am

      Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

      I may be wrong, but doesn't the source code have to be distributed with the app? For iPhone apps, there's no way to distribute the source, it's a bundled (closed) environment, where only the app is distributed.

      I was under the impression that was one of the primary reasons for Apple's policy to not allow GPL in the apps, because it's violating the GPL license.

       

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        nasch (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:01am

        Re: Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

        No, source code just has to be available.

         

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        The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

        Nope, source code just has to be availible. You can make it available via carrier pigeon if you like, there just has to be a method to retrieve it.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:24pm

        Re: Re: Load of FUD from FSF, nothing more

        You can point people to the VLC repositories and that would comply with that rule, the problem is the DRM that force restrictions on the rights granted by the GPL.

         

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    Tom Westberg (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 5:47am

    Who's denying whom here?

    Wait wait wait... Apple approved the app. "Free" software people noted that restrictions on their license would not allow it on a platform tainted by DRM. The developer asks Apple to remove it to remain in compliance, and Apple will comply.

    And Apple is the bad guy here?

    They did not deny or censor this app. Others are doing that, and using some sort of world-bending logic to say that Apple is at fault for not following their worldview. I'm fully in agreement that Apple is often draconian in their app store rules and the way the apply them, but they make a case (you may feel it's reasonable or not) that apps must be signed in order to protect their users. (Remember, even Google occasionally bans and even remote-deletes offending apps.)

    The control in this case is coming from the Free Software folks, not DRM-loving Apple.

     

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      lfroen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:00am

      Re: Who's denying whom here?

      Absolutely.
      Why the fuck FSF complained to Apple anyway? Developer can remove app any time he choose, so what's a problem here again?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:12am

        Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

        Stallman is just pissed they didn't call it GNU/iOS.

         

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        Too lazy to log in..., Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:03pm

        Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

        It's just Freetards trying to make a big deal of nothing. I'm pretty sure the GPL even states that the source code doesn't have to be distributed with the binary, so long as it's available elsewhere for download.

         

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      milrtime83 (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:12am

      Re: Who's denying whom here?

      The FSF isn't demanding the removal of VLC from the app store. They are simply stating that Apple is distributing it with DRM which goes against the license that it is released under. Rather than comply with the license, Apple chose to just remove the app instead.

       

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        lfroen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:18am

        Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

        It's no _Apple_ distributing, but developer. Apple is platform provider. Or maybe you think this part of law is only for "good" guys?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

          The distribution channel is the App Store which unambiguously under Apple's control. I don't see how you can claim that "It's no _Apple_ distributing...".

           

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            lfroen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

            And distribution on Rapidshare is under ... Rapidshare's control. Don't see a difference here.
            ...and content of Google's index is under Google's control.

            That's a point of "safe harbor" - it's not server owner (or admin) responsible, but user who put content there.

             

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              nasch (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

              No, it's a different situation (unless I'm totally wrong about how the app store works). Developers submit applications, and Apple decides what apps are in the app store. Thus Apple is distributing the apps.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

              Apple's App Store runs entirely how the RIAA and MPAA want Rapidshare or Google (Youtube) to run: with everything vetted by an in-house team.

              Most "distribution channels" run on an open policy, meaning they accept first and ask questions later. It's completely legitimate for them to say that some of their content is a problem, because they don't pre-approve anything.

              When Apple approves each and every product that goes up in their store, they don't have that excuse.

              Now, this obviously isn't a legally binding issue, as I'm sure Safe Harbor still applies. It just means that when Apple chose to use a vet and approve process, they are responsible for vetting and approving.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:27am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

                Google certainly does filter. It's called ContentID. As long as Apple is complying with the DMCA, they still have safe harbor.

                 

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                  nasch (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:28pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

                  Are automatic filters treated the same as a manual approval process with regard to DMCA protections?

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

              Your earlier post claimed Apple weren't distributing, now you are claiming they they are distributing but have some "safe harbor" protections.

              Now you just need to grasp that in order to maintain the safe harbor protections they need to react when issues are brought to their attention, and hey-presto you will have gained and understanding !.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 11:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

                No, in order to lose safe harbor they have to be given an explicit DMCA takedown from the owner of the copyright. They haven't done that yet. And, Apple therefore hasn't taken down the app yet. Check out the App Store. It's still there.

                 

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:43am

      Re: Who's denying whom here?

      Actually, you can distribute it with DRM all you like, you just can't make the DRM actually restrict anything. And you may have to make the source to your DRM available, depending on how it's implemented.

       

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      vivaelamor (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 5:02am

      Re: Who's denying whom here?

      "Wait wait wait... Apple approved the app. "Free" software people noted that restrictions on their license would not allow it on a platform tainted by DRM. The developer asks Apple to remove it to remain in compliance, and Apple will comply. "

      More specifically, one developer out of many who worked on the VLC project submitted a complaint.

      "And Apple is the bad guy here? "

      For complying with the complaint? No. They're the "bad guy" for not changing their app store terms to be compatible with the GPLv2. The Android market has a specific clause to avoid such issues: "4.2 Some components of Products (whether developed by Google or third parties) may also be governed by applicable open source software licenses. In the event of a conflict between the Terms and any such licenses, the open source software licenses shall prevail with respect to those components. "

      "but they make a case (you may feel it's reasonable or not) that apps must be signed in order to protect their users."

      That isn't the issue here; the issue is purely over conflicting licencing terms, not DRM. I'm unsure why Mike dragged DRM into this article without explaining that.

      "The control in this case is coming from the Free Software folks, not DRM-loving Apple."

      And the outrage is coming from ignorant people on both sides, the ones who 'favour' the GPL without apparently understanding it and those who are getting outraged at their ignorant outrage (which would appear to be you). I think anyone who understands what the GPL is about will concur that this is merely it functioning as intended.

      As you say, we can be mad at Apple for being Apple, but not specifically in this case (they're Apple all the time). The same goes for the GPL and those using it, you can't be mad at them in this specific case, the GPL is just doing its job.

       

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        nasch (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 7:46am

        Re: Re: Who's denying whom here?

        As you say, we can be mad at Apple for being Apple, but not specifically in this case (they're Apple all the time). The same goes for the GPL and those using it, you can't be mad at them in this specific case, the GPL is just doing its job.

        DON'T TELL ME WHEN I CAN HAVE MY RAGE! I WILL HAVE RAGE WHENEVER I WANT TO!!

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Damn Apple from preventing me from running VLC on any platform other than the iPhone! Those bastards!

     

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    Stuart (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:23am

    "perhaps Steve Jobs can listen to Steve Jobs."

    Hopefully not. Steve Jobs is horribly insufferable.
    Apple Fanboys who hang on Jobs ever word are as well.
    Steve Jobs listening intently to what Steve Jobs has to say would create a horrible monster from which we will never be saved.

     

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    bdhoro, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:32am

    Down to their level

    I pretty much agree with these other comments - VLC is a free software and they believe in their license because it is best for consumers by allowing the most functionality and promotes widespread use of the product. Ofcourse that means they should represent the "good guys" who have a higher moral standard and I respect that they stand up to Apple in an attempt to encourage them to do the right thing.

    But this was VLC sending Apple a C&D, which I'm sure they realized when it was written what the outcome would be - removal of the app because Apple doesn't just change its policies.

    It seems to me a clear case of the good guys stooping down to Apple's level - "oh you guys don't allow free licenses and stop apps from getting into your store, well put my software on the banned list because you don't license it how I want you to."

    The fact is if the VLC people want their apps on apple products they would still be there. The right thing to do would have been to leave the products in the store, and to write on your website or send a letter out to the public stating your disagreements with the platform. That would coincide better with the idea of "free" - as in freedom to get "free" apps, even on restricted platforms. Sending a C&D over this should be below VLC's morals.

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:08am

      Apple is not worth pandering to.

      Rubes and mere consumers tend to miss the fact that the GPL is also about keeping your contributors happy. You don't have Free Software without the people that write the code. VLC would not exist without the efforts of people WILLING TO GIVE THEIR STUFF AWAY. Those sorts of people tend to get upset when their stuff is hijacked by corporations.

      THAT is exactly how and why the GPL got created in the first place. The first time RMS tried to "be nice" with a project, everyone got taken advantage of.

      That is why their are rules and laws to begin with. Without them, someone like Apple will act as if the rules apply to everyone except them.

      Even pirates and crackers object to widescale commercial piracy and that's exactly what Apple was doing here.

      VLC can sit in the Cydia repository just fine.

      It's Apple's choice to make their platform incompatable with the rights one normally associates with Windows (nevermind Free Softeware).

      Oddly enough, the FSF has had a long standing animosity towards Apple. Clearly that was warranted.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:37am

        Re: Apple is not worth pandering to.

        Wait. Just wait.

        Even pirates and crackers object to widescale commercial piracy and that's exactly what Apple was doing here.


        The developer knew the terms and conditions of the App Store prior to uploading the app. The developer should have read them long before even considering porting their application to iOS. Apple's distribution method and their terms are no secret; if the developers of VLC didn't agree with it they either shouldn't have sent their app in for App Store approval or should have just stuck with Cydia.

        Accusing Apple of "widescale commercial policy" is just conveniently ignoring the fact that the developer willingly submitted the app while knowing the details behind Apple's distribution method.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:22pm

          Re: Re: Apple is not worth pandering to.

          Not even judges read everything, you want dozens of people to read it?

          Now I would like to see where you get the "evidence" that developers knew something, because there is a literally hundreds so you need to show that the person who made it available knew anything, because anyone can distribute open software as long as you don't put further restrictions on the rights given to people.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:38am

    Frak Jobs! How many Apples are made in America? Screw him. I consider him a traitor to the American Dream. Even his acid trips were marketing ploys. Get the hippies to buy and I got money. Overpriced, under performing crap, it's called an Apple. The first one I programmed in '82 crashed. Period. Crashed.

     

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    Alatar, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:40am

    To all Apple fanboys/employees shouting here

    To those who said that GPLv2 allows DRM, I'm not so sure, anyway thanks for conveniently leaving out GPLv3, which has been released to cover such flaws in the v2. Apparently VLC is still GPv2, I don't know if they plan to go to a v3 license, but there's still at least the problem of GPLv3 programs.
    PLus the GPL(v2 at least) may not be juridically incompatible with the appstore and locking up all and every content with DRM, but it is philosophically incompatible.

    Anyway that's nice of you playing shocked as if you were saying "what? Nooo, our dear Applegod would never censor an app, never EVER"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:52am

    Apple don't like freedom.
    Jobs like to close everything in his walled garden, luckily the people from the free software movement want fall in such traps.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:57am

    RoughlyDrafted Magazine

    A possible reasoning behind this (not that I'd agree).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:58am

    On the bright side of things this is one more reason IOS may fall to the way side and Android will go further and steal more market share from Apple.

     

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    harknell (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:05am

    Did they not read the Apple Developer docs?

    Look, I think DRM is a bad idea, but this is simply a case of a developer signing up for a distribution method (the app store) and either not reading the docs--or disagreeing with them but going ahead anyway. It's not like Apple just recently changed the way things are distributed.

    So the only thing that can be thought in this case is they did this with the desire to use it as a protest against Apple's policy. They weren't wronged since they knew the rules going in--they just ignored that.

    It's a silly issue with no one being wronged, just a disagreement which can easily be fixed by the developer pulling their app from the store (which is their right and can be done literally with one click on the developer website with no interaction on Apple's part needed for approval).

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:11am

      Re: Did they not read the Apple Developer docs?

      The way Free Software works is that anyone can package stuff up and offer it for sale or download. YOU could. I could.

      It wasn't necessarily the "owners" of VLC that submitted it for inclusion in the Apple store.

      Also, Apple can package it up if they want to (like like Fedora, Debian, or Ubuntu).

       

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        lfroen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:08am

        Re: Re: Did they not read the Apple Developer docs?

        >>> "owners" of VLC
        VLC have owners?

         

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          The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Did they not read the Apple Developer docs?

          Everyone who has ever contributed code owns a bit of VLC. Theoretically someone could revoke the official fork of VLC's license to any code they've written but since it's been released as GPL, they could download a legal-issue-free version of the exact same code from any other place it's been distributed.

           

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          JEDIDIAH, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Did they not read the Apple Developer docs?

          > VLC have owners?

          Sure. This stuff isn't just public domain. That's why there's even an issue to begin with. Code contributors still retain their ownership of what they developed. They remain free to license their stuff in more restrictive terms or persue those that have violated previous licenses.

          GPL is just another copyright license.

          Yes. Someone "owns" VLC. Probably lots of someones.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:38am

    As expected, the Apple fanbois are sticking their heads in the sand, ignoring the actual issue.

    The problem here is that VLC is licensed under the GPL. The GPL is incompatible with the DRM, as it says that distributors cannot impose more restricting on the application other than those expressed in the GPL.

    Apple failed to comply with that condition by sticking DRM into VLC. Therefore, the VLC guys took a stand here, basically saying "either you allow applications with no DRM, or we leave". Apple, predictably, kicked their app out. Apple could have been the good guy for once and allowed no DRM, but they refused.

    Of course, you will say "But its Apple's store, if you don't like it bug off". Fair enough. But that only shows how much Apple is hellbent on denying you your rights (free software in this case), just as long as it can keep it's masters (RIAA, MPAA, etc.) happy and keep the money flowing their way.

    So yeah. Boo Apple.

     

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      lfroen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:01am

      Re:

      >> The GPL is incompatible with the DRM

      Please stop this FUD. GPLv3 may be, but not GPLv2.

      >> Apple failed to comply with that condition
      Apple is platform provider, developer can comply or not. How about putting a blame on right party?

      >> Therefore, the VLC guys took a stand here
      And who put VLC into Apple's store in a first place? Apple? Aliens? Terrorists? Or maybe VLC guys themselves?

      >> Of course, you will say "But its Apple's store, if you don't like it bug off
      Isn't it actually true? Apple don't come and take your software without permission, you know.

      >> But that only shows
      It shows nothing of this sort. Read Apple's developer agreement, look for "FOSS". They're explicitly asking developer to comply both with FOSS license and Agreement. Can't handle it - your problem.

       

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        nasch (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:11am

        Re: Re:

        >> The GPL is incompatible with the DRM

        Please stop this FUD. GPLv3 may be, but not GPLv2.


        If the DRM prevents me from doing something that the license would otherwise allow (such as copy or distribute), then it seems quite clear it would violate the GPL v2. What exactly does the app store DRM do? If it's nothing more than a digital signature to "tivoize" the program, then I agree, only v3 would prohibit that. If it prevents copying, or moving to another device (e.g. download it on an iPhone, copy it to an iPod Touch and use it there), or something like that, then it looks to me like a clear violation.

         

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          The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's not the DRM, it's the app store terms and conditions. See my comment way above.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Strange, I was able to put VLC on both my iPhone and my iPad. What exactly is the problem?

          Or do you mean that you can't take the executable and load it directly onto an iPad or an iPod Touch? Well, it's not the license agreement that prevents that, it's the hardware and OS. I can't load VLC onto my toaster either. And my cat scratched me when I tried to load VLC onto her.

          Let's face it. The whole reason for the GPL v3 was because Tivo used GPL'd software without paying. And by paying, I mean allowing people to put modified binaries onto their Tivo box (and bypass their subscription service and use a free on instead, adding the 30 second skip, etc.). That's what had the FSF up in arms, and it's the same misguided rage that all the big content companies have when someone views "unauthorized content"

           

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          •  
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            nasch (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            First, even without DRM the app store terms violate the GPL v2. Second, I don't know exactly what the problem is with the DRM because I don't know what it does. Is there any limit on copying, making backups, installing, reinstalling, etc? Can I download the program, email it to you, and you can install it on your iPad? If anything like that is prevented by the DRM, then it violates the license.

            The whole reason for the GPL v3 was because Tivo used GPL'd software without paying.

            I understand VLC is under GPL v2, so that doesn't apply.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I pointed out the GPL v3 because it was explicitly this type of behavior that the FSF created the GPL v3. Tivo put in restrictions that prevented anyone from using an unsigned, modified version of the Tivo software. So the answer to your question is no, you cannot just copy the app over. But once again, this does not violate the GPL v2. It didn't for Tivo. It doesn't for Motorola. It doesn't for Apple.

               

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You are funny and naive to say the least.

            Here is a real world example:
            http://hackaday.com/2010/10/30/tv-out-for-ti-calculators-using-the-link-port/

            Was that done to bypass any type of subscription or service?
            Nope but it is a hack and not authorized by the manufacturer, but he can't probably do nothing about it.

            Why software needs to be different?

            It doesn't, besides if I want to make a new GUI for my TIVO that is my business and should be allowed, if I want to put a better ad clipping software that is my business not yours and of course some would use it to do illegal stuff but that is not reason to prohibit everything, that is just dumb.

            Another example I saw a e-mail receiver/transmiter for children, people hacked the damn thing to put Linux on it and use it with VoIP so then you have a cellphone for kids for $50 bucks.

            Lets face it the consumers today are risking loosing control of their own homes if they let those people in.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:00pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And that's why companies like Tivo and Sony and Microsoft and Apple and Motorola put DRM on their products. They don't want you to do this. Saying the government should step in and force them to let you do that says more about what you think of freedom than they do.

               

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              •  
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                nasch (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:31pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Saying the government should step in and force them to let you do that says more about what you think of freedom than they do.

                That's really twisting what's going on. All that's being requested is that those companies abide by the terms of the license for distributing the software they're distributing. If it's GPL v2, no problem. If it's v3, that kind of thing is prohibited by the license. If they want to do that with their software, it's fine, but they need to either find something with a license that allows it, or write their own.

                I haven't seen anyone suggesting tivoization should be outlawed.

                 

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        •  
          identicon
          JEDIDIAH, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          DRM seeks to prevent me from doing certain things with those things I have bought or download. Those things typically just also happen to be things that are authorized by Free Software licenses.

          Apple has created a platform where exercising your normal rights as a computer system owner is not possible without "cracking" the device.

          DRM is usually an ant-copy system. Part of Free Software is being free to make copies.

           

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      •  
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        Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:21pm

        Re: Re:

        Please stop this FUD. GPLv3 may be, but not GPLv2.

        In this case, it's incompatible with GPLv2 as well.

        Apple is platform provider, developer can comply or not. How about putting a blame on right party?

        You're right that the developers of the iOS version are infringing. But they're only infringing because they're forced to comply with Apple's license. They couldn't comply with the GPL if they wanted to. Thus, Apple seems like the right party to blame.

        And who put VLC into Apple's store in a first place? Apple? Aliens? Terrorists? Or maybe VLC guys themselves?

        Applidium, who is neither Apple, nor a developer of the original VLC code.

        Apple don't come and take your software without permission, you know.

        According to Apple's licensing agreement, they can, and will.

        They're explicitly asking developer to comply both with FOSS license and Agreement.

        Which is legally impossible. Thus the problem.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:25pm

        Re: Re:

        You didn't read the GPL v2 did you?

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:29pm

        Re: Re:

        ">> Of course, you will say "But its Apple's store, if you don't like it bug off
        Isn't it actually true? Apple don't come and take your software without permission, you know."

        Yep, Apple took the road that only benefits them/him and the FSF took the other way that benefits society, which one do you choose?

        Society or a greedy bastard?

         

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  •  
    icon
    mike allen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:41am

    this may be deeper than it looks Apple are changing their store rules.
    When Jobs & Co. opens its iOS-style Mac App Store early next year, there will be two types of apps available for the company's flagship — but aging — Apple Macintosh platform: simple consumer-level apps that the vast majority of users will purchase through the online store revealed by Steve Jobs last month, and professional apps sold in traditional ways — for now, at least.
    to read the full article go to
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/01/mac_app_store/

     

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  •  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:09am

    VLC is not the bad guy

    Here's the issue with Apple:

    The GPL license (even GPLv2) states this:
    You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.

    Apple's Terms and Conditions violate this license, in several very important ways:
    (i) You shall be authorized to use Products only for personal, noncommercial use.

    (ii) You shall be authorized to use Products on five Apple-authorized devices at any time[...]

    There's more, such as the ability for Apple to change its TaC at any time.

    And that's not even counting the DRM. Simply put, Apple inserts its own DRM into every single app, that guarantees that it cannot be freely shared or modified in any way. Bypassing this DRM is a violation of Apple's license, and (if it's not an iPhone app) a violation of the DMCA.

    And by doing this, they are locking up the software. You can get the original code, but if you try to do anything with the modified version from the App Store, you're a criminal.

    This is exactly the type of thing that the GPL is designed to prevent. Note that Apple is free to sell the app, make money off of it, modify it for its own use, etc. They simply must allow others the same freedom that they have themselves.

    So, kudos for VLC for doing this. Sure, it'll suck for Apple users who want the player. But they shouldn't blame VLC, they should blame Apple - not just for infringing on the license, but for doing so solely in order to remove Apple users' freedoms.

    Incidentally, if you do have an iPhone, you can always get VLC, legally, simply by jailbreaking the phone and getting it from somewhere other than the App Store.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:24am

      Re: VLC is not the bad guy

      And many Linux distributions do the same exact thing:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_blob

      Why? Because they want the support of a particular piece of hardware, but the only way they can get it is by breaking the GPL.

       

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        Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

        And many Linux distributions do the same exact thing:

        Not really. No matter if you install a BLOB or not (e.g. NVidia drivers), you can still modify and distribute the open source portion of the software.

        Not so with the iOS version of VLC. In theory, if any other developer downloaded the iOS version, they could not modify or "reverse engineer" any part of it - even the open source part.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 11:05am

          Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

          Why would they need to reverse engineer something that is open source?

           

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            Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

            Why would they need to reverse engineer something that is open source?

            Under Apple's licensing agreement, VLC would no longer be open source. That's the problem.

            Think of it this way. Could someone port VLC to iOS, using Apple's SDK, and legally release that as open source?

            No, they could not. They'd be infringing on Apple's license.

            Apple is doing exactly the same thing, but in reverse.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 4:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

              http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-ios.html

              Has apple order them to take this down yet? Nope.

               

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              •  
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                nasch (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:42pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

                They don't have any authority to make such an order. They could maybe revoke an SDK license or remove an app from the app store as a consequence of distribution on videolan.org, but they cannot order them not to distribute it there (or rather, they can, but with no legal authority).

                 

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              •  
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                Karl (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 8:32pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

                Has apple order them to take this down yet? Nope.

                Sorry. The version you get from the App Store is no longer open source.

                If that version is modified in any way, you can't see those changes (or even be aware that they're there), get the source code, decompile it, or (most importantly) modify it to suit your needs.

                This is in clear violation of the GPL. That's because the App Store and the GPL (including v2) are incompatible by definition.

                Truth be told, all GPL software on the App Store is "pirated." VLC happens to have done something about it, that's all.

                 

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:53pm

        Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

        Ask any core developer of Linux what happens when someone sends in a report with "tainted" on it.

        cat /proc/sys/kernel/tainted
        0 = not tainted
        1 = tainted

        http://www.novell.com/support/viewContent.do?externalId=3582750&sliceId=1

        Like Torvalds said, if it is tainted you are on your own, developers don't get near it.

         

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    •  
      icon
      Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:51am

      Re: VLC is not the bad guy

      Sorry, some commenters here seem to be confused about some issues, I'd like to point them out:

      The developer of the iOS version (Applidium) is not the same as the original developer of VLC (Remi Denis-Courmont).

      The original developer of VLC is the one who sent the C&D. The FSF had no direct involvement, though of course they approve of the developer's actions.

      Safe harbors almost certainly don't apply here, as Apple actively vets all content, and imposes restrictions on developers. In other words, they are entirely responsible for the apps in their store.

      Those developer restrictions are, themselves, incompatible with any form of the GPL. For example: If you use their SDK, you can't release the software anywhere other than the App Store; you can't "reverse engineer" any App Store software; you grant Apple the right to disable the software at any time, for any reason; and you can't even make public statements about the license.

       

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      •  
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        lfroen (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

        >> If you use their SDK, you can't release the software anywhere other than the App Store

        Where did you've got this idea? SDK Agreement clearly stays that FOSS software is allowed. Given that compiler is freely available you can release your software any way you see fit.

         

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        •  
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          Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

          Where did you've got this idea?
          From the EFF. In case you want your own copy of Apple's license, here it is (PDF).

          Other than the App Store, the only allowed distribution is called "ad hoc." From Section 7.2:
          You may also distribute Your Applications to individuals within Your company, organization, educational institution, group, or who are otherwise affiliated with You for use solely on a limited number of Registered Devices (as specified on the Program web portal), if Your Application has been digitally signed using Your Apple-issued digital certificate as described in this Agreement. [Emphasis mine]

          No App Store, no digital certificate, so no "ad hoc" distribution - which only covers a few devices in your organization anyway.

          And third-party distribution is not allowed in any case. See Section 7.3:
          In the absence of a separate agreement with Apple, You agree not to distribute Your Application to third parties via other distribution methods or to enable or permit others to do so.

           

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

          No, he's correct. You can only distribute binaries compiled with the SDK through the app store. Obviously that's the only way Apple wants people to be able to load apps, since the only reason for releasing an app outside the app store is so people who have jailbroken their phones can load them.

          The problem here isn't the GPL. The problem here is that the FSF is fighting a proxy war. They don't like devices that don't allow you to load whatever software you want on them.

          And I can't help but notice that no one seems to be complaining about Android based phones like the Droid X which also come locked down. Android is based on linux, which is GPL'd, and so it should have the same problems.

          Oh, but you say this is because of Apple's terms of service. Well, straight from the Droid X user's guide:

          "Accordingly, any copyrighted software contained in Motorola products may not be modified, reverse-engineered, distributed, or reproduced in any manner to the extent allowed by law"

          Granted, the FSF doesn't approve of this either, but basically said, "That's Tivoization and there's nothing we can do about it." Well, it's the same with Apple.

           

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          •  
            icon
            Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:05pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

            And I can't help but notice that no one seems to be complaining about Android based phones like the Droid X which also come locked down.

            The FSF did complain about this. However, Android is based on code which is Apache licensed, not GPL. So, "tivoization" is legal in this case.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: VLC is not the bad guy

              You're thinking of Dalvik (maybe), which is APL. However, it uses a modified linux kernel, which is certainly GPL v2.

               

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  •  
    icon
    Eugene (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:03am

    Hey dawg I heard you like having Steve Jobs listen to Steve Jobs. So we put a Steve Jobs listening to Steve Jobs inside Steve Jobs listening to Steve Jobs, so you can listen to Steve Jobs listen to Steve Jobs, while Steve Jobs listens to Steve Jobs!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Videolan now says VLC okay on App Store

    Well, okay, he equivocates at the end about whether it's a GPL v2 violation, but he blasts FSF and others for using VLC as a political piece.

    http://mailman.videolan.org/pipermail/vlc-devel/2010-November/077457.html

     

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  •  
    identicon
    James, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Motorola and HTC are next

    @Karl

    Both Motorola and HTC have Android devices that only load the linux portion of Android in DRM protected storage. They both have license agreements that disallow reverse engineering. So I assume that they are going to get the next C&Ds? Or is this just Apple bias? I can understand your argument that Apple is violating GPL v2 but I can't understand why Motorola and HTC aren't as well.

     

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    •  
      icon
      Karl (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 8:50pm

      Re: Motorola and HTC are next

      Both Motorola and HTC have Android devices that only load the linux portion of Android in DRM protected storage.

      If that's true (I don't own either phone), then yes, Linus should issue a C&D.

      I heard that the specific OS was under Apache from some folks at an FSF conference, so I took their word for it.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    SLK8ne, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:04pm

    Why is anyone surpirsed????

    The only thing that really surprises me about this is why anyone is surprised.
    Proprietary Apple software runs only on proprietary Apple hardware.
    Apple has been proprietary from day one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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