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VLC: gone from the iOS app store

Sad. VLC on the iPad was a killer app, because to watch a video, you just copied the file to the iPad and were done. No transcoding, no importing into iTunes. Here is some background on why it happened:
One VLC developer threatened to sue Apple, because he sees Apple’s DRM (which is also added to free apps, even though you don’t pay for them) as violating VLC’s GNU license.
“Today, a formal notification of copyright infringement was sent to Apple Inc. regarding distribution of the VLC media player for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch,” wrote Denis-Courmont on October 26th 2010, adding that the likely outcome would be that Apple would be forced to pull the free app from the App Store.
Today this came true. And Denis-Courmont wrote a blog post.
“At last, Apple has removed VLC media player from its application store,” he wrote. “Thus the incompatibility between the GNU General Public License and the AppStore terms of use is resolved – the hard way. I am not going to pity the owners of iDevices, and not even the MobileVLC developers who doubtless wasted a lot of their time. This end should not have come to a surprise to anyone.”
Wow. Nasty. Note that Denis-Courmont is one of the main VLC contributors, but was not part of the team that ported it to iOS. ZDNet has an article that gives a balanced view of the motivations of everyone that was involved. Some argue that Denis-Courmont being employed by Nokia played a role, but I’m not sure. It is a tricky case of “standing up against DRM” versus “needlessly sticking to the letter of the law and destroying someone else’s work”.

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