Google Will not Take Down ‘Pirate’ VLC With 5 Million Downloads * TorrentFreak


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VideoLAN, the group behind the VLC media participant, just lately revealed that they turned down a number of tens of tens of millions of euros to bundle their software program with promoting. The identical can’t be mentioned of third-party builders cloning VLC for revenue, nevertheless. An ad-supported clone found on Google Play has a staggering 5 to 10 million downloads and breaches VLC’s GPL license, but Google refuses to take it down.

VLC is the media participant of alternative for Web customers across the globe. Downloaded for desktop a minimum of 2,493,000,000 occasions since February 2005, VLC is an absolute large. And people figures don’t even embody GNU/Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome OS or Home windows Telephone downloads both.

Except for its unbelievable performance, VLC (operated by the VideoLAN non-profit) has gained the hearts of Web customers for different key causes, not least its dedication to being free and open supply software program. Whereas it’s true to say that VLC doesn’t price a penny, the time period ‘free’ truly pertains to the Basic Public License (GPL) below which it’s distributed.

The GPL goals to ensure that software program below it stays ‘free’ for all present and future customers. To learn from these protections, the GPL requires individuals who modify and redistribute software program to afford others the identical freedoms by informing them of the requirement to make supply code accessible.

Since VLC is extraordinarily common and nearly as ‘free’ as software program can get, individuals get extraordinarily defensive once they understand {that a} third-party is benefiting from the software program with out adhering to the phrases of the beneficiant GPL license. That was the case starting a couple of hours in the past when veteran Reddit person MartinVanBallin identified a bit of software program on the Google Play Retailer.

“They took VLC, put in adverts, didn’t attribute VLC or observe the open supply license, and so they’re utilizing Media Participant Classics icon,” MartinVanBallin wrote.

The software program known as 321 Media Participant and has a formidable 4.5 rating from greater than 101,000 critiques. Regardless of not mentioning VLC or the GPL, it’s primarily based utterly on VLC, because the picture beneath (and different proof) reveals.

VLC Media Participant 321 Media Participant

TorrentFreak spoke with VideoLAN President Jean-Baptiste Kempf who confirmed that the clone is in breach of the GPL.

“The Android model of VLC is below the license GPLv3, which requires every little thing inside the appliance to be open supply and sharing the supply,” Kempf says.

“This clone appears to make use of a closed-source commercial part (are there any which might be open supply?), which is a transparent violation of our copyleft. Furthermore, they don’t appear to share the supply in any respect, which can be a violation.”

Maybe essentially the most wonderful factor is the recognition of the software program. In keeping with stats supplied by Google, 321 Media Participant has amassed between 5 and ten million downloads. That’s not an insignificant quantity when one considers that not like VLC, 321 Media Participant accommodates revenue-generating adverts.

Utilizing GPL-licensed software program for business functions is allowed offering the license phrases are strictly adhered to. Kempf informs TF that VideoLAN doesn’t thoughts if this occurs however on this case, the GPL isn’t being revered.

“A fork software which modifications some issues is an attention-grabbing factor, as a result of they perhaps have one thing to offer again to our group. The applying right here, is only a parasite, and I believe they’re ineffective and harmful,” Kempf says.

All that being mentioned, turning VLC itself into adware is one thing the VideoLAN group is against. In actual fact, in accordance with questions answered by Kempf final September, the group turned down “a number of tens of tens of millions of euros” to show their media participant into an ad-supported platform.

“Integrating crap, adware and spyware and adware with VLC isn’t OK,” Kempf informs TF.

TorrentFreak contacted the developer of 321 Media Participant for remark however on the time of publication, we had been but to obtain a response. We additionally requested for a duplicate of the supply code for 321 Media Participant because the GPL requires, however that wasn’t forthcoming both.

Within the meantime, it seems that a small military of Reddit customers try to get one thing achieved concerning the ‘rogue’ app by reporting it as an “inappropriate copycat” to Google. Whether or not this can have any impact stays to be seen however in accordance with Kempf, tackling these clone variations has confirmed extraordinarily troublesome up to now.

“We reported this software already greater than 3 times and Google refuses to take it down,” he says.

“Our expertise is that it is vitally troublesome to take these sorts of apps down, even when they embed spyware and adware or malware. Perhaps it’s as a result of it makes cash for Google.”

Lastly, Kempf additionally factors to the clearly named “Indian VLC Participant” on Google Play. One other VLC clone with as much as 500,000 downloads, this one seems to breach each copyright and trademark legislation.

“We take away purposes that violate our insurance policies, equivalent to apps which might be unlawful,” a Google spokesperson informs TorrentFreak.

“We don’t touch upon particular person purposes; you’ll be able to try our insurance policies for extra data.”

Replace: The app has now been faraway from Google Play



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