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posted by hubie on Wednesday November 16, @11:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-to-see-here? dept.

https://techcrunch.com/2022/11/14/india-lifts-download-ban-on-vlc/

India has lifted the download ban on VLC, more than nine months after it mysteriously blocked the official website of the popular media playback software in the South Asian market. VideoLAN, the popular software's developer, filed a legal notice last month seeking an explanation from the nation's IT and Telecom ministries for the block order.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT has removed its ban on the website of VLC media player, New Delhi-based advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation, which provided legal support to VideoLAN, said on Monday. VideoLAN confirmed the order.

"This ban was put into place without any prior notice and without giving VideoLAN the opportunity of a hearing, which went against the 2009 Blocking Rules and the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India. This was strange because VLC Media Player is an open-source software which is used by nearly 80 million Indians," IFF said in a statement.

Indian telecom operators began blocking VideoLAN's official website, where it lists links to downloading VLC, in February of this year, VideoLAN president and lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf told TechCrunch in an earlier interview. India is one of the largest markets for VLC.

[...] Last month, VideoLAN and Internet Freedom Foundation used legal means to get answers and redressal surrounding the ban. India's IT ministry never made public the order of the ban, yet all telecom operators in the country complied with it. In its legal notice last month, VideoLAN sought a copy of the blocking order.


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  • (Score: 2) by drussell on Thursday November 17, @01:43AM (3 children)

    by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 17, @01:43AM (#1280142) Journal

    Has anyone found any plausible explanations for the block in the first place beyond the potential misinterpretation of the "Chinese hackers are exploiting it" advisory or whatever?

    That block never really made any sense to me...

    It didn't do anything to the installed base of VLC already deployed and would theoretically make people who wanted to download it anyway go to various "grey market" sites with their associated security risks.

    It just doesn't seem to add up at all.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Revek on Thursday November 17, @01:46AM (2 children)

      by Revek (5022) on Thursday November 17, @01:46AM (#1280144)

      I figure they had some exploited player they wanted people to use instead. But being India the go to answer is someone had a half ass product they wanted people to use and they bribed someone to make it illegal in an effort to get wider adoption of their player.

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      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by drussell on Thursday November 17, @03:06AM (1 child)

        by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 17, @03:06AM (#1280149) Journal

        Ah, I hadn't considered the corrupt insider angle!

        That would make a lot of sense!

        • (Score: 2) by stretch611 on Friday November 18, @06:47AM

          by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 18, @06:47AM (#1280305)

          tbh, I thought it was likely to be something like the Indian equivalent of the MPAA that got it blocked. After all whgat good are pirated movies if you don't have something to play them on.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Thursday November 17, @04:47AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 17, @04:47AM (#1280159) Homepage Journal

    How many people did the ban actually affect? People who know and love VLC surely had alternative ways to download it. Were people using Linux affected at all? It's in the repositories, so unless the repositories were also blocked, the ban was meaningless. And, of course, people who don't know and love VLC probably didn't care at all. A few people may have become curious, and went in search of VLC to find out what all the fuss was about.

    Was the ban effective, or just another meaningless gesture by government?

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