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posted by janrinok on Thursday February 08 2018, @12:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the too-big-to-be-punished? dept.

From TorrentFreak:

VideoLAN, the team behind the VLC media player, recently revealed that they turned down several tens of millions of euros to bundle their software with advertising. The same cannot be said of third-party developers cloning VLC for profit, however. An ad-supported clone discovered on Google Play has a staggering five to ten million downloads and breaches VLC's GPL license, yet Google refuses to take it down.

[...] Aside from its incredible functionality, VLC (operated by the VideoLAN non-profit) has won the hearts of Internet users for other key reasons, not least its commitment to being free and open source software. While it's true to say that VLC doesn't cost a penny, the term 'free' actually relates to the General Public License (GPL) under which it's distributed.

[...] Since VLC is extremely popular and just about as 'free' as software can get, people get extremely defensive when they perceive that a third-party is benefiting from the software without adhering to the terms of the generous GPL license. That was the case beginning a few hours ago when veteran Reddit user MartinVanBallin pointed out a piece of software on the Google Play Store.

"They took VLC, put in ads, didn't attribute VLC or follow the open source license, and they're using Media Player Classics icon," MartinVanBallin wrote.

Update: The app is no longer on Google Play.

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by koick on Thursday February 08 2018, @01:46AM (3 children)

    by koick (5420) on Thursday February 08 2018, @01:46AM (#634617)

    By the time I saw this article yesterday both linked apps it's complaining about were already taken down. And, indeed the article at the end says it's been removed.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday February 08 2018, @02:02AM

    by takyon (881) <> on Thursday February 08 2018, @02:02AM (#634627) Journal

    Thanks, edited.

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by PartTimeZombie on Thursday February 08 2018, @02:10AM (1 child)

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08 2018, @02:10AM (#634632)

    I saw either that same app or a copy of it the last time I downloaded the real VLC from Google Play and that would have been 6 months ago at least.

    I'm sure it gets removed regularly and put back, as the scumbags behind it obviously make money from it. This lowers the value of Google Play as a whole too, so Google either need to find a better way of dealing with scam type apps, or accept their users having a much lower faith in the reliability of what they download.

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday February 09 2018, @05:26PM

      by Freeman (732) on Friday February 09 2018, @05:26PM (#635589) Journal

      You actually think the Google Play store isn't a "Hive of Scum and Villainy"? Apple's Store is much better in a "I pay more for my usable apps than you" sort of way. Google Play is the Microsoft of the mobile phone market, while Apple is still Apple. Which is kind of ironic.

      "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11