GPL and VoddlerPlayer.exe

  • Question
  • Updated 5 years ago
Archived

This conversation was archived and is no longer visible to community members.

Let me first state that I am a big fan of the idea behind Voddler.
And that I have no interest in ripping, removing commercials or anything else related to such stuff.

I have however a problem that I am having a hard time to solve. The problem is the following:
When Voddler first announced its presence to the world I was thrilled about it being based on xbmc as this is free software, released under GPL, and it seemed very likely that it would be possible to create plugin for Voddler in the original xbmc player by someone with the right technical skill. So, I patiently waited for the source code to be released and then finally it was. I downloaded the source code 2009-10-30 and started to snoop around to see what needed to be done to be able to play the movies inside the original xbmc player. It took me a couple of hours, then I realised that the source code that I had downloaded did not match the code behind the VoddlerPlayer.exe that I was running. The changes are probably not that big, but very essential and easy to spot if you were trying to do what I was doing. I notified Voddler about this on 2009-11-02 through a web-form on voddlers home page and at the same time I stated my interest in integrating voddler inside the original xbmc, requested the current source code and referred to the GPL license. Since then I have not received a single response from voddler, voddlers forum has been down since then, the client has been updated a couple of times but the downloadable source code is still the same.

I really want to be able to read the GPL'd source code, and as it is under GPL and I have the binary I should be entitled to do so. In fact, I should be entitled to read the source code for every binary version that I have ever had in my possession which is now a not so small number.

So, please Voddler solve my problem.
Photo of Martin Ohlin

Martin Ohlin

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
  • disappointed

Posted 6 years ago

  • 194
Photo of fredrik.p.persson

fredrik.p.persson, Champion

  • 67 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
I'd like to help clarify for Voddler the first steps needed here:

1. With each new version released, the corresponding source code must be released.

2. The GPL'd binary must be buildable from that source code, with a reasonable effort. You cannot leave certain parts out.

3. To have the VoddlerNet binary not accept modified clients are dubious at best. The GPL is not something that merely lets you look at source code. It is meant for making it possible to modify a program. There's an important difference there.
Photo of fredrik.p.persson

fredrik.p.persson, Champion

  • 67 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
The longer this issue remains, the greater are the chances that Voddler will start popping up on lists like this one:

http://ffmpeg.org/shame.html

This list, the FFmpeg project Hall of Shame list is where Voddler should actually be right now, since FFmpeg is used in voddler without proper attention being paid to GPL requirements.
Photo of joel.berglund

joel.berglund

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I agree that this has to be resolved as soon as possible. please comply to the GPL.
Photo of Erik

Erik

  • 14 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
Cut development cost but want to keep it as corporate secret.... No no.. this could end bad for voddler. Hopefully it will be corrected. It is not the software but the service they are selling, so this should not be a problem,
Photo of revoltism

revoltism

  • 2 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Yeah.. and someone maybe would be able to build a Linux-version. It's crazy it hasn't been done yet.

c'mon Voddler.. shape up your deal...
Photo of arne wiese

arne wiese

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
This would be very appreciated since Arch-linux is my native OperationSystem.
Photo of silver

silver

  • 5 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
hmm how can they ignore this?
Photo of b9AcE

b9AcE

  • 47 Posts
  • 12 Reply Likes
This would of course depend on whether the modifications are in the GPL:d code or outside it.
For example a dynamically linked file could be considered as not being covered by the GPL-requirement (see for example proprietary drivers and the Linux kernel).
Whether or not dynamically linked objects are automatically covered by the GPL license has not been tested in court yet to my knowledge.
Photo of fredrik.p.persson

fredrik.p.persson, Champion

  • 67 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
And another clarification for Vodder; if what b9AcE says is true, you can't move code into a DLL now and not have to publish that code. You have an obligation to publish the source code for all versions of your program, even those where said code may still have been in VoddlerPlayer.exe.

And it would be a nice tough if you would comment on this, since it is (by far) the highest scoring question here.
Photo of Richard Andersson

Richard Andersson

  • 68 Posts
  • 11 Reply Likes
For the people with better knowledge of GPL. Is there anything else that would make Voddler entitled to hide the source code?

For example a guess might be that there are some security reasons. Such as they found a possible way to remove all the costs of all the movies if one could modify the current source code...

Why else would they hide the source code?
Photo of Pontus

Pontus

  • 2 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
@Richard: No, there is no way to hide any GPL'd code. The whole point of GPL is to share and reuse code among enthusiasts (and more and more companies). Voddlers first approach without the rental part would've been possible without violating GPL, but I think you're right about them trying to hide sensitive parts of their code. Too bad it seems to be very poorly systemated.

Shape up Voddler!
Photo of no.body

no.body

  • 24 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
One would think sensitive parts should be in the Voddlernet application that seems to be non-GPL code.

But the client seems to be a modified XMBC http://xbmc.org/ and as such the full source code should be made available at each release.
Photo of no.body

no.body

  • 24 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
Ok jag är schysst och försvarar er något underliga prissättning i andra trådar men att ni låter denna frågan förbli obesvarad är inte bra. Kan vi få nån representant från Voddler som kan säga något angående detta?
Photo of Richard Andersson

Richard Andersson

  • 68 Posts
  • 11 Reply Likes
If Voddler refuses to release the source code, are there any laws broken, can we expect any legal actions taken from the XBMC developers?

How major is this breech of the GPL considered?
Photo of fredrik.p.persson

fredrik.p.persson, Champion

  • 67 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
There are no laws broken, you cannot report this to the police.

Voddler have released some source code, but not all. And they must release the updated source code with every new version of Voddler, which they have not. They must also release the corresponding source code for every version of Voddler ever released.

This is as major as a GPL breach gets.

I don't think that XBMC will take legal action, but only the XBMC project can answer that.

There's a misconception here; XBMC only owns the rights to a fraction of the code! There are LARGE parts that XBMC does not own, but uses under the GPL license. For example, the entire FFMPEG library (http://ffmpeg.org/) is included in voddler. FFMPEG could, and should, put Voddler on their hall of shame (http://ffmpeg.org/shame.html). There are probably a bunch of examples like that.

In other words, XBMC is only one of the parties that can fire a lawsuit on Voddler. My guess is that Voddler has no idea which other organizations/companies that they are stealing from here.
Photo of arne wiese

arne wiese

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
As far as I know, the GPL licens is as valid as any other licens, and thus they are breaking the licens-agreement. And that is equally legal as much as if you break Microsofts EULA and what not.
But as fredrik said: It's is not something you can report to the police. The license-owner(s) can go to civil-court (in sweden at least) and take this matter there. IF they choose to!
Photo of brtkrbzhnv

brtkrbzhnv

  • 0 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
It's a crime against Lag (1960:729) om upphovsrätt till litterära och konstnärliga verk to distribute a work without the permission of its copyright holders.
Photo of Peter Hellberg

Peter Hellberg

  • 3 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
I think Voddler has put themselves in a serious position here, and not responding to the community is not the solution.

Got som information from the FAQ over at http://gpl-violations.org/

What kind of source code do I have to publish under the GNU GPL?

The GNU GPL demands that as soon as you distribute GPL licensed software in executable format you make available the "complete corresponding source code". The GNU GPL also contains a definition of this term:
“ The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. ”

What version of the source code do I have to release?

For each and every version of the executable program, you have to release the precisely corresponding version of the complete corresponding source code.

Is the GPL enforceable in law ?

At least in Germany yes, and while we've seen scare stories from elsewhere we see no evidence to believe it is not enforceable globally.

What can I do if I encounter a GPL violation?

The gpl-violations.org project keeps track of reported GPL violations in its internal request tracking system. If you want to report an alleged violation, please write to license-violation(AT)gpl-violations.org, and make sure to ``enable --verbose mode'', i.e. include as much details as possible.
Photo of fredrik.p.persson

fredrik.p.persson, Champion

  • 67 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
Yes, I wasn't clear. Breach of GPL, in Sweden, is handled just like any breach of contract; by civil court. Breach of contract is illegal, "pacta sund servanda", in almost every country in the world.
Photo of Daniel Norman

Daniel Norman

  • 47 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Agree; not responding to the community is not the solution. It's 16 days of silence. Makes no sense...
Photo of no.body

no.body

  • 24 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
.
Photo of Northar

Northar

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Hmm, this seems serious. And easy to fix for voodler i hope.
Photo of xenobite

xenobite

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Signed up just to push that button, if a company cant even post and say "we've seen the the thread and are looking into it" then its just bad.
Photo of black.ant

black.ant

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
I agree; sticking your head in the sand won't make the issue go away. There are several problems I'm seeing with the official client that may be solved by the community should the complete source code be released.
Photo of Peter Höber

Peter Höber

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Would be so easy to just make a statement explaining the reason for this. It's getting embarrassing. Borrowing code in direct violation to the license to cut down own development costs and to maximize their own profit, while claiming this to be the legal alternative to piracy? Don't they see the irony?
Photo of fredrik.p.persson

fredrik.p.persson, Champion

  • 67 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
To be fair, large parts of the source code IS available from the download page, but crucial parts are left out and the source code is not updated when the client is.
Photo of black.ant

black.ant

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
To be fair, if not ALL of the source code for EVERY version of the binary is released for download it is a violation of the GPL license, which is comparable to the media industry chasing people for downloading one single song or recording four minutes of a movie in a theater using a handheld camera.
Photo of fredrik.p.persson

fredrik.p.persson, Champion

  • 67 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
@black.ant:

I just meant to say that Voddlar did actually make some kind of move on this. That means they know it's an issue.

But you are absolute right of course. And with a striking example.
Photo of robierre.bp

robierre.bp

  • 1 Post
  • 1 Reply Like
Good Martin!

Shape up Voddler, give us i.e. the users an answer! HELLO!?
Photo of Sarkkiz

Sarkkiz

  • 52 Posts
  • 5 Reply Likes
This is really weak of Voddler, to just ignore a topic like this because the know what they've done and don't stand for it...
Photo of 1980andersson

1980andersson

  • 4 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Has anyone reported Voddler to http://gpl-violations.org/ yet?
If not, let's do so! Personally I will give them to next week, then I will investigate and write an extensive report that I will send to the copyright holders of xbmc and gpl-violations.org. I will also alert [at least] the Swedish media on the matter.

This violation is as serious as if Voddler would distribute their movie content without the copyright holder's permissions.

And here's a personal message for the people working at Voddler, in Swedish...

Ni 35 anställda borde SKÄMMAS ordentligt! Att bryta mot GPL är moraliskt sett, mycket värre än om ni hade struntat i upphovsrättsinnehavarnas tillstånd för filmerna ni distribuerar via tjänsten. Men det vågar ni väl inte göra, för det får snabbt mycket större ekonomiska konsekvenser? Girigt värre...
Trodde att Voddler skulle vara en bra tjänst, men uppenbarligen ligger ett oseriöst skojarföretag, som inte följer dom regler och bestämmelser som finns, bakom tjänsten. Hoppas ni ser till att styra upp detta SNARAST, eller går i konkurs.
Photo of fredrik.p.persson

fredrik.p.persson, Champion

  • 67 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
@1980andersson: If you are going to report to gpl-violations, please let the people at gpl-violations have a chance to act on the matter before you decide to bang the drum with media. The reason here is not to give Voddler more space, but to give the people at gpl-violations an easier job.

The goal is GPL compliance, not public embarrasment for voddler.
Photo of tut

tut

  • 2 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Today I asked XBMC people about gpl-violations.org on IRC (#xbmc-linux @ Freenode) and got some clarifying answers.
The entire discussion log can be read here (I was asked not to cut out the relevant lines and paste directly here):
http://xbmc.newsforyou.com/xbmc-linux...
Photo of erik.h.andersson

erik.h.andersson

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Please comply to the GPL.
http://xbmc.org/team-xbmc/2003/10/31/...

Best regards.
Photo of Omas Filip Jakobsson

Omas Filip Jakobsson

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Hear, hear.
Photo of Magnus Knutas

Magnus Knutas

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
I think voddler don ́t give a flying fuck on the people that have done the work on XBMC or ffmpeg or any other gpl code they are using.
Voddler cares about money and until they get financially hurt they are not even going to answer their own customer it seems!