VideoLAN team to get fake VLC Windows 8 app removed from Windows Store

If you scan the Windows Store feature in Windows 8 for new apps every day, you might have noticed an addition that showed up today that was titled "VLC Media Player 8." The app seems, at first glance, to be the promised port of the popular VLC media player made by the VideoLAN team.

However, this app is not made by that same volunteer team. A big clue was the fact that the "VLC Media Player 8" has a $2.99 price tag. The real VLC apps that have been released for other platforms have all been free to download, and the plan is to release the Windows 8 app for free as well.

The other clue is that this app appears to be a very simple media player with a bare bones design. As we have reported before, the real VLC Windows 8 app will be a full fledged Modern UI app with a number of features. VideoLAN launched a Kickstarter campaign in late 2012 to get development of the Windows 8 app jump started and ended up with £47,056 from its backers.

Thankfully, this "VLC Media Player 8" app won't be available on the Windows Store for much longer. Neowin contacted the VideoLAN team and one of its members, Jean-Baptiste Kempf, told us that they have asked the developer to remove it. We also contacted the developer, Senthilkumar Thangavelu, who also told us he would remove the app. Update: The app has now been taken down.

Indeed, Kempf told us that this kind of activity is nothing new for the VideoLAN team, saying, " ... we spot those kinds of VLC fake downloads per dozens per week. And that is on all AppStores and websites, without actually looking for it. One week, I tried to actually look at those, and I stopped after 200 violations of the same."

Kempf also gave us a brief update on the states of the real VLC Windows 8 app, saying, "We are in the foundation of the software, and on the project organization, and working quite hard to have a correct foundation to be allowed on the store, which is still the hard part We have of course updated the designs, but they are still quite similar to the last update of our (Kickstarter) page."

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15 Comments

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UnclePritchard said,
no app is better at video quality other than the native WMP with some solid codec pack...

You couldn't be more wrong.

The very best video quality can only be achieved by using Media Player Classic Home Cinema x86 with LAV decoders (preferably using CUVID) and MadVR renderer. Adding ReClock to that to make sure the framerate matches your monitor makes it even better. It plays pretty much all formats there are. Codec packs are evil and usually contain outdated inefficient decoders and splitters.

There is no other setup that provides higher image quality.

I think Microsoft should be approving or disapproving apps. They should not let a developer add whatever app they want to the Windows Store. Apple doesn't do that.

VLC is open source, aren't forks allowed or is this just another case of VideoLAN taking down a product in a DRM app store in spite? (Is so, they'll likely do the same thing (send a request to microsoft asking it to be pulled) with the Kickstarter VLC for Windows 8 app.

It's not a fork. It's someone naming an app VLC, when it's really just the Windows 8 built-in video player with a new skin.

This developer has had a handful of different apps that are all the same thing.

Rosyna said,
VLC is open source, aren't forks allowed or is this just another case of VideoLAN taking down a product in a DRM app store in spite? (Is so, they'll likely do the same thing (send a request to microsoft asking it to be pulled) with the Kickstarter VLC for Windows 8 app.

"VideoLAN, VLC, VLC media player and x264 are trademarks internationally registered by the VideoLAN non-profit organization."

The use of any of those registered trademarks by others who are NOT VideoLAN is unlawful, unless permission is granted or allowed. They are within their rights as the trademark owners to revoke any use of it as they see fit.

The use of the trademarks are not licensed under open-source. open-source does not automatically say you can rip people off, infact. most of the opensourced gpl says theexact opposite, but in this case, it doesn't even begin to cover trademarks.

Who approves this stuff in the store? There has been so many news about VLC for Windows 8 that I'm sure even Microsoft knows about it (and is patiently awaiting as there is currently no Modern media player that is usable for anything). Whoever approved this must have been the biggest moron to use a computer.

No one aproves it. Developers buy a store license for a fee, and are free to publish what ever apps they want on there. Of course, developers (publisher) need to ensure they don't infringe on any trademarks or copyright just like any other site they upload their goods to.

You should try the mobile.HD app (http://apps.microsoft.com/wind...c8e7-4ee1-9c1a-6f08f46e51f3). Even though the name looks weird, it's one of the first app not using the builtin player. The player was written using DirectX and can open formats like mkv (with any kind of conversion). I was worried about the power consumption, but after a long trip on the plane it is really good, probably better than the video app.

Why would you think it is someone at Microsoft's job to research possible naming infringements? If I make a product and sell it through normal distribution channels no one is going to say “why did WalMart agree to sell this product!” they are going to come after me. I don't see why it would be any different for online stores like these. The stores have their own rules they are watching out for, but when it comes to legal issues like trademark violation, that isn't really their area.

Why would you think it is someone at Microsoft's job to research possible naming infringements?

You should need to research a name that is as common as Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and Adobe. Videolan is a house hold name - heck, unless you've been living under a rock you shouldn't need to do any research other than whether the VLC being submitted is real.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

You should need to research a name that is as common as Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and Adobe. Videolan is a house hold name - heck, unless you've been living under a rock you shouldn't need to do any research other than whether the VLC being submitted is real.


Submission is almost fully automatic. The apps get turough security and bug checks. But its all automatic.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

You should need to research a name that is as common as Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and Adobe. Videolan is a house hold name - heck, unless you've been living under a rock you shouldn't need to do any research other than whether the VLC being submitted is real.

Well... the thing with trademarks is they're only really valid if they're used in the same context. So if someone from xyz ltd released an application called VLC, but it's full title was actuallt Virtual Living Companion then, VLC would be a valid application title. Hence why we have the company name listed for the app as well.

In this case, VLC was being used by Senthilkumar Thangavelu in the same context as a media player, and obviously trying to take the VLC brand and piggy back on that to profit.