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Topic # 123360 4-Jul-2013 16:36
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Hi folks,

So having a debate at work and I have been told by couple of other IT staff that VLC is not allowed to be installed on PC's we have at work here. We are a university. I am told that this is due to licensing issues, copyright law etc.

I believe that none of this to be true. VLC's official website is more than happy to have the player installed at educational institutions. I cannot find any bit of documentation which says that it violates the copyright/3-strikes law here in NZ as the player is not licensed to play certain file formats?

Opinions?





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  Reply # 849350 4-Jul-2013 16:40
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Can they explain why they hold that view?



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  Reply # 849354 4-Jul-2013 16:43
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nathan: Can they explain why they hold that view?


They were told this by an ex engineer who has since now left the job. Reason given was 'new copyright law, vlc is not commercially legal and that it does not have licensing rights for the video formats'.




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  Reply # 849358 4-Jul-2013 16:55
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I wonder if they're talking about the libdvdcss library that can find and guess keys from a DVD in order to decrypt it.

Your uni must have legal counsel, consider asking them. IANAL

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  Reply # 849363 4-Jul-2013 17:04
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VLC contains libdvdcss 

Now it could be argued ( hasn't been yet) that libdvdcss  is a TPM circumvention device.

If that was proven, then they would have good grounds to prevent its installation,

but hey institutions can set their own policies based on whatever they like,  It's their dime  

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  Reply # 849380 4-Jul-2013 18:14
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I believe that the most of the linux distributions offer a version without some of the codecs.
For example, in debian:

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-debian.html

Do you need the DVD playback?
Can you get a version without libdvdcss?




#include <standard.disclaimer>

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  Reply # 855101 13-Jul-2013 22:55
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This is the VideoLAN page dedicated to this question. It would appear that if libdvdcss is able to be used in NZ (consult legal) then there are no issues with it being installed on your computers: VLC have no restrictions on the software.

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  Reply # 855127 14-Jul-2013 00:13
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billgates: Hi folks,

So having a debate at work and I have been told by couple of other IT staff that VLC is not allowed to be installed on PC's we have at work here. We are a university. I am told that this is due to licensing issues, copyright law etc.

I believe that none of this to be true. VLC's official website is more than happy to have the player installed at educational institutions. I cannot find any bit of documentation which says that it violates the copyright/3-strikes law here in NZ as the player is not licensed to play certain file formats?

Opinions?



I previously worked in the IT department of a major tertiary provider (20000+ EFTS) that tackled this question. The end result of the discussions over the same issue was that at best the use of libdvdcss is a legal grey area in NZ, and at worst its clearly a TPM circumvention device. It was decided that it simply wasn't worth the potential risk/liability issues, and it was banned.

Personally I'm happy to use it at home,but I'd be very leery of allowing its use in the enterprise (tertiary provider or not).







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  Reply # 857763 16-Jul-2013 23:13
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Related?
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10898892
HBO issues take down on VLC


Edit - not related, just a sloppy automated takedown notice against a torrent site
http://torrentfreak.com/hbo-asks-google-to-take-down-infringing-vlc-media-player-130715/

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  Reply # 857770 16-Jul-2013 23:21
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Just remove the codec from source and compile yourself. Its open source after all?





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  Reply # 857824 17-Jul-2013 07:25
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Honestly if the institute doesn't want you to install it they're well within their rights to say no. It is their system not yours so I don't see that they need to have any reasoning or justification and although as Lias has stated the most likely reasons based on what they actually told you it really is irrelevant as they don't need to justify why they don't want you installing anything on their systems.

No means no does it not? I would just go about finding an alternative that they may be willing to let you use instead of trying to prove a legal argument when you don't actually know if the person who told you no actually is basing that decision on anything informed or not. As they pointed out that some guy before said that it was not suitable for their systems and despite the reasoning it is still theirs to say no or yes to.

It's open source and you think the reasons are as discussed here go in re-engineer it and move on. I'd be more inclined to have it on your own machine and use that for your school work as it is more likely they'd let you connect that to their network but again still limit your ability to install to theirs.



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  Reply # 857893 17-Jul-2013 09:19
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Just so everyone is in the clear, if they already did not pick this up from my first post I work in the IT department at the same University. I am staff member at the same university. I am not a student or an tutor. We as an IT team decide on matters. We as an internal IT team are discussing this. And because someone decided to ban VLC from the systems in the past due to what they thought at that time was right does not mean that the current IT team has to live with it as well.

The end result is that we have decided to start installing VLC again for staff members if the default WMP cannot play the DVD or any audio/video file. Majority of the files we come across are usually provided by students or another organization to the staff to evaluate or mark. Most do play by default with WMP but not always.

Thanks everyone for their input.




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  Reply # 863580 22-Jul-2013 13:52
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I'm pretty sure VLC can run standalone too, so banning it will have no effect as a student/staffer can simply keep a copy on their USB key.

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  Reply # 863969 22-Jul-2013 23:14
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1080p: I'm pretty sure VLC can run standalone too, so banning it will have no effect as a student/staffer can simply keep a copy on their USB key.


Applocker says No! ;-P




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