The creator of the popular media player VLC has said that it would be considering taking the legal recourse over Indian government’s action on taking down its website.
VidoeLAN, the developer of VLC player, has served the Indian government a legal notice for blocking the official website of the VidoeoLAN Organisation.
Earlier this year, the Indian government took down VideoLAN’s website without clarifying any reasons for the move.
In a letter to Department of Telecommunications, Jean-Baptiste Kempf, President and lead VLC Developer of VideoLAN wrote, “In March 2022, to our shock and dismay, the URL “https://www.videolan.org/” (‘URL’) appeared to have been blocked for viewing in India without any prior notice to me or any other person in the organisation. Despite reportage and uproar on social media, no reasons for blocking the URL were provided to us, or to the Indian public”.
The letter also mentioned that several members of the Indian public and civil society filed ‘Right to Information’ applications (‘RTI Applications’) with the Department of Telecommunications, which was then transferred to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), including by the Software Freedom Law Centre and the Internet Freedom Foundation.
But the move apparently got a response from MeitY which said that no information was available with them on the matter.
“This is particularly shocking to us, since the Government of India itself endorses the use of VLC as a part of its Digital India initiative, where it has expressed its intention to use open-source softwares for government applications. In fact, the Government of India also appears to use VLC Media Player’s icon and logo on its website promoting open source softwares”, wrote Kempf, in his letter.
Six months have reportedly passed since the very first reporting of the unavailability of the VideoLAN website. There has been no communication to the VLC creator on the reasons for blocking the URL.
VLC is currently being used by 80 million Indians and sees an average of 25 million downloads per year in India since its release.