India lifts ban on VLC Media Player website after legal notice
VLC Media Player has been unblocked in India. The popular open-source and cross-platform media player software is finally available for download- many weeks after the company sent a legal notice to the Department of Telecom (DoT) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) bodies over the silent blocking of its platform. The news of unblocking was first shared by Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) that claims to have extended legal support to VideoLAN- the company that owns VLC Media Player.
Those wanting to download should go to www.videolan.org and download VLC to run media files on most of the platforms. The page shows a download button in blue colour.
After discovering a silent blocking on the media player service since March, VideoLAN’s president Jean-Baptiste Kempf sent a legal notice to MeitY in September demanding a legit reason for the blocking. Kempf said that the company did not receive any prior notice for the ban and despite huge public uproar, the government failed to provide reasons for the ban.
In a court challenge addressed to K Rajaraman, chairman DCC & Secretary (T), Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication, Kempf highlighted that the imposed ban violated the Rule 8 of Information Technology Rules that mandates a government official issuing a blocking order to issue a notice to that person or provide a reasoned blocking order to the person concerned prior to the hearing.
Kempf also called the ban “shocking” and an irony because the government of India itself endorses VLC Media Player as part of its Digital India initiative. VideoLAN in its court notice demanded a reasoned blocking order issued for banning of the URL along with a chance to defend its case via virtual hearing. The reason for blocking still remains unknown.