VLC Media Player download ban lifted in India: software is free to install yet again

After nine months, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) removed the arbitrary ban on the website of the VLC media player.

  • VLC Player download was banned in India in February this year.
  • The company later sent a legal notice to the government asking why its service was banned.
  • The Indian government is yet to release a statement on the VLC unban.

After banning VLC Player in India for months, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has lifted the ban on the website, allowing Indian users to download the multimedia player. The ban came into effect in February this year, but neither the Indian government nor the VideoLAN Project formally announced or disclosed any information on the ban. It was later highlighted by the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) of India, which also allegedly helped VLC with legal support for this issue.

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The company claims that it used to receive around 25 million downloads every year in India before it was banned. The government is yet to release an official statement on the VLC unban in India. However, we independently verified and the website is up and running with users free to download the VLC media player in India.

VLC Player download ban lifted: Here’s how

The company sent a legal notice to the government in October to explain why the company’s service was banned in the country and that it be allowed to defend its case through a virtual hearing.

The company also threatened the government, stating that if they do not provide proper justification for the ban, VideoLan will be “entitled and compelled to initiate legal proceedings against you, for failing to protect our rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of India, for violation of your obligations under international law, and breach of your own Rules”.

However, it appears that the company has now proven its innocence and restored its service because the VLC media player is once again available for download on the official website. Previously, anyone attempting to access the VLC website received a 404 error.

Why was VLC Media Player banned in India?

According to reports, the VideoLAN app was banned because of “suspicious behaviour”. Given that some cybersecurity experts alleged a hacking organisation called Cicada, located in China, utilised VLC to distribute malware, it was conceivable that the government may have banned downloading VLC from the official website.

There are several apps that the Indian government has banned over security concerns. In July, the government banned the popular Battleground Mobile India (BGMI). Meanwhile, in 2020, the government also banned PUBG Mobile with a host of other Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat, UC Browser and more, for the same reason.