EFF Posts, Blasts Apple’s iPhone Developer Program Agreement

| App Store

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has posted the full text of Apple’s previously-secretive iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request after NASA released an app. The EFF found the document so draconian that it ran the news under the headline “All Your Apps Are Belong to Apple.”

Among the items the EFF noted: developers are forbidden from making “public statements” about the terms of the agreement, even though the document is not defined as “Apple Confidential Information;” reverse engineering the iPhone OS or Apple’s software development kit is a no-no, as is mucking with any of Apple’s other technology; Apple can revoke an app’s digital certificate at any time and remotely disable its installation on users’ devices; and Apple is never liable to a developer for more than US$50 in damages.

The EFF summed up the one-sided contract thus: “If Apple wants to be a real leader, it should be fostering innovation and competition, rather than acting as a jealous and arbitrary feudal lord. Developers should demand better terms and customers who love their iPhones should back them.”

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

Comments

FlipFriddle

So what. Then don’t code for it. Everyone else that is happily making money with Apple will continue to do so. If you don’t like it, go code for Android or Blackberry.
I would say that over 100,000 apps counts as innovation.

Khaled

It’s a license agreement, no one forced you to sign it.

Tiger

yawn.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Let’s say for a minute that there were no law against possessing child pornography. Kinda like there is (so far as I know) no law against farting in public. If one of your friends were involved in child pornography, I would hope, that despite it being hypothetically legal, you would be repulsed by it. Just as, if you were out with your family, and a friend of yours cut a loud fart while you were having dinner, you would be repulsed.

But FripFriddle, Khaled, and other Apple fanbots would simply tell you that you don’t have to live on the street where the child pornographer lives. Nor do you have to invite your friend to dinner with your family. I think that we each have every right to look at the facts, judge the facts for ourselves, and share how we feel with others. The iPhone Developer Program Agreement is really just one small case of outright douchebaggery emanating from Cupertino of late.

Like its initial stand against DRM, the EFF is fighting an uphill battle with this one. But time will vindicate this stand too. Two years from now, you’ll all wonder who the idiots were that gave Apple the moral authority to act like this.

Tiger

Bosco, REALLY? You’re gonna compare living on a street with a child pornographer to Apple dictating terms of their own app store? You’re better than that.

Market forces will dictate whether people agree to these terms or not. If suddenly all their developers (who are making major bank off the App Store by the way) suddenly dropped out, it might make a difference in the attitude in Cupertino. And maybe that will happen.

But as it stands, the EFF is doing what they do, make noise so they look relevant.

Is it really that big a deal, much less a surprise???  grin

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Tiger, I am saying that Apple’s behavior disgusts me. I am sure that if it was some company other than Apple, it would disgust most of you too.

All their developers are not making bank. Some are, sure. You could safely bet that 90% of paid apps have yet to reach the minimum payment threshold of $1500. And some developers who were making good money selling silly apps that showed a little bit of skin were cut off when Apple went all Taliban on its App Store.

It is a shame, but the way the market will find to route around Apple is to simply ignore its license agreements, both on the user and developer ends. It’s a shame because reasonable license agreements have been the legal backbone of the computing industry. It’s how tens of thousands of little companies can put their software and a sales page on the Internet and have a reasonable chance of honest people paying them for something the honest people value. But it’s also how it will likely play out. Just as in the handset game, the industry will show its disgust with Apple’s patent posturing by pummeling it from every direction.

mrmwebmax

+

Business is all about voluntary cooperation for mutual benefit. All the app developers happily walking their way to the bank are doing so willingly, and are thus willingly accepting the terms of the agreement.

As for the agreement, think about it: We’re talking about the iPhone here. It’s a phone, and for people like me it’s my ONE and ONLY phone. I need it to work first and foremost as a phone, and if that means having Apple strictly police the App Store so I can download apps willy-nilly, then I salute Apple for making sure that everything “just works.”

It makes perfect sense for Apple to want to have the ability to remotely disable apps. What if one gets by that’s malicious? They are protecting people like me who need a phone first, and a hand-held computer second.

If I’m not mistaken, isn’t the fact that the iPhone’s a phone the reason why Apple didn’t open it up to developers in the first place? Seems to me they found a way to open it up to developers, while protecting end users, all at the same time.

FlipFriddle

Mr. Bosco Please refrain from issuing labels on us.
Again, like Khaled said, Apple did not MAKE them sign it. If it’s as bad and horrifying as the EFF says it is then the developers SHOULDN’T agree to it.
A one sided contract is nothing new and the other party that willingly signed is not a victim. They either didn’t read it, read it and agreed with it, or had a bad lawyer.

Khaled

I’d say the same thing about any other company, if you don’t agree to the license agreement simply click “no”.

Comparing to childpr0n? a bit too much

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Mr. Bosco Please refrain from issuing labels on us.

I really thought I was doing you a favor. In most Mac circles these days, “loyal Apple fanbot” is a badge of honor. Just point to the stock price, right?

Guys, here is an example for you that Apple didn’t make anyone sign or agree to. Snow Leopard SLA specifically prohibits recording of text to speech. No Mac OS SLA going back to the original MacInTalk ever did that. In fact, Apple strongly encouraged developers to put TTS in QuickTime movies, for example. I still have the old printed ADC articles from monthly mailings in the 90s. Imagine the pickle that puts a developer in when he has a product that does just that. Do you push this choice to violate a license on to your customers, some of whom absolutely love a particular feature that is license compliant in 10.5 but violates 10.6? Do you remove the feature?

Look, we all know that this petty little clause made its way into the 10.6 SLA because of one silly feature on iPod Shuffle where it announces song names. And that’s what makes it typical of Apple Douchebaggery(TM).

I am glad nobody here would tolerate child porn, even if it were hypothetically legal. You’re now about 3/4 of the way to no longer tolerating Apple’s legal shenanigans.

Khaled

If it’s going to push Apple to “open up” then I’m all for it.

I still stand by my comment, if you don’t agree then don’t.

Lee Dronick

Just point to the stock price, right?

Right! The street, be it Wall or Main, doesn’t care about the EFF.

Tiger

Ok, am I missing something here, you say that Snow Leopard SLA prohibits text to speech, yet there are commercial examples out there of programs that actually enable text to speech, including a plug in for Firefox that does that very thing.

There are two websites that cover it:

http://atmac.org/category/assistive-tech-needs/text-to-speech/

And Apple’s very own:
http://www.apple.com/accessibility/resources/

So, if I am missing something, let me know. I have a meeting. I’ll be back in 3 hours.

Lee Dronick

Ok, am I missing something here, you say that Snow Leopard SLA prohibits text to speech, yet there are commercial examples out there of programs that actually enable text to speech, including a plug in for Firefox that does that very thing.

I think that we discussed this a few months ago. Anyway I found this in the Snow Leopard EULA:

E. Voices. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, you may use the system voices included in the Apple Software (?System Voices?) (i) while running the Apple Software and (ii) to create your own original content and projects for your personal, non-commercial use. No other use of the System Voices is permitted by this License, including but not limited to the use, reproduction, display, performance, recording, publishing or redistribution of any of the System Voices in a profit, non-profit, public sharing or commercial context.

I did a web search on text to speech programs for OSX and there are a number of them

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Correct Harry. For as long as QuickTime has been around, users have been allowed to, for example, include generated speech in QuickTime movies and then, for example, share with friends, like, for example, on YouTube. No longer after updating to Snow Leopard.

OK kids! Time for “Fanboy Pop Quiz”... Pick your answer:
(a) Not many people do that anyway, it’s no big deal.
(b) They probably have a good reason for adding that restriction.
(c) AAPL: now over $220 and climbing!
(d) Apple doesn’t want you as a customer. Go use WinBlows! (Snark!!)

mrmwebmax

+

Does anyone else here suspect Che Bosco is Reality Check with a new username? Has this been covered before? If not, I welcome comments!

Lee Dronick

Correct Harry. For as long as QuickTime has been around, users have been allowed to, for example, include generated speech in QuickTime movies and then, for example, share with friends, like, for example, on YouTube. No longer after updating to Snow Leopard.

This probably needs a legal interpretation. The EULA says we an use system voices for “your own original content and projects for your personal, non-commercial use.” Then it goes on to say “No other use of the System Voices is permitted by this License, including but not limited to the use, reproduction, display, performance, recording, publishing or redistribution of any of the System Voices in a profit, non-profit, public sharing or commercial context.”

What does that second bold mean when we can use the voices for our personal non-commercial use? Does it really mean we can not put our non-commercial work on our MobileMe pages or YouTube or is Apple concerned about people selling stuff made from Victoria’s voice?

I think when we discussed this situation a few months ago I linked to this product. It is voices for OSX and costs $99 for a single user.

There is also these voices for $29 each.

So if we can not use Apple’s system voices for commercial then there are some not too expensive solutions.

Dean Lewis

It’s legalese so they can cover themselves should they need to go after someone making tons of money using their voices in music or something. Considering Radiohead has a very famous album using a Mac OS voice, either this language was added after that or Radiohead got the proper licenses/permission to publish. If you don’t get permission, you’re taking the risk someone will come after you—Apple isn’t the only company that uses language like this in their EULAs, and more than tech companies have language or copyright permissions to deal with should you want to use their stuff in your art or product or whatever.

To make a big stink about it (and shame on the child porn analogy—is that worse than Godwin’s Law?) is ridiculous. Color me shocked—fetch me the smelling salts and get me to my fainting couch.

Log-in to comment