During his WWDC keynote on Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs praised an RSS reader called Pulse News Reader for iPad from Alphonso Labs, calling it a “wonderful RSS reader.” The New York Times, however, didn’t find it wonderful and complained to Apple that the app was violating its copyrights, which resulted in it being pulled mere hours later the same day, though the app is now available once again.
According to AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, the two were told by Apple that The Times said in a written complaint to Apple, “The New York Times Company believes your application named ‘Pulse News Reader’ infringes The New York Times Company’s rights.”
Apple then pulled the app from the App Store.
The complaint has many people scratching heads as Pulse News Reader is nothing more than a well-written RSS news reader that pulls publicly available information from RSS news feeds, including the RSS news feed made available by The Times.
Indeed, The Times itself wrote a glowing review of the app that said the app should be looked at by publishers struggling with how to survive in the digital world. “News organizations still puzzling over their iPad strategies can perhaps derive some hope from Pulse’s success,” the newspaper said, “or at least its price tag.”
The app’s price tag is US$3.99, which is significant in that it has often been atop the best selling paid app list for iPad. The Times’ point was that people are willing to pay for apps — and therefore content — on the device
That, however, was all of seven days ago, and in the intervening time the company’s lawyers managed to find a reason to get tense about the developers having put its news feed to the use for which it was intended.
Be that as it may, the developers submitted a new version of the app that didn’t include The New York Times’ RSS news feed as a default feed, and the app was quickly reapproved by Apple and is available now.
Pulse News Reader Screenshot