[vlc-devel] [LEGAL] Apple ToS updates

Jean-Baptiste Kempf jb at videolan.org
Tue Mar 27 19:51:12 CEST 2012


It has been a long time since my last analysis about the Apple Store
ToS, so here is a new one.

tl;dr: it is a lot better, but some usages are not clear.

So, Apple changed a lot its legal pages and updated them during the last
few weeks and months, starting in last December (IIRC)
The important part for the iTunes Store is:
http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html It applies both to the
MAS and the iOS AppStore.

the following:

    Your license to each App Store Product is subject to the Licensed
    Application End User License Agreement set forth below, and you
    agree that such terms will apply unless the App Store Product is
    covered by a valid end user license agreement entered into between
    you and the licensor of that App Store Product (the “Application
    Provider”), in which case the Application Provider’s end user
    license agreement will apply to that App Store Product.

Which means that the default EULA does not apply to a GPL product on the
AppStore. That was the fact before and is still the case.

The second problematic part was about the Usage Rules, because it is
written, in http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html#APPS, that

    You agree that the App and Book Services and certain App and Book
    Products include security technology that limits your use of App and
    Book Products and that, whether or not App and Book Products are
    limited by security technology, you shall use App and Book Products
    in compliance with the applicable usage rules established by Apple
    and its principals (“Usage Rules”), and that any other use of the
    App and Book Products may constitute a copyright infringement.

The important part is that you "agree that (something) limits your use
of the Application ... according to the Usage Rules". Which could be
problematic with the paragraph 0 of the GPL, if the Usages Rules are too
limiting. (limite votre utilisation des Produits à certaines règles
d’utilisation in French)

Usage Rules

The first thing that hit me is that the Usage Rules are now way more
simplified and clear. The translated versions in French, German and
Italian are coherent with the english one. The use of "may" and "shall
be able to" are strictly separated. And the limitation of 5 Devices is gone.

For MAS and iAS, the first 2 rules are:

   i) If you are an individual acting in your personal capacity, you may
      download and use/sync an application from the xxx App Store for personal,
      non-commercial use on any device/Mac Computer that you own or control.

   ii) If you are a commercial enterprise or educational institution,
       you may download and use/sync an App Store Product for use
       by either (a) a single individual on one or more iOS Devices/Mac
       Computer used by that individual that you own or control or
       (b) multiple individuals, on a single shared iOS Device/Mac
       Computer you own or control.

Those 2 rules are consistent and explain clearly an authorization and
not an absence of interdiction (checked with translations).

The third rule about MAS speaks about the need of an AppleID, but this
is more an information than a rule and does not limit anything in any
way. It is not relevant here.

Similarly, the third and fourth rules about iAS are also more informative
than restrictive. The use of "you shall be able to" and the translations are
coherent with it.
The third rule is an information that you can only store applications
from 5 different accounts on a device. This is an OS and Device
limitation and not a limitation per se of the application.
The fourth rule is an information about manual synchronisation only
possible on the first synchronised iTunes. This is an iTunes limitation
and not a limitation per se of the application.

The limitation of deployment of an app on 5 devices, which was the 5th
rule is gone. (I grepped "five device" and "5 device" in the whole document).
The 3rd and 4th rules are quite different from the ones that were
previously there.

Still, what about other cases of usage than i) and ii) ?
Non-Profit organisation, like VideoLAN? NGO? Are those in the ii) case?
States and other state companies?
Individual doing commercial work (does that case even exist legally?)
Something else I forgot?

To me, and as far as I have re-read it, this is the main point blocking.
It was that in the past, and Rémi mentionned it, and it is still the same.

ToS say that some control can limit your usages but some usages are not
expressly allowed. Sure, the Usage Rules are not limiting anything
anymore, but still, I am not sure it is enough...

Best regards,

Jean-Baptiste Kempf
http://www.jbkempf.com/ - +33 672 704 734
Sent from my Electronic Device

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