Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Apple's Restrictive Licensing Agreement for iPhone Developers

The Electronic Frontier Foundation received a copy of Apple's heretofore secret licensing agreement for iPhone developers and posted it online yesterday. (Link to the March 8, 2010 article and pdf of the license) Perhaps unsurprisingly, the "agreement is a very one-sided contract, favoring Apple at every turn," according to EFF senior staff attorney Fred von Lohmann. Because the license itself restricts the developer from talking about the license in public, one could surmise that Apple understands the heavy-handed approach the license takes.

Douglas Philips, in his book "The software license unveiled : how legislation by license controls software access," makes the observation that software licenses are increasingly using contract law to recast (and, in the extreme, subvert) public laws. One-sided contracts like Apple's provide examples where such an expansive view of contract law becomes problematic.

Philip's book and many others about software licensing are available at Gallagher.

-- Patrick Flanagan
(Links to Philip's book: Gallagher Catalog, WorldCat local, Google Books)

No comments: