Skip to main content

More on Apple's EULA

Joe Wilcox provides a good roundup. These two points get to the heart of the issue:
This is a software EULA which for the first time attempts to restrict what I can do with the output of the app, rather than with the app itself. No consumer EULA I've ever seen goes this far. Would you be happy if Garage Band required you to sell your music through the iTunes Store, or if iPhoto had license terms that kept you from posting your own photos online? It’s a step backward for computing freedom and we should resist it...

Restricting use is what EULAs have traditionally done. This one does something different: it restricts what you can do with the output of the software after the software is closed and put away. If you make a document using iBooks Author, you aren't allowed to sell that document except through Apple, ever, for the rest of your life.
And a bit about the legal background:
Qualifying that I'm not a lawyer, I know a few things about copyrights, as someone who writes for a living and who has reported on software copyrights and EULAs for 18 years. For example, software sidesteps typical US copyright terms allowing copying by being licensed, not sold. Developers like Adobe and Microsoft would be helpless against people copying software for personal use if not for laws supporting licensing. You pay for the application, but the developer retains all rights; technically you didn't buy anything, and the developer can retract your use of the software at any time.

Content produced by software like Word is typically sold, not licensed, which is one of many, many reasons why Microsoft couldn't restrict distribution of the writer's works like Apple tries to. It's also major reason why Wineman's calling the EULA "unprecedented" is gross understatement. Apple is trying to extend its rights over yours and doing so attempting to establish a dangerous precedent about which copyright supersedes the other -- yours as the content producer and Apple's as software developer and content distributor. I simplify complex copyright laws here, to make the point.
For online freedom types, this is a point well worth pressing in the courts, both to obtain clarification and to provide an angle of attack should the courts rule that software developers can claim infinite rights. As Dan Wineman (quoted above) hat we're seeing here is the sharp edge of developers' ever-increasing claim on power.

The whole "licensing" idea is bogus in my opinion, and should be replaced by something more akin to the "first sale doctrine," but in any case this is even more outrageous. Imagine if your toaster company laid legal claim, not only to your toaster, but also to what you did with your toast.

No one would stand for it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept, which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects.
Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017, where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually being be…

On Refusing to Vote for Bloomberg

Billionaire Mike Bloomberg is attempting to buy the Democratic nomination. With something like $400 million in personal spending so far, that much is clear — and it appears to be working at least somewhat well, as he is nearing second place in national polls. I would guess that he will quickly into diminishing returns, but on the other hand spending on this level is totally unprecedented. At this burn rate he could easily spend more than the entire 2016 presidential election cost both parties before the primary is over.

I published a piece today outlining why I would not vote for Bloomberg against Trump (I would vote for Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, or Biden), even though I live in a swing state. This got a lot of "vote blue no matter who" people riled up. They scolded me and demanded that I pre-commit to voting for Bloomberg should he win the nomination. The argument as I understand it is to try to make it as likely as possible that whatever Democrat wins the nomi…

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard, a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment.

When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves that e…