Apple’s iPhone developer agreement published (updated)

Apple’s iPhone developer agreement published (updated)

Summary: The EFF has posted one of Apple's most secret and most confidential documents – its developer agreement that all devs must sign in order to access the company's iPhone SDK.The EFF found a creative way to legally get and publish the document, an act that would surely invoke the Apple's legal wrath.

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The EFF has posted one of Apple's most secret and most confidential documents – its developer agreement that all devs must sign in order to access the company's iPhone SDK.

The EFF found a creative way to legally get and publish the document, an act that would surely invoke the Apple's legal wrath. Noticing that NASA had an app, the EFF used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to ask NASA for a copy, "so that the general public could see what rules controlled the technology they could use with their phones."

Originally NASA responded with a March 2009 version of the agreement but the story has been updated with a January 2010 version. Here's a direct link to the 33 page PDF document. Great bedtime reading.

The contents of the agreement are hardly surprising, the EFF’s Fred von Lohmann summed up the highlights:

  • A ban on public statements, forbidding developers to speak about the agreement.
  • Apps made with the iPhone software development kit can only be distributed through the App Store, meaning rejected apps can’t be served through the underground app store Cydia, for instance.
  • Apple indemnifies itself against developer liability surpassing $50, meaning if developers get sued, Apple will be liable for no more than $50 in damages.
  • No reverse engineering, or enabling others to reverse-engineer, the iPhone SDK.
  • No messing with Apple products. That means no apps that enable modifying or hacking Apple products are allowed.
  • Apple can “revoke digital certification of any of Your Applications at any time.” No surprise there: Your app can be pulled even if it’s already been approved, which we’ve already seen happen a number of times.

Tip: EFF

Topics: Apple, CXO, iPhone, Mobility, IT Employment

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12 comments
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  • Not that I need it but...

    it just gives me one more reason not to buy anything made by Apple.

    The HTC lawsuit is another powerful reason.
    Economister
    • Well whaddya know....

      We actually agree on something.
      Hallowed are the Ori
    • +1000, Apple = Evil Empire. nt

      nt
      T1Oracle
    • Fuly agree

      Like someone else said on these talkbacks, what a waste of a good liver...
      Scrat
  • NASA FOIA request as a trojan horse-I LOVE IT!

    Mad props to the Legal Eagles @EFF!

    That being said, unless the agreement stipulated something
    like that ALL devs name their first- or, in the case of pre-
    existing children, next-born sons "Steve", nothing in there
    was really going to surprise anyone. Hell, most of the Riders
    at Smoking Gun are probably more interesting, and certainly
    more entertaining.
    matthew_maurice
  • Poor NASA

    Their apps will get pulled now.
    Michael Kelly
    • Hardly.

      You can't be contractually obligated to violate federal law.
      matthew_maurice
    • You got that wrong: Poor Apple, caught pants down. {nt}

      .
      WinTard
  • Seems reasonable to me

    It's not like they're asking for the sacrifice of your firstborn...oh geez, I
    hope they don't sue me for divulging a clause in the [i]iPad[/i] developer
    agreement!
    asad.quraishi9
  • You can get/access/use the SDK without signing anything

    > that all devs must sign in order to
    > access the company?s iPhone SDK.

    You never need to sign ANYTHING... just to "get" the SDK... "access" the SDK... or even "use" the SDK when you write apps.

    You need to sign *AFTER* you have a working app... that you wish to put on your phone... or other phones.... or in the app store.

    I think Jason is very, very confused about the difference between what the "SDK" is... and what "getting Apple to sell your apps" is all about.

    They are *NOT* the same things at all.
    CathyCC
  • Once it's public... it's ALWAYS public.

    Once this "secret agreement" is posting online... it can never be "hidden" again. Apple can sue anyone/everyone... and remove 1000s of copies... but someone will still have it... and can always repost it.
    CathyCC
  • RE: Apple???s iPhone developer agreement published (updated)

    Does ANYONE have a copy of the Apple iOS Enterprise contract? humifish@hotmail.com
    humifish