Print 51 comment(s) - last by Pavelyoung.. on Oct 5 at 9:31 AM

  (Source: Reuters)
Apple has a change of heart with its NDA for released software

Apple has come under heavy criticism for its draconian Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for iPhone/iPod touch software developers. The NDA didn't allow software developers to talk with one another about the software applications that they were developing or the inner workings of the iPhone software ecosystem.

The backlash against Apple's restrictive software policies came to a boil when it rejected the Podcaster application and finally boiled over when Apple added an NDA to its rejection notices sent to developers whose software products were found unacceptable by Apple standards.

After being thrown under the bus by its own community, Apple has now reversed its position on its NDA for released software. The following was posted on iPhone Developer Program website:

We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software.

We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.

However, the NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone’s success, so we are dropping it for released software. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released.

Thanks to everyone who provided us constructive feedback on this matter.

Hopefully, this move by Apple will mean less confusion in the developer community and better applications for the iTunes App Store.

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RE: A Non-Solution
By Mojo the Monkey on 10/1/2008 4:19:29 PM , Rating: 1
You have absolutely no understanding of intellectual property law and I suggest that you stop making statements that imply otherwise.

NDA or no, your intellectual property is always yours. An NDA is not the type of contract/agreement that removes your rights to your own IP. All of the background development and documents are going to be admissible to make your case if you claim Apple stole your product under the guise of rejection.

RE: A Non-Solution
By Myg on 10/1/2008 7:50:39 PM , Rating: 2
But surely it removes your rights to talk about said programs and design? From what I understand, a case is difficult to win quickly with just evidence and no one to speak on the evidence's behalf?

But some people have jumped the gun here; we arn't talking about stealing. Apple may be cutesy with their marketplace 'scam' but they arn't stupid.

Seemingly they are just trolling for concepts and ideas that they are unable to think about themselves and then use this 'claim' of theirs to prevent it from being released so they can design/reverse engineer their own version of it. Seems like a normal corporate thing to do these days...

Why are we suprised at such behaviour?

RE: A Non-Solution
By Mojo the Monkey on 10/2/2008 1:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
The same kind of scenario (and, hence, techniques under the law to prevent this scenario) occur in the film industry.

Example: a writer presents a script to a producer or studio, the script is rejected, and then the studio hires their own hack to write up a script with an identical plot. COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

These kinds of issues are litigated and there are ways of proving up your case. I'm not going to get into the details of this, but the point is that the kind of practice you are describing is wrong under civil law and there are remedies.

If you are suggesting that Apple is making common practice out stealing ideas, which are still under NDA, and using the NDA in turn to prevent programmers from getting what is owed to them for their ideas... then I think you are reaching.

RE: A Non-Solution
By Calin on 10/2/2008 2:40:05 AM , Rating: 2
Then how do you prove you've thought of it before, if you can't say it?

RE: A Non-Solution
By Mojo the Monkey on 10/2/2008 1:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
You dont prove that you "thought of it before". We're talking about a hypothetical situation where Apple sees your [unfinished] product, rejects it, and then "steals the idea" and develops its own version of the program.

Here, you have all kinds of data and other forms of evidence that you did, in fact, develop and present this idea to Apple before they made their version.

An NDA is not omnipotent. If a law suit breaks out, the terms of the NDA are superseded to prevent injustice. Worst case scenario, the documents would just remain confidential and closed to the public. The court would still be able to see what is really going on.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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