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Tags: apple evil iphone rant stupid
It's well known that every member of the official iPhone developer program is bound by Apple's iPhone SDK agreement. What seems to be much less well known is that the agreement also binds developers to follow Apple's "Copyright and Trademark Guidelines", which add a huge list of restrictions to what an iPhone developer can and cannot do.
(Before I go any further, I want to point out that I am not a lawyer and that the following is a deeply pessimistic read of what these Guidelines have to say. This is a satirical, not technical, interpretation of this document. It's quite probable that "use" means something more restricted in this legal context than it does in English, and even if it doesn't, any court would throw out the insanely restrictive clauses which I quote. Please do not bother to "refute" me on these points.)
The SDK agreement binds developers to the Copyright and Trademark Guidelines using the following language:
If You make reference to any Apple products or technology or use Apple's trademarks, You agree to comply with the published guidelines at http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/guidelinesfor3rdparties.html, as modified by Apple from time to time.
Since it's virtually impossible not to make reference to any Apple products or technology as an iPhone app developer (try selling an iPhone app without using the word "iPhone"), it's safe to say that everyone falls under this clause. The interesting thing here is that there is no language which restricts these guidelines to the iPhone. In other words, as best I can tell from the SDK agreement's wording, these published guidelines apply to your entire conduct, not just your iPhone application.
But what do those guidelines actually say? They're big and complex and I don't think many people have actually examined them in detail and considered the ramifications. I'd like to look at a few choice sections here.
4. Web Sites: Web sites that serve only as noncommercial electronic informational forums concerning an Apple product or technology may use the appropriate Apple word mark, provided such use complies with the guidelines set forth in Section 3 above.
Section 3 then contains requirements like this:
b. The use reflects favorably on both Apple and Apple products or technology.
In other words, it is a violation of your iPhone SDK agreement if you also run a web forum called, "Apple sucks".
Strange enough, but there's more!
7. Apple’s Trade Dress: You may not imitate the distinctive Apple packaging, web site design, logos, or typefaces.
Lucida Grande is pretty distinctive. It seems that no iPhone developer is allowed to use it, though.
Take a look at this section, emphasis added:
3. Variations, Takeoffs or Abbreviations: You may not use an image of a real apple or other variation of the Apple logo for any purpose.
Now, I'm not a lawyer, but I do read and understand English pretty well. I can't find any language that restricts the scope of this restriction. As best I can tell, it is a violation of your iPhone SDK agreement to have a picture of an apple on your desk, let alone on your web site, even if it's just there so you can caption it with, "This is an apple."
This section goes even further, emphasis added again:
Third parties cannot use a variation, phonetic equivalent, foreign language equivalent, takeoff, or abbreviation of an Apple trademark for any purpose.
Again, I can't find anything that restricts the scope of this. Thus, I must conclude that it is a violation of the iPhone SDK agreement for a developer to ever utter the word "appel", "pomme", "manzano", "苹果", "リンゴ", or "شجرة التفاح".
And finally, the real kicker:
8. Slogans and Taglines: You may not use or imitate an Apple slogan or tagline.
For example: "Think different."
Uttering the phrase "think different" (or writing it... better haul me away!) is a violation of the iPhone SDK agreement.
Think different, indeed!
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