Apple iPhone Developer Agreement Leaked

There are over 100,000 apps available in the App Store and if you want to develop an application for the  App Store, you have to sign the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement for it. The only catch is, that you cannot talk about the agreement in public. Now, thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), it’s out. EFF has managed to get the agreement from NASA, when NASA developed an iPhone app without signing the agreement (wonder why Apple allowed NASA to forgo the agreement).

Anyhow, coming to the juicy details, Apple really has some shitty clauses in the agreement,  Like for example —

App Store Only: Section 7.2 makes it clear that any applications developed using Apple’s SDK may only be publicly distributed through the App Store, and that Apple can reject an app for any reason, even if it meets all the formal requirements disclosed by Apple. So if you use the SDK and your app is rejected by Apple, you’re prohibited from distributing it through competing app stores like Cydia or Rock Your Phone.

Kill Your App Any Time: Section 8 makes it clear that Apple can "revoke the digital certificate of any of Your Applications at any time." Steve Jobs has confirmed that Apple can remotely disable apps, even after they have been installed by users. This contract provision would appear to allow that.

We Never Owe You More than Fifty Bucks: Section 14 states that, no matter what, Apple will never be liable to any developer for more than $50 in damages. That’s pretty remarkable, considering that Apple holds a developer’s reputational and commercial value in its hands—it’s not as though the developer can reach its existing customers anywhere else. So if Apple botches an update, accidentally kills your app, or leaks your entire customer list to a competitor, the Agreement tries to cap you at the cost of a nice dinner for one in Cupertino.


But these clauses don’t seem to affect the iPhone developers considering the huge amount of apps in the app store. If you are curious, you can download the agreement from below:

20090317_iphone_dev_agr.pdf              680.72 KB

20100127_iphone_dev_agr.pdf              289.01 KB

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Apurva Chaudhary

Apurva is a tech enthusiast, works at ClassMatrix , cycles on her Firefox Cyclone, and runs a newsletter at Techknots . Follow her on Twitter