Apple lawyers ban AltConf from streaming WWDC keynote

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It's beginning to look a lot like WWDC at Moscone Center in San Francisco.
It's beginning to look a lot like WWDC at Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Ahead of WWDC 2015, Apple’s lawyers have demanded AltConf organizers refrain from streaming or displaying any video or display any video content from WWDC. As a result, the conference has decided to cancel its annual viewing of the Keynote and State of the Union stream on Monday that has been a staple of the event for the past few years.

In a letter to AltConf, Apple’s lawyers maintain that the company has the right to “exercises control over not only the content of its messaging, but also the manner in which those messages are packaged, distributed and delivered,” and that the AltConf’s big party of developers watching the keynote together “would strip Apple of exclusive control over one of the most anticipated events of the year, and could deprive Apple of potential revenue generated from its exclusive rights.”


Honestly, this is a dick move by Apple. Banning a gathering of developers that love your platform from meeting together and celebrating the WWDC keynote is absolutely ridiculous. It could just as well apply to us here at the Cult of Mac offices or any other large group of the Apple faithful.

Apple limits the number of WWDC invites to just 5,000 per year and there’s just absolutely no way everyone who wants to attend can, even if they have the funds to pay for a ticket and transportation. AltConf is the next best thing, giving iOS and OS X developers the opportunity to meet face to face and discuss coding tips and issues. If anything, Apple embrace AltConf. Microsft and Google don’t have a developer fanbase passionate enough to throw AltBuild and AltIO conferences.

Fortunately the show will go on at AltConf, albeit without a keynote session in the Viewing Room. Organizers say they’re still doing everything in their power to come to an agreement with Apple by using their direct contacts and hold out hope that Apple will basically stop being a bunch of jerks, because how is watching it in my living room any different than watching it with my friends?

  • I can hold a party at my house with a reasonable amount of people and stream “Daredevil” off of Netflix via projector. “for the communication of a transmission embodying a performance or display of a work by the public reception of the transmission on a single receiving apparatus of a kind
    commonly used in private homes.”

    However: “any business establishment with greater than 2,000 square feet” cannot.

    Fair Use 101!!!

    And AltConf is a business and is not covered under “The Sonny Bono Act”

    (2) the performance of a television transmission incorporating non-dramatic musical compositions is “communicated by means of a total of not more than 4 audiovisual devices, of which not more than one audiovisual device is located in any 1 room, and no such audiovisual device has a diagonal screen size greater than 55 inches, and any audio portion of the performance or display is communicated by means of a total of not more than 6 loudspeakers, of which not more than 4 loudspeakers are located in any 1 room or adjoining space . . .”12

    Try do a little bit of research before overreacting. It all online.

    AltConf knew they would get this sooner or later.

    • Jerome

      Well, thanks for writing what thinking!

    • drallgood

      Exactly. I’m surprised they flew under the radar this long!

    • Agreed.

  • Loren Sims

    Oh, it’s a “dick move” indeed!
    Doc Rock, you list several restrictions for a public presentation by a “business” (that is free and open to anyone who wants to see). I’m not aware of any plans of theirs to exceed any of the limitations you’ve listed.
    It sounds to me that Apple is saying you can watch the live-streamed keynote and session presentations on your own device, but don’t be letting anyone else watch over your shoulder!!

    • mcFactor

      No Apple says you can watch the live-streamed keynote and session presentations on your own device, but you can’t sell this streaming to other people. Because this is exactly what AltConf was trying to do – charging $300 for guaranteed spots in the viewing area for the live streams from WWDC

    • itpromike

      This has nothing to do with that… It had everything to do with altconf charging $300 to see a keynote that Apple is already streaming to everyone for free… If you read the whole letter from Apple it specifically points out that altconf charging attendees to watch the event is specifically what is in violation. Also if you notice all of the other group watch events that are free did NOT receive a notice from Apple of any kind… So yeah it WAS a dick move and Altconf who charges people $300 to watch a free event are the dicks.

      • John Henry

        Well said!

      • Duncan Hill

        Ah right, that’s totally fair of Apple then.

    • drallgood

      You seriously think, AltConf was planning on using a single TV with less than 55″ and 4 speakers for this?

      • Duncan Hill

        That’s more of a kitchen TV, not a living room TV.

      • Loren Sims

        I don’t really know what the intended setup is, but that would do in my opinion. But no, AltConf is NOT planning this. This is being handled by a third party. AltConf is only providing the venue.

  • markbyrn

    I love it! It’s about a 99% chance here that one or more of the AltConf attendees bristled at the thought of these clowns profiting from broadcasting the free keynote and dimed them out. Kudos to them.

  • Christof

    AltConf’s Viewing Room is totally free. Anyone can walk in and watch. The $300 ticket is *only* for privileged access to the sessions with AltConf speakers.

    It really is a dick move by Apple! Shame on them!

  • I am going to watch Apples live streaming on my home TV. I am going to be using Periscope, Skype, twitter, and the telephone, to interact with other viewers/developers/aficionados for free.

    Thank you Apple, Periscope, Skype, Twitter, WordPress. … Not so free for AT&T wireless, but thank you for my grandfathered unlimited Data.

    It seems to me that someones undies got in a twist from being busted, while trying to make a dollar on someone else dime.