Publishers criticize Apple for ‘completely crazy’ News app email

Publishers criticize Apple for ‘completely crazy’ News app email


Publishers are frustrated with Apple's hasty attempt to lock them in to the forthcoming News app's terms and conditions.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s iOS 9 News app hasn’t even seen the light of day yet, but publishers are already heavily discontent with the email Apple sent out to them regarding its terms and conditions. The email essentially tells publishers what they’re agreeing to by opting in to the News app and assumes they agree unless they explicitly state otherwise.

Even if publishers don’t like the terms and conditions Apple lays out, Apple is basically forcing their hands unless they later specify that they don’t agree. In that case, of course, they also don’t get to be a part of the News app. The terms and conditions themselves don’t entirely appear to be causing the uproar, but rather the odd presumption that all the publishers are automatically willing to participate even in total silence.

In an email sent to various publishers, Apple has detailed that if website’s don’t want their RSS feeds included in the News app they must reply ‘NO,’ rather opting into the service voluntarily.

“You’re going to consider me bound to terms you just declared to me in an email as long as I don’t respond? That’s completely crazy. You don’t even know if I received the email!” writes Mike Ash.

Graham Hann, head of technology, media and communications at the Taylor Wessing law firm, told BBC the terms and conditions themselves are about on par with every other contract within the industry, except Apple is wrongfully making the automatic opt-in assumption.

“I don’t see how the notice could form a binding contract without a positive reply,” Hann stated.

This certainly isn’t the first time Apple is accused of playing hard ball. In fact, record labels are already dissatisfied with the forthcoming Apple Music service and its three-month free trial, which won’t give the labels so much as a dime in royalties.

Today’s story is also similar to when Apple increased song previews on iTunes from 30 seconds to 90 seconds. It basically told publishers if they didn’t like it, they could take their music off iTunes at the expense of visibility.

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