Apple Revises iTunes Store Terms and Conditions

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Date: Thursday, June 18th, 2009, 18:20
Category: Legal, News


If you’re fond of reading the small print, this is for you.

Per Macworld UK, Apple has updated the iTunes terms and conditions with the release of yesterday’s iPhone OS 3.0 Software Update.

The changes reflect the ability to download movies, TV shows, music videos, and audiobooks from the iTunes Store on your iPhone or iPod touch. Downloads over 10MB require a Wi-Fi connection and downloading a full-length film on your iPhone could prove problematic if Wi-Fi connection is lost as Apple notes:

“Interrupted Delivery to iPod or iPhone. If delivery of a Product you purchased or rented (as applicable) using Wi-Fi on an iPod or iPhone is interrupted, your transaction will be included in your download queue. You may resume the delivery to your Apple-authorized device by selecting “Check for Purchases” from the Store menu in the iTunes application on your computer, or the download section on your iPod touch or iPhone.”

Click here for the full terms and conditions, although it basically sets the new parameters for shopping for larger content on the go and the sticking points to this.

Apple, Dell, HP Notebook Owners Consolidating Class-Action Suit Against Nvidia

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Date: Tuesday, May 12th, 2009, 07:11
Category: Legal

Respective owners of Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard notebooks have combined their lawsuits against graphics chip maker Nvidia in an attempt to create a stronger class action suit to force the company to replace flawed processors.
If successful, the case could involve millions of notebooks in question.
According to Macworld UK, the five plaintiffs, including a Louisiana resident who purchased an Apple MacBook Pro a year ago, filed an amended complaint last week in a San Francisco federal court which accused Nvidia of violating consumer-protection laws.
Nvidia had admitted to the problem in July of 2008 when the company stated that some older chipsets that had shipped in “significant quantities” of notebooks were flawed. In a subsequent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company argued that its chip suppliers, the laptop makers and even consumers were to blame.
Nvidia later told the SEC that it would take a US$196 million charge to pay for replacing the graphics processors.
Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard in turn told their users that some of the notebooks contained faulty Nvidia chipsets. Apple later stated that the company had been misled, citing that “Nvidia assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected,” Apple said in a support document posted last October.
“However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers … may be affected.”
Click the jump for the full story…

Apple Now Involved in Class Action Suit Regarding MagSafe Power Adapters

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Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 09:28
Category: Legal, MacBook

A recently filed class action lawsuit has accused Apple Inc. of neglecting a flaw in its MagSafe power connector for MacBook notebooks that might not only cause a break but could trigger sparks, forcing customers to buy replacements and even creating a potential fire hazard.
According to AppleInsider, the suit, which was submitted late last week to a Northern District of California court in San Jose, the joint complaint from Tim Broad, Naotaka Kitagawa and Jesse Reisman claims that the MagSafe cable used for the MacBook and MacBook Pro will inevitably fray near one of its connecting ends. The claim contradicts Apple’s claims that the adapter is “durable.” The plaintiffs allege that day-to-day use, including winding the cable around the power adapter’s pop-out guides, ends up destroying the cable over time — and that Apple is aware of the problem but hasn’t fully addressed it with a safer design.
All three plaintiffs at varying points have had to buy replacement MagSafe adapters for their systems that, in two cases, have already either needed a replacement or are showing signs of needing one. The plastic sheath on the cable in each circumstance was often melted away and exposed the bare wiring. In the complaint, Broad noted the heat was enough that it might have caused fire damage to his home if he hadn’t been present to watch for the danger signs.
“It almost burned my hand when I brushed it accidentally,” he says in the 27-page filing.
The trio also points to numerous examples of similar patterns online, including Apple’s own online store, where the cables had frayed, melted or sparked and forced customers to get one or more replacements. Apple, meanwhile, only asks customers to visit a certified Apple service location if sparks occur anywhere other than at the power plug’s metal prongs; many of these visits, however, only result in the customers buying another US$80 adapter rather than receiving a free replacement.
As the problem is already known to affect “at least thousands” of users and may well include hundreds of thousands with the exact same issue, the plaintiffs want class action status to represent anyone who may have bought an affected MacBook and have charged Apple with violating California’s business codes as well as breaching the implied and explicit warranties attached to the computers.
Broad, Kitagawa and Reisman want Apple to not only refund any of the associated costs with the known defective products but to warn the public and, if successful, pay punitive damages alongside the expected compensation.
As always, Apple has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

Apple Clamping Down on Jailbreaking, Other Practices with Latest iPhone NDA

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Date: Thursday, April 2nd, 2009, 08:19
Category: iPhone, Legal

With iPhone OS 3.0 en route, Apple appears to be taking a more aggressive stance against develops writing applications for jailbroken iPhone handsets. Per an Ars Technica article, Apple has recently updated its “iPhone Developer Program License Agreement”, the new version explicitly disallowing jailbreaking, assisting in jailbreaking, and developing and distributing jailbreak apps.
The report goes on to mention that while previous agreements forbade the creation of apps that violate privacy, facilitate crimes, or violate intellectual property laws, the new one restricts developers from jailbreaking their own phones.
Back in February, Apple publicly defined its legal stance on iPhone jailbreaking, arguing that it represents copyright infringement and a DMCA violation. During this time, an Electronic Frontier Foundation proposal asked for an exemption that would allow jailbreaking of iPhones or other handsets, effectively liberating the devices to run applications other than those obtained from Apple’s own iTunes App Store.
The report also states that developers are also “forbidden from using the iPhone OS, SDK, or other developer tools to develop applications for distribution in any way other than the App Store or Ad Hoc distribution.” The new changes place significant restrictions on distribution, which is now only available via the App Store at Apple’s sole discretion.
The report also notes that updated segments of the NDA specifically restrict jailbreaking or circumventing the iPhone’s built-in OS security. Though such agreements aren’t likely to entirely prevent third-party developers from writing applications, they will likely discourage developers from submitting their unapproved or rejected app on other distribution outlets that offer alternatives for customers interested in buying, testing, or installing with their software.
The text defining these restrictions reads as follows:

(e)You will not, through use of the Apple Software, services or otherwise, create any Application or other program that would disable, hack or otherwise interfere with the Security Solution, or any security, digital signing, digital rights management, verification or authentication mechanisms implemented in or by the iPhone operating system software, iPod touch operating system software, this Apple Software, any services or other Apple software or technology, or enable others to do so; and
(f) Applications developed using the Apple Software may only be distributed if selected by Apple (in its sole discretion) for distribution via the App Store or for limited distribution on Registered Devices (ad hoc distribution) as contemplated in this Agreement.

Last September, Apple extended its iPhone Developer NDA by restricting the information that developers could discuss publicly by telling developers in its App Store rejection letters that “the information contained in this message is under non-disclosure.” While discussion of details in iPhone development is generally restricted, numerous developers have complained publicly about rejections without repercussion.
If you have two cents to hurl in about this, let us know in the comments or forums.


Apple Faces Suit Over Exploding iPod Touch

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Date: Monday, March 16th, 2009, 07:55
Category: iPod Touch, Legal

A mother from Ohio has launched a suit against Apple claiming her son’s iPod touch media played exploded in his pants, caught fire, and left him with serious burns is currently seeking US$225,000 in damages from the company.
According to Macworld UK, the suit claims the 16GB iPod touch exploded while inside the 15-year-old boy’s pants pocket.
The complaint states that the boy was sitting at his desk at school when he “heard a loud pop and immediately felt a burning sensation on his leg.” When he stood up, the suit says, he realized the device was on fire.
“[He] immediately ran to the bathroom and took off his burning pants with the assistance of a friend,” the lawsuit states. “The Apple [iPod Touch] had burned through [his] pants pocket and melted through his Nylon/Spandex underwear, burning his leg.”
The boy is said to have suffered second-degree burns along with other “physical and mental conditions which will cause him to suffer pain, mental distress, emotional distress, and otherwise for the rest of his life.”
The family is currently demanding US$75,000 in “compensatory damages,” US$75,000 in “punitive damages,” and US$75,000 in legal fees and other “special damages.”
The suit names both Apple and the group of 10 employees who were at the Apple Store when the device was purchased as defendants.
The suit can be read in its entirety here.
If you have any thoughts or opinions about this, please let us know in the comments or forums.


Cydia Opens Unauthorized iPhone Application Store

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Date: Monday, March 9th, 2009, 06:07
Category: Legal

Though the App Store provides some incredibly fun and useful stuff, there are still some iPhone and iPod touch applications that can’t be acquired through this end. Applications like Cycorder, which lets you use your iPhone as a camcorder or PdaNet, which allows users to use the iPhone’s cellular data connection on their computer via a Wi-Fi connection, may never see the light of day via Apple’s online retail channel for the handset and according to Wall Street Journal, have been available through Cydia, a software installer developed by 27-year-old California graduate student Jay Freeman.
Starting today, Cydia will be opening its own app store, providing a way those jailbreak developers to easily sell their applications.
Freeman has stated that Cydia “intends to charge developers no more than the commission Apple does for his site’s billing services.” The paper reported that two more rival app stores are also underway, including one interested in “selling adult games for the iPhone.”
Though this seems like these App Store rivals may need to have their lawyers on speed dial, many technology law scholars have said that an Apple legal victory isn’t necessarily a given, as this qualifies as uncharted legal territory.
“Courts have said you shouldn’t use the DMCA to leverage your copyright monopoly into other markets,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, who said that federal courts ruled that previous DMCA-related cases were less about preventing copyright infringement, but rather about stifling competition.
Last December, the EFF proposed an exemption to the DMCA that would legalize jailbreaking. In response, Apple filed their opposition to the proposal in February arguing that it could lead to problems with the iPhone’s security and reliability, as well as providing a potential venue for pirated iPhone applications.
Many tech law experts still say that the jailbreakers might actually have a viable defense. While jailbreaking and unlocking are not the same process, the iPhone unlocking process requires jailbreaking, so it seems likely that the same legal reasoning to defend against unlocking might hold.
Either way, Cydia’s Freeman has stated that he’s ready for the impending legal challenges to come…
If you have two cents to throw in on this, please let us know in the comments or forums.


Third Class Action Suit Emerges Over iPhone Battery Replacements

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Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2007, 07:52
Category: Legal

A third class action law suit regarding the iPhone battery has emerged. The new case, filed by a Mr. and Mrs. Stiener, cite that the battery in the iPhone will only last for 300 cycles before being completely exhausting. According to the complain, the battery would cost US$115 to replace as well as the time necessary to wait for a replacement.
The couple alleges that by not placing a warning about this apparent limitation in or on its packing materials, Apple and wireless carrier AT&T have violated both good faith and the California Commercial code, which demands that manufacturers in the state honestly reflect how their products will perform in real-world conditions. The Stieners have gone on record to state that the two companies responsible for the iPhone and its service meant to defraud customers.
According to The iPodObserver, the nine-page argument that the case is using as its central core is being written by the Hoffman and Lazear as well as Folkenflik and McGerity law firms. Both of these firms handled a similar suit regarding the iPhone battery in mid-August. If found guilty, Apple and AT&T would be forced to pay restitution to any affected customer in the state of California.
If you have any ideas or feedback on this, let us know in the comments or forums.


California Law May Ban Cell, Laptop Use in Cars by Teen Drivers

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Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2007, 09:12
Category: Legal

A new bill which just passed the California assembly on Monday by a 62-5 vote may ban California drivers under 18 from using a cell phone, pager, text messaging device or laptop while driving.
The amendment aims to improve driver safety, one of the cited studies finding that while teenagers make up 6% of licensed drivers, they compromise 16% of auto accident fatalities.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill, which was previously approved by the state senate, will head back there for expected final approval of amendments before being placed on Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk. It’s unknown as to whether the Governor is expected to sign or veto it.
Opponents of the bill have argued that other distractions, such as CDs and music, continue to exist. Others have cited that hands-free devices, help remove the danger from using a device such as a cell phone in the car.
Click the jump for the full story…


Additional Class-Action Suit Filed Against Apple Over iPhones

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Date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2007, 08:46
Category: Legal

You can’t please all the people all the time.
Apple is facing yet another class-action lawsuit over its iPhone handset. The most recent action comes on behalf of New York state resident Herbert H. Kliegerman, who cites that the company failed to adequately disclose to its customers that the iPhone would be locked to AT&T’s network and that using the handset would incur substantial data roaming charges.
According to AppleInsider, the nine-page complaint, filed Monday in New York Supreme Court, accuses Apple of engaging in deceptive and misleading practices by failing to properly disclose that the iPhone would only work with AT&T SIM cards and that unlock codes would not be provided to bring the device to alternate carriers.
In the complaint, Kliegerman cites a week-long trip to Mexico, where he used his iPhone to check e-mails and go online. He did so, according to the suit, after reading a statement on Apple’s iPhone website stating that “[y]ou can browse the Internet and send emails as often as you like without being charged extra.”
Upon his return, the plaintiff claims he received a bill from AT&T with approximately US$2,000 in international data roaming charges. Kliegerman then stated that, being a frequent traveler, he returned the iPhone to AT&T in order to obtain an unlock code for the iPhone, but was told that these would not be provided to him.
Click the jump for the full story…


Users File Second Class-Action Suit Over iPhone Battery

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Date: Monday, August 20th, 2007, 08:00
Category: Legal

You can’t please them all.
A second class-action law suit has been filed against Apple and AT&T accusing the companies of failing to inform its iPhone customers that fees of more than US$100 would be needed to replace the battery as well as maintain service.
The suit, which according to Computerworld, was filed last Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Sydney Leung, is purported to represent a group that could represent hundreds of thousands of iPhone owners. Leung’s case seeks more than US$5 million in compensatory and punitive damages and a court conference to discuss the matter has been set for November 28th.
Click the jump for the full story…