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What’s the problem with App Developer EULAs?

 End-User Licensing Agreements?

With the new year approaching, the recent Instagram terms of service incident, and 2013 regulations about to take effect, we’ve been getting a lot of queries about “what’s the issue with end-user licencing agreements (EULA)?” This is a particularly relevant subject for iOS developers since the Apple Store needs consumers to agree to the conditions of their own EULA in order to download any app. The Apple Store EULA not only protects Apple, but it also protects the programmes (and consequently the app developers) in the app store to a certain extent. Many app developers are left wondering how much they are protected by Apple’s EULA and if they need their own EULA.

End-User Licensing Standard Agreements

An EULA, or software licencing agreement, is the contract that establishes the purchaser’s right to use the programme between the licensor and the purchaser. A standard EULA covers many of the areas that should be covered in any well-drafted terms, including defining the scope of the licence to be granted to the user of the copyright and other intellectual property contained in the app, consent to using technical data gathered about the user’s device, exclusion of liability for third-party materials and websites, exclusion of warranties, and limitation of liability

The App Store Elements

If you submit an app for the iPhone or another iOS device to the Apple App Store, customers must agree to a slew of terms and conditions in order to have access to the App Store. As one would imagine, the majority of these are in place to safeguard Apple’s intellectual property as well as those of its licencing partners. What is less evident is that when customers accept Apple’s conditions, they also agree to the snazzy-sounding Licensed Application End User Licence Agreement.

This typical EULA may be sufficient to protect you from legal liability. It is entirely dependent on what your app accomplishes. Payment conditions, user contributed material, substantial liability restrictions, and guarantees for third-party content are all areas that the normal Apple EULA does not cover.

TOUs vs. EULAs

EULAs and Terms of Usage (TOU) serve the same purpose: they create a contract between the user and the firm for the use of a product. Many attorneys use the phrases EULA and TOU interchangeably, although TOUs are a more complex collection of provisions. An EULA is often only applicable to an agreement that controls the use of the licenced item, i.e. software. Many (if not all) of the terms listed in an EULA are often present in a TOU. As a result, you do not need to include your own TOU and EULA in the same software. However, if you have your own TOU that consumers agree to when they download your programme, the regular Apple EULA will not apply.

Your Own Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

The normal Apple EULA only covers the most fundamental programmes. As applications get more complicated, social, and accept more money, the conventional EULA becomes more inadequate. If you have a simple programme, the Apple EULA should enough; but, if your app does a little bit more, you may want to consider creating your own TOU.

Your TOU should include all of the fundamentals of the regular Apple EULA. Certain clauses, such as the “Consent to Use of Data,” should not be omitted. Otherwise, the user will not have consented to the usage of technical information gathered about their device.

By this time, most app developers understand that they must have their own privacy policy that users must consent to. Any downloading user must also consent to any customised TOU. With the rates of TOU and privacy policy writing falling due to service marketplaces or automated technologies, even the most poor app developer can afford this kind of legal service.