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Old 07-31-2010, 01:52 PM   #1
mgmueller
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Exclamation Reselling apps - legal or not?

I've asked the same question about eBooks about 1 year ago.
Consensus, confirmed by Amazon: You don't own eBooks, you just have a license to use them. So you can't resell them.

Do you agree to that? (I'm not asking whether you agree to the concept itself. I guess all of us think the same: BS big time).
I'm interested whether your legal understanding is the same.

And then question to me: What about apps?
May I resell my iPad/iPhone, bundled with my apps?

On one hand, I can understand the argument of not being able to resell: You could copy your apps on various iPads and might be able to make a profit of it (I doubt it, I don't see users paying $ 1,500 for iPad + 300 apps. But in theory this could happen).
On the other hand, "honest users" who just want to move on, close their account and would like to resell the whole package, get punished.

The old discussion: eBooks for example are as expensive as paperbacks (sometimes even hardcovers). I could resell the paper book without any problems. But I'm not allowed to do so with my eBook. [¢¶]][‘±[“[“[¢“ concept!!!

So: Legal or not?

Last edited by mgmueller; 07-31-2010 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:36 PM   #2
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Wether it's legal or not, I wouldn't know. Wether you are ABLE to resell it, that's a different matter.

When you sell your ipad with apps in it, your account must be connected to the ipad and itunes. If the one you sold the iPad to would want to sync with their itunes, all your apps will be removed unless his computer is authorized to use your account. And since you can only authorize 5 machines (That's iDevices and computer) you'd not be able to sell your apps more than 3 times..
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
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"Not", for exactly the reason you say yourself - that you'd be "selling" the app or ebook, while still retaining access to it yourself.

I've found, by the way, most ebooks to be significantly cheaper than their paper equivalents. Eg, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" cost $5.30 in the Kindle Store. The cheapest paperback at Amazon is £3.99 = $6.25, even though the ebook includes VAT and the paperback doesn't.
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Old 07-31-2010, 04:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athlonkmf View Post
Wether it's legal or not, I wouldn't know. Wether you are ABLE to resell it, that's a different matter.

When you sell your ipad with apps in it, your account must be connected to the ipad and itunes. If the one you sold the iPad to would want to sync with their itunes, all your apps will be removed unless his computer is authorized to use your account. And since you can only authorize 5 machines (That's iDevices and computer) you'd not be able to sell your apps more than 3 times..
Great argument.
This drastically reduces the risk of illegal activities: You won't able to sell the apps endlessly. So the whole process (without jailbreak and other "backdoors") is totally safe.
In my example, I'd delete the credit card from my account, so the new user can't access it.
He can add his own account, but still use mine...
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Old 07-31-2010, 04:53 PM   #5
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Interesting question!
1) Apps are licensed as well. http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ap.../us/terms.html
Quote:
LICENSE OF PRODUCTS. The software products made available through the Service (the “Products”) are licensed, not sold, to you.
So, if you buy into Amazon's premise of licensed, not sold books, then Apps would follow the same reasoning.

2) As far as the practicality of it-I guess what you are in effect doing is selling your account as well? Just without the credit card? Not sure how Apple would ever know it wasn't you still managing that account, assuming it basically "died" in terms of new purchases, and the buyer used your old account just to access the books.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:08 AM   #6
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I thought the license issue was an old one. Most things have quoted the "licensed not sold" blurb for years.

I was under the impression (check your local laws) that you could pass on such a license, whether for a fee or not, to someone else as long as you passed on all the rights with it and you no longer had or tried to use those rights.

It seems to be in most EULA somewhere these days.
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebaize View Post
I thought the license issue was an old one. Most things have quoted the "licensed not sold" blurb for years.

I was under the impression (check your local laws) that you could pass on such a license, whether for a fee or not, to someone else as long as you passed on all the rights with it and you no longer had or tried to use those rights.

It seems to be in most EULA somewhere these days.
My understanding: The T&Cs (for example definitely from Amazon and obviously from Apple as well) state differently. I've got different replies whether those T&Cs actually are binding or not.
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:50 PM   #8
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Perhaps you should consider whether or not you should be doing business with a company whose sales conditions you find yourself unable to accept?
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Old 08-01-2010, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Perhaps you should consider whether or not you should be doing business with a company whose sales conditions you find yourself unable to accept?
First of all, there's not even a consensus whether those sales conditions even apply = would be legally binding.
And I guess, sticking only to the "acceptable ones" would limit the field quite substantially.
Most likely I only could go for units which don't bundle any content.
B&N, Amazon and Apple probably would be out of the game.
Sony probably would remain.
I don't see it as "unacceptable". But I think it's simply not very well thought out.

Just an example:
The limitation of ADE is ridiculous. I permanently have to request new activations, for every single new ADE-capable reader.
Even if I delete all of my former activations.
But this would be easily solvable:
They could allow the end customer, to manage his activations.
For example, a maximum of 3 "living" activations at once.
Right now, I can activate new units but keep the old ones. I agree, this leaves room for mis-use (=reselling readers plus content more than once).
But they simply could request: When having 3 readers active, you have to de-activate the others. Not just by deleting the account. In Amazon, for example, I do so. Most of the books I only can have 4 times at once. But I have 3 Kindles, plus PC, plus iPhone, plus iPod touch plus iPad. So I've deleted iPhone and iPod touch for example. The books are gone, as those units are online. But I could have deleted the Kindles as well. The books would NOT be gone, as mine are the US versions, so I can't go online in Germany. So I could delete the Kindles from the account, but the content already on them still would be accessible.
So I actually could resell those Kindles fully loaded.
Why not just request to connect your Kindle to the PC, so the content gets deleted while de-activating?
Then they would be sure, you have for example, 3 copies of each books active at once as a maximum. And this could be considered in the licensing scheme (probably already is).
And then they could allow you, to sell 2 copies tops.
And this scheme of course would be possible for any given number of activations.

So the only problem actually occurs, because all of them don't have any control over the number of copies you actually might have.
But that's just due to their inefficient system.

As long as all of them are on the same level of "inefficiency", you have to accept it.
But I'm sure, I'm not the only one who eagerly would switch format/account/DRM-scheme as soon as there's a smart alternative.
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Old 08-01-2010, 03:20 PM   #10
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Every company has its own terms of service regardling license transfer. From what I've read about software licenses, most companies will let you transfer a license, although some require you to fill out a form first. In any case, when you transfer a license you relinquish your right to use the product, and any additional copies you have must be disabled/deleted.

I don't know Apple's stance on license transfer, but as your apps are tied to your iTunes account I don't know of a way to transfer your license(s) to another iTunes account. You may want to contact Apple directly and ask them.
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Old 08-01-2010, 03:50 PM   #11
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Every company has its own terms of service regardling license transfer. From what I've read about software licenses, most companies will let you transfer a license, although some require you to fill out a form first. In any case, when you transfer a license you relinquish your right to use the product, and any additional copies you have must be disabled/deleted.

I don't know Apple's stance on license transfer, but as your apps are tied to your iTunes account I don't know of a way to transfer your license(s) to another iTunes account. You may want to contact Apple directly and ask them.
Legal aspects aside, from a technical perspective it would be easy.
The apps on iPad are active.
Personally, I have 2 accounts active on my iPad (my old German one with lots of iPhone apps and some localised iPad apps. And my actual US one for the majority of apps, movies and TV shows). This proves, you can have 2 accounts at the same time on the very same unit.
So I could sell my iPad, loaded with apps. The buyer could use those on the iPad and add his own apps with his own account. The only downside: He can't access my account, so he won't be able to update my former apps.
Alternatively, I could delete my credit card from my account and hand this account to the buyer.
Technically, I think this should be possible. And I even could prove, that I'm not using the account anymore. First of all, the new owner can change the password, even the login-name/mail address (he most likely would do this anyway, to protect his credit card). Second, this could be proven via login/IP.

But from a legal perspective, this doesn't seem to be allowed. One could argue that's okay for "cheap" content.
If a game on Nintendo DS costs, let's say, € 40 and on iPad it's only € 5, it's not much harm done. You'd resell the NDS with a loss of at least € 20, the loss for the iPad game can't be more than € 5.
But in the example of eBooks, they often cost the same as your average paperback, sometimes even a hardcover book. Then you loose the entire invest with eBooks, whereas you easily could resell the physical book.

"worst case scenarios" of massive fraud aside: Let's assume, your average user has his iPad for 2 years. He buys 100 apps for € 500. He moves on (maybe he's bored, maybe he's got a new hobby, maybe he just changes systems). He may be able to sell his iPad. But what about the content (in many cases the way bigger invest)? Should he just delete his eBooks/apps/movies/TV shows? That's just an inefficient system, compared to physical media as DVDs, cartridges and so on. And not because you're not allowed to resell your stuff. But only because the providers aren't able to avoid 10 copies being sold.
But why is the honest customer, who wants to resell 1 unit and the dedicated content with it, punished by that inefficiency?

Last edited by mgmueller; 08-01-2010 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:27 PM   #12
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Legal aspects aside, from a technical perspective it would be easy.
The apps on iPad are active.
Personally, I have 2 accounts active on my iPad
I also have 2 accounts on my iPad. My dad and I share each other's accounts using the up to 5 machine iTunes activation allowance. Doing it that way is both technologically easy and legal.

Sharing your apps without giving away your iTunes account info may be technically impossible (not only can you not update the apps as you already pointed out, I don't think you can even sync them with iTunes on your computer without the account info). Legally, you would have to ask Apple if its ok to sell your app licenses. I'm guessing the answer is no. Furthermore, any content that is not tied to Apple (like Amazon ebooks) would need permission from their respective owners.

Bottom line, you probably shouldn't try to sell an iDevice including apps as part of the sale.
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