At this year's WWDC, Apple revealed the many features of iOS 9, including Apple News, a curated news app. The News app will create more personalized experiences — displaying stories based on the topics and types of content that interest each user, with custom layouts, photo galleries and animation.
Content on the app will come from various news outlets, such as The New York Times, ESPN and People magazine. Whereas these big names are on board, Apple is now receiving backlash from publishers.
The outcry over the app began after Apple sent out a mass email to publishers that introduced News, invited them to join, and detailed the terms and conditions. Those in the news and blogging industry were taken back to discover that Apple would automatically include a website's RSS feeds in Apple News — that is, unless they choose to opt out by replying to the email.
"Let me get this straight, Apple: you send me an e-mail outlining the terms under which you will redistribute my content, and you will just assume that I agree to your terms unless I opt out?" wrote Plausible Labs programmer Mike Ash in a post on his personal blog titled "I Do Not Agree To Your Terms."
"This makes typical clickwrap EULA nonsense look downright reasonable by comparison. You're going to consider me bound to terms you just declared to me in an e-mail as long as I don't respond? That's completely crazy. You don't even know if I received the e-mail!"
While publishers have to choice to opt-out by explicitly telling Apple, there is always the chance that editors or bloggers won't see the email if goes to spam, gets buried in their inbox, or if they happen to overlook the clause — meaning their content would automatically be used without their consent.
The terms and conditions also state that the publisher would be responsible if legal issues arise, and that ads could be featured next to a publisher's content — without the publisher getting a dime in compensation.
The terms stated in Apple's email reads as following:
You agree to let us use, display, store, and reproduce the content in your RSS feeds including placing advertising next to or near your content without compensation to you. Don't worry, we will not put advertising inside your content without your permission.
You confirm that you have all necessary rights to publish your RSS content, and allow Apple to use it for News as we set forth here. You will be responsible for any payments that might be due to any contributors or other third parties for the creation and use of your RSS content.
If we receive a legal claim about your RSS content, we will tell you so that you can resolve the issue, including indemnifying Apple if Apple is included in the claim.
You can remove your RSS feed whenever you want by opting out or changing your settings in News Publisher.
It looks like Apple is on a serious mission to fill the News app with content, so that it's ready for the launch of iOS 9 later this year.