Mobile Apps – Legal Issues Constantly Changing

I recently gave a presentation on some of the legal issues concerning developing mobile apps and making them available in the various app marketplaces (iTunes App Store, etc).  I will post a version of the presentation soon.

However, in the couple of months that have passed since I created the presentation, much has changed.

In the presentation, I explained that app developers may choose to provide their own EULA if they don’t want Apple’s default EULA to control the use of the app.  I also showed how that looks in practice – one app had a separate button linking to the developer’s “custom” EULA while the other app did not, thus Apple’s EULA governed that app.

On February 22, 2012, California’s AG signed a “Joint Statement” with various app marketplace providers (i.e. Apple’s App Store, Google’s Android Marketplace) which will require app developers to provide a Privacy Policy with each app that collects personal information.  This agreement is intended to force all app developers to comply with California’s existing Online Privacy Protection Act (Business and Professions Code section 22575) which mandates that websites have a Privacy Policy.  The app marketplace providers will edit their existing app submission protocols to take into account Privacy Policies, and there will be easy access to the app’s Privacy Policy, similar to the custom EULA button addressed above.

From the Press Release:  “This agreement will allow consumers the opportunity to review an app’s privacy policy before they download the app rather than after, and will offer consumers a consistent location for an app’s privacy policy on the application-download screen. If developers do not comply with their stated privacy policies, they can be prosecuted under California’s Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law.”

See: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2630&y=&m

Another big change was Google’s March 6, 2012 decision to abandon the “Android Marketplace” brand for the “official” Android marketplace.  Google will now offer Android apps at the “Google Play Store.”   As a trademark attorney, I applaud ditching such a descriptive phrase as a brand, but it means I need to re-d0 part of my presentation now!

See: http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/06/goodbye-android-market-hello-google-play/

UPDATE:

Mobile Apps presentation (some slides may be NSFW if your work has such policies).  I wish I had an MP3 to post of the actual commentary that went with the slides.

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