Many publishers unhappy with Apple’s opt-out terms for Apple News

BY Evan Selleck

Published 17 Jun 2015

image Apple News

One of the tentpole new features baked into iOS 9 is Apple News, as the company unveiled the new service during its keynote to kickstart this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Recently, Apple sent out a mass email introducing Apple News to publishers, showcasing the app’s features, including a Flipboard-esque style, dynamic content, video support and photo galleries. Unfortunately, the email and its contents are beginning to ignite a bit of controversy, as many writers are disappointed in Apple’s “presumptuous” attitude towards automatically including a website’s RSS feed into its News app.

It appears that Apple will automatically include the site’s RSS feed, unless that site manually opts-out of the News service by replying directly to that mass 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 on his personal blog. “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!

The complaints are wide, but many simply focus on the fact that actually getting the email isn’t guaranteed, especially for major publishers. If that does happen, and the email is not received or replied to, it would mean that Apple deems it fit to publish the news content it aggregates from RSS feeds into its News app.

Add to that, Apple’s ability to include advertisements within its app, and next to that content, without providing any compensation to those publishers or writers. Any legal fees that might turn up, though, will get passed on to publishers.

There does seem to give some wiggle room for publishers and content makers, as Apple does seem to make it possible to remove a site’s RSS Feed “whenever you want,” just by changing a specific setting within News Publisher:

  • You can remove your RSS feed whenever you want by opting out or changing your settings in News Publisher.
  • Recently, Flipboard’s CEO said that the styling and feature set of Apple News is similar to the product the company launched years prior, but, despite the fact that Apple might be competing directly with the news company now, he doesn’t believe that’s any reason to stop working with Apple.

    Apple News will arrive with iOS 9 later this year.

    [via BBC]