back to article Apple cracks down on black market in iOS beta passes

Apple has forced several sites selling access to beta versions of its iOS operating system to shut down after filing DMCA requests with their hosters. Developers are given access to beta versions of iOS so they can test out their apps, but Apple sells devs a batch of passes for 100 iOS devices for $99. Generally dev companies …


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  1. Mark Wilson


    How much of a fanboi must you be to pay for beta software which will be free in a couple of months.

    1. LarsG


      Big smack bottom.....

      Naughty naughty!

      And it WILL be in the small printnofnthe terms and conditions.

    2. rvt

      Re: Sad


      Not really, i remember that windows 98 beta went for 100usd.

      If you are intersted in something, why not buy it?

      I don't see a reason wht this is sad..

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charging people to beta test (and fault find) your software. Gawd...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You don't seem to understand what the developer program is - you're meant to try out the betas with YOUR stuff.

      Actually I wish Google gave developers more timely access to pre-release Android versions, we only got about 2 weeks between the release of the Jelly Bean SDK and tablets getting into the hands of presumably lots of people..

      Two of our apps are crashing on it and we have no one available to debug it.

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Charging people to beta test (and fault find) your software. Gawd...

      I think it's actually cheap. How much does a new copy of Windows cost? That's also at best beta when it's launched (hence the usual wait for Service Pack 1)..

  3. ThomH

    Technically illegal, I think

    The developer programme licence limits devices that may be added to your account to those that are actually used for development. The iOS beta is then distributed under a non-disclosure agreement that limits its use to that same class of devices.

    That, plus active enforcement, sounds like enough to establish that Apple intend the betas to be trade secrets.

    So developers that breach their contracts with Apple are conveying trade secrets without authorisation and those that buy into this sort of scheme are buying trade secrets.

    That being said, supposing Apple stop at just having the sites taken down I think they're acting proportionately.

    1. Richard Cartledge

      Re: Technically illegal, I think

      It's not illegal, as in there is no law against it, but there is a civil matter of breach of contract.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Re: Technically illegal, I think

        There are two legal elements in play here:

        1. It's a breach of contract on the part of the developer. All developers are required to sign an NDA when dealing with developer previews and beta releases from Apple. Quite why any developer would stupid enough to think it a good idea to sell on their licenses to such software to third parties escapes me: they must be seriously hard of reading.

        2. Copyright law applies to Apple software just as it does to The Beatles' White Album. The reseller has no right to sell Apple's property without Apple's permission. So, yes, it's illegal in the "criminal" sense too. Hence the use of the DMCA to take down the offending websites.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Technically illegal, I think

          Not so. Not even a grey area.

  4. JaitcH

    Who said Jobs was dead?

    Even if he is, his ghost sure is around making Apple as mean spirited, in so many ways, as it always was.

    Cutting a little slack often generates goodwill.

  5. Bruce Hoult

    this is probably because of maps

    I'll bet this is happening now because SO MANY people have installed the beta of iOS6 (possibly as many as have ICS on Android!), and many are then complaining about how bad the data is in the new (non Google) Maps application.

    The beta is NOT there for random people to use in real life — it's there for developers to test their own apps to make sure they will be compatable with the new OS, and to start to use the new APIs. It's perfectly reasonable for the maps data to be strictly sample data at this stage.

    If it's still bad when iOS6 is released to the general public then that's the time to complain, not when you jump through hoops to install an early access version meant only for developers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    asking if it's legal?

    you should read El Reg! this was ruled on last week and Apple got nothing.

    "The first sale in the EU of a copy of a computer program by the copyright holder or with his consent exhausts the right of distribution of that copy in the EU. A rightholder who has marketed a copy in the territory of a Member State of the EU thus loses the right to rely on his monopoly of exploitation in order to oppose the resale of that copy… The principle of exhaustion of the distribution right applies not only where the copyright holder markets copies of his software on a material medium (CD-ROM or DVD) but also where he distributes them by means of downloads from his website."

  7. HaydnH

    Just move to the EU

    While there may be contract issues regarding sourcing/redistributing the Beta software, the resale of the licenses is not illegal in the EU. Remember the Oracle stories:

    Surely the web sites could find a web host in the EU and as long as they're only reselling licenses and not providing the software should be fine?

  8. Gordon Fecyk

    Product Activation!!1!one

    It was only a matter of time for Apple.

  9. tuseroni

    felony interference with a business model

    their business model requires they get CERTAIN people to test it, but not everyone. some of these certain people decided to sell their licenses to make money. cool free market and all that. the licenses are theirs. it may well constitute a breach of contract but again they BOUGHT the licenses its theirs to resell. it's not a copyright issue and their use of the DMCA is wrong.

    the whole thing boils down to felony interference with a business model(

  10. lord_farquaad
    Thumb Down

    Apple must act

    As a developer, I consider that Apple must act quickly.

    They must act quickly, not against people getting their hands on iOS beta releases, but against people complaining against iOS beta releases not being supported by App developer.

    Last year, from beginning of July to end of September, my app got several 1 star note and negative comments by users of iOS5 beta complaining because of crashes.

    This is really a burden.

    This year, the day after iOS6 beta 1 was out, I had a 1 star note from an iOS6 user, because of a standard telephony feature my application is using, and is in IOS since version 1, and that is broken in IOS6 for the time being. It was not even a problem of my application not working correctly under iOS6.

    Apple should prevent those people from noting apps on teh market. Apple must act quickly on that.

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