Apple News app under scrutiny over terms and conditions for bloggers

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By Tony Connelly | Sports Marketing Reporter

June 17, 2015 | 2 min read

Apple has come under fire for the terms and conditions attached to its recently unveiled Apple News app after it emerged that bloggers' consent for the company to use their content was automatically assumed unless they explicitly opt out.

As spotted by the BBC, an unsolicited email from Apple to selected bloggers informed them of the new service and set out terms and conditions which will allow Apple to use their content unless they specify otherwise.

The terms contained within the email also include consent for Apple to place adverts next to their content without paying them as well as agreeing that they will be required to cover Apple if legal issues arise from their content.

The requirement for bloggers to opt out has proven controversial and was questioned by Graham Hann, the head of technology, media and communications at the law firm Taylor Wessing, who told the BBC the opt-out approach is "very unusual".

Mike Ash was one of the publishers who received the email from Apple which he described as “presumptuous” and “wrong”.

In a recent blog post entitled ‘I Do Not Agree To Your Terms’ Ash wrote: "Let me get this straight, Apple: you send me an email 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?

"You're going to consider me bound to terms you just declared to me in an email as long as I don't respond? That's completely crazy. You don't even know if I received the email!"

The Apple News app, which is due to launch later this year as part of the general iOS9 release, will be comprised of editorial staff working on the content rather than using an algorithm similar to Facebook. It will store, display and reproduce the content in bloggers RSS feeds in the Apple News app.

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