back to article Vodafone looks for Magic applications

Vodafone is looking for ideas to develop as Android applications, with 10 HTC Magic handsets for the top ideas, plus a prize of £1000 and a promise to develop the very best one. The Magic is an Android-based handset, and Vodafone is hoping to sell the handset on the basis of the applications available for it - something Apple …

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Unhappy

Welcome to the age of information!!!

Where your ideas are crippled even before they get started by looming software patents, rights and DRM!

It truly is the future of mankind!</awe>

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Anonymous Coward

Idiot lawyers

Or perhaps they're just being managed by idiots. Someone's being an idiot, in any case.

I thought you might be quoting the terms & conditions in a misleading way, but it really does seem to say that. It also seems to say that you have to indemnify the Promoter in case the Entry does not comply "with all applicable laws, rules and regulations within the UK". Remember that the UK has so many laws (not to mention "rules and regulations") that even senior judges don't know what the law actually says, apparently.

It would be an interesting experiment to think up an Entry then go to an appropriate professional, with those terms & conditions, and ask how much the legal insurance would cost so that you could send in your Entry without risking everything you own. They might say "you can't afford it"; they might say "almost nothing - those terms are unenforceable in any case".

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Stop

Not quite my interpretation...

An "Entry" is merely a description of the proposed application:

"In no more than 200 words entrants will be required to describe a proposed mobile device application to use on an Google android device in sufficient detail for the Promoter to understand the nature of the application (“Entry”)."

The "Application" is separately described and the terms and conditions do not ask you to give any warranty (and corresponding indemnity) in respect of the Application.

Any infringement would therefore be for breach of copyright (and perhaps moral rights) in the words of your Entry only. So the message is, don't cut and paste from iTunes!

Still, an indemnity is a bit strong. I cannot imagine that Vodafone would suffer much loss even if the Entry was copied from a third party source.

It is possible to infringe copyright in software by virtue of "non-literal" copying of computer programs (i.e. by re-engineering them) but given the clear disjunct between the Entry (simply a description) and the Application, I think it is unlikely. That is, unless the description of the Entry very closely matched the original program (e.g. described functions, screen layouts etc. in close detail). The definition of "Entry" does not require that much detail and it would be difficult to do in 200 words!

It would also be ridiculous for Vodafone to suggest that an Entry had to be an entirely new idea for a class of applications; that would prevent me from suggestions things like "To do list application" or "shop barcode internet price match application" etc. (hmm... perhaps I should win the phone ;) Nothing on the Vodafone website gives this impression and it also does not accord with copyright law which only protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself.

As for patents, the Application may well infringe (in jurisdictions which allow pure software patents) as the embodiment of a patented idea, but not the Entry which is merely a description. As above you are not warranting the Application.

Just my £0.02. Anyone think differently?

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Silver badge
Unhappy

give me all your ideas and I'll give you a doughnut

Right.

You have pointed out the obvious flaws in this idea, apart from one.

Why on earth would I want to do anything to benefit VodAlone?

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Gold badge

Umm, have an idea, may thus avoid Vodafone

Well, I do have an idea, and the terms of this "competition" appears to be more to identify people who are not quite awake yet. Why should I give Vodafone an idea to make millions in exchange for a phone? Even if it was a Vertu (IMHO a waste of money on bling anyway).

Vodafone, here's a proposal: you can have my idea for a 30% equity stake. I'll even make it happen for you, globally. You just have to be fast because I'll be talking to investors next week, and signs are it either goes ahead immediately or is queued for the next round of investments.

So there.

Nice try, though.

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Welcome

It definitely accepts entries that didn't tick the 'accept T&C' box...

...cos I did two. If they try to nick 'em, you heard of Scratch-E and Eye in the Sky here first...

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