By allowing the consumers to know where devices are available the "frenzy" is reduced to nothing more than a bus ride....
Apple has banned an app that allows fanbois to work out which stores have stocks of the latest iPads and iPhones. In a seemingly self-defeating move, the fruity firm wrote to Apple Tracker developer Mordy Tikotzky to say his app was no longer welcome in Apple world. He immediately removed the app, which collected publicly …
... what confuses me with this is not that Apple withdraw that App but why they approved it in the first place, since "Applications are subject to approval by Apple, as outlined in the SDK agreement" ... shaky, or what, Apples glorious App approval process (it might just be a political decision, after all) ...
It's fairly easily explained - it was a website, not an App. I know this can be confusing to the elderly hacks running this place.
Rule number one: never get your facts from El Reg.
Frinstance, no iPad Airs exploded recently - twas an iPad 4. But journalism is dead, so whatever gets 'widely reported' gets 'reported' as news.
Hmm... So Apple want the information to be only available from their own web site and not through third parties? Is it conceivable that they consider the information gleaned from tracking who checks iPad Air availability in Junction city, OR both extremely valuable and very confidential?
Say no scraping or otherwise extracting of the data on it, but these guys saw fit to ignore that and publish it on their own website, without permission and allong with a bunch of ads. Not too surprising they got a snotty letter.
It's one thing to say that Apple should make it easier to locate a store with stock. It's another entirely to say that they should allow all and sundry to scrape their data.
There are many public websites that don't allow scraping, search robots etc. It's up to the sites owners to define what may or may not be done with the data on a site. People using those sites should respect the owners wishes. What crosses the line for me is that these guys were making money out of Apple's data.
@Steve : Yes I agree that they should not be allowed to make money from Apples data.
@Test Man : I don't understand how "scraping " would change the slighest thing for Apple, Scraping requires nothing more than performing normal requests to a web page, this is not a DOS scenario. It's not like they would have been doing 10000 requests per second. A 100 requests per day maybe...which is derisory at most.
But you can agree only to provide that fact subject to terms and conditions.
If I went to the Apple website, looked up a fact and told a friend about it then this is within the terms and conditions of use. If you write and automated scraper that extracts those facts then you are breaking the T&Cs.
Khaptain - what you don't seem to realise is that "scraping" sites affect said sites' stats, take up valuable data-download bandwidth, cause load-balancing issues and in general is a bit scummy. Apple are well within their rights to ask them to stop - information being on public websites doesn't change that.
You're going to have to explain how you expect companies to prevent screen scraping while still allowing users to view the data (there's always going to be some way of getting the data out). That and "they were asking to be burgled, the door wasn't locked and their stuff wasn't nailed down" isn't regarded as a good excuse in the eyes of the law.
"You're going to have to explain how you expect companies to prevent screen scraping while still allowing users to view the data (there's always going to be some way of getting the data out). That and "they were asking to be burgled, the door wasn't locked and their stuff wasn't nailed down" isn't regarded as a good excuse in the eyes of the law."
Maybe they cannot do that, either physically or legally. That does not mean that they can throw around spurious ideas like copyright to try to stop people doing things. (You cannot copyright data, only the way it is displayed, and scrapers specifically *do not* preserve the display.)
Your analogy of people being burgled is specious, because there is no theft. It's more equivalent to someone parading around a high street dressed conspicuously and then being annoyed that people took photographs of it. You might not like it, but it's a reasonable reaction from some people to your actions.
If Apple don't want people checking its stock on its website, it doesn't have to put it up, and tell people to phone instead. So-called "Terms of Service" on viewing websites are akin to me trying to put "Terms of Viewing" on my house. Sure, you can't come inside without my permission, but I cannot stop you looking at the public-facing bit.
Oh, and you CAN copyright data. A JPEG image is just a block of data, but is eminently copyright-able (and has been upheld as such in a court of law).
And to use your analogy, what Apple have done is similar to a high street shop not allowing photographs while on the premises. The public are allowed into the shop, they can look around, but the shop is within its rights not to allow certain uses of the information they find within.
"Oh, and you CAN copyright data. A JPEG image is just a block of data, but is eminently copyright-able (and has been upheld as such in a court of law)."
Not only that, but some numbers are illegal. But a court would say that a digital movie, which can be construed as a very long number, is different from a database. Information cannot be copyrighted, only the presentation of that information. That gets into murky waters when the 'information' is a million-digit number that encodes a picture, but it is definitely not murky when it's a list of stock.
How have we managed to get to this point.
Where a company can put up a public facing website with information that anyone can come to see, without agreeing to terms or signing things in blood. And where taking that information, boiling it down, re-configuring it and showing it in a different, wholly useful way, that contains no genuinely copyrightable information can somehow be legally wrong, can result in a threatening letter, can result in a person throwing their work away because its more than its worth for them to stick up for themselves.
This is a list of public stores and public stock levels of public products buyable by members of the public.
Just think what we won't be allowed to do tomorrow.
I dunno, to me it just appears to be a bunch of idealistic "information wants to be free" arguments interspersed with a few foolishly patient individuals attempting to explain where that viewpoint diverges from reality. fun to read I'll grant you, but not really that informative.
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