Copyright, You, Buzztouch™ & Your App

Copyright and Your Buzztouch App

This blog is a collection of various issues that have been discussed on the Buzztouch Forum about copyright law.

This is not legal advise and is not intended as legal advice. If you want legal advise, hire a lawyer. It’s a review of the issues involved and my analysis of the issues. I’ll rewrite this later to include more analysis and to organize the various issues.

I know this blog is a mess, but given the frequency of request for this information, I’m providing it “as is”.


  • Part I – Buzztouch & Copyright
    • Buzztouch’s, “I understand CopyRight Law Check Box” Do you really understand copyright law?
    • Missing Icon’s in BTv2. To bad not everything in life is free, sorry
    • Fair Use
    • Buzztouch TOS: Read it
    • Plugins: There’s Copyrighted content in there, yes really, there is.
    • Endless Debates: Hopefully this article will silence some of it.

Part II – But I’m a Non-Profit:

  • Non-Profit or just unprofitable: There’s a Big Difference.
  • Non-Profit’s: Who Cares you’re not special.
  • 501(c)(3): So, You’re a charity.
  • Non-commercial Use: Is your knitting club really non-commercial.
  • Free vs. Paid: Free doesn’t mean non-commercial.

Part III – The Law:

  • Location, Location, Location: USA Copyright Law vs. Non-USA Law
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act:
  • DMCA warning:
  • Copyright Disclaimer:
  • Database Compilation

Part IV – Linking: To Link or Not to Link, that is the question:

  • Advertising with links: Maybe good, Maybe Bad.
  • Deep links: As always depends, probably not good. What country are you in?
  • Framing: Same as Deep Linking
  • Google Maps: Violation of TOS if you . . .
  • YouTube: See Google Maps

Part V – Apple Review:

    • iTunes Link: get it right
    • Apple’s crazy (Apple & PayPal): Thread carefully
    • Apple Review: Yes they look at copyright issues
    • Letter to Apple: Somebody doesn’t like you
    • Letter from Apple: You better pay attention
    • Different Reviewer Different Outcome: Not everyone at Apple know or understands the law.
    • Jailbreaking, Apple and EFF: It’s Legal
    • Adding Screens after submitting for review: you’re avoiding the issue, expect al letter one day

Part VI – Miscellaneous:

  • Is it your source code or theirs
  • Using someone’s source code
  • Copyrighting your app: Consider it done
  • It’s via a mobile app not a webpage: So What!
  • Can I Copyright this? Can you copyright what you don’t own.
  • What can you copyright?


  • Legal Advise: What make’s you think you need it.
  • Don’t Trust Lawyers: Most of them make it up, verify, verify, verify.
  • Litigation as a weapon

Part VIII – Android Market: Basically the same issues as iTunes, just not upfront.

    • Letter to Android Market
    • Letter from Android Market
    • Google routinely removes apps that violate Trademark and Copyright Law

Part IX – A Indecent Proposal:

  • Having Someone publish your App
  • Publishing Someone’s App

Part X – Company won’t allow apps with YouTube links: It’s their right, but they probably don’t understand the law or don’t wish to deal with the issue. It’s their call.

Lesson # 1: Buzztouch’s TOS: Did you read it or even know about it? Doesn’t matter, you agreed to it and it applies. among the many terms you agree to not use copyrighted content in violation of the law and to indemnify Buzztouch for your actions.

Lesson # 2 Fair Use: The first review of this Blog by chrspe: Ok Fred, good information, but just asking, at the end you say it is copyrighted…BUT it is someone elses (buzztouches) information. How does all that play in. Thanks for the info; “@chrspe, you ask an excellent question. My commentary and my analysis my content. The citing of the posts on the forum is fair use since I’m providing analysis. If I were to simply duplicate the posts and not provide analysis I doubt I would be lawful. Precisely why the ‘making fun of YouTube’ is allow whereas the linking for commercial purposes is not.  See the difference.”, Fred.
Getting consent is always wise, but not required for fair use. That’s why Jon Stewart loves Papa Bear and Fox News, so much free material to work with.

    The reason the icons were not included is they are copyrighted. Something to consider if you’re creating an app for commercial use, especially if you’re creating one for a client.

I don’t believe they own the copyright. They’re using per license, therefore they can’t give what’s they don’t have. Personal use is not the same as free. Fair use is a Defense to copyright right infringement. But it’s still an infringement. Basically ask yourself these questions? Am I benefiting from their work? Not good. Am I explaining, mocking, or discussing their work? Probably ok. Would I like it if they use my work that way? Probably not ok, see above.

But, I’m not trying to take anything from them? You should ask. Waves of legalities?? Depends, they may never know about you. FREE?? That’s Not the issue.

Rejection from apple? 8.6: Google Maps and Google Earth images obtained via the Google Maps API can be used within an application if all brand features of the original content remain unaltered and fully visible. Apps that cover up or modify the Google logo or copyright holders identification will be rejected.

YouTube TOS specifically says, “Users may only use their services for personal use (NOT COMMERCIAL) AND the TOS also says that you cannot access YouTube content through a paid gateway.”

“Look at tosh.0 he makes millions on his show, playing and making fun of YouTube videos…”, Slater. BT Forum Posted: Fri, Aug. 12 2011.

Zoid66, Posted: Thu, Nov. 03 2011 06:16 PM (pst) “Just a small ‘warning’ I release a very similar app on android… And was ready to release one on Apple.. Here is goes way bummed out on this one… I got a DMCA warning from one of the people on your list within your app.. That I was in violation.. Now I spoke with a IP attorney and I was told it is not against any trademark ect to link to copyright content.. Listing a R name is no different then a phone book listing a company’s name. Long story short.. I filed a dispute against this and my google account is now suspended why the matter is being resolved. Yep all my apps are removed for now.. I was going to post this in another topic most likely still will!!”

” . . . I too followed all the guidelines ect. One of the people in your apps list starting with a K filed a DMCA against me because I linked to their site… DMCA is digital millennium copyright act.”

David@Buzztouch Posted: Wed, Feb. 16 2011 03:58 PM (pst) ” . . .Apple’s crazy about this kinda thing. Oh, and the copyrighted material -um -did you check the check box that read I understand the copyright laws when you created your buzztouch app? This isn’t good. PayPal + Apple = Nightmare. Sorry, don’t have any good news here.”

One thing i am concerned about now is whether there would be legal liability fo if i allow people to upload photos to a server I host, could possibly get some (one) us(es) my app for uploading copyright stuff…Am re-considering including that feature in the App at all. One possible work around might be to use flickr as then the images are hosted with them and there is I assume some public (service) that would result in . . . images being taken down. IslandApps, Posted: Sat, May. 14 2011.

There are endless debates about the copyright question. Both sides make a good argument. About the best thing I can recommend is that you make 100% sure you can use content in your app without violating anyones rights. I know this is a generic answer, not sure what else to advise. Posted by David@Buzztouch, May 27th, 2011.

Jnica23, Posted: Fri, Jul. 08 2011 11:08 AM (pst) I was looking over some of the things I need for the submission of my app to the app store and one of them was a copyright. Do I have to copyright my app before I am able to submit it? (I’m such a n00b)

Stefan, Posted: Fri, Jul. 08 2011 12:01 PM (pst) “About copyright: it does not have to be registered like a trademark or service mark. Copyright exists the moment something is created. If the material in the app contain copyrighted content you should have the rights to use it. If its material you control/created yourself you have the copyright. That being said, don’t post apps that include copyrighted material that you dont have rights to use.”

Apple requires the App Store logo have a link. It’s mandatory.

Bracesport, “Posted: Fri, Jan. 06 2012 11:36 PM (pst) I think apple will only reject your app for technical reasons.. you just have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.. I don’t thing they are interested in how it looks (that’s) your domain! I was rejected at the start for copyright when I foolishly thought apple would be happy for me to use their iTunes icon!!”

Mutzy, “Posted: Mon, May. 23 2011 06:13 PM (pst) So apparently my understanding of copyrighted information isn’t as good as I thought. I had some links in my app that loaded the algorithms we use for CPR and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) on the American Heart Association’s website. The jpg files are free available online, and my app was free, so didn’t think it was an issue. I got an email today from them via apple stating I illegally used their copyrighted material. They were also upset because I mentioned these algorithms in my app’s description and because the link to these algorithms were a custom url as opposed to launching a new browser, both of which also violated their copyright agreement. They have a very long copyright agreement. They told me I had a couple (of) days to take down the app or they would take legal action (already removed the app and sent an update). Now I have to figure out if I can make my own algorithms or if they’ve somehow copyrighted the data within the algorithms as well. Confusing…”

Takagi, Posted: Mon, Jan. 30 2012 03:37 PM (pst) Apple can be real you know whats when it comes to rejecting apps. If I have learned anything it is to include a copyright/legal section. I would state in that: this app is purely for entertainment purposes only. The app is (non-profit) and is protected under the fair use doctrine. Apple accepted one of my apps after i added that.

In 2010, the EFF overthrew Apple’s claim that Jailbreaking is in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and declared that iOS Jailbreaking is legal in the United States. The decision ‘which applies to all mobile smart phones and not the iPad, does not require Apple or other handset makers to allow Jailbreaking. Instead, it makes it lawful to circumvent controls designed to block Jailbreaking.’

David@Buzztouch, Friday Dec 23, 2011, It makes perfect sense that newly created plugins, such as the ones @David is making, would be based off existing plugins. As long as the person that wrote the code for the plugin your copying doesn’t mind. Be sure to read the readme, license, copyright info in a plugin package before you copy it, never know what an author may include. I’ll bet that most authors will be OK with you copying plugins and making new plugins so long as they feel like you’re not taking advantage and offering them commercially. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as time goes on. Assuming there isn’t an issue with copying, copy the entire folder, then adjust the values in:”

Question: Is the linking via a mobile device different from linking via a webpage.
Answer: It’s the same whether it’s via mobile app or webpage. They’re both infringements of the copyright. The question is, ”Is fair use a defense?”

Deep linking may get you in trouble.

USA law or German or India?

Framing their content?
Use of the logo will probably be ok, but what’s being linked & how will be the Issue.

“. . .the source code files included in your project where not created by you, it’s not appropriate to change the copyright info listed in those files. However, the application itself, the one in the App Store is for sure YOUR creation and your name should be listed as the copyright holder in the App Store (it asks you for this when you submit for approval). Copyright stuff is commonly misunderstood and it’s normal to be confused a bit. The general idea is this: If you use some source code without changing it (that was provided to you by somebody else) you shouldn’t claim it to be your own work. However, any modification, even the slightest, should be mentioned in any copyright info found in a file. Example: If you modified the BT_screenMenuList.m file, you should document your (changes) by adding something like this under the orignal copyright notice… ‘This code is based on the original BT_screen_menuList.m file created by [original author name]. I modified lines: 34 -34’ copyright 2012 [Your Name] Generally speaking, nobody but you will ever see your source code anyway but it’s possible that someone could. The idea is that if you shared your source code with another programmer they would understand who created it, then who modified it.

Generally speaking, nobody but you will ever see your source code anyway but it’s possible that someone could. The idea is that if you shared your source code with another programmer they would understand who created it, then who modified it. It’s challenging sometimes when files are modified in many, many places. At some point, if you modify a file in many ways, the file will become entirely your work. This is OK and in these cases you should just remove any existing copyright info and add your own. This is because the file is now entirely your work. This is a long way to say, add your name to the App Store for copyright info and don’t worry about using the source code we provided you, that’s the while idea behind open-source licenses”, post by David@Buzztouch, Posted: Mon, Feb. 06 2012.

Oh, by the way, if you were wondering, Yes this blog is copyrighted.



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