Programmer and blogger Mike Ash has published an email he received from Apple asking to use his blog posts in its upcoming Apple News app.
Apple announced its news app during developer conference WWDC, and demonstrated how news articles in the app look better than on normal websites.
Now, Apple is starting to contact news sources, and is asking for permission to include content in its app. But the way that it’s doing so is raising eyebrows.
Ash posted the message from Apple on his blog. It shows that Apple is enrolling news sources with an opt-out system, telling sites to reply with “NO” if they do not want to be added to the app.
Apple also includes this term in its email: “If we receive a legal claim about your RSS content, we will tell you so that you can resolve the issue, including indemnifying Apple if Apple is included in the claim.” What that means is that if content found on Apple News is the subject of a legal action, the author agrees to compensate Apple for any loss or damage caused.
Ash explains that he’s “conflicted” about signing up to Apple News. One one hand, he doesn’t have to do anything at all to get his posts in the app. Apple will just take his public RSS feed and add it to its app without him even sending an email. But Ash is also concerned by the legal terms that Apple includes. He calls it a “ridiculous stunt” and “unacceptable.”
Right now, Apple is pushing to sign up as many publishers as possible for its news app so that it has a wide range of sources. But once the app is launched with iOS 9, it’s going to start tailoring the app to show the most relevant news. Apple is hiring for editors who will oversee its news app, selecting stories to feature prominently on the app’s home screen.