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Due to the developer agreement with Apple for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch developers, what can't I ask or answer on Stack Overflow?


migration rejected from Sep 1 '14 at 18:03

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers. Votes, comments, and answers are locked due to the question being closed here, but it may be eligible for editing and reopening on the site where it originated.

closed as off-topic by Al E., Martijn Pieters, ProgramFOX, Shadow Wizard, Monica Cellio Sep 1 '14 at 18:03

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To Meta We Go!!!! – Tyler Carter May 6 '10 at 16:53
What specifically are you referring to? – Daniel DiPaolo May 6 '10 at 16:53
If it's anything like other NDAs I've seen, one thing you can't do is publicly discuss what you can't do. – mmyers May 6 '10 at 16:56
I'm wondering why people are voting to close this and why this is "going to meta"? This is a very important question about stackoverflow that shouldn't be thrown off to another site. – Nissan Fan May 6 '10 at 16:57
@Nissan Fan: Meta is the right place to talk about this. I for one would like to know the answer, since moderators are often called upon to make a judgement on questions that may be violating someone else's NDA. – Bill the Lizard May 6 '10 at 18:27
What do things written in an agreement between you and Apple have to do with Stack Overflow? – Pëkka May 6 '10 at 19:17
@Pekka: Presumably what detail he can put in questions he posts to StackOverflow. – The Unhandled Exception May 6 '10 at 19:53
@Josh probably, but that hasn't anything to do with neither Stack Overflow nor Meta really. – Pëkka May 6 '10 at 20:05
@Bill: you haven't signed such an NDA, have you? ;) – quack quixote May 6 '10 at 20:12
@quack quixote: No, the stuff I'm working on right now would bore you to death if I talked about it, so an NDA isn't really necessary. :) – Bill the Lizard May 6 '10 at 20:55
It would be hard to answer that question without seeing the developer agreement. Can you provide a link, for our convenience? – David Thornley May 6 '10 at 22:03
@David Thornley - See my answer below. – Brad Larson May 9 '10 at 20:36
You can't take a shower on stack overflow, or cook a waffle. – Rosinante May 9 '10 at 20:42
But you can eat plenty of waffles here on meta! – The Unhandled Exception May 9 '10 at 22:30
up vote 24 down vote accepted

Due to the developer agreement with Apple for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch developers, what can't I do on Stack Overflow?

The agreement between you and Apple does not have any affect on Stack Overflow.

If you are concerned about whether your particular usage of Stack Overflow violates your NDA/contract with Apple, please consult a lawyer. As a third party, Stack Overflow is not part of the contract/NDA, and is certainly not qualified to give you legal advice on how to meet the requirements of a contract to which it has no interest or part.

You forgot to say "I Am Not A Lawyer". No wait, maybe you are a lawyer? Clear answer, well-argued, concise, relevant, but still totally unhelpful to the OP. Sounds lawyerly :) Answer is also possibly wrong. I myself Am Not A Lawyer, but Google says there have been many cases of websites sued for hosting confidential information posted by some user. – MarkJ May 12 '10 at 1:23
@MarkJ - The question was, "Due to my agreement, what can't I do on SO?" If SO receives a takedown notice from Apple, sure, that's due to user actions, but SO accepts no liability for what users post, and as long as they respond to such notices in a reasonable manner, they will suffer little or no harm from such usage. This doesn't affect what the user can post, unless SO starts to actively police everything, and posts policy about what users can post. That's actually a more dangerous position to take, as they can then be held liable for things that slip through. – Adam Davis May 20 '10 at 4:59
So the essence of my answer is that as far as the user is concerned, agreements between the user and a third party are not monitored, upheld, reported on, etc by SO. SO takes no interest in such third party agreements. SO likely has lawyers and likely will deal with formal complaints on a case by case basis, but the bottom line is that SO is not party to these agreements and is under no obligation to enforce them. It's ridiculous to presume otherwise. Whether SO is sued for confidential material on their website has absolutely nothing to do with such third party contracts. – Adam Davis May 20 '10 at 5:03
What the question is really asking, I suspect, is "How do I meet the obligations of my contract?" which cannot possibly be answered here. This is why my answer primarily focuses on whether SO has anything to do with this third party contract. It doesn't. It would be foolish for SO to comment on a third party contract. We don't have access to the contract, so even if we were a free legal service we couldn't help the OP out. So my answer approaches it from the only point of view available. – Adam Davis May 20 '10 at 5:06
And no, I'm not a lawyer, although I believe that quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur. – Adam Davis May 20 '10 at 5:07
Also, I don't speak for SO. Give Jeff or Joel a call if you want an official statement. Better yet, have your lawyer call their lawyer. – Adam Davis May 20 '10 at 5:09

Make sure you do not drink too much German beer and leave your device at the bar. It might fetch a lot of money on the open market.


Apple's Registered iPhone Developer Agreement is available for viewing here (PDF). From that public document, I quote the section on confidentiality:

4. Confidentiality. You agree that any Apple pre-release software (including related documentation and materials) and any information disclosed by Apple to you in connection with Apple Events or Paid Content (defined below) will be considered and referred to as “Apple Confidential Information”. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Apple Confidential Information will not include: (i) information that is generally and legitimately available to the public through no fault or breach of yours, (ii) information that is generally made available to the public by Apple, (iii) information that is independently developed by you without the use of any Apple Confidential Information, (iv) information that was rightfully obtained from a third party who had the right to transfer or disclose it to you without limitation, or (v) any third party software and/or documentation provided to you by Apple and accompanied by licensing terms that do not impose confidentiality obligations on the use or disclosure of such software and/or documentation.

No one who is not a registered iPhone / iPad developer on Stack Overflow is subject to this agreement, because they did not agree to it. While those of us who are iPhone developers may be breaking NDA by posting questions and answers on pre-release material, no one else can get in trouble for doing so, particularly since they would not have had access to this material outside of a leak somewhere.

Anything that is in a current public release of the SDK, or that has been disclosed by Apple in a public event or on the Web, is perfectly fine for registered iPhone developers to discuss here.

Standard disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I've just signed many NDAs over the years.


Isn't this something you should ask Apple? How would we know that over here?


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