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ITdoc: Nine Legal Tips for Mobile Developers

Hello everyone! We’ve analyzed our last 50 mobile app developer consultations and prepared some of the most important legal advice that will be useful to you. The most common questions and problems that are addressed to us in ITdoc are questions about which side to approach the legal side of the business in general, how to organize your IT project from a legal point of view. These questions arise for both novice developers and large studios when they start having problems. I do not advise to bring it to the last, because then the cost of solving the problem rises sharply for the business: you have poured money into advertising, the campaign is in progress, and at that moment the store deletes the application … now, in an emergency mode, you need to restore it, make edits to the business -processes, involve developers, develop documents, respond to user complaints … in general, we were in such situations and I can say that for entrepreneurs it can be a terrible stress test. It’s enough just to prepare in advance. Each of us wants to have as many resources as possible, have as few problems as possible, be highly valued and just be happy. I hope our tips will help you avoid problems and get closer to the cherished one 🙂 Tip # 1. Everything is very simple here: Google Play, App Store are exclusively platforms for digital distribution of applications (distributor), and you are the copyright holder of the application (seller). Therefore, in order to distribute your product through the store, you must comply with their requirements and the rules specified in the agreements with the developers: Google Play Rules App Store Rules I would like to draw your attention to the fact that all relations between you and the store are governed by the laws of the United States and the state of California, in essence all agreements and policies of Google LLC and Apple Inc. form a transnational branch of law. If your application does not meet the specified requirements, then during the initial machine review, where the application is formally checked, the store will not miss your product, or during subsequent reviews it will delete it. Tip # 2. It is important to demonstrate that this is a living project and that its purpose is not to break laws, cheat or cheat. A site is ideal for this, even if it is free, crooked, oblique and minimalistic, but our goal is to show that you are a real person or organization and do not impersonate another person. Therefore, it is important to include on the site contact information about yourself, for example, a brief description of the product, email or phone number, address, as well as publish legal information. Links to social media will come in very handy. Tip # 3. Google writes the following in the rules on this matter: In the privacy policy and in the information on the use of personal data posted in the application itself, you need to explain in detail how user data is collected, applied and transmitted and who can access it. Contact a lawyer for advice It is important to understand who the target audience is and who is the copyright holder of the product. For example, if Central Asia and the rightholder is from the EU, then it is necessary to focus on the Privacy policy taking into account the provisions of the GDPR, if the United States, then with the provisions of US laws, and if the Russian Federation, then the Russian Federation. If you, as a copyright holder, are located in the Russian Federation, then you need a policy for the processing of personal data, even if you are an individual, then you can be the operator of the processing of personal data. As I pointed out earlier, Google LLC and Apple Inc. act in accordance with the requirements of US laws, so the ideal option is to prepare for the application both the Privacy policy (in accordance with the requirements of the US and EU) and the policy on the processing of personal data (if you are in the Russian Federation). Without publishing this, you will not be able to go through the initial automatic review of the store. In the worst case, if you do not have a website, then you can publish the policy to. pdf on Google Drive and share the file for everyone, and when designing the application, provide a link to this file. Council number 4. As mentioned earlier: You are the seller and copyright holder, which means that you bear all responsibility for the product, including to the user. And your relationship should be formalized, if not, then everything is governed by the general provisions of laws and the tax authorities are interpreted as they please, which most likely will not be in your favor. The user agreement is the very legal basis for receiving money from the user and is intended to settle all these issues, relieve you of responsibility, which I am sure you do not want to bear. Here, just like with personal data: if you are not in the Russian Federation or your product is designed for a foreign audience, then you need to make sure that the user agreement complies with local laws and it makes sense to publish Terms & Conditions or at least EULA + user agreement in accordance with with the laws of the Russian Federation (if you or the audience in the Russian Federation). Council number 5. This is a critically important requirement of stores and laws (both in the Russian Federation, and in the US, and in the EU). You cannot browse-wrap like “By clicking the” Next “button – you agree to the terms, policies, requirements, desires and transfer all the property.” You can not make pre-installed marks of agreement with the user agreement or policies, this must be the will of the user that he agrees. It has been established that you can only make a check-box and a link to a document with which the user agrees. At the same time, the request must be formulated very clearly and clearly, supported by a volitional action of the user. Sometimes this affects the loyalty of users and the conversion of the target audience, because users do not like to tick boxes and take unnecessary actions, it scares them. Nevertheless, we strongly advise against ignoring this requirement, and if you have an idea for a compromise solution, please write to me, we will discuss it! Tip # 6. In the privacy policy (Privacy policy and the policy on the processing of personal data), it is important to indicate what user data is collected and to whom is transferred. Everything should be as transparent as possible. For example: You have developed a game in Unity, and you are monetizing with ads from Appodeal. Even if you yourself do not collect any data at all, Unity and Appodeal do it (advertising user ID, information about equipment, time and place of use of the application, etc.). Do not hide it, it is better to write about it frankly in politics and warn the user. Council number 7. This is corny, but if your goal is to make money, then you should not try to deceive and violate laws, use other people’s copyright and exclusive rights. Do not think that no one will notice or “and so will give a ride” because at the most unfavorable moment – it will play a cruel joke. This tip is not only about phishing, the notorious collection of credit card data, but also the use of photos and content belonging to third parties, the creation of a complete clone of someone else’s application, the content of pornographic content, violation of the age limit, etc. These are not only reputational risks and will bring the removal of the application, blocking of all developer accounts, but also high fines with liability for violations. Tip # 8. One of the first questions when we start communicating with clients is “Who is the copyright holder?” The copyright holder is the person who has the exclusive rights to the product. If the developer, as an individual, created a product and published it, he is the copyright holder. If the customer entered into contracts for which he ordered the development, the developer wrote the code, the designer developed the design and interface, etc. – the customer becomes the copyright holder. Without an agreement between the customer and the contractor (for example, a freelancer), the exclusive rights may not be transferred to the customer, which means that subsequently the contractor as the copyright holder (the author and creator of the result of intellectual work) will be able to take legal action for the protection of violated rights and interests with a claim against the customer when the product will be in demand and popular. In this matter, each case and risks should be considered individually, because it depends on many factors and the relationship between the customer and the contractor. BUT in any case, even if the customer wins the court, he will spend a lot of resources (effort, time, money) on this, isn’t it easier to conclude a contract with the contractor in advance and sleep peacefully? … And besides, if the customer decides to sell his product for $ 1,000,000 to a major player, then how will he do it if legally he does not have exclusive rights and does not have supporting documents? The question of the owner of exclusive rights is an extremely important topic, since it is from it that the persons responsible for the application are determined, what risks arise during its operation, which ones to properly build relationships with the user, how to choose the right taxation and what sanctions will be applied in case of violation of laws. Tip # 9. If your app has been removed, then it violates store rules or laws. This could have been the result of an automatic review, but more often due to user complaints. It is not always clear why this happened and what exactly was violated, what to fix. There’s an interesting position in the App Store Developer Guide: We will reject any app for content or feature that we think goes over the line. What the hell, you ask? So, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I will understand when I see.” And we believe that you yourself will also understand when you cross the line. In this case, we ourselves conduct our own review and point out the mistakes you made that could lead to deletion, and then we control their elimination and the passage of the appeal. You can argue with the moderators of the store only if you are 100% sure that you are right. And if you have already been caught on violations, communication with the moderators will not lead to anything good. They can immediately block the developer’s account. PS And one more non-legal, but important advice Everyone wants to be highly appreciated and to have his application in the top, so that users pay and wait for the next products, other developers admire the code, and designers faint from genius. Basically, being a rock star in IT. Over the 3 years of the ITdoc project’s existence, we have worked with more than 300 IT projects, in many I personally participated as a business consultant. I can say that sometimes very unexpected projects “shoot out”, because the organizer has fire in the eyes of his idea, he burns to change this world and his life. Therefore, if you have ideas and at least minimal resources to try – feel free to do it, create, be cool, because no one except you will do it! Develop, create, create and live a happy life, and leave us the legal issues and problems 🙂 Success, sincerely, Nikita Zhurlov, ITdoc project. Pss Icons used for design: Aneeque Ahmed, Eucalyp, Aisyah, Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project, Copyright Icon by Google Inc.

Moris Akline
About author

Speculative operations in the foreign exchange and stock market. Work with futures and indices on CME. Work on FORTS and RTS. Development of portfolios and investment strategies for clients. Knowledge of technical (price charts of various types, indicators and oscillators, trends, channels, support / resistance levels) and fundamental analysis, take note of news. I work according to my trading strategy in compliance with the rules of capital management and risk management. Development of trust management strategies. Technique of order execution, placing and changing protective stop-losses, hedging.
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