iPhone creator dictates terms and says you accept unless you say otherwise.
The impending launch of Apple’s news app caused a furore in the blogosphere as writers protested at a curious "opt out" clause.
An unsolicited email sent to prospective publishers of Apple News, which aggregates news stories from around the Web through RSS feeds, told the recipients that the company would assume their acceptance of the service’s conditions unless they explicitly opted out.
"If you do not want Apple to include your RSS feeds in News, reply NO to this email and we will remove your RSS feeds," the email said.
Under the conditions content creators agree to have their content presented and monetised through Apple News, with Apple offering no compensation for any advertising revenue it accrued during the process.
Elsewhere in the terms the company sought to dodge liability for any legal issues that the content might provoke, asking that authors indemnify Apple in any legal action and take responsibility "for any payments that might be due to any contributors or other third parties".
Mike Ash, a programmer at the software cooperative Plausible Labs, wrote on his blog: "I’d have been perfectly happy if they had just sent me an e-mail saying they were going to include my feed, and if I didn’t like it I could e-mail to opt out.
"After all, having an RSS feed in the first place is an implicit opt in to that sort of thing. But trying to dictate terms on top of that while telling me that I automatically agree to them unless I opt out is unacceptable, even if the terms themselves are relatively benign."
Apple told CBR it did not wish to comment on the matter.
The backlash against the company echoes previous complaints made by publishers against Google News, many of whom complained to the European Commission, which regulates competition within the EU.
In a letter to the commission last September Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, argued that Google is "sometimes contemptuous of intellectual property and routinely configures its search results in a manner that is far from objective".
Apple’s decision to hire human editors to curate the News feeds has also led to accusations of potential bias in structuring news content, particularly when the pieces concern matters of interest to the firm.
The announcement of Apple News followed a bid by Facebook to profit further from news content with the launch of interactive news platform Instant Articles, which the social network claimed would put power back into the hands of publishers.