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Apple Nixes iPad Giveaways 388

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-good-for-free dept.
KingSkippus writes "According to a story at CNN, Apple has begun enforcing third party promotion guidelines (PDF) that, among other things, restricts organizations from giving away iPads, using the word 'free' to describe any Apple products in a prominent manner, or promoting giveaways of iPod Touches in lots of less than 250 and with Apple's explicit approval."
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Apple Nixes iPad Giveaways

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:38PM (#36314244)

    Eve enjoyed it...

  • They did what now? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:38PM (#36314248)

    You can't prevent someone from giving your product away. If they bought one, you can't keep them from giving that product to someone else.

    captcha: astound

    As in, I am astounded that they think this can possibly work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Your "first sale" is powerless before my RDF. Go use a dell or something.
    • by FrostDust (1009075) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:56PM (#36314440)

      You can't prevent someone from giving your product away.

      No, but Apple could chose not to ship you anymore iP[a/o]ds. This is targeted at retailers trying to use the products in a promotion to get customers, not at a normal user who wants to give their device away to a friend (although I'm sure that they've already developed DRM to do just that).

      Apple is probably doing this as a proactive maneuver to protect their brand name from being cheapened.

      • by Andy Smith (55346)

        Gotta take that a step further...
        iP[[ad/od]/hone]s

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is targeted at retailers trying to use the products in a promotion to get customers, not at a normal user who wants to give their device away to a friend (although I'm sure that they've already developed DRM to do just that).

        Did you even RTFA? It's about a TV station running afoul of Apple's "guidelines" - which I suspect wouldn't be enforceable, except for the use of their proprietary Myriad Set font being copyright 'n' all.

        • Hmm I don't know. They could make it a violation of their copyright to distribute the item as part of a "give-away" ie. promotion. You could still be free to give it away as an individual to a friend or whatever but when you are using the device to help YOUR business not be a nice guy you are making a commercial use of the product which the patent/copyright holder probably has some claim to control. Even if you've already paid for the device patents/copyright gives you the right to control how your inventio
      • by williamhb (758070) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @08:53PM (#36314924) Journal

        No, but Apple could chose not to ship you anymore iP[a/o]ds. This is targeted at retailers trying to use the products in a promotion to get customers, not at a normal user who wants to give their device away to a friend (although I'm sure that they've already developed DRM to do just that).

        A small bank decides to run a "win one of 5 iPads" competition to new customers. How is Apple going to stop them from sending someone down to the local department store to buy them? (Or five staff to different stores if they want to be sneaky!) Heck, is Apple going to start interrogating every shopper in an Apple Store? "Admit it! You're going to give this way in some filthy raffle aren't you, Miss Whatever-your-name-is! And I bet that's not even a real beard!"

        • Perhaps sue the bank for Trademark infringement through the use of unauthorised use of the name iPad [uspto.gov] in their marketing material? I'm sure their pesky lawyers will find some form of legal complication that they can use to apply pressure.
  • Ok so they don't want organizations to buy iPads for people!? Why?

    • Re:Ok? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sniper98G (1078397) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @08:16PM (#36314626)
      You have to understand. Who wants to buy an Apple product only to turn around and see some poor person with one. How are you supposed to feel superior to them if they have one too.
      • by PPH (736903)

        You have to understand. Who wants to buy an Apple product only to turn around and see some fanboi with one. How are you supposed to feel superior to them if they have one too.

        There. Fixed it for you.

    • Re:Ok? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @08:48PM (#36314882)

      Have you not seen "FREE iPad" and FREE iPhone" spam? Real spam in emails and forums, but also just endlessly repeated web-adverts. It pisses people off. Apple don't want that bad-will to reflect on their products. The reputation of the products and the company are worth far more than the piddling amounts of product that promoters would buy from Apple to run these promotions. Especially as most of them are scams.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        What makes you think that scammers and spammers care what Apple says about promotions? These groups are already operating on the fringe at best.
      • by ZorinLynx (31751)

        They pretty much ARE all scams. They WILL give away a few free iPads/iPods/etc., but to very few people. The purpose of this is to create a small group of folks who will insist to their friends that they DID win one, and that the scammers aren't lying! As a result, thousands more people sign up to win, and as a result, the companies get boatloads of personal information, credit card referral checks and so on. What's better for a scammer than free advertising where a friend tells another that it's legit and

      • Because "CHEAP iPad" and "PAY NOTHING FOR iPhone" will be any better? This isn't going to hit the scammers in any way, and it's not as though current promotions are legitimising those scammers either.

  • Enforceability? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ruke (857276) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:39PM (#36314266)

    Is there any legal weight behind this, or is this just gesturing on Apple's part? It certainly seems like Apple shouldn't have any control over what I do with my iPad once I've bought it; no matter if I give it away for free, stick it in a blender, or install my own bootloader. It's certainly their prerogative if they want to say that any of those things void my warranty, but I don't think they can enforce any of their demands on me.

    • Can they enforce what you do with an iPad? Not legally. They can do some PRACTICAL things, and they aren't necessarily doing criminal things to stop you... but the things they can do to keep you from using, selling, breaking, or whatever with your iPad after you buy it are pretty short.

      Now, there IS some authority that attaches to advertising that uses their trademarks... but, AFAIK (IANAL - don't trust legal advice you get from the internet) as long as you're not claiming to be Apple, claiming to be asso

      • Now, there IS some authority that attaches to advertising that uses their trademarks... but, AFAIK (IANAL - don't trust legal advice you get from the internet) as long as you're not claiming to be Apple, claiming to be associated with Apple, or spreading misinformation about their products, they don't really have much legs to stand on.

        No. Apple have control over their trademarks. There are fair use exceptions, such as if you want to use the name of a product to identify it in a review. But if you are promoting your own business by running a promotion, and use Apple's trademarks as part of that promotion, that is straightforward trademark infringement - profiting from someone else's trademark without permission.

        • by breser (16790)

          For someone who acts like they really know trademark law you're getting some very basic things wrong on this story.

          What you describe above wouldn't be trademark infringement. You could argue that it is trademark dilution.

          Some juridictions recognize nominative use as an affirmative defense to infringement and dilution but not all. Trademark law is not uniform. Not only does it vary from country to country but in the US there are even differing state laws on trademarks.

          It's probable that if Apple actually

    • by samkass (174571)

      They don't care what you do with your iPad. They care what Best Buy, Target, etc., do, and how it's marketed to the masses. Their enforcement, I suspect, is via allocation of additional supply.

  • by commodore6502 (1981532) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:41PM (#36314288)

    In 2001 they were sued by the US DOJ for restraint-of-trade, price fixing, and forming an illegal cartel.

    So go ahead Apple. I look forward to seeing you get the same treatment the record companies received. Especially now that the US Congress is investigating you. Not a smart move.

    • by Ixokai (443555)

      You're comparing apples to morons. I mean oranges.

      Guess which half you're falling under?

      The CD Companies tried to do this, you say; so were sued for "restraint-of-trade, price fixing, and forming an illegal cartel". What made it illegal for them to do what they did (which isn't even kind of what Apple is doing here) is that they are COMPANIES. Plural. Instead of competiting against each-other, they were colluding against the public interest. A single company can not price-fix by themselves (that's called, l

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>COMPANIES. Plural.

        Yeah so? Paypal was also slammed by the US DOJ (forced to refund almost 1 billion dollars back to their customers), and that was just one SINGLE company.

        Breaking the law is breaking the law, whether it's multiple companies or just one. And right now, Apple is breaking the law and they will eventually be prosecuted (unless they wise up).

  • I'm not sure what they are going for here. If there is a give-away do they think it will water down the brand?

    • Re:lolwut? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by macs4all (973270) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @08:05PM (#36314536)

      I'm not sure what they are going for here. If there is a give-away do they think it will water down the brand?

      Not "water down"; but "devalue".

      Personally, I was trying to figure this seemingly wrongheaded policy out myself. And I think I might have figured it out.

      It's called "Perceived Value". Successful marketing in a "technology-driven" company is a curious combination of understanding current (and future) "technology", plus MBA skills, Communication skills, with a dash of Psychology. And the "Psychology" part of that equation tells the Marketeer that when people get things for free, they don't "value" them (or not as much). This, curiously enough, extends even to the people who don't actually receive the item; but even just could have received it.

      Think about it: "Everybody" knows that, when when anybody, especially a business (who is, afterall, "in it for the money"), gives something away, that it is very rarely something they could have easily "made money on" (even if they don't actually sell that item themselves).

      We are all somewhat "conditioned" to the fact that, only "worthless" items are given away as "Promotion". Often it is basically true. Sometimes not (like, for example, a car); but, in all cases, the "Perceived Value" effect remains in the back of everyone's mind. And Apple is smart enough to pay attention to those nuances of human behavior. it doesn't make them evil, or "dickish"; just perceptive.

      • That's all true. But you're overthinking it. The major objective seems to be to kill as many of those those "FREE iPad" and "FREE iPhone" spams and adverts that piss people off. And are in many cases scams. They turn people off the brand in a way that comes before perceived value.

        • by macs4all (973270)

          That's all true. But you're overthinking it. The major objective seems to be to kill as many of those those "FREE iPad" and "FREE iPhone" spams and adverts that piss people off. And are in many cases scams. They turn people off the brand in a way that comes before perceived value.

          Wow! I spent about 100 times more time typing my "thoughts" than having them; so I hardly think I "overthought" the matter, LOL!

          But, your point is also valid. Let's just say there are both forces at play; because I think, in all actually, they are.

        • There's a reason those scams work, and it's not because the brand is perceived as low value...

  • by rritterson (588983) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:42PM (#36314298)

    I looked at the terms linked in the article. It appears these terms are attached to special purchases from Apple solely for promotional purposes. (i.e., you contact Apple beforehand about buying some for a promotion and they give you a discount). In that case, you are accepting the contract. And it's not like they'd sell you 249 iPods then get pissy because you had fewer than 250.

    But, I believe that if I buy an iPad at retail, I can use it in whatever promotional capacity I see fit as long as I do not violate Apple's IP.

    In short: nothing to see here, move along

    • by am 2k (217885)

      But, I believe that if I buy an iPad at retail, I can use it in whatever promotional capacity I see fit as long as I do not violate Apple's IP.

      Hmm isn't mentioning Apple, iPad or somesuch in your promotional material already a violation of Apple's IP? Unless they grant you permission for it, that is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Hmm isn't mentioning Apple, iPad or somesuch in your promotional material already a violation of Apple's IP? Unless they grant you permission for it, that is.

        No, if you attribute the trademarks appropriately.

    • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @08:12PM (#36314600) Homepage
      This comment needed to appear in the summary. It would have prevented a lot of wasted armchair lawyer time.
  • Legal basis (Score:2, Insightful)

    I wonder what legal basis they're using to "enforce" their policy towards giveaways. With software you can bind people with EULAs as part of the opening packaging/installing of software, but I wasn't aware that Apple was forcing people to sign contracts before purchasing their hardware. The best they could get away with would be trademark enforcement for promotional material but there's nothing I'm aware of that could restrict transfer of ownership of purchased goods absent a contract.
    • These terms don't apply to normal users since normal users don't do promotions with advertising. If you're an organization doing a promotion with free Apple products and advertising however, then you're profiting by associating with Apple-branded products, so they have some say in that, just like celebrities have a say in how their likenesses are used. They want it to be clear that the promotions are not endorsed by them and that they won't continue selling to you if you choose to cheapen their brand by pla

    • I wonder what legal basis they're using to "enforce" their policy towards giveaways. With software you can bind people with EULAs as part of the opening packaging/installing of software, but I wasn't aware that Apple was forcing people to sign contracts before purchasing their hardware. The best they could get away with would be trademark enforcement for promotional material but there's nothing I'm aware of that could restrict transfer of ownership of purchased goods absent a contract.

      You should probably read the article, then, since this is about special contract sales.

  • by WebManWalking (1225366) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:44PM (#36314324)
    I don't know what I would do with 250 iPod Touches anyway.
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:48PM (#36314368)
    As someone else mentioned, this only applies -- CAN only apply -- to special purchases made under this agreement. If I go buy an iPad at the store, Apple store or otherwise, good luck trying to enforce something like this. I doubt Apple would be stupid enough to try.
  • Such sheninigans (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Roachie (2180772) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:48PM (#36314370)
    encheapin our over priced product. We must put a stop to it!
  • by Mullen (14656)

    What a dick move by Apple!

    PS> I love my Mac's but they are mine to do I as see fit.

  • I'm usually ambivalent toward Apple, but if the people giving the items away legally purchased them, then they can dispose of them as they see fit. Fuck Apple.

    • Depends on how you purchased them.

      If you went to your local Apple Store/Best Buy or wherever iPads are sold and bought an iPad for the manufacturer's suggested retail price and then said, "The 2398th person in my store will win themselves this free iPad," there's nothing Apple can do. You're 100% correct.

      If you contacted Apple directly and said, "Hey, Apple, I'm planning on giving away 32 iPads at a promotional event for my business. Can you cut me some slack on the prices?" Apple will be more than willi

  • Why don't they go after the Penny Bidding scams instead?

    It's so sad that Apple has moved towards the Microsoft school of customer abuse...

    • Not that I'm any particular supporter of Microsoft, but that's a bit unfair. This is an entirely new class of pissing on the customer that MS wouldn't even dare.
  • "... using the word 'free' to describe any Apple products in a prominent manner."

    Why would anyone do such a thing? Apple's seems to have put extreme effort into their proprietary products and services with the express purpose of keeping the idea of freedom furthest from my mind. Why anyone would attribute to them the honorable designation of "free" is beyond my ability to comprehend.

    I encourage all in my home to be brave, and teach them all how to live under the full freedom afforded them in this land of free. Truly, to sign away any freedoms via Apple's EULA for a bit of entertai

  • nothing to see here (Score:5, Informative)

    by TRRosen (720617) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @08:31PM (#36314758)

    Don't get so excited this is only for Apple sanctioned promotions where the advertiser wants permission to use Apple trademarks in their ads. Every company has guidelines for this. This really only applies to Apple dealers and sellers. Your free to do whatever you want if your not using Apple's IP or under contract with Apple already.

    Its not a EULA it's an advertising contract. it has nothing to do with consumers.

  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @08:37PM (#36314810)

    ... "We can't even give these things away".

    Not the sort of PR Apple would want IMO.

  • IANAL, but isn't there a Doctrine of First Sale that comes into effect here? As long as you're not promoting yourself to be in any way associated with Apple itself, you can pretty much do anything you want (except mod your game console) with your purchase once you own it. This seems like just another Apple power grab, enforced not by the law, but instead by their threat of legions of lawyers who will descent on to you the moment you offend King Jobs.

    Apple truly is becoming The Evil Empire.
  • by tibit (1762298)

    Do they even have any legal standing to enforce using of a trademark to identify their own product? I mean, if they don't want it called an iPod, maybe they should have called it something else to begin with? If I want to promote my company be giving away free iPods, good luck with convincing anyone that I can't state it as a fact.

  • Pharmaceutical companies are already giving away iPads to doctors.

    Sorry, scratch that. Pharmaceutical companies are distributing their product literature on iPads.

    -ted

  • Is not being successful (after nearly being utterly destroyed by Microsoft in the 90's) enough?

  • 90% of the advertisements that show "Free [iPad/iPod/iPhone]" are targeted at kids scams to get people to click links and get infected with malware. Therefore, Apple does not want anyone to legitimize those fake sites by other people advertising the same thing. It is simply a method to help people hone a BS detector. If any legitimate organization wishes to award an iPad as part of a prize package, they can do that... they just cannot do it with "Click HERE to win a Free iPad".

  • by pookemon (909195) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:23PM (#36315474) Homepage
    I can think of another phrase to use when referring to Apple.

    Sieg Heil!
  • also (Score:5, Informative)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:25PM (#36315490)

    they have started enforcing user profile guidelines:

    - people above 25 a body mass index of 25 may not use an iDevice in public. Nor in private in BMI > 30.
    - iDevice users must at all times maintain perfect cleanliness and decorum.
    - conversely, certain professions may *not* use iDevices: exotic dancers, janitors, butchers, fishmongers... if in doubt, contact a Genius, or point your iDevice's camera at you in your trade dress with your last paycheck, and ask "is this OK" twice. A genius will contact you shortly.
    - customers thinking they caught a virus will report to their closer AppleCamp for training on how Apple does NOT have viruses. Repeated offenses will result in termination.
    - your iDevice must remain pristine at all times. Don't allow it to become dirty, no stickers, no un-approved cases.
    - iDevices may not be taken to non-approved areas. if your device starts beeping loudly with a screen flashing red, immediately get back to an approved iDevice utilization zone.

    Apple thanks the California Bureau of Investigations for their help in enforcing those guidelines.

  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7NO@SPAMkc.rr.com> on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:30PM (#36315524) Homepage

    Give away android tablets...

  • by ericvids (227598) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @12:41AM (#36316244)

    Where I currently live (Singapore), the iPad 2 was advertised as "available now!" for several days, but if you ask for one the store will tell you they're out of stock.

    Meanwhile we got so many ad promotions with the magic words "win a free ipad 2" everywhere we turned, from restaurants to supermarkets to banks.

    Long story short: People who wanted them can't buy them for weeks because they've been snapped up by companies intending to give them away instead of selling them. I think Apple is simply preventing this situation from happening again.

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