The BlackBerry PlayBook EULA: Don't Be Obscene

Posted: Apr 22 2011, 1:51pm CDT | by , in Tablets


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The BlackBerry PlayBook EULA: Don't Be Obscene

RIM's lawyers were in rare form on this one.

I received my PlayBook from RIM this morning. After a giddy unboxing (more on that later) I flipped my new tablet on and started the long process of setting it up. Eventually, it prompted me to read the EULA. This is a pretty bog-standard aspect of any new purchase of electronics or software. Like most people, I usually skim it or skip it entirely.

But today, I felt like knowing what I was agreeing to. So I read the EULA as carefully as a layman can read legalese. And I came across a few interesting passages. For example:

If I'm reading this right, any "content" you "make available" on your PlayBook through a "publicly accessible" web site or "other publicly accessible aspects of the BlackBerry ID accessible services" becomes available to RIM. As the EULA states it: "You grant RIM a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, produce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display Your Content".

So basically, anything you put up on a publicly available site or through a BlackBerry service becomes fair game for RIM to use...for whatever. Advertising seems the most likely purpose. Although their right to your content is "transferable". So maybe they'll just pass your content on to somebody else for use. If it's "publicly available" anyway, you shouldn't care- right?

Next up...

I'm totally OK with RIM telling people not to use their PlayBook for Evil. But I really don't see how they can stop anyone from sending "spam" or "chain letters". What I find interesting is the fact that there are apparently "areas" designated for pyramid schemes. Is there a map available somewhere? Because I'd love to avoid those "areas".

And last...

This one is part of a list of things you aren't allowed to do while under the aegis of BlackBerry ID services. Now I understand warning users away from spamming or distributing malware or other illegal acts. But exactly what is "inappropriate, profane, defamatory, obscene" and "indecent"? I write for a comedy magazine that often publishes material that could qualify as any/all of those adjectives. Should I stick to my iPad and laptop for working on obscene articles?

I recognize that this is just a bunch of legal jabber created to keep RIM safe from liability. But their wording- and the things they choose to specify, still weirds me out a little bit. What do you think?

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
The excitement about new smartphones, tablets and anything mobile drive Robert to unearth the latest rumors and developments in this fast moving space. He adopted 4G as soon as it become available and knows where the mobile market is going.
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