Apple clamps down on App IP theft; mulls tougher iTunes password amnesia

Changes look to be afoot in more than just MobileMe, with Apple adding in a new clause to help protect developers against content copying and gaming the review process; end-users may find some frustration in the purchase experience, however, as the company is also tipped to be considering shortening the period for which iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad remember your iTunes password. According to PocketGamer's sources, Apple is flirting with the idea of reducing the current 15 minute period so as to reduce the number of inadvertent in-app purchases.

Currently, an iOS device remembers an iTunes password for fifteen minutes, in which time any subsequent downloads or purchases do not need to be authenticated. The potential change in policy is to address inadvertent over-spending, either by users not realising they are buying paid upgrades, or from children making purchases after a parent has left the account signed in.

As for the content theft, a new clause to the app review guidelines spells out the penalties for attempts "to cheat the system." That could include falsifying reviews or copying other developers' content:

"If you attempt to cheat the system (for example, by trying to trick the review process, steal data from users, copy another developer's work, or manipulate the ratings) your apps will be removed from the store and you will be expelled from the developer program."

Meanwhile, ebooks masquerading as apps, or audio or video content doing the same, will also face tougher checks. "Apps that are simply a song or movie should be submitted to the iTunes store" the updated guidelines suggest, while "Apps that are simply a book should be submitted to the iBookstore."