Pulse App Pulled For I-Don’t-Know-What

So wait.

The Pulse iPad app gets pulled because the New York Times put the squeeze on Apple to remove the app from the iTunes store. The key text from the New York Times legal:

The Pulse News Reader app, makes commercial use of the NYTimes.com and Boston.com RSS feeds, in violation of their Terms of Use*. Thus, the use of our content is unlicensed. The app also frames the NYTimes.com and Boston.com websites in violation of their respective Terms of Use.

So be warned, Netneswire, Reeder or any other feed reader out there. Hell, anybody that is pulling in content via RSS into an iPhone or iPad app be warned. This is big news. Consuming content freely available on the Web crosses a line, a brand new frickin’ line that didn’t exist yesterday.

Now, this can’t be real right? There has to be some nuanced fine line that Pulse crossed. The New York Times cease and desist letter goes on to say:

I note that the app is delivered with the NYTimes.com RSS feed preloaded, which is prominently featured in the screen shots used to sell the app on iTunes.

Emphasis mine. Ah, now I see. It’s because the Pulse reader preloads the New York Times feed as a default. If a user pulled it in, then that’s OK (I guess) but if Pulse preloads it, they’ve crossed a line?

Guess what else crosses a line? Apple Safari on the iPad or iPhone. By default it comes preloaded with the New York Times among a host of other news sources.

This is an incredibly dangerous precedent. I predict the New York Times will come to its senses and reverse their position. I can’t imagine this sticking.

Update: Position reversed. I’d love to hear an explanation behind what happened.

Update #2: Wait, The Times Company still wants it out. Stay tuned!

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