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I am about to release my first iPhone game, has been a long project and I involved several people. My lawyer strongly recommended me to add a "terms and conditions" page at the beginning of the app and to allow the user to continue to the game only if he presses "I agree".

In the iTunes game description I will include a link to the EULA and a warning saying "DISCLAIMER: The game will ask you to agree to the following EULA: HTTPLINK EULA.".

My main reason for adding this is that I got the license to use the name from relatively famous people and I need to put the terms and conditions in order to protect both my company and my licensee.

Some developers suggested me to avoid this strongly as I will lose user base. From my perspective I think that including terms and conditions is a fair thing to do and non-smartphones users are used to accept EULAs. It is true that on smartphones you rarely see this and can this really affect my game? Would you argue against my design choice to allow the user to play only if he accepts the EULA?

Are there among you any smartphone game developers that have had similar concerns and have asked their users to accept the EULA?

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I personally hate EULAs, I don't read them, and I don't care. How exactly is it going to "protect" both your company and your licensee? –  Sam Hocevar Jan 24 '13 at 10:29
    
It will in case of sues from the music labels (I got some licenses to use music tracks composed by famous musicians and need to make sure that its clear that I tell the user doesn't own the music as well - if I don't the music label might sue me saying I didn't do enough), also I got lots of characters and real places in the game and some might be overlapping with real people and need to make sure that the user knows that this is fictiional. If I don't say this in the App then any random real person that overlaps witht game characters could sue me and this would be costly for my company. –  mm24 Jan 24 '13 at 10:39
    
Well, any random real person could sue you whether there is an EULA or not. –  Sam Hocevar Jan 24 '13 at 10:48
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The difference is that if I include the EULA in the App they will less be likely to win in court if the EULA is well written. –  mm24 Jan 24 '13 at 10:52
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I don't really like the idea of including a EULA but it's sort of a necessary evil. If you don't, you can get hit pretty hard. I think most people wont mind, but it is not uncommon for someone to be chased for that. I'd suggest sticking with Tim Holts' suggestion on how to implement this as it is the most common in the game industry when it is used. –  Benjamin Danger Johnson Jan 24 '13 at 19:02

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The iTunes App Store already has a process in place for adding custom terms and conditions to any app you upload.

http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#documentation/LanguagesUtilities/Conceptual/iTunesConnect_Guide/8_AddingNewApps/AddingNewApps.html

Scroll down to "Providing an End User License Agreement".

Tell your lawyer about this if he doesn't already know. I'm guessing there's language in the iTunes EULA that says by downloading any app you're already agreeing to its EULA (a standard one is provided).

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Fantastic!!! We both didn't know this. Thanks a lot! –  mm24 Jan 24 '13 at 21:24
    
is it this one the standard Apple EULA for AppStore? apple.com/legal/itunes/appstore/dev/stdeula –  mm24 Jan 29 '13 at 17:09

I don't think I've ever seen any (Android) game so far doing something like that, even if it's been some third party working for a bigger company/licensor and I'd consider it a major deterrent.

The only similar thing I've seen so far are main menu buttons such as "license", "open source licenses", "third party licenses" or something similar showing required notices such as LGP licenses or anything similar.

I'd try to talk to the licensor to get a relatively short (and still satisfying for them) legal notice such as "xyz is a registered trademark of...". Display this on the launch/title screen together with another line and something like "By playing this game you agree to be bound by the [gamename] end user license agreement." being clickable to view the whole thing.

As for the real people portion, I'd say displaying a simple notice at startup "All people and places are strictly fictional." or anything like that should be sufficient, but you better ask your lawyer about that part (and the whole thing).

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My lawyer said me that I should "force" the user to accept the terms. I could do something in between, like inlcuding a short notice with a link to the terms, and then say as you suggested By playing this game you agree to be bound by the [gamename] end user license agreement - CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE". –  mm24 Jan 24 '13 at 10:47
    
Is there some online account creation or anything similar? If so, you could just combine both things at once. Otherwise I guess just showing a box with the agreement is the "best" solution legal wise. Try to get a text that is as short as possible. Noone likes being greeted by a wall of text. I could even think of adding a short "TL;DR" section in front of the EULA so people can skimp through as well, making it less of an "oh my god, they try to spy on me or make me buy something". –  Mario Jan 24 '13 at 11:17
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Do you have a mechanism in place to give refunds to users who don't wish to accept your terms, after having purchased the product? –  Trevor Powell Jan 24 '13 at 12:27

EULA is something that distracts the gamer basically..in my opinion.

But if your lawyer is strongly thinks it should be there then there is no point of discussion in legal terms. of course your lawyer is in a better position to judge the scenario as he is having all the ground level facts.

I would suggest you to go on with your lawyer's suggestion.

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I don't know about other countries, but in the Netherlands, forcing an agreement after the purchase has already been made invalidates the agreement.

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Thank you, I hadn't realize that there was already an EULA being accepted by the user by buying the App. The answer I accepted clarified a lot on this matter and I will simply use or update the existing EULA using Apple's official tools. At the end of the day there was an explanation on why 99,9% of iPhone APPs don't "force" a user in accepting additional terms. Its my first ever app :) –  mm24 Jan 27 '13 at 13:32

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