Legal Issues Related to the Commercial Exploitation of Apps
18 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 2, 2019
Mobile applications (Apps) are a billion-dollar industry with myriad uses in everyday life. To ensure the successful commercialization of apps, one must study the peculiarities of the Apps market. Contract law issues and copyright law issues related to mobile apps are at the epicenter of this problematic. In the first part of the paper, the various actors engaged in the distribution of applications are identified and the role of the app stores as online platforms - marketplaces is analyzed. The End-user (consumer) is the reference point of the legal approach to interpret the relations created and classify the contract typology. In addition, the operational and technical functionalities of an app store, the terms and conditions, its organizational structure, the types of applications ‘sold’ or ‘licensed’ and payment methods applied, are several of the factors which are weighed upon, in an attempt to define the legal provisions applied on a national level. The second part of the paper focuses on copyright law issues arising from the fact that apps fall under the definition of software. In particular, the evolution of traditional copyright concepts such as the ‘exhaustion of rights’ and ‘first sale’ doctrine, in the context of App Markets, are analyzed. The analysis conducted indicates that, for the time being, application of traditional rules in the app environment does not contribute to legal certainty. Ad hoc cases which would constitute res judicata are rare. Rather, the solution must be sought on a case-by-case basis, and by careful consideration of multiple factors, including organizational and technical characteristics of the app stores.
Keywords: Apps, Android, IoS
JEL Classification: K20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation