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Multiple iPhone household? Share your apps.

Scott McNulty

Let me start this post off by pointing out that I am not a lawyer, and I don't even play one on TV. I have, however, been called for jury duty a few times, so I know my way around a courthouse.

Melvin Rivera isn't a lawyer either, but he and his wife own two iPhones. Melvin knew that iPhone apps are wrapped with Apple's delicious flavor of DRM called 'FairPlay' that has some fairly open terms of use. You can authorize up to five computers to access items purchased from the iTunes store (that aren't iTunes Plus tracks, since they don't have any DRM on them) and you can then play those tracks (and one assumes applications) on any unlimited number of iPods and iPhones.

Melvin, being the clever man that he is, realized that he shouldn't have to purchase two copies of Super Monkey Ball: one for his wife's iPhone and another for his. FairPlay makes it clear that those apps should be able to run on multiple iPhones, so after some poking around Melvin got it to work. Check out his blog for the blow by blow account.

Clearly, this approach is kosher as far as the DRM is concerned, but do iPhone apps have licenses that supersede the FairPlay wrapper? I haven't agreed to any per app licensing agreements when installing something on my iPhone (as of yet) though that doesn't mean they don't exist (as I pointed out above I'm no Perry Mason).

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