Is everyone missing the fact that the author seems quite happy about the exposure and reaches out to Apple at the bottom of the post offering collaboration? I'm sure they can handle themselves. It feels borderline patronizing to read all the comments about involving lawyers because Apple is being so abusive. When you publish something on the internet, people can link to it. That's how the internet works.
The fact that "Oh well, it was fine this time" isn't a valid justification for why they decided to do it in the first place.
If they expect people to pay to access their IPR then they should, without prompting, pay others when they want access to their's.
And they aren't accessing others intellectual property with this. They are building custom tools to display other's intellectual property. Very different.
I wish more companies would "offend" then.
in your browser, apple.com cannot access the content from jguitar.com
Because that's the point here. That the web was built to allow anyone to link to anyone without asking permission.
Also, see up thread where they disclaim right to do the same to them.
This is different from linking. With links you see the whole web page. I haven't used the shortcuts app and don't know how obvious the source of the info is. It seems the article author had to dig into the shortcut configuration to find a reference to his site.
Creative Commons is great because it allows everyone to use it. But a company the size and stature of Google should consider it a bare minimum, not a target.
Most cooking web sites tag their HTML with things like itemprop="recipeIngredient", and itemprop="recipeInstructions", hoping to get featured by Google in this way.
Sure, the technology was built to be used in certain ways, which might not be ethical or legal, depending on a particular instance of usage.
Because one can do something, obviously doesn't mean one should. I can't chop your furniture just because I have an axe that was literally built for chopping.
>your browser is allowed to display the content it downloaded in any way it wants to you.
Indeed, but that doesn't mean someone is allowed to send arbitrary content to that browser. The fault is not with the browser.
If I put an image on Flickr, you can hotlink to that image in your web article, print it on your printer, and distribute. The technology was literally built to be usable that way.
However, it is neither legal nor ethical to do that.
Wikipedia is the worse example you could have picked, because forking their content is encouraged.
If I Google "Malta" there is a paragraph on the right and no link to Wikipedia. This also happens in Google Maps, when you click on a city and they have the blurb, much of the time there is no link, so you have to leave the page to Wikipedia the name of the city.
Actually having just tried a few different queries, it seems to be inconsistent. I'm not sure why they'd show the link sometimes and not every time, but definitely Malta doesn't show a link for me.
is on a million web sites. I thought maybe it was from CIA World Fact Book or some other free source, but it's used so often by so many shady sites, it's hard to know where it originated.
In this case, it's a question of who is scraping whom.
1. Google Maps used to include a blurb about Malta from Wikipedia, and a link to the Wikipedia page about Malta.
2. They now include a blurb about Malta which is not from Wikipedia, and do not link to the Wikipedia page about Malta.
3. You are upset that they no longer include a link to the Wikipedia page about Malta.
Is this correct? If so, it seems like your frustration is about Google choosing not to include & link to information from Wikipedia, rather than them displaying content from Wikipedia.
That said, google does recognize that a healthy web (and therefore google) benefits a lot from wikipedia and other wikimedia projects. They often donate to the wikimedia foundation, and sometimes do collaborations as well.
+ source: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Google#Donations
> When I clicked "show actions" it revealed the "actions" that make up the shortcut and I could finally see the JGuitar.com link in the URL section.
I mean, that's not exactly a proper attribution notice, I'll give you that... but it's not just straight hot-linking without any visible attribution at all.
(edit2: I mean, they are sending thousands of visitors to the OP's image service, it is hot-linking, which is legal but very improper without notice; you'd think these were some teenage hackers that never heard of "netiquette" before – it would have been pretty stand-up of them to give him a heads-up so he could be sure he had some proper CDNs set up in front of them, rather than sending his bandwidth bills through the ceiling with no notice... that's not really cool, and it puts them at risk too.
If I was the author and I wasn't happy about this, my next step would be to update my website and then replace all of the hot-linked image URLs with something like a big FU to Apple, and it would take Apple some time to react to that and get the egg off their faces after their customers started calling to ask why the Shortcuts app is giving them the middle-finger. It would also ensure that they don't do this again, at least not with JGuitar.com – and I don't think the author wants that.)
To be clear, I don't think Apple is wrong, just a bit risky.
Did they start running ads or something?
I found this page which gives an overview of what's ok to do with their content. Mirroring is literally the first example they give.
It means that they save a TON of bandwidth from people that would access Wikipedia for a specific information and bounce, it doesn't alienate the important part of Wikipedia's maintenance: editors and collaborators.
So all-in-all the lost revenue from donations is more than covered by the savings in bandwidth.
Pretty much what it takes to get people to donate money to one of the most important and popular websites online.
This could quickly make a side project unsustainable, if the owner of a (hypothetical, not this specific) project has limited $ for hosting costs. The author of the project can't make use of the obvious strategy of dropping in an ad or two to defray hosting costs because the images are being hotlinked. This kind of behavior would be a violation of the ToS on almost any site that has one; it would certainly be a violation of Apple's own ToS. But beyond that, it's just thoughtless and rude.
Wikipedia is a very bad example, they literally put a free to copy license on their content.
Just because something doesn't have a paywall doesn't mean the content creator intends for you to take his/her work with zero attribution. That's why those "Buy me a coffee"/"Donate to my Patreon" buttons exist. It's a way for the user to consume the information for free up front but have the option to support the creator.
I think one issue is that Apple themselves prohibit it. From their App Store Review Guidelines, section 5.2.2 :
And Apple also prohibit you from doing so on parts of their website, from 4.5.1:
"4.5.1 Apps may use approved Apple RSS feeds such as the iTunes Store RSS feed, but may not scrape any information from Apple sites (e.g. apple.com, the iTunes Store, App Store, App Store Connect, developer portal, etc.) or create rankings using this information."
Scraping involves stealing and reusing content from another party. Linking does not.
If they are referring to jguitar.com each time then this is linking.
I think people are too quick to anger here. This guy was already providing all this information and content. Looking at the site, I don't see advertising, so it's not like Apple is going around that.
This guy is happy and with a quick addition of a JGuitar logo or copyright (if he wants) on those images then everyone is happy.
Notably, we had (I don't know about all countries) rulings regarding displaying 3rd party content in frames, and then there's the EU copyright legislation, currently discussed. It's not the author's obligation to embed copyright and source information in any resource. This is not how it works.
Not illegal, Apple or the developer isn’t claiming that my API is theirs. And maybe it’s open on my robots.txt and maybe my terms of service say nothing about it.
But it’s weird. You just pushed an app out to a billion devices allows users to hit my chart generator directly. That’s plain weird.
Should I be happy that the government is gaining a benefit from my work, something with commercial value, while I'm not benefiting?
If my website was explicitly GNU or licensed under something that gives another person permission, then sure. Otherwise it's unfair for someone to make something out of my labour without reaching out to me and asking for at least permission.
I don't see any "explicitly giving the right ..." there. In fact, I explicitly did the opposite.
Take the website off the internet if you don't want to share it.
No, in this specific case, they are sending images from the page to users, bypassing the actual page.
For a site where the user value was in the image and the monetization was elsewhere on the page, it's capturing the value of your work and bypassing the mechanism which pays you for that work. It may be legal, but even if so it is not sustainable.
Not if the EU has anything to say about it!
And those concerned about JGuitar.com's scaling or bandwidth costs need not worry. JGuitar.com serves several million pageviews/year, and is well optimized to handle the traffic coming from these shortcuts.
1. It's not Apple, it was Workflows that wrote the tool.
2. It's not an integration, it's an example of how to use Shortcuts.
3. The biggest pain point won't be bandwidth (OP seems to know what they're doing with caching) but fielding user requests/complaints/spam without the upside of the web traffic. iOS 12 has only been up for a few days and he's already getting a ukulele request. Tip of the iceberg.
> We can work together to make this experience even better.
This isn't "working together". This is someone at Workflows finding a neat, unauthenticated API endpoint and using it in a demo. I doubt Apple knows about it.
The app is "developed by Apple". They bought Workflow last year. Nothing in the gallery view suggests that this shortcut is provided by a third-party.
(which point is wrong?)
I think the question is: Are these downloadable workflows an integral part of the Apple software or are they just merely "Sample Code"? In this case the gallery is curated only by Apple (I think), but if we go down this path, what prevents DCMA takedown requests for GitHub repos that contain sample code which accesses services like this?
I'd add a JGuitar url and copyright notice to all your images, so that this is displayed in Apple's results, and also call a lawyer.
I agree that Apple should have handled this differently. At the same time, I think we should honour this guy's attitude. It's refreshing and if we all behaved that way - major corporations included - the world would be a better place.
This story reminds me a little bit of the guy who made Flappy Bird, earned millions in ad revenue, then shut it down at its peak because he didn't want people to be addicted to it. Almost impossible for most of us to fathom, given that most of us are motivated by money. But it's nice to see that some people act according to different motivations.
The whole point is that Apple never asked for this guy's opinion. That he's OK with what Apple's doing is a happy coincidence, and the next guy whose work they're going to use may have a different opinion.
Kudos to the author for that. Unfortunately, he has extended his well-meaning olive branch to companies built on the philosophy of Bill Gates' Open Letter to Hobbyists.
Serious question: do you believe that letter to be immoral or indicative of immoral behavior? Or something specific?
Edit: format; quote.
What's happening with Jguitar however is that a big tech player that exists because people pay for their software (iOS) setting a precedent where they're actively siphoning content outside the garden and feeding it back to users in their ecosystem, with no attribution or licensing deal with the creator. That's wrong, in the exact same way that homebrew Hackintosh machines built for sale are wrong.
If you're breaching courtesy and decency it doesn't help your case that the victim is a nice person.
Sure but Apple doesn't essentially have to send him the bill for it, bandwidth isn't cheap and it can grow pretty quickly with that much devices.
This site was in the examples for guitar chords, that’s about it. Maybe they should have asked him, but there’s zero obligation to do so. If you have a blog someone links to it, you don’t mind, do you?
The point of contention here is that the template linked straight into the chord image generator - which isn’t kosher. If I build a chart generator for my site, I wouldn’t want anyone linking straight into it - Apple isn’t using it on their site and claiming it’s theirs, but they’re pointing out to all their customers that they could just hit my generator directly for visualising charts. That’s weird. Not illegal, but weird.
I would also want to make sure Apple doesn't accidentally DDoS my service - I mean, if this gets broader use and if the service does not scale well this could be an issue. Or if it scales too well via AWS (doesn't seem the case here), there could be a huge surprise bill coming in.
If I'd use some non-public Apple API without asking them for written permission (or strip content from their site) I bet all hell would break loose.
The OP put something on the internet with the intention for others to use it. Apple used it.
Is there anything on his site (terms,"rules") that indicate what Apple is doing is considered non-acceptable use?
Shouldn't we be happy the world can still work like this - bottom-up implementation with presumably good intentions - instead of having to talk to lawyers before every tiny step we take? We're taking about looking up a guitar chord for crying out loud.
Of course better attribution is desirable. Why not let this be Step 2.
I admit a bad turnout could be an unexpectedly high bill for the OP. And I would assume Apple to turn a deaf ear if he'd requested them to help pay that bill. But aren't those the consequences of putting up a public API?
@asaph If you want: please follow up on this and let HN know how this plays out. What course of action you took, how Apple responded (if at all)
Congrats... I guess
If you don't have any terms of service or any kind of licensing info on your website the default is: it belongs to you and you choose to exclusively publish your work on that website. Just because there's no license info doesn't mean it's public domain. You have the right to cite the content properly (meaning attribution) as part of anther work under fair use.
The problem here is the technicality of what it actually means to publish on a website.
Interesting, thanks. (I presume there is jurisprudence to substantiate this statement)
If true, it opens up a way to question fair-use: Suppose Apple now properly cites JGuitar.com as the source, and otherwise continues its implementation unchanged, would that be fair-use? Hmmm.
If I write a custom browser that only loads images from web pages then I'm abusing the internet?
That statement would be true for any webkit based paid browser.
That is exactly what I meant, but better phrased - thanks.
Yes apple could have done this better and they should -- but why not just have a chat with apple before you go nuclear?
Well they are placing an increased load onto the side and get nice resources for free, not even doing the cheapest form of flattery: attribution. That's happening a million times on the internet each day, where pictures and other copyrighted materials are redistributed without consent or attribution, and it's ridiculous that the currently most valuable company on earth feels the need to be a cheapskate about that, too.
People lost their mind when Google did something like that in their image search, and unlike Apple, they provided attribution and a prime backlink. If Apple likes the service so much, they could just have bought it entirely and it wouldn't even show up in their balance, so proper attribution, and maybe ask the provider if he/she can handle the additional load, or even provide some support to handle the load, would just have been fair, don't you think?
However it is debatable since Apple is 'only' providing a template/example which the user must actively turn into a 'shortcut' to have this functionality. Or at least that's how I understand this feature works.
Then again, I think Apple surely could do a better job in attribution toward the sources. Maybe a standard for website owners to provide meta info with a fallback to the website URL.
According to the linked site, this is a premade shortcut that Apple supplied, not something the user needs to create. Just click install and it works, was how I read it.
Because that's exactly what Apple would do if you used their stuff without permission?
How would you even do that?
A lawyer is a disinterested third party, who ought to know how to initiate negotiations without any emotional attachment.
I know for myself I’d at least want to have a legal expert review anything I indended on sending, as otherwise I may inadvertently shoot myself in the foot.
If it was my site, I would have just replaced each image with goatse, if the user agent string was "Shortcuts/700 CFNetwork/974.2.1 Darwin/18.0.0"
Asserting your rights while finding a way forward that benefits both you and Apple is going to play out much better in the long run. Apple is almost certainly just negligent in this case (it's a data stream in an app they bought), not maliciously stealing content.
That's because you're a nice person. I'd return images that were wrong and let Apple Support deal with users thinking their new feature was broken.
It would be cool if Apple had reached out to him, but as other commenters have mentioned this integration has existed for a long time in the Workflow app, so it's not even new.
The suggestion to hotlink directly to an image is slightly problematic, but a copyright watermark makes sense whether it was Apple doing this or not.
The shortcuts app lets you connect to any site on the internet - if a rock star made this Shortcut and chose to tweet it the result would be exactly the same - why would it matter who made the sample and whether it was bundled or not? Apple isn’t claiming ownership, nor have they asked the owner not to add a notice.
(Every link to https://www.jwz.org/blog/ from HN shows a NSFWish image, based on referer header)
I didn't know Shortcuts were powerful enough to pull images of specific sizes from webpages. That's really useful.
Creating a Shortcut to scrape these guitar tabs doesn't seem that different from writing a Bash script that does the same thing.
The main issue is that most users would grab the Shortcut from the gallery, find the guitar tabs they need, and never know where it came from.
Maybe Apple could automatically provide attribution in their Gallery? Like "This shortcut is powered by Google.com and JGuitar.com".
Another funny solution is how they implemented the "Add to Home screen" functionality: when you select "Add to Home screen" in the Shortcuts app, it opens a data:// URL in Safari, and you have to add it from there :D
Because, presumably, they do not have access to the private API to bypass this step yet–for third party apps the only way to add things to the homescreen is through Safari.
It used to be a third-party app called Workflow, but Apple acquired them early 2017. They had plenty of time to replace the Safari workaround with the proper private API.
But today it's cool when some billion dollar company uses someone elses creations without paying because you should be happy they didn't shut your service down with some vague patent bullshit.
- It's NOT OK to integrate s/o else's content into a website.
- It's OK to link to it.
As a content creator, how are you going to profit from such an integration?
EITHER license the content for integration OR only link to the original sources.
Not saying that the laws were good or that I understand them well, but AFAIK they are aiming in this direction.
I highly doubt that Apple would be thrilled.
And speaking of that, you can definitely use the same workflow automation to extract anything from Apple's own websites.
It is not clear if the author is earning something out of the situation (more traffic I suppose?).
However, it seems to me if Shortcuts really takes off among the average iOS user, there could be a massive business building cloud services exposed via these low-code programming environments.
Killer App for FaaS?
At the same time Microsoft's TouchDevelop tried in the past to bootstrap the lack of apps on Windows Phone, but didn't succeed and had virtually no impact.
I am curious if (and hopeful) Apple will be different here.
Doing things like this without the consent of the website owner feels very dangerous. It looks bad on Apple they haven't thought this through and are a disgruntle owner away from a major incident.
Apple wouldn’t tolerate this if it was done to them. It would be like Disney complaining about copyright infringement while infringing someone else’s copyright...
He could always play dirty and just print the website on the bottom of the image but I don't see how this or the c&d will help his site.
Just because you can do a thing, it does not necessarily follow that one must do that thing.
It's really, really weird.
I mean I've worked on projects where somebody got in some content and I said - hey you should probably vet that content and they said oh, oh I think it's okay because of X, and I said well are you sure because, well ok I'll check I asked and they said they think X is fine. Ok well whatever, I'm sure not going to fight over this thing for the next two weeks just to end up looking like a jerk at the end.
And today, because the “bad guy” was Apple, suddenly everyone cares about copyright.
A forum where people have no problem discussing torrents which are used frequently to violate copyrights — and now they are outraged about Apple using chord finder in a gallery example for Shortcuts? And the owner of the content is actually happy about it!
Free traffic for what? He will have to foot the bill for image hosting + generation. No other part of the website can be discovered, let a lone an advertisement or donate button displayed.
The only thing he got was being able to write this blogpost about how apple uses his service.
> I'm genuinely thrilled that someone at Apple deemed my chord calculator technology worthy of inclusion in the iOS shortcuts gallery. If anyone from Apple is reading this, please reach out using JGuitar.com's contact form. We can work together to make this experience even better. I can provide high quality SVG images of all chord diagrams, support alternate tunings, instruments and more.
I guess that's what I get for assuming.
Somehow I doubt it too.