On the morality of using Church content in a commercial app

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Post by hiltonc »

Jbowne wrote:As we all know there will be those that feel that everything that is made by anyone that has anything to do with the Church should be free ;) I disagree with that.

It's bad enough that software is just information, freely and easily copiable. But LDS software? It's a sin to charge for it! :)
Jbowne wrote:So my own personal question - will you please make something for the microsoft platform (Windows 7 phone!) or the new devices like the HP slate etc... the iPad is cool but ..
Heheh, I will admit that Apple is the reason I enjoy write mobile apps. I tried doing a port to Blackberry not too long ago... so difficult, so painful, so... Wow. Nothing is worth that kind of torture. If this app is successful, I do plan to port it to Android at least. And I've heard great things about Windows Phone 7, so maybe there next.
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Post by RossEvans »

tomw wrote:1. Apps that deal with membership data from the Church MUST have approval. The Church owns all of the data and protects the privacy of members of the Church worldwide and also respects the laws of the various countries we operate in. Misuse of that data may significantly harm individuals and/or the Church. Specific examples of this are when people screen scrap the data and store it on their servers (proxying).

Not arguing that such a policy might or might not be desirable. But as far as I can tell that sweeping first sentence is not in the published terms of use for LUWS anywhere, or in the Presiding Bishopric's policies governing MLS. This seems to be another case (like the so-called "third-party-server rule" for MLS data) of a policy that is not really promulgated anywhere but in forum comments. Probably 99+ percent of users, members and leaders never read forum comments like this one.

One abusive case of which I am aware involving the use of LUWS membership data on third-party servers (proxying) actually violates a different policy, which is expressly written into the terms of use of LDS Account credentials for any purpose. There may be a separate violation of capturing the LUWS data "on another web site or on a computer network without our permission." (But allegedly the Church tolerates this app, so maybe permission is implied.) However, I can't find any policy in the published terms of use for LUWS that prohibits other standalone, client-side apps from scraping LUWS membership and storing it locally in a user's own application without using such a proxy server. If scraping is to be disallowed without permission, that could be done in a formal policy. (That's what Google does, for example. Scraping Google sites without permission is prohibited. Instead, several public APIs are provided to manage programmatic access.)

If the policies are now supposed to be so restrictive as to require permisssion for any offline app that imports membership data, that would be a radically restrictive change. Many helper apps discussed and disseminated via this forum would probably be in violation of such a general new policy. If the general policy is being tightened in this way, perhaps it is time to do so officially in published policy and TOU documents. The existing documents are so 20th Century.
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Post by rmrichesjr »

When I read Tom's comment about a requirement to get permission prior to using any Church content, I understood "content" to mean things like Church images, audio and video files, magazine and book content, etc., which I would see as being consistent with usual copyright restrictions.

There have been postings in this forum stating that downloading scriptural text from Church web sites for PERSONAL use is considered allowable. I hope downloading names from LUWS is allowed, because I used that method to get the names of families in an easily editable form to print to magnetic sheets for arranging home teaching routes on a metal white board.
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Post by Eric Werny-p40 »

If your not sure - DON'T

In the Church the concept of asking for forgiveness later really doesn't work well.

Here is now I see it. The Church is like an oil tanker, a lot of things need to happen in an orderly fashion before there is a course correction or so-called product releases. It turns slowly, but once it has changed it course, get out of its way.

I do look at the new releases and code and get ideas, but that code has layers of licenses behind it. I have to develop my own direction and code to solve issues on my sites.

I am just grateful we have such a great team of developer that have joined together to make it all work.
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Post by jessestay »

Jbowne wrote: So my own personal question - will you please make something for the microsoft platform (Windows 7 phone!) or the new devices like the HP slate etc... the iPad is cool but ..

Be sure to check out the Windows Mobile for Gospel Library project here: https://tech.lds.org/wiki/index.php/Gos ... ows_Mobile - we welcome contributions, and I'm sure the more contributions we get the sooner you'll see a release. There's also a similar project for Mormon Channel - we can use all the help we can get! Be sure to contact Tom Welch if you would like to help.
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