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Making an app for another website, legal questions


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#1 Moe091   Members   -  Reputation: 573

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 12:55 PM

So I want to make an app for a website I use(it's just some website that people post funny pictures and memes on and users can upvote/downvote). It's a pretty popular website and all the users are asking for an app but there isn't one yet.

 

I want to make an app because I use the site adn I think it'd be nice, but I'm also a poor student who can't spare the time that would otherwise be spent doing freelance jobs for money, so I want to make some income off of it somehow. There are a couple different options I was considering and which one I choose depends on the legalities.

 

I could just contact the owners of the website and ask if they'd pay me a very discounted price to have me make the app for them, then I could basically just program it and have them give me a flat amount of money in a one time payment(I want to do something cheap but still get enough to justify the time spent, it should take me a bout a month of working on it somewhat regularly so I was thinking of asking around $500? Anyone have any idea how much this stuff usually costs?)

 

Another thing I could do is just make the app and publish it myself, using ads to generate income. This one I'm not sure of the legal side though, what I would be doing(unless any more experienced coders have a better way of doing this) is pulling the html from the website and parsing it, looking for the image tags and image titles and all the other relevant info that will be displayed in the app and just displaying it in a normal applayout using scrollviews and imageviews and whatnot. I'm not sure if this is OK because I'd effectively be pulling all the content from the website and displaying it without the ads, so the owners of the website would lose ad revenue from all the people viewing the site on my app. Is this illegal? what if I actually display their ads in my app? Is there any way I could legally make the app myself and publish it?

 

A third option, kinda related to the last one tho, is to make a kickstarter for the app and have the users of the website back it. Then I could release the app add-free(or include the original ads so the website owners don't lose money) and pay myself with kickstarter funds. This would probably be as illegal as the last one but might be easier and more profitable even.

 

 

Basically, my question boils down to whether or not its legal to make an app for a website without their permission, effectively taking all the content and none of their ads.

 

and either way, which of the above methods do you think would be safer/more profitable/recommended.

 

Thanks for any help, I'm really oblivious about this kind of stuff. 

Also if anyone wants to suggest me an easier way to make the app then just parsing the html on my own and grabbing the relevant info



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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10070

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:17 PM

Also if anyone wants to suggest me an easier way to make the app then just parsing the html on my own


Don't mix technical questions into your business/legal question. Make a separate thread in an appropriate forum.
IANAL and I can't address your legal question.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22242

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 07:56 PM

So I want to make an app for a website 

 

1a. I could just contact the owners of the website and ask if they'd pay me

1b. I was thinking of asking around $500? Anyone have any idea how much this stuff usually costs?

2. Another thing I could do is just make the app and publish it myself, using ads to generate income. 

3. A third option, kinda related to the last one tho, is to make a kickstarter for the app and have the users of the website back it.

 

4.  which of the above methods do you think would be safer/more profitable/recommended.

 

 

1a. Yes, this is the socially acceptable and most common method.

1b. It depends on many factors. Where are they located, and where are you located? What is their budget and money flow? Negotiating a fair value will be something unique to you and the job.

 

2. That option is risky. Some major web sites have done this with iframes, including Digg and About. The companies are very careful about ensuring the content is delivered unmodified, without touching the ads, display format, or other features of the site. However, the companies also have legal teams. Google shows many major cases that were settled without court ruling. The major claims in the past have been trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and tortious interference with business relationships. Each one of these carries heavy penalties if you are found guilty.

 

3. This option starts with the risks of #2, and it also adds extra risks of a kickstarter campaign. If you don't get the money, you don't get funded. If you do get the money you are contractually obligated to provide the software or refund the money. With the risks combined you may get the funding, start spending the money, then get a C&D order from the website order, have legal fees, AND be required to refund everyone's money.  That is not a risk I would take.

 

4. By far the safest option, and likely the most profitable, is the first. Get permission.


Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.





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