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Swype Lays Down the Law on Distribution Without a License

This letter doesn’t come as much of a surprise since we’ve had plenty of conversations concerning this subject with Swype ourselves, but this list is as good as it gets for guidelines as to how they want their keyboard app to be treated throughout our enormous community.  Overall, Swype wants to embrace the massive amount of developers that Android has, as long as they are developing for a phone that would normally ship with Swype on it, of course.  And that’s really what their guidelines come down to; you can develop for and skin Swype all over the place as long as the version matches the one that shipped with the phone originally.  There shouldn’t be unlocking of the beta program version and no one should be stealing pre-loaded versions and including them in say, HTC devices, or they will be in violation.

Check out their letter to XDA after the break.  

While we at Swype are obligated to protect our intellectual property, we also feel that the enthusiast community is valuable to the long-term success of our business. With that in mind we’d like to offer some rules for posting content related to Swype here on the XDA-developers forum.

The overriding principle behind our policy is that distributing Swype in any way which would allow its use without a license is a violation of our terms of service and our intellectual property rights. This includes the use of features for which the user does not hold a valid license. Therefore the following situations are not allowed:

  • Distribution of Swype standalone APKs in any form;
  • Inclusion of Swype in ROMs where the Swype licensing mechanisms have been stripped;
  • The addition of features, such as the voice input button, to devices where the user does not hold a license or appropriate rights for these features – this includes the distribution of additional languages; and
  • Any other use of Swype that infringes any third party copyrights or other intellectual property rights or violating any third party terms of service.


The following, however, are allowed by Swype (assuming you have all other required third party rights):

Inclusion of Swype in ROMs for devices which come with Swype preinstalled, where the version of Swype matches the version distributed with the device and all licensing mechanisms remain intact, and where the user is not infringing on any third party copyrights or other intellectual property rights or violating any third party (e.g., a device manufacturer or carrier) terms of service; and
The use of MetaMorph(R) to modify graphical elements in any licensed installation of Swype.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in making sure our intellectual property and that of third parties is protected, while still allowing those who love to customize their devices in such awesome ways the liberty to do so. Swype reserves all of its rights.

All make sense?  I know this isn’t a green light for everyone to run out and hack the heck out of Swype, but at least it shows that they are willing to work with our hacking crowd.  That’s more than a lot of application companies can say.

Via:  XDA

  • Pbinder

    The latest EVO upgrade included Swype…so I don’t understand the jab at HTC.

  • Jawshua

    Yeah none of that concerns me as much as the fact that Swype won’t let me participate in the beta since my DROIDX came with Swype. That’s so stupid if I already have it why can’t I get new updates, they never give us new updates. So for that reason I’m all for people stealing Swype. But really I hardly use it anyways because I have ShapeWriter and it’s the absolute best slide keyboard! 3.0.9 is the newest version if you are searching for it. I just don’t get why the people who bought SW aren’t putting it on the Market anymore.

  • Sdfg Dfy

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  • Sdfg Dfy

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  • http://twitter.com/hpizzy Hiral Patel

    Swype competitors this is your chance to walk in and swype users from under swype’s nose.

  • Poopface

    Swype sucks. Swift Key FTW!

  • Billy rubin

    Swype Sucks, they should be happy people are even using it

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  • Anonymous

    Been on the beta since it first came out and it became my only method of typing. I guess that if I ever have to tap to type, I would then prefer the stock keyboard.

  • Anonymous

    If they don’t want it stolen maybe they shouldn’t have named it swype.

  • Jager07

    Remember, this is also the guy who created T9, which is on every phone on the planet (ok, maybe not EVERY). My guess is he wants to do the same with swype. Personally, I still can’t use it. I’ve tried the last 3 or 4 beta versions and it just doesn’t fit my style. I know it’s got the Guinness Book of World Records record for fastest WPF, but who the hell types 60 words on their damn phone? I use mine mostly for texting and entry into websites. Swiftkey works MUCH better for that than swype for me…

  • Anonymous

    I don’t even use swype anymore.. got tired of their expiring betas… gingerbread keyboard rocks.

    • EC8CH

      True… swype is still nice to have in portrait mode though.

  • http://twitter.com/ChazClout ChazClout

    What a great way to support the community and protect their IP.

    I like this.

  • BTGGTR1

    I don’t understand…it’s a keyboard app, not a holy relic touched by the hand of God…the people at Swype need to lighten up. I mean hell, you get it for free by signing up for Swype Beta, what’s the difference if people share the apk? Ridiculous.

    • http://twitter.com/mnkyhead mnkyhead

      It is their business, and when people share the apk file, they loose money. It may nor seem like a big deal, but when you make your living creating and selling software, it is a big deal.

  • Drummer62

    Any chance we will ever see a version that works on the Incredible again? I really HATE having to switch to normal input method and then back to swype every time I turn on my phone ugg :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=615125234 Jack Doyle

    I don’t use Swype. My Droid X came with it, which effectively sticks me on an old version for the life of the phone anyway. SwiftKey FTW.

    • Qwertykeyboard

      I use Swype on my Droid X and it is awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/eidylon Aaron Abdis

    I really wish they would use the Market licensing and distrbution mechanism. That way I could feel safe about upgrading my preinstalled version with the beta version I’m signed up for.

  • MeMike

    Glad that I was in for the beta on my OG Droid!

    I can see why Swype does this; it makes a lot of business sense. They get to ensure a good keyboard experience by integrating directly with the phone. That said, I’ve been incredibly happy with the latest beta versions. But have you ever been to their beta forums? Those are some of the downright rudest and least respectful “beta” users around. I can see why they wouldn’t want to try and support a whole community.

  • acepelon

    Fix the licensing so those with a beta license can actually install it. I love it, but it is hit or miss to install. I have spent hours and hours trying to get it installed at times. Love it. Let me pay. Just don’t make me constantly annoyed. I pay for convenience. I don’t do my own oil changes either. I can, but I don’t. If I wasn’t an insomniac I wouldn’t be able to keep Swype installed as many times as I switch ROMs.

  • Anonymous

    Come out of damn beta already, and let me buy the damn thing for my phone and I will, or dont and I’ll continue to look for ways to get it. http://beta.swype.com Beta’s are great for a minute. Swype is too damn cool to stay in beta forever.

    • The350zWolf

      I see your point but I think that the way things are is because of swype’s business model. They don’t want to sell swype over the android market but instead want to sell it to the device manufacturers, such as HTC, MOTO, Samsung, etc. I think that this would make for a more polished and uniform app. The reason we are fortunate to have swype beta is because we are the testbed for swype, otherwise we would have to hope that it comes already preinstalled. I got a beta licence for my OG Droid. The way it will work is if enough people want/demand swype and if it comes down as a decisive factor when choosing a phone, trust me, it will come preinstalled in the device you choose.

  • Trian1

    Swype has a product that people want. However, rather than deliver for a price directly to the people who want it, they have decided to work only with handset developers in order to make more money.

    As long as they continue that path, they will face piracy. In esssence, they are putting a DRM on their software, and we see how that worked out for the music industry.

    They should put a price tag on it and sell it in the marketplace. People would buy it. Instead, they limit who can use it based upon the whims of large corporations producing handsets and controlling distribution.

    That business model was quite successful for large record companies for a long time. However, it does not work anymore, and as long as Swype continues to insist on an outdated distribution model and attempts to create a DRM for their product, they will find themselves alienating potential customers, driving their product development underground, and eventually loss of their revenue.

    • The350zWolf

      I completely agree, especially with your point of vie on piracy. I’m pretty sure that at the end if the device manufactures turn a cold shoulder to swype, they will offer it to the general public over the market. I don’t blame them to cater to the device manufacturers, they want to be one echelon up on the food chain and not deal with the run-of-the-mill household developer. Less competition.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1603800094 Cody Clay

        The fact is, if they release it to the market, everyone is going to buy it. They are going to make a ton of money. People arent pirating it for nothing. I pirated a long time before i finally got into the beta. I mean, release it, and i will buy it. Its been way too long now.

        • The350zWolf

          Indeed, I’m with you. If they release it for sale I’m in. I too did get it pirated before getting the beta invite

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t agree more, i have been in on the Swype Beta since it was first released. It seemed like a great idea and after them showing it off a bit i was hooked. But i was somewhat taken back when they started pre- installing it on phones, and the versions that they were installing were outdated. Then the community took it upon themselves to port/ hack it to all the other phones. That was OK for a second but then Swype asked that the .apk be removed and most were,(once something has hit the net there is no recovering it completely), but after almost a year and the app still being in beta i can see why some people are getting antsy and would like a completed version and until then will have to settle for finding it themselves. So in short until Swype comes out with a app in the market or a final release that they want to sell, people will continue to find it themselves through pretty much any means necessary.

    • nsk

      This comment is spot-on.

      Swype, here’s a reality check: If you’re still waiting for HTC and other handset manufacturers to pick up your product as an OEM offering, you’ve been waiting too long. Your terms were too onerous for them, and they passed you over. Now move on.

      Today, the Android community moves extremely quickly, more quickly than you can schedule meetings with handset product development guys and try to convince them to pay you to license your one-trick-pony product. And now, you’re alienating the last remaining community – grassroots developers – who are actually going out and promoting your product by including it in their ROMs.

      • Bob

        Reality check… swype is preloaded on several HTC devices. Meaning they got that “OEM offering” you’re referring to.

        • Dthorntonsnr

          It might be pre-installed but you can always take it off. That’s the beauty of Android.

    • takeshi

      Does not work? They still seem to be in business as far as I can tell. What’s the basis for your assessment?

  • Anonymous

    When Blindtype launches.. swype will be begging for people to take it for free.

  • Anonymous

    When Blindtype launches.. swype will be begging for people to take it for free.

    • Anonymous

      My thought exactly.

    • EC8CH

      Google bought Blindtype months ago…

      • Anonymous

        yes, I know.

      • Anonymous

        I think they must have incorporated some BlindType coding into the Gingerbread keyboard. The text prediction on that thing is scary.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IRXQUPRGYT353VRYHBW35SFHBM dustin

      im excited to try that and snapkey, whenever they may be released

  • Anonymous

    FU Swype!.. you are dangerously close to being abandoned by the android community. You can join the tight assed iphone community then.

  • Anonymous

    FU Swype!.. you are dangerously close to being abandoned by the android community. You can join the tight assed iphone community then.

    • Anonymous

      WTF? Why do you think they should give away their work? I don’t know what you do for a living, but I’m sure you wouldn’t be happy if your employer skipped a few paychecks. I love the Android community, but I hate the prevalence of the idea that devs should work for free.

      • Anonymous

        They should work for coffee and doughnuts. That what most codes I know always ask for.

      • EC8CH

        They shouldn’t give their product away… but it would be nice to have the option to buy it and pay for it.

        • Anonymous

          I agree, but I’m sure they’ve contacted themselves (with manufacturers) out of distribution to end users. Is that fair? No, but it doesn’t make stealing their work justifiable.

          • Josh

            I want Swype, I have OG Droid. I would pay money for Swype, but cannot buy it for my phone, therefore I will pirate it.

          • EC8CH

            Sounds logical to me.

          • http://twitter.com/PennyForAName Mike

            Just because you cant have something you WANT you have to steal it instead of signing up for their beta or getting a product that has it included?

          • Josh

            Beta was closed when I wanted it initially. Verizon won’t let me upgrade until November. Yes, because I want it and will pay for it, but am not allowed to buy it, I will steal it.

          • http://twitter.com/PennyForAName Mike

            So then when your house gets robbed you’ll be okay with it because the thief said “I wanted the items officer but I wasn’t allowed to buy them so I stole them”?

      • Anonymous

        free apps in android also gain revenue for developers thru advertisement. I don’t think anyone should give their apps for free if they don’t want to.. but the distribution mode of swype is outdated and detrimental to the development of swype itself. If swype doesn’t want developers to unlock their beta… they should at least try and sell it in the market and I am sure people will be glad to buy.

        • Bob

          Do you honestly think they could support a company with a market app? OEM deals are how you get paid…

          • Anonymous

            how about OEM deals AND market apps?

          • Bob

            Swype is preloaded on almost every top android device. If a user can get swype from the market, then using swype as a selling point for their device isn’t nearly as appealing… it’s a smart business model if you want to support a company.

    • Franklycomplicated

      Wait, how do you figure. Swype is trying to work w/ XDA devs by establishing clear guidelines for what you can and cannot do with its product, which as the developers it is their right. They still seem willing to work with Devs on ways they can still tailor their product to suit their needs without infringing on their rights.

      • Anonymous

        rights? what rights? and if they are “working” with the devs.. then they are pretty darn slow! My swype beta expired 3 times on me already!

    • CPat

      They wrote it and can do what they want with it. They sure as hell don’t owe you anything. And they’re nowhere near being abandoned by anyone, despite what all you “everybody owes me their stuff for free” types think.

      • Anonymous

        who the heck said they owe it for free? We said from a business stand point of view, if you want to minimize piracy.. put it up on the market for people to download for fee. Everybody wins.
        don’t blabber without understanding.

  • Anonymous

    So if I decide to dump Moto for HTC when I take the 4G plunge, that means no Swype? Bummer.

  • Anonymous

    So if I decide to dump Moto for HTC when I take the 4G plunge, that means no Swype? Bummer.

  • http://twitter.com/willsours Will Sours

    I say F Swype. They made it too buggy/complicated to use the “beta” with all the BS licensing checks and what not and are just way too concerned with a 99cent app that ends up causing more trouble than its worth most of the time anyway. The stock GB keyboard works for me just fine (with its beautiful voice input button) until Google can push their next (acquired) input innovations out the door.

  • http://twitter.com/willsours Will Sours

    I say F Swype. They made it too buggy/complicated to use the “beta” with all the BS licensing checks and what not and are just way too concerned with a 99cent app that ends up causing more trouble than its worth most of the time anyway. The stock GB keyboard works for me just fine (with its beautiful voice input button) until Google can push their next (acquired) input innovations out the door.

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t disagree with this more. I love Swype and I’ve never had any issues with it. Swype is the only keyboard I’ll use.

  • Anonymous

    I guess I will stop working on my iOS port then… LOL

  • http://twitter.com/cnpalmer75 Ben

    So no more swiping swype…

    • acepelon

      Swiper no swiping?

      • EC8CH

        I’M THE MAP!!!!!!!!!

        • http://twitter.com/ChazClout ChazClout

          Awwww maaan! (snaps fingers)

          • EC8CH

            OM NOM NOM NOM…. DELICIOSO!

          • http://twitter.com/ChazClout ChazClout

            We did it!

          • Conazo2003

            Watching too much of Diego! Go Diego Go!!! LOL!

      • http://www.linkedin.com/in/PhilHamlin Phil Hamlin

        I’m a grumpy old trooolllllll…. who lives under a briiiiiiige…… {Hey!}
        I’m a grumpy old trooolllllll…. who lives under a briiiiiiige…… {Who’s there?!}
        If you want to cross over… all you have to do is this….all you have to do is this….
        SOLVE …. MY …. RIDDLE!

    • Josh

      it won’t cut down on “swiping swype”. Now you’ll just have to get it off of IRQ or torrents only. lol

  • http://www.koveleski.com koveleski

    Win.

    • Anonymous

      I find it ironic that Kellex would post this considering the fact that he’s linked to downloads of Swype in various forms over the last year.