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A change in terms to the Amazon.com Product Advertising API License Agreement is forcing mobile applications developers to discontinue offering iPhone apps that use Amazon’s data.

The problematic licensing language can be found in Section 4 under “Usage Requirements” and provides:

By making calls to the Product Advertising API, accessing the Data Feed, or using Product Advertising Content, you agree to comply with the following requirements:

(e) You will not, without our express prior written approval requested via this link , use any Product Advertising Content on or in connection with any site or application designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device.

“This link” is an Amazon contact form where you can request information or permissions regarding the Amazon API.  According to iLounge, one iPhone app developer, Delicious Monster, requested permission to use the Amazon data on their mobile app but was told “no permission is being given right now.”

So far it appears that two apps have been effected by this licensing change, Delicious Library and Pocketpedia.

According to Bruji, maker of Pocketpedia, Amazon sent the developer an email requesting the immediate removal of Pocketpedia from the App Store since the program is in violation of their license agreement.  Bruji is encouraging irate users to join a letter writing campaign to Amazon to get the company to reverse course on this decision.

Meanwhile, speculation is rampant regarding what caused Amazon to make this change, and some are speculating it has to do with Amazon’s recent acquisition of image acquisition based mobile marketing company SnapTell.

In an unrelated development, the New York Times reports that Amazon has removed (read: deleted) ebooks purchased by Kindle users from their devices and credited the cost of the purchases back to the users’ accounts at the Amazon ebook store.  The ebooks in question were unauthorized editions of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and “1984.”  Thanks big brother, uh, I mean Amazon.


Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.