I’m not sure to say about it here (but for the now it’s place most focused on law in SE). Recently I found a guy on routinehub who said that all his app is copyrighted. He made app fully and only from existing files copyrighted by apple. Was this legal?

This guy is this one if something: https://routinehub.co/shortcut/9029/

documentation of MDM (which was tried to copyright) is here : https://developer.apple.com/business/documentation/MDM-Protocol-Reference.pdf

  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because it is a question about copyright which is not specific to open source.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 8, 2021 at 9:17
  • "it's place most focused on law in SE" You know there's a Law StackExchange, right? Commented Jun 8, 2021 at 14:13
  • eee. when i'd go there - they'd say to me only that i should ring to police...
    – hacknorris
    Commented Jun 8, 2021 at 14:15
  • Copyright of a protocol specification seems irrelevant to copyright of the resulting app. If he copy-pasted Apple files to make the app then it's probably copyrighted by Apple. But reading Apple documents and then writing an app doesn't mean the app is copyrighted by Apple. Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 9:53

2 Answers 2


all his app is copyrighted

This statement is almost certainly true, in the sense that probably all the code is covered by copyright protection and that one or multiple persons or companies hold those copyrights.

As soon as you write something down and it meets a very simple test of creativity (there is more than one way to write it), then what you wrote is protected by copyrights and others may only make changes/additions to it with permission (a.k.a. a license).

He made app fully and only from existing files copyrighted by apple. Was this legal?

This is impossible to tell, because we don't know if and what permissions Apple gave for the use of the relevant files.

  • this person just said to not use this. looks like copyright but i dont think that he made any patents... and there is only 1 way to write it (apple's mobileconfigs arent working like source code but more like very extended forms, which ofc can create "external apps" )
    – hacknorris
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 9:22
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    @HacksNorris If you create precisely the same thing without taking anything he authored, you are entitled to the same copyright he is entitled to. If there really is only one "best" way to do it (for practical purposes) then nobody is entitled to copyright because there are no creative choices to protect. Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 16:51
  • tysm! guy got reported, its okay i think :'D . guy even deleted thing he's done
    – hacknorris
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 17:43

You posit that A writes code and publishes it, then B takes it, makes copyrightable modifications to it, and republishes the resulting work. You ask what the copyright position in this resulting work is, and whether such activity is lawful.

The result would indeed be copyrighted, as the Berne Convention requires, but the rights would vest in more than one entity. Both A and B now have a copyright interest in the resulting work.

Making a derivative work, as B has done in this case, is an activity normally controlled by copyright. Whether B's activity is lawful depends on the licence under which A made their work available. If A made it available under a permissive free licence (such as the three-clause BSD), then A has granted permission for such derivative works to be made and published. If A made it available under a copyleft free licence (such as GPLv3) then A has granted permission for derivative works to be made and published, subject to B observing certain conditions (including but not limited to publication of source, and relicensing under GPLv3) which B's failure to observe would invalidate, rendering B's activity a violation of A's copyright. If A didn't publish under a licence that permitted derivative works (such as most proprietary licences) then B is violating A's copyright.

We cannot tell from the information you have provided what Apple's licence on the original work was, so we cannot say which scenario applies here.

  • apple didnt gave license for mobileconfighs. i read documentation... and mostly apple makes copyright, so i just think that .mobileconfig is also copyrighted (same as macos and ios)
    – hacknorris
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 9:25
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    How do you know what communication passed between Apple and B? Also, why do you care? (That's not meant to be flip, or dismissive, but you really can't know anything about the existence or contents of communication you were not privy to - and in any case it's not your copyrights that are being infringed, if indeed any are.)
    – MadHatter
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 9:27
  • im not sure i just know how apple works and... u know... and why i care about - i was making shortcut which was based on this copyrighted template
    – hacknorris
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 9:27
  • Ah, that's different. It's pretty clear that you have no rights to do so, as B hasn't chosen to republish under a licence that permits it ("No part of this shortcut can be copied or reproduced"). Whether B is infringing A's copyrights has no bearing on that question.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 9:29
  • no because i just think that he broke apple's copyright. now nothing is about me, its about him...
    – hacknorris
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 9:38

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