Swype Inc. Clears Up Stance on Distribution of their Keyboard App


Swype is taking a stance on the distribution of their keyboard app, specifically when it relates to skinning and mods performed by the large Android development community. Turns out, Swype doesn’t want to rain on the parade of modders, so they have provided a set of guidelines for when and how Swype can be used. They still frown upon those distributing the Swype APK to devices that did not come with it stock, but if ROM makers want to include Swype in builds for phones that shipped with Swype, they can go right ahead (as long as the Swype version matches that of the version currently available for a particular handset). Read the full letter on the matter below:

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.

[via XDA]

Kevin Krause
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  1. Lol yeah… Sure…

  2. For crying out loud, why don’t they just sell it already!!

    When the beta eventually runs out I will be lost without it!

  3. I stopped using swype simply because its a pain in the ass to keep a working version.

  4. Ditto What Mitchell said :-D

  5. I think that is very fair; I applaud them for supporting the community at all.
    I would prefer however, that they make the keyboard available via the market.

  6. This is just their legal jargon. People will mod what they want whether or not the company behind it supports their actions. They basically just clarified that unlicensed versions of skype should not be ditributed. We already knew this. If you aren’t in the beta and you didn’t buy a device that natively supports skype in the stock ROM it is pirated. Simple as that. For those that don;t read into things, they also have a good reason why they don’t sell swype outright in the market, and that reason is that they are a small company and can’t handle supporting such a popular app (bug fixes, troubleshooting various devices, etc.) This is a very valid reason. hopefully the company can grow and be able to one day release their keyboard to anyone that wants a taste.

  7. So yea.. when are they going to get a grip and just release it on the market? People obviously want it so much so that people who wouldn’t otherwise pirate apps choose to use pirated copies of Swype because it is the only way they can use it.
    Does the licensing from manufacturers really work out better?

    Not being able to support the keyboard as an excuse doesn’t really fly when many people are happily using it illegally (I would be very surprised if the illegal copies didn’t out number fully licensed ones..)
    There are also ‘one-man-band’ devs with some of the other most popular apps on the market who don’t seem to have an issue.

  8. They need to release this app to the Android Market, instead of getting paid by the phone carriers.

  9. Gav: beta won’t run out, it’s like an unstable/nightly build like you often see with open source software.

  10. it was almost perfect when they first updated it why are they still in Beta?? I was never asked to give feedback in the Beta programme.
    TBH, I CBA use Swype any more because it’s so hard to get every version and to install the first time with a new ROM

  11. It’s nice to see them take a reasonable, pro-enthusiast stance here. Really, the fine print is important, but the first sentence is the biggest thing to take away. If you’ve seen the customer service/support forum on Swype’s site this is very consistent with both their business model and philosophy. They want to make the best product they can, and they want to make it useful to and loved by the Android community. On the other hand, they are a business and want to turn a profit on their work, so there are limits to their goodwill. To me their engagement with their existing user base is encouraging, and their willingness to accept fair use of their software is a great example for the larger software community.

    Kudos for the Swype folks for this!

    (I’m a Swype beta user but I have no other interests in the company beyond wishing them the best in releasing an awesome product that I can buy.)

  12. I quit caring about swype for the same reasons mentioned here. Too hard to keep a working version and too frequently types the wrong word, making me type way slower from constant corrections

  13. I would have purchased Swype from the MARKET on day 1. But since they never appeared on the MARKET, I have since found the SlideIT keyboard (which IS sold on the MARKET). SlideIT works the same way as Swype, and it works great!

  14. Meh. I got hold of the APK before it was removed from the internet. It’s blue and the Mic works.

  15. Rumor has it the best way to grow a company and make money is to actually sell a product.

  16. I would love to have the option to enable more than one language at the same time. I type in two languages, sometimes using words from both languages at the same text box, sometimes in the same phrase. But swype forces me to switch back and forward in the middle of the writing or stick to one language. It is becoming very annoying.

  17. OEM Swype sucks. I removed the one that came with the G2 and slapped the beta back on. No idea why Swype makes it so difficult and imposible for non root users…

  18. Just ONCE I’d like to see people unanimously say something positive about any post on Phandroid. You all always have the most critical comments I’ve ever seen every time, no matter what.

  19. Anybody that needs the apk, email me. [email protected]

  20. I think swype’s business plan is to have it come pre-installed on certain phones to maintain a certain exclusivity and probably because it pays much more than just market

  21. I’d be totally cool to oblige their request if they made it so I could buy Swype for devices they didn’t license it for myself… but in the absence of their disregard for consumer’s wishes, it seems only right to repay the favor. :)

  22. I’d like to see a freakin’ update for my DX. The dictionary needs to be able to be modified. This thing comes up with words that don’t exist in any language as a recommendation for what I may have typed. Don’t put the onus on VZ to distribute it…just grant a license to the users and then distribute it via the Market already!!!

  23. I for one love Swype and have tried many others. It is definitely worth any hoops I jump through. I can’t get by without it.

    People complain that about updates but all software has updates. They are right and it could be more straight forward but it is solid software and hopefully making money somewhere.

  24. I assume that it is a good marketing (read profit) ploy for them and the hardware manufacturers. When I bought my Galaxy S. I had no idea what swype was. If swype doesn’t make it to the Market, I will have to ensure that my next phone comes pre-installed or I won’t buy it.
    So, that means that swype people will get money from me because my next phone WILL have it and the phone manufacturer that pays them to preinstall will also get my money.
    I can’t say I like the idea, but I definitely couldn’t live without swype.

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