Sunday, 28 July 2013

Leap Motion Special Applications Restricted in SDK T&Cs

In the post about my #FirstLeap with the Leap Motion 3D Motion Controller I thought there would bparticularly interesting applications in point of sale kiosks, controls for video DJs/lighting at live events and corporate presentations/collaboration.  The Terms and Conditions of using Leap Motion's SDK require a special agreement for these types of use; I hope that this doesn't stop the use of Leap Motion through overcharging or excessive red tape.


Having had my interest piqued by my first two hours of using the Leap Motion I decided to investigate its app developer's Software Development Kit. The developers link from their homepage takes you to sign up as a developer and accept the Terms & Conditions.  Unusually I read through them and found that the licence explicitly does not allow me to develop a 'specialized application'.

"Specialized Application" means an Application which is: (i) sold, licensed, leased, or otherwise disposed of for a list price of more than US$500 or local equivalent, or more than US$240 per year or local equivalent if on a subscription, lease or similar basis; (ii) sold, licensed, leased or otherwise disposed of as part of, or for use with, another application, system, machine or device (other than a personal computer), having a list price of more than US$500 or local equivalent, or more than US$240 per year or local equivalent if on a subscription, lease or similar basis; (iii) designed for use, or that is primarily used, with or for control, whether direct or indirect, of industrial, commercial, military or medical equipment.

So an application is specialized if it is worth over US$500/US$240 per year or part of a system that is or is designed to control any industrial or commercial equipment regardless of its worth. Clause 3.1 of the SDK Agreement goes on to say:
"Leap Motion hereby grants you a... licence... to... (a) ...distribute the Leap Motion Redistributables... as incorporated into... your Application (provided it is not a Specialized Application); and (b) to make... use, sell... your Application (provided it is not a Specialized Application).

So we can develop specialized applications, but we can not distribute them without a special licence. While it is understandable that Leap Motion require a separate licence the use of their product in specialized applications, it would not be understandable if they do not support its use in commercial and other situations by overcharging.  The FAQs are quite clear and ask developers to contact their business development team (partnerships@leapmotion.com) to make a separate agreement. Their approach to licencing special applications could be critical to their success.

These worries were dispelled, and my excitement reignited, when I found Highland Capital Partners' Leap Fund which make $25,000,000 available for cool applications.  In the words of The Leap Fund:
If you're using Leap Motion's technology to build a novel experience or disruptive business, we want to hear from you.