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Apple reportedly cracking down on iPad, iPhone giveaways

Apple reportedly has begun more strictly enforcing its rules against third-parties giving away iPads and iPhones to drum up business, according to a Fortune story

According to Apple's Guidelines for Third Party Promotions, you're not allowed to use the modifier "free" in reference to Apple products, nor can you use the Myriad Set font for promotions. Apple also bans use of its product photographs without permission as a way to stop companies from making it look as though they have a business relationship with Apple.

Apple's brand protection guidelines, which have been around since at least the start of the year, are a bit looser regarding the iPod touch, though you need to buy at least 250 of them to use them in promotions.

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The Apple Insider website states that "While such a document is standard practice for corporations, the news that Apple has begun to more strictly enforce these guidelines appears to indicate the company is tightening up control of its brand."  Apple reportedly has begun contacting companies that violate its guidelines.

Apple's apparent harder line on protecting its brand isn't sitting well with some bloggers.

The blog Gadgetsteria asks: "So tell me — if someone pays full price for an iPhone or iPad, why can't they have a promotion? It's really no different than me giving an old iPhone to a friend. It helps get more Apple hardware into the hands of consumers — and consumers that might otherwise not be able to afford a $500 tablet no less."

Similarly, the EverythingiCafe blog asks: "How is this legally binding? Surely if I purchase an iPad, I'm free to give it away in whatever manner I please. Isn't that how ownership works?"

Apple might need to hire a few extra lawyers if it wants to really crack down on violations of its promotion guidelines. A quick Google search on "free iPads" turns up nearly 8 million results and spammers latched onto the "free iPad" phrase months ago to try to trick Twitter, Facebook and other social media users into compromising their online security. 

Meanwhile, vendors of rival tablets themselves have been giving away their devices left and right at recent events, such as Google I/O and BlackBerry World

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