This isn't new for Apple. It's the same way the company approaches licensing in all its boxed consumer software. I can buy a Snow Leopard Family Pack, sure, but if I buy a single-user version of Snow Leopard, it'll install on all the family computers just the same.
Apple's approach is simple. It's an honor thing. The company believes that, given the choice, people will do the right thing. It also understands that anti-piracy techniques don't stop pirates, but they do get in the way of honest users.
I applaud Apple's efforts here. Sure, there are folks who will never pay for software, music or any other content if they can find a way to do so. They'll even convince themselves that it's OK to do so. (The ability to justify our actions through reason is so prevalent is our society, we even have a word for it: rationalization.) The fact is, most people will do the right thing, especially when doing the right thing is easy for them and doesn't make their life harder.
I depend on software for so many aspects of my life. For work, for play, and everything in between. I want these developers, who have the talent and ability to create the tools and content I use, to be successful. I want them to succeed for the most selfish of reasons: I want them to create more great stuff I can use. The Mac App Store represents the kind of the thinking that will help make this possible, and Apple's terms in this case are a model for the industry.
So, forget the fact that you can get a copy of some app without paying for it. It doesn't matter whether the Mac App Store was cracked or not. Forget the rationalizations. Show developers that this model works, and it's a win for users and developers.
Remember: it's an honor thing. And that's a good thing.
Michael Gartenberg is a technology analyst at Gartner who covers technology and mobility. All opinions in this column are his own.