One of the first things I want to address is that O'Reilly & Associates can't afford to spend bundles of money on legal fees for research. If it comes to that, then I can tell you there won't be another contest. So suggesting that we just open it up to everyone and then go from there, legally, would be a nightmare on many levels.
Apple's contest rules have residency limitations too, and even if they didn't, we cannot adopt a policy that we don't have the money to defend. As you might guess, Apple's legal budget is many times greater than O'Reilly's.
As for feeling discriminated against, please don't. Discrimination has nothing to do with this issue, and by bringing that up we begin to move backwards instead of forward. This issue has to do with the law and its variances throughout the world. If we didn't care about developers regardless of the country they live in, we wouldn't be addressing these issues. Our writers are everywhere, and we embrace their brilliance regardless of where they live.
What I think is important here is to offer everyone a chance to show off their ingenuity, creativity, and skill as a programmer. The prizes we currently offer are to help advance programming on the Mac platform. They are a bonus, but not the goal.
At the end of the day, building a vibrant community around the Mac OS X platform is my priority here. At this point, having U.S. developers share the spotlight with those throughout the world overrides lower priority concerns around labeling and free conference passes.
I'm continuing to work on having an two divisions for the next round, each receiving equal publicity and exposure.