Apple No Longer Stifles Free Speech, EFF Drops Lawsuit
Article by George Norman
On 23 Jul 2009
Back in April we reported that Cupertino-based software developer Apple is getting sued – now the thing is that Apple gets hit with lawsuits all the time, like this one from someone accusing Apple of conspiring with the Italian Mafia. What made the April lawsuit interesting is that it was filled by the Electronic Frontier Foundation because Apple tried to stifle free speech.

The whole issue arose when Apple took offense to OdioWorks, company that run the aptly name wiki site BluWiki. Why would apple be concerned about a wiki site? It seems that there were several posts on BluWiki talking about how one could bypass iTunes and use other media management software. Apple sent BluWiki a cease-and-desist letter invoking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that asked BluWiki to take down all the discussions focused on how you could enable your iPhone and/or iPod Touch so that you could use media management software such as Winamp and Songbird, not iTunes.

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Faced with Apple’s legal threats, BluWiki owners decided to fight back by not deleting these posts. The EFF took things one step further and filed a lawsuit against Apple. At the time, Senior Intellectual Property Attorney wit the EFF, Fred von Lohmann, argued that Apple must be sued because its legal threats are not about protecting the company’s copyright interests, but about censorship.

It is the same Fred von Lohmann that has now announced that Apple dropped its legal threats against Bluwiki. Consequently the Electronic Frontier Foundation decided to drop its lawsuit against Apple - but not without a bad aftertaste.

“While we are glad that Apple retracted its baseless legal threats, we are disappointed that it only came after 7 months of censorship and a lawsuit. Moreover, Apple continues to use technical measures to lock iPod Touch and iPhone owners into using Apple's iTunes software. And just last week, Apple used an update to iTunes as an excuse to lock the new Palm Pre smart phone out of using Apple's iTunes software. In light of these developments, you can be sure that perfectly legal efforts to reverse engineer Apple products will continue in order to foster interoperability. We hope Apple has learned its lesson here, and will give those online discussions a wide berth in the future,” explained Fred von Lohmann.



Tags: Apple, Lawsuit, EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation, OdioWorks, BluWiki
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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