Apple Tries to Stifle Free Speech, Gets Hit With Lawsuit Instead
Article by George Norman
On 28 Apr 2009
Apple, the company behind the Mac OS X, the iPhone and iPod Touch is getting sued – again. This time it is not over the multi-touch technology used with the iPhone, it is over legal threats the company made. It seems that Apple asked OdioWorks, company that runs the BluWiki website, to take down posts related to iTunes workarounds; OdioWorks ignored Apple’s cease-and-desist letter which invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and decided to fight for the freedom of speech by suing Apple.

Sam Odio, owner of OdioWorks comments: “I take the free speech rights of BluWiki users seriously. Companies like Apple should not be able to censor online discussions by making baseless legal threats against services like BluWiki that host the discussions."

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The whole issue appears to have been spurred by Apple’s decision to prevent iPhone and iPod Touch users from using media management software other than iTunes. 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. Apple of course did not take kindly to this and invoked copyright interests in the matter – to which the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) responded by saying they are not copyright interests, but censorship attempts.

“Apple's legal threats against BluWiki are about censorship, not about protecting their legitimate copyright interests. Wikis and other community sites are home to many vibrant discussions among hobbyists and tinkerers. It's legal to engage in reverse engineering in order to create a competing product, it's legal to talk about reverse engineering, and it's legal for a public wiki to host those discussions, commented Senior Intellectual Property Attorney with the EFF, Fred von Lohmann.

It should be noted that BluWiki, at the time of receiving Apple’s cease-and-desist letter complied and took down the discussions (which by the way did not get as far as to constitute development of a way to bypass iTunes), but now would like to get legal cover so as to continue those discussions.



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