EFF Blasts Apple For Fraudulent DMCA Takedown Of Wiki Page

from the let's-look-at-the-law dept

It’s no secret that Apple is excessively protective of the way some of its systems work. That includes trying to stop any other application, other than iTunes, from controlling an iPod. That’s a bit of a pain for those of us who like to use alternative apps, such as Songbird. Because of this, there are plenty of folks who work out ways to reverse engineer Apple’s system to make this work. Specifically, they need to understand a file called iTunesDB, which Apple tries to prevent others from writing to with a checksum hash. When Apple first introduced the hash it was reverse engineered within a couple days. Apple just recently changed the hash, meaning that it needs to be reverse engineered again. There’s a public wiki where a bunch of folks were collaborating to do just that… but Apple sent a DMCA takedown notice to the site.

The EFF has stepped up to walk through the many, many reasons why there’s no DMCA violation on the site, and Apple’s takedown notice appears to be fraudulent. Yes, the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA do say it’s illegal to offer a technology, product, service, device or device to get around DRM, but an open discussion on a wiki is not any of those things. Perhaps more importantly, Apple doesn’t own the copyright on iTunesDB. Each iPod makes its own iTunesDB file based on what files they put on their device. The copyright is unlikely to belong to Apple. Next up, reverse engineering is perfectly legal, and the DMCA has a specific exception for reverse engineering. And, finally, the anti-circumvention clause is designed to protect copyright infringement — but the folks building alternative software programs aren’t doing anything for copyright infringement — they’re just trying to make iPods work with their software.

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Companies: apple, eff

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Comments on “EFF Blasts Apple For Fraudulent DMCA Takedown Of Wiki Page”

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21 Comments
nasch says:

Re: Re: Re:

Rather, if they cannot make their products profitable without exercising an unrealistic level of control over their customers’ behaviors, they should change their products. It looks like this is a case of Apple pushing the envelope of how much control they can exert over their customers. The suggestion to buy someone else’s products if you want a vendor who doesn’t try to do that is perfectly reasonable.

Krayol says:

Awful Apple

We are all aware of how Apple are terrible suppliers, overcharging drastically for products, demanding that customer use the products exactly the way that they say (and only that way).

They are quick to attack their own customers if they feel it is profitable (or will save them trouble). In truth, if sheep had money they would be the ideal target customer for Apple.

They are quick to litigate against anyone, supplier or customer who crosses them.

The sad thing is that Apple produce much more usable, better designed products than anyone else. Despite the fact that they don’t use advanced technology and their products are actually very basic, they have huge margins – due to lack of effective competition? Why? I don’t know!

With Microsoft resources I could design and build an MP3 player that blows the iPlayers away, but the Zune is not that good. Most MP3 players look like the were made by Russia during the cold war – functional, ugly, as far from user friendly as you can get!

I don’t have an MP3 player because only Apple produce decent ones. I will not give Apple my money – it’s waiting for a good, open, product to hit the market.

There must be a supplier that can produce high quality sound, include 16GB memory (£20 worth!) as standard, design a good menu system, and not lock the user out of their own product? Surely?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Oh please… I’m an Apple supporter typing this on my Macbook which I absolutely love, but you’ve got to be dense and blind to not think Apple knowingly sent that notice to frighten people into removing the content. It is very common for companies to take that type of action because it does not typically cost them to get out of it (low penalties if any).

We live in a ‘sue without reason’ world where fraudulent lawsuits are commonplace and big companies throw around their weight to protect their assets and market share. That is normal. They should not be allowed to send such notices without penalty when there is no evidence however, and I really do hope the EFF is able to head this off and possibly take action against it on behalf of the wiki community there.

Merijn Vogel (profile) says:

Apple doesn't own copyright on those database files

“Perhaps more importantly, Apple doesn’t own the copyright on iTunesDB. Each iPod makes its own iTunesDB file based on what files they put on their device. The copyright is unlikely to belong to Apple.”
Interesting thought, because if it were the other way, then Microsoft would have the copyright of every excelsheet in the world!

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