Apple Sued For Copyright Infringement Because Third Party App Has Someone Else's Bird Sounds

from the tweet-tweet dept

Eric Goldman points us to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Apple, because of a third party application for the iPhone called iBird (the developer of that program has also been sued). Apparently, one guy, Martyn Stewart, has gone around and recorded a bunch of different nature sounds, and the developer of iBird used them in his program. Stewart has an application in to register the copyrights, which seems pretty iffy to me: what "originality" did he actually add to the recording?

The developer of iBird seemingly admits to using Stewart's sounds. If you actually accept the idea of the copyrights on those sounds, then it seems like it should be a lawsuit solely between Stewart and the iBird developer. But including Apple because it offers iBird in the iPhone app store seems pretty ridiculous. On top of that, there's some oddity on the timing as well. Stewart admits that he's been collecting these sounds for 35 years, and that the iBird developer first approached him in 2007. But he only filed an application to copyright the sounds in December of 2009, which may cause some difficulty for him (though, it's not clear when the iBird product was actually released, which could make a difference here).

Either way, I can't see how Apple has any liability here at all, unless Stewart sent a DMCA takedown that was ignored, and there's no indication of that in his lawsuit. This feels like a typical "Steve Dallas lawsuit" in that it lumps in a big company tangentially related to the lawsuit, just because it has lots of money, and the guy suing is hoping against all the odds (and common sense and the law) that it will somehow pay up or be forced to pay up.

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  1. identicon
    Dave Bloom, 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:30pm

    Re:

    I was thinking the same thing. Apple opens itself up to liability because the approval process. They are not acting as a disinterested 3rd party here. Unlike YouTube, they are reviewing all apps made available through their storefront.

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