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
    Anonymous, 28 Jun 2010 @ 7:19am

    Apple and Waite's fault

    Apple used the app to promote the iPhone extensively. It was used in 2 advertisements in between shows like American Idol (120 million viewers)
    It was also used to promote the iPad recently. Apple should have contacted all parties associated with the app before they went on their extensive advertisement campaign.
    Imagine someone with a blackberry phone wanting the iBird app, They buy the iPhone to get the app facility. Of course Apple are responsible.
    All recordings are copyrighted, anyone can record nature but the fact he recorded individual birds and singled them out is an art.

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