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EFF Sues Apple Over BluWiki Legal Threats

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the fight-fight-fight dept.

Hardware Hacking 242

Hugh Pickens writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against Apple to defend the First Amendment rights of BluWiki, a noncommercial, public Internet 'wiki' site operated by OdioWorks. Last year, BluWiki users began a discussion about making some Apple iPods and iPhones interoperate with software other than Apple's iTunes. Apple lawyers demanded removal of the content (pdf) sending a letter to OdioWorks, alleging that the discussions constituted copyright infringement and a violation of the DMCA's prohibition on circumventing copy protection measures. Fearing legal action by Apple, OdioWorks took down the discussions from the BluWiki site but has now filed a lawsuit to vindicate its right to restore those discussions (pdf) and seeking a declaratory judgment that the discussions do not violate any of the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions, and do not infringe any copyrights owned by Apple. 'I take the free speech rights of BluWiki users seriously,' said Sam Odio, owner of OdioWorks. 'Companies like Apple should not be able to censor online discussions by making baseless legal threats against services like BluWiki that host the discussions.'" Random BedHead Ed adds ZDNet quotes EFF's Fred von Lohmann, who says that this is an issue of censorship. '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.'"

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Apple can go fuck itself... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745457)

Screwing its customers who overpaid for their fancy products.

Re:Apple can go fuck itself... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745757)

Anyone who was stupid enough to buy an Apple product deserves to get fucked over.

First Amendment (5, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745473)

Fearing legal action by Apple, OdioWorks took down the discussions from the BluWiki site

This is what you get when lawyers are too expensive. Censorship.

Re:First Amendment (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745727)

That's what you get when you create laws that make information illegal. Censorship is nothing but just that: Outlawing certain information, or the spreading thereof.

Re:First Amendment (5, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745819)

Censorship is nothing but just that: Outlawing certain information, or the spreading thereof.

The Thought Police has noted your contribution. Thank you for your input, citizen.

P.S. You have three minutes. I suggest you start running.

Re:First Amendment (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746143)

Dear Thought Police. You have made public the response time of our units.

P.S.: your office doors are now locked, no need to run. We'll be there shortly.

Re:First Amendment (5, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746169)

P.S.: your office doors are now locked, no need to run. We'll be there shortly.

Tell them to be careful, I ate beans yesterday.

Re:First Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746387)

Notes added 28/04/09 to citizen file #25151513:

Arrest on sight
Use extreme caution
May possess biological weapons of mass destruction.

Re:First Amendment (2, Funny)

daid303 (843777) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746517)

I ate beans yesterday.

We know.

Re:First Amendment (0, Troll)

aynoknman (1071612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747145)

I ate beans yesterday.

We know.

One of those beans was not actually a bean.

Re:First Amendment (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746509)

Dear Thought Police Police: You have made public your existence. P.S.: Please report for termination.

Re:First Amendment (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746463)

I will not run. Kill me if you have to, dying as a free man is better than living the life of a slave.

Thank you, Spartacus (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746693)

The Thought Police aren't coming to kill you, they are coming to enslave you. Feel like running now? No? Did I mention they are IMAGINARY? Now what are you going to do? How do you fight that which is only in your mind?

Your seriousness has killed the funny. You could have at least put it in terms of a pithy quote about liberty, lions and jackals, or free beer.

Re:First Amendment (4, Funny)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746717)

Clever. Now all they have to do is look for the guy that just started running.

Re:First Amendment Apple better KNOCK this (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747057)

bullshit off, or i will NEVER consider buying Apple products, AND, i may decide to work HARD to dissuade prospective laptop-buying friends from buying Appleware. KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF, APPLE!

w00t for the EFF (5, Insightful)

Toy G (533867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745505)

They keep doing very useful (and thankless) work.

Re:w00t for the EFF (5, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745601)

So thank them. [eff.org]

Re:w00t for the EFF (0, Flamebait)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745609)

If you've used iTunes, you should be thanking them.

Re:w00t for the EFF (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745851)

So... the EFF made iTunes?

No, but if you use anything else.... (2)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746009)

If you use iTunes, you don't care. I don't.

If you use (or would like to use) something else (gtkpod) to manage your iPod, then you might want to thank EFF.

Re:No, but if you use anything else.... (2, Interesting)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746435)

iTunes is great but they should not have monopoly. I think one can almost argue that they have a monopoly. Especially when an artist with not much money wants to promote their own work. They'll be more successfull advertising that their works are available on "iTunes" than anywhere else.

Re:w00t for the EFF (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745977)

They keep doing very useful (and thankless) work.

Thankless? Everyone here (and there are a few hundred thousand) bend over backwards to extoll the virtues of the EFF (and overlook its flaws). They are especially well-funded for a single-issue legal advocacy group, and their members are quoted in the press constantly.

How is that "thankless"? I do not think that word means what you think it does.

Re:w00t for the EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746633)

I think he was referring to you specifically, you ungrateful clod.

Put it right here (0, Redundant)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745517)

And now we're discussing it.
Please attach subpoena as a reply.

Apple (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745525)

Anal rape in every box.

Re:Apple (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745877)

Anal rape in every box.

Where can I get one for my ex?

Re:Apple (1)

rgo (986711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746359)

+1 Tasteless

For Apple to claim copyright... (2, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745535)

A thought, if Apple is claiming copyright juristiction on the conversation, would that not mean that Apple was claiming that it had written said conversations, in whole or part, and by which, by extention, are encouraging people to do the activities therein? Could make some interesting arguements in the courtroom. IANAL but from my viewpoint, Apple does not have much of a legal leg to stand on here.

Re:For Apple to claim copyright... (3, Insightful)

MistaE (776169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745679)

I highly doubt Apple is making that kind of Copyright claim. Most likely, they're attempting to claim copyright in any software or hardware code that was mentioned in these discussions. Considering the whole issue is about figuring out a way to reengineer the iPod and such to work with non-iTunes programs, they've most likely been having a discussion on the signals that the iPod sends to iTunes and to figure out a method of interpreting them.

That's what they mean by a copyright claim.

Re:For Apple to claim copyright... (4, Interesting)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745743)

It doesn't matter that talking about a product is not a violation of copyright law or DMCA law. Apple has big lawyers and a non-profit can't compete with that. What they did was comply with the lawyers demands, and then hire a lawyer (probably on commission) and are going to sue. If they win the suit they get to restore their information, and probably some compensation. If they lose they are at the same point (minus some time/effort) as they are now.

It's a shame that someone can sue someone else and ruin that person just on legal fee's. I am pretty sure the gov't does not provide free council to people in civil suits. It's a major flaw in our countries legal system.

Re:For Apple to claim copyright... (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746331)

It's a shame that someone can sue someone else and ruin that person just on legal fee's. I am pretty sure the gov't does not provide free council to people in civil suits. It's a major flaw in our countries legal system.

And you've just outlined the entire MPAA/RIAA prosecution strategy to boot...

This is how we negotiate (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745553)

On some level, this (and other things that have been made by the courts and through law, like the Doctrine of First Sale) is how society as a whole negotiates with vendors - when they offer things that are enough against the interests of society, we effectively band together and tell them that their terms are unacceptable and they'll either modify them or they won't be sold here.

Re:This is how we negotiate (1)

silentace (992647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745657)

First off, i think your overusing parenthesis =) looks like you need a sentence. Really though... 5-10 years of being insanely popular in the world of MP3 players... don't you think they would change now if anyone in the company cared? Just like Macintosh would be willing to allow there operating system to work on any Intel based system right... right?!

Re:This is how we negotiate (4, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745755)

Grammar advice is best dispensed from a house with sturdy brick walls.

Re:This is how we negotiate (1)

silentace (992647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745811)

wasn't really fighting his grammer... just forgot how the sentence started by the time I got done reading through the middle thought.

Re:This is how we negotiate (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745993)

Yeah, I should have said "Grammar and style" or just "Style".

!streissandeffect (3, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745577)

This is a story regarding the countersuit to an Apple DMCA takedown notice. The EFF want publicity for this case.

No Streissand Effect here, folks.

Re:!streissandeffect (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745631)

This is a story regarding the countersuit to an Apple DMCA takedown notice. The EFF want publicity for this case.

The streisand effect would relate to apple's attempt to supress a few people talking about this on some forum and to shut the forum down, and now a lot more people are aware of the topic, the forum, and are talking about it.

Re:!streissandeffect (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745673)

The Streissand effect IS there in full force.

This is all a result of Apple's initial lawsuit, to try and hide information about making iPods more interoperable. As a result of their trying to hide that information, it has become more visible.

How is that NOT the Streissand effect?

Re:!streissandeffect (5, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745693)

I think you're analyzing the Streisand effect from the opposite direction of those tagging the story that way.

Apple didn't want a few hobbyists on OdioWorks talking about making the iPod work with software other than iTunes. Now, because they tried to stifle that publicity, there are these suits. Now Apple will have a bunch of people aware that there's a group wanting to make iPods interoperable with other software.

It's Apple getting more publicity because they didn't want it that earned the story the tag. You're right that the EFF wants to raise awareness of issues like this, though.

Re:!streissandeffect (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746937)

Apple didn't want a few hobbyists on OdioWorks talking about making the iPod work with software other than iTunes. Now, because they tried to stifle that publicity, there are these suits. Now Apple will have a bunch of people aware that there's a group wanting to make iPods interoperable with other software.

It's Apple getting more publicity because they didn't want it that earned the story the tag. You're right that the EFF wants to raise awareness of issues like this, though.

Though, it does make one wonder... if more people knew that iPods could work without iTunes, wouldn't that just get more people into buying... iPods?

Just seems like that's a good possibility into using the Streisand effect to achieve a good goal - in this case, marketing. More people go "Oh hey, iPods work with non-iTunes? Let's buy iPods!".

Maybe that's all Microsoft needs - to go sue/DMCA someone trying to get Zunes to work on non-Windows platforms.

Re:!streissandeffect (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745867)

Of course there is a Streissand Effect. Apple tried to quash discussion about making their hardware to "talk" to other software (in order to minimize visibility), got countersued and now a lot more people than the original members of the discussion are aware of such subject. That is the very definition of Streisand Effect [wikipedia.org] .

Re:!streissandeffect (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746225)

For those who don't know and are too lazy to google it (if there are any out there matching that discription) the Streissand effect could also reasonably be called the "don't look over there!" effect. Imagine someone points and says, "Don't look over there!" What are you going to do? You're going to look where they're pointing.

So the Streissand Effect is when someone tries to censor material from the Internet, and it has the exact opposite effect of publicizing the availability of that information. It's named after an event when Barbara Streissand tried to get photos of her home removed from some website (or something like that, I'm too lazy to check wikipedia at this point) and the ensuing controversy lead to those photos being posted all over the place. Some people were doing it out of spite and resentment over the censorship, but an awful lot of it was simply the result of various sites covering and discussing the controversy. People posted the photos as a means of being thorough, so readers could look to see what all the hubbub was about.

Now it's true that the EFF wants publicity, but I'm sure Apple doesn't. Apple probably doesn't want to even call attention to the idea of using a non-iTunes application to load music onto your iPod. So in that sense, the Streissand effect is in play.

Chicken (0, Flamebait)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745599)

"I take the free speech rights of BluWiki users seriously," said Sam Odio, owner of OdioWorks. "Companies like Apple should not be able to censor online discussions by making baseless legal threats against services like BluWiki that host the discussions." Yet, they did Sam, because you were too chickenshit to stand up to them. Now you want to stand behind a court decision before you muster up the "courage" to re-post the posts. If you are really concerned, re-post then go to court. Defend your users.

Re:Chicken (5, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745655)

Chickenshit?

Oh, you mean "Not willing to go to court with Apple and possibly lose his business in damages."

Re:Chicken (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745709)

Yes, yes.

That's certainly the rational approach. You took that route, right? I mean there is a Publikwerks site out there, with all this shit already on it, waiting for Apple's legal team to find it and sue you. Right?

No? Hmmm. Too bad you are too chickenshit to stick your own neck out on the line, I might have actually considered your point a small bit valid if you had. But right now you are just a named AC throwing his own feces at the folk actually working to correct the problem.

Re:Chicken (1)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745943)

No, but I am not also hosting a site about apple stuff or anytype of forum. What I am getting at is that he says Apple shouldbe be able to censor his users. They didn't, he did. He chose to run a forum, He chose to censor his users. It's like being a cop, but getting upset you have to deal with crimes.

Re:Chicken (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746063)

And what I'm getting at is that unless you are hosting such a site and have refused to obey a cease and desist letter from Apple, inviting them to sue you, you can STFU about his level of courage and your opinion of how he should have shot himself in the foot just to spite Apple.

He is fighting back, in a far more intelligent manner than what you proposed. If he, and you, are right that Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on, then the only harm done is that the project was delayed.

If, however, you both are wrong about Apple's legal strategy and this isn't the making of another SCO level FUD battle, in other words if the judge actually buys Apples arguement, then his method at least protects him and his users from further harm in the matter. Your method simply leaves him bankrupt.

Argue the merits of the case, argue the merits of Apple's business strategy. But unless you've already put your own balls on the fire here, keep your trollish opines on Sam's to yourself.

Re:Chicken (1)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747079)

How is my method that diffrent from the method that he chose? I'm not syaing thumb his nose at Apple, I saying go to court, seek an injunction or stay against the dmca till the case can be heard. His first reaction was to take down the content. So he folded. And as for your "Have you ever beenserved with a DMCA takedown from Apple" argument, thats just silly. I admit that calling him a coward was a bit over the line. But clearly, his concern is for his bottom line first, users second.

Re:Chicken (2, Insightful)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745781)

Yet, they did Sam, because you were too chickenshit to stand up to them. Now you want to stand behind a court decision before you muster up the "courage" to re-post the posts. If you are really concerned, re-post then go to court. Defend your users.

That's pretty big talk. You do realize that being sued, even if you win, you still lose because of the lawyer fees. Apple can afford to spend millions on their lawyers, can you afford millions on your lawyers? Do you think Sam can? What he did was smart. He backed off so they couldn't bury him into the ground in legal crap and then sued for the right to repost the data. His lawyer may be charging on a comission. If they win Sam and his lawyer will get paid, and the data will be restored. If he stood up to Apple at best he would have his information remain on the site, but he would still had spent a lot of money defending himself.

Re:Chicken (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746011)

That's pretty big talk. You do realize that being sued, even if you win, you still lose because of the lawyer fees. Apple can afford to spend millions on their lawyers, can you afford millions on your lawyers? Do you think Sam can?

A lot of people here seem to have a vastly skewed idea of what lawyers cost; there is no way this case would cost MILLIONS. It's actually a fairly simple issue that comes down to an interpretation of law that could be decided in one hearing.

Re:Chicken (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746133)

A lot of people here seem to have a vastly skewed idea of what lawyers cost; there is no way this case would cost MILLIONS. It's actually a fairly simple issue that comes down to an interpretation of law that could be decided in one hearing.

Not even a lawyer can competantly answer how much a particular case will cost. Remember, a big company can send a team of 20 lawyers, with 100 legal aids (remember Big Tobacco lawsuits) and hold things up in court and create thousands upon thousands of pages of paperwork. What may be simple can be tied up for years. Simple rear-end car accidents can be held up in courts by insurance companies for years and you think this issue is less complex then a rear-end car accident? Besides, if this guy is right (and it seems like he is) why should he have to incure even a ten-thousand dollar bill? This guy may not be able to afford that and even if he can - how fair is it?

To call him names and imply he is a coward though? Being on the defending side of a civil suit = no fun...especially if you did nothing wrong.

Re:Chicken (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746235)

Not even a lawyer can competantly answer how much a particular case will cost. Remember, a big company can send a team of 20 lawyers, with 100 legal aids (remember Big Tobacco lawsuits) and hold things up in court and create thousands upon thousands of pages of paperwork.

The longest, most time-consuming part of litigation tends to be discovery, and that's where the big lawyer/staff advantage really helps. The Big Tobacco cases involved tremendous amounts of discovery. But in this case I can't really see much discovery going on.

Simple rear-end car accidents can be held up in courts by insurance companies for years and you think this issue is less complex then a rear-end car accident?

But those rear-end car accident cases aren't generally kept up for years with lawyers racking up constant legal fees, but rather just prolonged scheduling. Expert witness depositions can take months to arrange, and high court workloads could mean hearings take months to schedule. And honestly, this case could be factually less complex than a rear-end car accident. There's no question of liability; everyone agrees that these pages were posted, the question just becomes a legal one, of whether they violated Apple's rights.

Re:Chicken (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745879)

IANAL, but one thing to consider is that you can't get damages for being sued only for suing. Add in the fact that from what I've read, it is easier to win when you are suing then being sued and things start to make sense. So their strategy appears to be, remove the immediate threat to them at no cost other then a bit of damaged pride then come back with a suite saying you have been infringed by a big mean company. This way they can probably get their legal fees taken care of by Apple, make a chunk of change and be able to restore what they took down.
Not to mention the good PR. Personally, I think their method is a really good idea.

Re:Chicken (2, Interesting)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745987)

Ok, I withdraw my chickenshit comment. This makes sense to me

Re:Chicken (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746155)

Court cases are not about macho concepts like "chicken." They are about money. You have your stack of money, they have their stack of money, and the Court moves money from one stack to the other. Emotional appeals are just a tool, nothing more.

If you need an analogy, analogize it to poker.

Re:Chicken (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746335)

You would be surprised by how frequently emotion is the driving force behind litigation, even with corporations.

What's the Story (4, Interesting)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745645)

I'd like to hear both sides of the story. As important as the EFF is, they tend to ignore anything that doesn't fit with their message, especially when it comes to legal proceedings.

Since Apple is Apple, I doubt we will hear much from them. But I would like to point out that there is a strong bias on the part of the EFF to selectively use facts for propaganda.

See: http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/14/193217 [slashdot.org]

Re:What's the Story (2, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745687)

Indeed. Facts, pfeh! You can use "facts" to prove anything that's remotely true.

Re:What's the Story (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746845)

Actually, by carefully choosing the facts, one can prove just about anything. It is referred to as "lying by omission" in some quarters and "cherry picking" in others.

It is how many religions work, especially various forms of christianity.

Re:What's the Story (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745713)

You accuse the EFF as having a "strong bias... to selectively use facts for propaganda." You provide a link. But that link does not support your accusation at all. Would you like to clarify? Thanks!

Re:What's the Story (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745745)

They "forget" to mention what the student is actually charged with and make it sound like he's a poor innocent Linux user.

Re:What's the Story (2)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746287)

The link you provided, your evidence for your accusation against the EFF, makes no mention that the EFF forgot anything It appears that it is your personal opinion that the EFF forgot something and it further appears that you have have no objective evidence to support your personal opinion.

Re:What's the Story (1)

metamorphage (825606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746549)

If you quickly scrolled through the comments you would notice this one [slashdot.org] , which may have the info for which you are looking.

Re:What's the Story (3, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746829)

"If you quickly scrolled through the comments..."

You honestly expect me to waste my time searching for evidence to support an accusation made by an anonymous coward? Seriously?

The EFF is an advocacy group pushing an agenda. I have no doubt that the group manipulates facts to further its agenda. This is not based on any actions of the EFF, but is based on advocacy groups in general.

However, before I make a specific accusation about the EFF I'd want my facts straight. Giving a link to posting which does not back up my accusation is not good enough. And expecting people to go through 1079 comments to find my evidence is ludicrous.

Here's how you do it. Take the EFF press release, take the "real facts" behind the story, and show how the EFF twisted the facts. It would not be hard to do.

Of course you'll argue that I could do it. But it's not my accusation. So why would I do it?!

Re:What's the Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745773)

I'd like to hear both sides of the story. As important as the EFF is, they tend to ignore anything that doesn't fit with their message, especially when it comes to legal proceedings.

Since Apple is Apple, I doubt we will hear much from them. But I would like to point out that there is a strong bias on the part of the EFF to selectively use facts for propaganda.

See: http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/14/193217 [slashdot.org]

My god that did win the "Stupid as Hell" award with me.

Re:What's the Story (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745821)

Yes, I would also like to hear the "other" side. Was the takedown notice just because of an alleged DMCA infringment? Or did they discuss something else?

But if we don't hear anything from Apple, what should we do? Ignore it because, hey, we couldn't hear both sides so we shouldn't cast a verdict? If our judical system worked that way, a lot of people would never be tried and judged. And while I consider ex parte verdicts horrible, NO verdict would often be worse.

Re:What's the Story (4, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746213)

I believe this was the project where they were attempting to brute force the key that encrypted the song database on the newer iPhone/Touch firmwares. They did this by requesting everyone upload their own copy of the database off their device.

The purpose in doing this was to enable third party programs to actually sync with the device, since currently the only way to do so is through iTunes (even the third party programs that do so now rely on being able to hook into it's dlls).

Apple hit them with a C&D letter indicating that the project was a viloation of the DMCA, specificly an attempt to bypass DRM.

The question will be, do the courts agree with Apple?

Re:What's the Story (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746815)

The song database does not belong to Apple. If you were going to argue that the user's list of songs belonged to anyone (e.g. using EU database copyright, which would be a stretch) then it plainly belongs to the user. I don't see that Apple have a case.

Teach the controversy! (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746285)

Yes! There are always two sides to every conflict, and they deserve equal consideration! You can't always trust the so-called "facts" because sometimes one side has a greater ability to collect more of them than the other side. It's not fair!

Re:What's the Story (4, Funny)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746327)

Yeah, that's my complaint about the EFF too. They're so biased against abusing law to fuck innocent people over. Why don't they ever advocate the other side, explaining that freedom is a bad thing and we need to pass more laws for the purpose of harming the public? I'm getting sick and tired of these people always being so consistently anti-evil. EFF is so predictably transparent.

Re:What's the Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746623)

Hello, Steve.
I am glad you feel well enough to post here on Slashdot.

Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745719)

Seriously, there's no "Linux compatible" label on their products, so why the fuck would they buy it and THEN complain?

These people are idiots anyway. An iPod without the managing capacities of iTunes makes no sense. They should be buying a mass-storage MP3 player which requires no special software.

What's next, these morons will buy a PS3 and then complain to the EFF that Halo 3 doesn't work on their new console?

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745957)

"Seriously, there's no "Linux compatible" label on their products, so why the fuck would they buy it and THEN complain?"

There's no linux compatible sticker on anything much.

An iPod without the managing capacities of iTunes makes no sense.

Only if you're an idiot. Some of us can use these things called file systems to hold and manipulate files. They've been around a while, surprised you've never heard of them.

They should be buying a mass-storage MP3 player which requires no special software.

Like an iPod? They don't require special software, Apple just deliberately make it difficult to use with other software.

In conclusion, fuck off retard.

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746231)

They should be buying a mass-storage MP3 player which requires no special software. Like an iPod? They don't require special software, Apple just deliberately make it difficult to use with other software. In conclusion, fuck off retard.

Sometimes, a proprietary product is simply that. I am consistently amazed that people can get their panties in such a bunch over that. Nobody's violating your civil rights by offering you a product that requires special software. If you want to use Linux, you're going to have to deal with its limitations. Not all of those limitations are purely technical - a good many of them are commercial.

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746437)

Of course it's a civil rights issue.

If I buy a product, I should get to use it any way that I like that is not a genuine patent or copyright infringement.

IOW: If Apple can't proceed here without using/abusing the DMCA then they really shouldn't have any standing.

Reverse engineering and discussing reverse engineering should be speech protected not
just as a civil right but protected as being consistent with the copyright clause of
the US Constitution.

Copyright is meant as a means to SPREAD INFORMATION.

Too many people tend to forget that.

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746877)

Nobody's violating your civil rights by offering you a product that requires special software.

That depends.

they're not violating your rights by not providing it for your platform of choice, or where it genuinely requires special software.

They ARE violating your civil rights by stopping you even talking about creating other software.

This is not "OMFG! Apple don't support linux! OMFG!", it's "A corporate behemoth is shutting down forums that talk about making other ways to interface with products we have legally bought"

Not all of those limitations are purely technical - a good many of them are commercial.

And most of the commercial ones are not or should not be legal with a device I bought. You don't get to tell me how to use the chair I bought from you, apple don't get the right to tell me how to use the iPod. They don't have to support it, but they have no right to stop me taking it apart, talking to it with other software or shoving it up my arse if that's what I want to do.

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746893)

There's no linux compatible sticker on anything much.

Then, you shouldn't complain when something is not compatible with Linux.

Like an iPod? They don't require special software, Apple just deliberately make it difficult to use with other software.

If an iPod doesn't require special software, why are you complaining?

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746993)

Like an iPod? They don't require special software, Apple just deliberately make it difficult to use with other software.

In conclusion, fuck off retard.

Please tell me... How can I load my iPod touch with mp3s without being forced to use iTunes?

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745961)

"What's next, these morons will buy a PS3 and then complain to the EFF that Halo 3 doesn't work on their new console?"

Not the same thing at all.

This is about hackers wanting to build their own software for a device they bought and own as I understand it

And a company that at all cost wants to protect its eco system of products, because having third party software that you cant control/disable/make money of, is a bad thing in Cupertino....

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746357)

"What's next, these morons will buy a PS3 and then complain to the EFF that Halo 3 doesn't work on their new console?" It's more comparable to Microsoft threatening legal action against a discussion about making Halo 3 (and all Xbox games) playable on the PS3.

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (4, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745981)

Learn to comprehend what's going on. They're not saying it's Apple's fault for not making the iPod compatible, they're saying Apple can't attempt to stop them from doing that work themselves.

It's entirely reasonable for Apple to say "We're not going to support that", but when they say "We're not going to support that and we'll sue you if you try to make it work", we have a fucking problem.

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746081)

DRM and DMCA, baby.

Don't you love the USA?

"Because it's there" (5, Interesting)

ActusReus (1162583) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746117)

Why do geeks buy XBoxes and try to turn them into Linux PC's or media devices? Why do people jailbreak smart phones? It's because geeks are geeks, and the challenge is fun. As George Mallory would say, it's because they're THERE.

Secondly, even on a more practical note, the iPod is just a nice piece of hardware. I've dropped mine a thousand times and abused it repeatedly (err, non-sexually!)... and you just can't break the thing. I simply haven't found that kind of quality in competing devices, and I am certainly NOT an Apple fanboy by any stretch.

I put the RockBox operating system [rockbox.org] on my iPod (which still leaves you the ability to dual-boot into Apple's OS if you need to)... and now my iPod functions as a typical mass-storage player. I don't need iTunes, can just copy music files on and off like a USB stick, and have support for any format I'd want (e.g. OGG, Flac, etc). Combine that with the sheer quality of the hardware (my iPod has lasted three times longer than any previous player I've had), and I'm a happy geek. If other people want to port other OS's to the device, then that's awesome and more power to them.

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746157)

Insightful? Honestly, the Apple zealots are making us Linux users look SENSIBLE by comparison. Go find your own thing, zealotry is our thing, dammit!
 
 

Seriously, there's no "Linux compatible" label on their products, so why the fuck would they buy it and THEN complain?

There's no "Linux compatible" label on ANY products. Would you prefer we hold you up in store queues complaining about incompatibility BEFORE we buy it (even if it is actually compatible)? But that's not the issue. The issue here is that Apple are intentionally sabotaging any reverse engineering efforts - it would be more like if Sony tried to shut down an unofficial community port of Halo 3 (which Microsoft were fine with). Your inability to understand the principle involved makes me wish that you get stabbed by someone who isn't "Not Stabbing You compatible". Maybe then you'll understand that morality is not contingent on disclosure (or lack thereof).

These people are idiots anyway. An iPod without the managing capacities of iTunes makes no sense. They should be buying a mass-storage MP3 player which requires no special software.

Yeah, well tell that to the multitude of Linux users who got an iPod for Christmas/birthday from their loving-but-naive family/friends, only to have to explain to them that an iPod is no more useful to them than a brick because Apple intentionally broke previously existing compatibility. Go eat a tub of dicks, you kool-aid drinking Apple faggot.

Re:Why do these idiots keep buying iPods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746495)

"Seriously, there's no "Linux compatible" label on their products, so why the [explitive deleted] would they buy it and THEN complain?"

They aren't complaining about the lack of such support, they are complaining about Apple's attempts to block their work to fix the issue themselves.

This is like (to use the inevitable analogy) a car company trying to legally prevent a car owner from adding something new to their car, or prevent them from replacing the engine with an after-market version.

It's stupid. Not only because it might be illegal (i.e. anticompetitive) to do something like that, but it's also going to discourage people from purchasing that brand in the first place because they can't do what they want with it.

YUOC FAIL IT... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27745777)

Don't toast bread with a hammer (4, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745959)

If you want flexibility and choice then why use an iPod? I respect the BluWiki guys for standing up to Apple, but seriously, it's so much easier to take the path of least resistance and use an MP3 player that supports Explorer or Finder or command line mounting. Then you can use your player as a storage device as well. iPod and Zune are equally miserable in this regard.

My player of choice is the Creative Zen. It comes with proprietary software, but it's optional so you can use Explorer if you prefer. Only drawback is that they only come in solid-state flavours, no HDD, so the max capacity is 32GB (in case you only sit at a computer once every 3 months to add new music).

Re:Don't toast bread with a hammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746643)

"If you want flexibility and choice then why use an iPod?"

This also affects this little black and silver box I have called an iPhone.

Re:Don't toast bread with a hammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746763)

Then why don't you use a Windows Mobile phone instead?

[snicker]

Sorry, couldn't say it with a straight face.

Re:Don't toast bread with a hammer (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746757)

Well, there are many perspectives on this. Yours advocates what I've always called "pragmatic", which boils down to (using your words) "path of least resistance" while accomplishing the desired affect. In many arenas, I'm like that too.

Others want the iPod (why? I dunno. It's spiffy and has neato features, and don't underestimate the power of "cool" and technofetishism.) But they don't want to be locked into iTunes. So, they find ways to overcome Apple's artificial monopoly-enforcement tool. I admire the tenacity, and wish them the best.

Me? I don't buy Apple stuff, not merely to avoid their lock-in traps, but as an actual statement. They get no money from me as long as they continue to use the courts and their own internal censorship systems (thread suppression on Apple fora) as their way of enforcing their vision of the world on their customers. Respect first sale and the customer's inherent right of use, and we can do business, Apple.

But that's just me.

Besides, I'm so old and crusty that I don't even bother with those new-fangled digital audio doohickeys. Now get offa my lawn!

New EFF fundraiser: (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27745997)

"Donate the Apple tax." Instead of paying the style premium, buy a Linux/Windows PC and donate the difference to the EFF to help keep Apple's jackbooted thugs in check.

Apple reverse engineered (4, Interesting)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746045)

Apple relied on reverse engineering especially in it's early days back when Woz was doing the Apple I and II. Steve Jobs sold Blue Box phone freak kits made by Woz that allowed you to bypass phone charges to there college peers. They need to lighten up.

Re:Apple reverse engineered (1)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746075)

Realize that was poorly worded. I meant to say they sold the kits to peers. I doubt if it was used to bypass charges talking amongst themselves. :-)

cause they're bastards (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746119)

i think the tags for this article say it all:

eff apple !

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746197)

MPAA vs 2600 regarding linking to DeCSS source/info. It seems the words "free speech" and "constitutional rights" hinge on the size of your wallet nowadays. The DMCA simply allows companies like Apple the opportunity to scare people into silence and since the penalty for false DMCA claims never seems to be put into effect I see no reason for this kind of nonsense to stop anytime soon.

Why does everyone always side with the little guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746339)

Did any of you every think that maybe just maybe Apple could be right. The Ipod and the songs downloaded from Itunes have a copy protection scheme (Fairplay). Breaking this system so that songs can be transfered to other devices without using Apples Itunes and Fairplay IS IN VIOLATION OF DMCA. If you don't like that then try to get the DMCA change or reversed, otherwise shut the #@$# up.

Re:Why does everyone always side with the little g (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746431)

Actually the newer songs don't have DRM at all. Of course you're right about older songs that are still encrypted with Fairplay.

The thing is, it's not about the music files anyway. DRM'ed or not, you can move the file around. The problem seems to be the files database itself that's been encrypted.

Reminds me of the old Tengen vs Nintendo case. If I remember corretly, they lost in the USA but won in Canada.

1st Amendment trumps DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27746469)

This should be an easy win.

If the DMCA only applies to the application of knowledge to circumvent copy restriction, it may be counterproductive and a horribly written law but it's still constitutional.

If the DMCA applies to the sharing of the knowledge itself, then it violates Freedom of Speech and is unconstitutional. No matter how much the sharing of such knowledge may hurt corporations; even if Apple goes out of business, even if the RIAA and MPAA come crashing down, even if the economy collapses and we all starve to death, that sharing of knowledge is still guaranteed and protected by the Constitution.

In fact, I would say that this is exactly the kind of speech that the 1st Amendment was designed to protect. Useful speech. Speech that allows intelligent people to share their knowledge to create something practical.

Not going to work... (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27746731)

The courts have an easy way out of this one. They'll declare there's no "case or controversy" and dismiss the complaint, just like they did when the RIAA threatned Dr. Felten over releasing watermarking information.

The only way to get heard in court when someone sends you a C&D is to fail to desist, and let them sue you. Of course, given the other side has far more resources, that's kind of like taking up Dirty Harry on his "Do you feel lucky, punk?" challenge.

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