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Apple Sues Over iPhone Smartphone Skins

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the don't-talk-about-that-thing-we-don't-like dept.

The Courts 197

ghostcorps writes "Australian Newspaper 'The Age' reports that developers of iPhone skins (skins for smartphones that resemble the iPhone) have been legally attacked by Apple. Beyond that, bloggers who have reported on the skins have been threatened with legal action as well. From the article: 'Ironically, Apple's attempts to have the files removed from the web have only given the skins greater publicity, and they have already begun spreading to other websites. The issue marks a distinct change in tone for many bloggers and journalists, who just last week praised Apple for its 'revolutionary' and 'game-changing' phone despite being unable to conduct a proper hands-on test of the product.'"

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Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17631414)

Bring back the ][. You used to be cool.

Re:Apple. (0, Offtopic)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632358)

http://sf.net/projects/dapple/ [sf.net]

Full disclosure, this is my project (and I'll admit, it's not that great, but it works pretty well on Linux with 95% of the features of the old DOS version...)

-uso.

why am I not surprised (3, Insightful)

Roachgod (589171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631426)

OF COURSE they are going to sue. A lot of Apple's selling power is how COOL it looks. If everybody has something that looks the same (even if it doesn't work the same) then it dilutes the cool factor.

Apple is gay... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17631536)

Apple's all about looks. They're all about the techno-liberal-geek that is somehow "cool" because he uses something that isn't a PC because there's this false perception that PC's are evil. He therefore gets his cool factor. Apple wants to keep it up. Good going, Apple!

Re:why am I not surprised (5, Insightful)

wondercool (460316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631862)

OTAH if you sue your fanboys, you screw your most fanatical supporters, making yourself uncool rapidly.

It's much easier to fall from your pedestal than climbing it. (look at MS, Sony and IBM in the past and today).

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in this case the flattery seems harmless and good for the brand?

Re:why am I not surprised (5, Insightful)

Roachgod (589171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632624)

Last I checked all 3 were doing quite well. Really, Apple doesn't have to worry about anything by doing this. They will piss off a couple 'fanboys' but most of them will keep buying Apple's stuff cause it is cool. And for every fanboy they lose, if they successfully keep their product the 'stylish fashionable gotta have it' product, they win a bunch of trendsetter types. Those people are actually much more valuable. You probably just don't notice cause basically none of them bother with sites like slashdot.

parent is not a troll (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633920)

good grief, mods, show some respect for a difference of opinion.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634248)

Wow, modded troll simply for daring to think that not everybody reads slashdot and that perhaps, though vilified, Microsoft and others are still successful companies?

Re:why am I not surprised (1)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633106)

<blockquote>OTAH if you sue your fanboys, you screw your most fanatical supporters, making yourself uncool rapidly.</blockquote>

Case in point: TSR.

Re:why am I not surprised (4, Funny)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631872)

If they really want to keep the "cool" look, they should make the iPhone smoke cigarettes... everyone knows smoking makes you cool.

Re:why am I not surprised (4, Funny)

Nuskrad (740518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632120)

Totally, teenagers all smoke and they seem pretty on the ball

Smoke What?? (3, Funny)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633696)

Totally, teenagers all smoke and they seem pretty on the ball

That, sir, depends directly on what they are smoking.

The REAL reason they are suing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17632058)

Those icons were the only "innovative" thing about the iPhone (if they actually manage to call it that.)

Re:why am I not surprised (1)

falser (11170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632210)

And of course if you dilute the cool the temperature will rise and cause a "pleasing to the eye" turquoise screen of death with soft edges and fluid animations.

How "cool" is suing? (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632324)

Apple's in very real danger of killing the goose that laid the golden egg over its stance on intellectual property. Suing enthusiasts who want nothing more than to have an early little taste of their software is a good way to hurt a brand that depends almost entirely emotion and public perception of "coolness."

Now, I can understand Apple's worries about dilution of trademark, but attempting to sue blogs is directly attacking the buzz machine. Apple needs to pay a little more attention to what's happened between Sony & Nintendo as a result of poor vs. excellent management of fanboy buzz.

Hah (0, Flamebait)

matr0x_x (919985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631434)

If you read the article carefully it hardly implies that bloggers were threatened with legal action for simply reporting about the skins.

Re:Hah (0)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631544)

If you read the article carefully it hardly implies that bloggers were threatened with legal action for simply reporting about the skins.
This is Slashdot. The summaries of stories are mostly over-hyped and/or misleading and 75% of those who post comments haven't bothered to RTFA.

Re:Hah (5, Funny)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631702)

I totally agree with you; Apple should be stopped from killing babies and using their blood as ink to write letters threatening to frame people for murder and put them in the chair if they don't stop even mouthing the word "iphone"... bastards.

Hah yourself (4, Informative)

multisync (218450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631830)

"Apple therefore demands that you remove this screenshot from your website and refrain from facilitating the further dissemination of Apple's copyrighted material by removing the link to http://forum.xda-developers.com/ [xda-developers.com] where said icons and screenshot are being distributed."


Sounds pretty threatening to me. The article didn't post the complete text of the letter, but these types of letters are typically worded to scare bloggers (or more likely their ISPs) in to removing the content in question. And we all know simply linking [salon.com] to something can get you in to legal troubles these days.

Re:Hah yourself (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632152)

Hypocrites... they're allowed to link to the website, in their letter that they're mass-mailing out to people, but no one else can do in the things they write? How's that fair??

Re:Hah (4, Informative)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632096)

If you read the article carefully it hardly implies that bloggers were threatened with legal action for simply reporting about the skins.


Can you NOT read, or did Apple pay you to post this clueless response?

FTA:
Apple's lawyers also sent letters to journalists who simply reported on the fact that the skins were available. ....

"If Apple wants to go after the guy that made the Windows Mobile skin that looks like the iPhone, fine. But to bully bloggers who are simply reporting on this is another matter."

Legal headache (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631502)

How many suits can one product give you before you say enough?

Publicity (2, Insightful)

pfortuny (857713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631532)

So they are going to be freely publiciced again. And they may even get some money from a trial.

Wow, this is **business** and no mistake.

It's just a necessary evil in trademark protection (5, Informative)

TigerNut (718742) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631534)

Before everyone goes completely non-linear, it should be noted that if you have a trademark, you have to protect it if you want to keep it yours. Since one of the trademarks of Apple's latest batch of products is its unique interface style and artwork, they MUST take action when their artwork is being circulated and incorporated into other products. Even if there is a part of them that recognizes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (3, Informative)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631778)

The interface skin is not a trademark. Apple's just behaving like an ass, that is all.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (2, Insightful)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631950)

Actually, icons are part of the applications branding and that part could be trademarked. Parent might have meant copyright anyway.

Apple are just sending a very public, early message that it's going to protect the iPhone image and is warning other people about it.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (1)

TigerNut (718742) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632294)

I didn't mean copyright, although incorporating artwork (icons, graphics, backgrounds) into a phone skin when you didn't design or acquire the rights to that artwork, would be a pretty clear case of copyright infringement. To the extent that the bloggers were providing links to the places where the skins were available, they're aiding the copyright infringement process.

I was thinking trademark infringement because I assumed that Apple would have trademarked certain aspects of the interface design. To the extent that the iPhone fits into the family of iXxx devices marketed by Apple, it might be more appropriate to class it as "trade dress" as opposed to trademark... IANAL. Apparently (according to another poster) they haven't yet filed trademark or design patent applications for the user interface of the iPhone.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (2, Informative)

DBCubix (1027232) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631900)

What trademark? Cisco owns the iPhone trademark.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (1)

terraformer (617565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632214)

Yeah, exactly. One of the ways Apple may be trying to get it from cisco is because cisco sat on it for 5 years and never used it. Additionally, they failed to file the proper paperwork showing they were using it in some meaningful way.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631914)

I am not a lawyer: the following is just my reading of the readily available material on design property protection, mostly from a US perspective (mine). YMMV.

Since one of the trademarks of Apple's latest batch of products is its unique interface style and artwork

Regarding "trademark": "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Do you mean trademark literally? And legally? Industrial design intellectual property protection is kinda weird in the US. You can take out a design patent convering the non-functional "aesthetic" or ornamental aspects of a design. I've done some quick searches at the USPTO, and it doesn't appear that Apple has one of those yet.

The only thing approaching "trademark" is "trade dress", but that appears to be apply only very broadly to an entire company's look and feel, not of a particular product.

Or did you mean "trademark" as in "distinctive product look and feel", which is not implicitly protected by US IP law. (Canada, sure. If the design is registered. Or the EU. Or Japan.)

Sorry, I hate to say it, but knockoffs that don't incorporate or hint at actual registered trademarks or infringe on functional or design patents are almost certainly legal.

And at least in the U.S., discussion of knockoff-like entities (like software skins for your non-Apple smartphone) should always be permissible, according to that darn ol' Constitution. Any attempt to squelch such discussion feels like improper prior restraint and an unacceptable infringment of personal liberties in order to protect the marketing prerogatives of a corporate.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (2, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632632)

Fine, it is not trademark infringement. It is copyright infringement. They are taking the icons and graphics and creating a derived work without permission of the original copyright owner.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (2, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633050)

Speaking of trademarks...

I believe that Cisco owns the trademark for "iPhone". I find it hypocritical that Apple appropriated this trademark for their own product without compensation and then turns around and sues their own fanbois for copying their cute icons.

Re:It's just a necessary evil in trademark protect (1)

Alchemar (720449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633628)

And for that reason, they should go after the people selling & manufacturing items that illegally use their trademark. However, when they go after people talking about their trademark, even in a context they don't like, they have crossed the line. There is a reason that freedom of the press is in the constitution. Some people want to argue semantics about the press, but people reporting other people doing something wrong is what it is about. Most of those blogs, probably helped Apple find the exact source of the infringing products. Even if the people were for the products, it did not render the truth in what they told unusefull.

Sounds like cheap publicity... (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631552)

...for nothing more than the cost of a Cease & Desist.

Nice. (For Apple, that is.)

Disingenuous summary (5, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631554)

skins for smartphones that resemble the iPhone

Uh NO. These are skins for smartphones that use Apple's icons, which is to say, copyrighted artwork.

If they created their own icons that looked SIMILAR then Apple would have to suck it up and deal with it. They are not. They are using Apple's copyrighted media.

Yet again, slashdot editors can't or won't edit. Remind me again why I should subscribe? So I can see this inaccurate tripe before it hits the front page?

Re:Disingenuous summary (0, Flamebait)

CitX (1048990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631666)

I agree about the copyrights (although the are tenuous) the real issue that is disturbing and scary is Apple is sending letters threating legal action to those just reporting the skins are available....Sounds like a "Bush" move to me.

Re:Disingenuous summary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17631722)

If they created their own icons that looked SIMILAR then Apple would have to suck it up and deal with it.

Riiiiight... I couldn't see Apple suing anyone solely for making something similar to one of their products, if they didn't have to. That's never happened in the past.

Seriously, though, Apple is one of the most hypocritical tech companies when it comes to IP - they'll rip off features from freeware/shareware developers without any compensation [capsgetpeeled.com] and sue the pants off anybody whenever they have the slightest excuse.

Re:Disingenuous summary (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631854)

Apple is one of the most hypocritical tech companies when it comes to IP - they'll rip off features from freeware/shareware developers without any compensation

Dude, that page you linked to even has a comment invalidating the point about sherlock. I'm sure if I wandered around I could find more examples.

and sue the pants off anybody whenever they have the slightest excuse.

I agree that Apple is overly litigious and that they are no angels. However, in terms of the people who actually made the skins, this is a clear-cut case of copyright infringement, and not the "good kind".

I am not defending Apple, I am defending proper use of copyright law, of which this is an example.

You either apply your principles the same to every situation regardless of the principals, or you have none.

Re:Disingenuous summary (1, Interesting)

sheldon (2322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632226)

These are skins for smartphones that use Apple's icons, which is to say, copyrighted artwork.

If they created their own icons that looked SIMILAR then Apple would have to suck it up and deal with it.


How'd they get the icons from the iPhone when it hasn't been released yet?

You sure they didn't just make their own icons that looked SIMILAR to what had been seen in the media reports on the iPhone?

Re:Disingenuous summary (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632458)

You sure they didn't just make their own icons that looked SIMILAR to what had been seen in the media reports on the iPhone?

Am I sure? Not 100%. But from the FA, "The skins don't add any new functionality to the devices, but make use of the iPhone's copyrighted icons to create a UI that distinctly resembles Apple's hybrid mobile phone."

See also this forum post with an Apple C&D letter posted [modaco.com] . The icons came from a screenshot.

Re:Disingenuous summary (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632492)

How'd they get the icons from the iPhone when it hasn't been released yet?

Apple published pictures on their Web site.

You sure they didn't just make their own icons that looked SIMILAR to what had been seen in the media reports on the iPhone?

In some cases they probably did, but depending on how closely they mimic Apple's work it can still be copyright infringement. In many cases in the past artwork has been reproduced by hand to copy an existing work and the copy has differed slightly. That doesn't mean it is not copyright infringement, especially when you're talking about whole sets of icons using the exact styles and colors. They need to make derivative works significantly different to be in the clear legally. Just look at the pictures in the story and on Apple.com. It is a rip off plain and simple and I'd be pissed as hell if I spent a lot of time and money creating something only to have others make knockoffs even I wouldn't know aren't the ones I made.

Re:Disingenuous summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17632388)

I think you're wrong. People created these icons based on the tech demo of the iPhone. How could they get the actual icons, and why would they be in the same format for another OS, even if they could? By your logic, downloading their icons and changing one pixel would be enough to differentiate the two icons. When does "similar" end and "exact" begin to you? These sites did not post apples *actual* icons, they created similar looking ones for their particular OS and posted them. Apple is upset about this.

Cisco is silly (5, Insightful)

alewar (784204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631556)

A couple of days ago Apple said that Cisco suing them over the name iPhone was "silly"...
how do they qualify this?

Re:Cisco is silly (1)

jaypaulw (889877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632190)

Mod it up. My thoughts exactly. They should sue this sad individual too http://www.iphoneunboxed.com/ [iphoneunboxed.com]

Re:Cisco is silly (3, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633236)

A couple of days ago Apple said that Cisco suing them over the name iPhone was "silly"... how do they qualify this?

I think you're trying to equate two very different actions based upon different types of IP. Trademarks are designed to keep one vendor from tricking customers into thinking the product they are considering buying is from someone else. Copyrights are about ensuring a creator profits from their creation. Both have problems with the way the laws are designed, but look at the two cases. With iPhone, Cisco arguable no longer has the copyright and did not have any product by that name for years until they faked the existence of one just after Apple contacted them and they figured they could make money off of it. Cisco is basically trying to trick consumers into thinking their product is from Apple as most people assume anything called an iPhone is made by Apple. Without Apple, the trademark on the name "iPhone" is worthless.

In the second instance Apple is sending takedown notices to people who have copied their copyrighted creations. The creations themselves are valuable whether or not Apple exists.

Imagine your name is John Smyth and you're an artist. You become very popular for your macaroni and razor blade sculptures which you sell under a trademarked brand "SmythArt." Some other guy who inherited an old and unused trademark on the term "Smithart" from his uncle's metalworking business decides you might pay him for that trademark, so he makes a lasagna and razor blade sculpture, buts it on ebay and calls you to try to get you to pay him to not trick consumers. That's silly and abuse of trademarks. You go to court with him over the issue. Now imagine another person takes one of your sculptures and recreates it as exactly as possible and starts selling that while telling everyone it is "just like SmythArt sculpture number 7." That is copyright infringement.

Re:Cisco is silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633360)

Double standards: They aren't just for burned out ex-hippie parents trying to tell their kids not to do drugs anymore!

Re:Cisco is silly, Apple said... (1)

walter_f (889353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633412)

If Apple were to have a case (albeit a vague one, but I might be wrong) against Cisco/Linksys, they'd owe it to Apple fans like these bloggers. It is these people who have been using the term "iPhone" with regard to a (hypothetical) Apple product for months, over and over, all around the world, not Apple itself... ;-)

This may be a not-too-serious assessment of the legal situation between Cisco/Linksys and Apple, though.

Don't FUCK with Apple shit man (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17631562)

Just don't do it/You will face the wrath/Chill now or forever be in fear

I'm not surprised (2, Insightful)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631576)

During his keynote, Jobs mentioned that the iPhone is protected by over 200 patents (surely some of those cover the interface) - and that they intend to protect them.

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631736)

This has nothing to do with patents. They're using Apple's copyrighted icons. These are just skins, they don't provide all the functionality of the iPhone or anything. There's no pinch/unpinch to zoom for example (there's no zoom! but the next OSX is supposed to be device independant, like Display Postscript always was) and it's not like the skin adds a proximity sensor or an accelerometer - of course you couldn't patent the accelerometer-in-a-PDA thing since AFAIK it was first done by some hackers who added an Analog Devices MEMS accelerometer to a Palm Pilot Pro, but you could patent some of the things they do with it. Though not rotating the screen with device rotation, since THAT is old too - the first time I saw it was the 15" Radius PIVOT display, which was available for both Mac and PC (I had it on a 386 running Windows 3.1 and it actually worked pretty well THERE.)

fair warning (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631582)

During the keynote, Steve was talking about how vigorously they were protecting the phone. Patents in particular numbered in the many dozens, but you know by extension that they're gonna be protective of everything related to the dang thing.

Apple? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17631602)

Why is Apple suing? Isn't the iPhone a Cisco product? Wierd, I'm confused.

Apple first should settle its trademark issue (0, Troll)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631640)

... with Cisco. It is so repugnant how these companies try to stiffle creativity.

Re:Apple first should settle its trademark issue (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631882)

I agree.

The level of creativity involved in directly copying Apple's icons and widgets is significant. The type of person who would do this needs to be protected from big corporations.

Re:Apple first should settle its trademark issue (2, Interesting)

Wateshay (122749) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631972)

How exactly is copying Apple's trademarked graphics to make an interface that looks almost identical to Apple's in any way creative.

Re:Apple first should settle its trademark issue (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632040)

I take your general point but in this case it's direct copying. Apple have been creative and someone else is ripping their design off.

I'm not sure how that means Apple is stifling creativity. If anything the skinners are the ones who are stifling creativity by stealing someone else's designs and undermining the value of the (no doubt expensive) work done by Apple.

The Bloggers are 'assiting copyright infringement' (4, Funny)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631676)

By Apple's reasoning, if I published an article that mentioned that The Pirate Bay has copies of OSX you can dowload, they would sue me. Good thing that no pro-Apple people read Slashdot, otherwise I would have to post anonymously...

Re:The Bloggers are 'assiting copyright infringeme (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632180)

By Apple's reasoning, if I published an article that mentioned that The Pirate Bay has copies of OSX you can dowload, they would sue me. Good thing that no pro-Apple people read Slashdot, otherwise I would have to post anonymously...

From the article, it seems Apple did not sue any bloggers. They sent takedown notices to bloggers who were directly violating their copyrights and who were contributing to copyright infringement by linking directly to information on how to break Apple's copyrights. Both of these actions are illegal in certain jurisdictions and circumstances. Your comment is not illegal in any way I know. If, however, you linked to such a download, Apple would probably send you a takedown notice (or actually send it to Slashdot). If Slashdot failed to comply with the takedown, then Apple would have grounds to sue and might do so.

You weaken your argument and credibility by so drastically overstating the case. Contributory copyright infringement laws are very questionable, ethically speaking. Argue against them if you think they should be changed. But posting a comment like yours is sort of like when a complete pothead tries to argue that marijuana should be legalized because smoking it cures cancer according to some zine they read. It just makes reasonable people try to avoid the issue altogether so they are not associated with such irrational weirdoes.

Re:The Bloggers are 'assiting copyright infringeme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633124)

Re:The Bloggers are 'assiting copyright infringeme (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632398)

From what I'm reading, it seems more like if you provided a link to the Pirate Bay page for OSX or to the tracker itself, you would get a letter from an Apple lawyer asking you to stop.

... and that would be just about what I would expect to happen.

Linking (3, Interesting)

prelelat (201821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631690)

The article seems to suggest that the bloggers were posting the articles on where to download the skins as well. Even though this doesn't mean that the blogger was posting this stuff does it mean they should be liable? This sounds familiar to sites that have been shut down for posting links to copyright material like supernova and nzbzone and many others. Does a sign post on the Internet constitute liability for that content? Are these bloggers facilitation the download of copyrighted material in the same manner. I don't think so but I think that so far the proof is pointing in the direction of yes. This is because no one has the money/balls to fight these corporations, I can see why its freaking scary. I hope that it can go to court and be won by the bloggers so that in the future something like this doesn't happen again. In my opinion I think that blogging is as much a form of News as anything. Especially when it comes to technology.

I'm just getting overly tired of these lawsuits where someone says hey look what billies doing its pretty cool, and Tony the Tooth comes over and says shut it down or I'm going to break some legs.

The other point is, is if the Times had printed a screenshot of the images in questions would they be sued? I highly doubt it.

Re:Linking (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632356)

Are these bloggers facilitation the download of copyrighted material in the same manner. I don't think so but I think that so far the proof is pointing in the direction of yes. This is because no one has the money/balls to fight these corporations, I can see why its freaking scary.

The problem is the existence and interpretation of contributory copyright infringement laws. The ACLU and EFF have been involved in several such cases and they have money, but realistically, the problem is that our politicians sold us out by passing bad laws in exchange for legalized bribes.

In my opinion I think that blogging is as much a form of News as anything.

Blogging is news as much as anything else, with the exception of a few state whistle-blower laws that only protect certain types of news reporters and don't apply in this case.

I'm just getting overly tired of these lawsuits where someone says hey look what billies doing its pretty cool, and Tony the Tooth comes over and says shut it down or I'm going to break some legs.

Sending a copyright violation notice is hardly breaking legs or threatening. Apple in particular has a very good track record (despite media coverage to the contrary) of avoiding suppressing freedom of speech via legal muscle. In the only case of actually suing small publications and blogs that I know of they sued only for the name of their employee that had broken several laws, not for any damages or to shut the publications down.

The other point is, is if the Times had printed a screenshot of the images in questions would they be sued? I highly doubt it.

The times wouldn't have reprinted copyrighted material because they have a legal process. As for other, larger publications that are not blogs, if you RTFA you'd know Apple sent them takedown notices as well.

Re:Linking (1)

CharliePete (923290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633290)

It's the way our Intellectual Property laws have been going for years and it will not get better any time soon ( See the perform act [senate.gov] ). It's not only a crime to use someone else's IP without permission but it's also become a crime to enable others to do so - without regard as to whether or not it's your intent to do so either in the statements you make or the technologies you create. One thing that amazes me is that if someone walks into a Best Buy and swipes a CD it's considered petty theft (punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine) but if that same person downloads just one of those songs from the Internet it's considered piracy (punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine)

Re:Linking (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633764)

The other point is, is if the Times had printed a screenshot of the images in questions would they be sued? I highly doubt it.
Well this site [smh.com.au] doesn't seem to be feeling the heat.

Stupid to go after bloggers (2, Interesting)

doormat (63648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631730)

The ESRB made the same mistake when they went after bloggers who talked about a shirt from some online store that said "Your mom, rated E for Everyone", they eventually issued an appology to the bloggers they harassed. Somehow I doubt Apple would ever say they were sorry to bloggers.

Apple groupthink writes: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17631746)

A company must protect its IP! Except for the name 'iPhone' in which case Apple has every right to it.

Soft and cuddly on the outside... (3, Interesting)

Yaddoshi (997885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631810)

Boy, if Apple and Disney ever teamed up...I'm not sure how to finish that thought.

Re:Soft and cuddly on the outside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17632642)

One word: Funzo. [wikipedia.org]

Personally... (1)

suman28 (558822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631870)

Apple has fallen from their pedastal in recent years. They were the "cool but geeky and not very market savvy company" that I always looked up to. In the past couple of years, they have sued john does' of the world just to keep out information and they have forgotten that they are upsetting the fan club that blindly praises anything the company puts out.

Their troubles are over. (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631912)

Now that they are suing people for posting leaked Windows source code^H^H^H DeCSS^H^H^H The Grey Album^H^H^H Paris Hilton pr0n^H^H^H Metallica MP3s^H^H^H iPhone skins for Smartphones, they will surely vanish from the Internet forever.

Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (1, Troll)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632028)

Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing?

#1. Myself and many others already stated that Windows Pocket PC Phones were just as capable as anything advertised by the iPhone, and have been around for YEARS now. In addition, have full developer support and tools for writing applications for them.

#2. Apple suing? How novel... Oh wait, that is their motto now, right? Mess with our reality distortion and we will sue you...

I don't care WHAT *nix runs under OSX, it is still shocking that /. has bent over for Apple left and right, and Apple is far more closed and arrogant than MS ever could have been. Apple is becoming the new Sun/Oracle, instead of actually innovating good products, they use PR spin and attack anyone that sheds light on their lies.

So go buy your iPhone, and Windows Pocket PC phone users will be saying, welcome to the 21st century, we have been here for a while.

Also keep supporting OSX and Apple like they are an OSS *nix company, when they have dismantled, stolen, and CLOSED more *nix code than any other company in history. Just look at the closing of Darwin for Intel, even though closing it is on shaky ground regarding the BSD interface to the kernel that they have also closed.

So, wow, iPhone so revolutionary, it can be mimicked on old Pocket PC Phones...
LOL

(BTW you can get more than 8gb on a Pocket PC Phone and better Media support as you are not even locked into Windows Media on the device - you know, third party development helps keeping users from being locked in to the vendor's software...)

If I wanted a closed OS Phone, I would buy a Razor, they do as much as the iPhone as well, have 3G, can watch TV on them, browse the net or access the office at DSL speeds, all things far beyond the iPhone...

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17632106)

So, wow, Pocket PC Phones are so revolutionary, they can display bitmaps stolen from the iPhone?
LOL

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (3, Insightful)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632256)

So, wow, Pocket PC Phones are so revolutionary, they can display bitmaps stolen from the iPhone?
LOL


Actually, they can DO EVERY feature an iPhone advertises as revolutionary with the exception of the multi-touch display that Apple patented.

They can also run third party applications, run real applets like MS Word, and even run remote tools where you can open your desktop PC. Oh they also have 3G capabilities, can watch TV, Download Videos, have a full Media experience and MP3 capabitlites, display photos and even watch movies.

They also can be SMALLER and have a LONGER battery life than the iPhone.

Apple has NO NEW FEATURES in this device, they just are brainwashing people like you to believe it does something that hasn't already been done for YEARS...

Good luck and stop drinking the Apple kool-aid before they give you a free trip to Jonestown.

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632764)

You don't have to do everything first...you just have to do it better. As for your supposed feature list of things other devices do better, I suggest you wait until the iPhone is actually out and throughly tested. Also, try and compare it as a "bang for buck" rather than solely point-by-point. Can you get EVERYTHING the iPhone proposes to offer in the same form factor and equally appealing design? I've owned several PDAs (no smartphones, though), and I can say this will surpass them all. If you happen to live in Japan or S. Korea, then yes, perhaps you have really good options NOW. We don't here in the US.

Finally, going on about Apple "brainwashing" and "kool-aid" is just trolling. Grow up.

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633064)

By your own admission, Apple is just repacking what other markets already have. Then you resort to fanboyism and defend a device you have never seen. Thus you have clearly drunk the said kool-aid, because you have zero experience of what you defend and you know no-one that has one, or used one. Appealing design is in the eye of the beholder, this incarnation of the apple-phone looks like an old brick phone from yesteryear to me. I think you're the one that needs to grow up, don't you?

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633264)

You're both bashing a device you've never seen and a person you don't even know. Who needs to grow up, here?

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (1)

poticlin (1034042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632944)

They also can be SMALLER and have a LONGER battery life than the iPhone.

Smaller compare to what? a Blackberry?? palm?? altough iPhone looks larger (larger display, which I find interrersting) it is also slimer then any of the current smartphone on the market.

Longer battery life? I don't know yet... still a longway from Launch day and specs are not all out yet...

Don't want to be flaimbaiting... But it seems to me that people are pissed at Apple inc. for releasing the iPhone. To me it seems to be a very nice smartphone/iPod. Maybe people dislike the fact that they will not be able to afford one on launch day, baring the cost and the fact that it is limited to 1 provider (at the moment) and bitch about the phone by saying : "it's not new...", "my smartphone already does all this...", "Damn them, I can have one...", etc..

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633120)

iPhone has very impressive point and click voicemail features. Hopefully this will trickle down to other providers soon though.

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (1)

Wes Janson (606363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633466)

What is in Jonestown? Will I like it there? Are the people friendly?

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633470)

What is it with you kids talking out of your ass nowdays...

You say that there are phones that can do EVERY FEATURE that iPhone can, but you fail to mention that you need EVERY SINGLE ONE of them to achieve the same functionality...

Re:Wow, looks like an iPhone, and wow Apple suing? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632852)

#1. Myself and many others already stated that Windows Pocket PC Phones were just as capable as anything advertised by the iPhone, and have been around for YEARS now.

Yes. They are capable of performing any task that an iPhone is capable of doing, except doing it with style and panache. You can view web pages and check maps with built in GPS units, but you can't do it in as user friendly and smooth of a fashion. You can send email and text messages, but the input method is clumsy. You can listen to music and even organize your collection to a limited extent, but not with as much ease and flair as on an iPhone.

However, what people want the iPhone for is the style. You can get from point A to point B in a Toyota Yaris just fine. You can listen to the radio. You can adjust your seats. However, you don't get the kind of niceties that you get with a Lexus LS 430, and if you don't get why people would prefer a LS 430 to a Yaris or even to a Camry, then you're not the target market for an iPhone.

It's a luxury toy, pure and simple.

5 years ahead on technology (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632078)

150 years plus the life of the author (who is? Jobs?) ahead on skins.

Man, no other companies are ever going to be able to catch up after Apple's done owning the market for over a century with this skin-based monopoly. Boy do I wish I had some of their stock.

Darned their nonstandard resolution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17632198)

I thought I was going to corner the market by creating all the possible screen combinations for a 320x240 matrix, and then claiming them as copyrighted by me. Then ol' Jobs trumps me by using a different resolution.

You haven't won yet, Jobs!

Steve Jobs DRM is 100x worse than Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17632208)

Bear in mind that Jobs is a computer and O/S dictator. DRM nightmares are on the horizon for Apple end-users.

So revolutionary Japan laughs at us... again..... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17632254)

Apple,

Japan thinks your phone is cute, or rather, was cute. They can't seem to figure out why you think you've reinvented the wheel though, you know, since they can already buy phones like this for much less that are much better.

Sorry, but only a true trendwhore would ever carry that overpriced, technologically stunted, not-a-smartphone "smart"phone.

Bad attitude trickles down from the top (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632274)

My experience with most organizations is that bad attitude tend to trickle down from the top. Apple's land shark behavior does not reflect positively on Jobs or most Apple officers.

I-hipocrits (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17632432)

Funny that Apple raises hell about someone creating a skin that resembles their own interface yet they blatenly use the name iphone that they have no legal right to use.

I am still waiting ... (1)

Thrip (994947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632652)

... for the makers of Arkanoid to sue Apple for ripping off their icon theme and calling it "Aqua."

Note to Apple Lawyers: (2, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632842)

You've already lost a major lawsuit over a competing product imitating "look and feel". Simply because you've decided to go after those with more shallow pockets this time doesn't mean you're any less wrong this time.

Politely fuck the hell off.

- Sleazy P. Martini
- GWAR and Assc.

I guess I lost the memo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633138)

Too much iphone news latelly but none seem to say WHAT TEH FECK is an iphone and why should I give a shit?GIVE A SHIT?

iPhony .09m zip file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633168)

Just so we're clear (1)

friedman101 (618627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633188)

- Apple suing over ripped off icons for smartphones = protecting their copyright

- RIAA suing people who distribute copyrighted songs = boycott

Fuck Apple (0, Flamebait)

Godji (957148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633232)

Fuck Apple. Suing iPhone skin makers is simply stupid, because Apple is popupar enough so that any teenage kid with too much money to spend on nonsense will want to buy the real thing, the original, and will know the difference from a skin.

But suing bloggers for reporting, now that's just wrong, and way above my corporate tolerance limit. Fuck you, Apple, once again!

... apple's legal dept. (1)

La Fourmi Nihiliste (906448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633698)

Is it just me or is the Legal Dept. the biggest branch of apple? I'm a Mac user, i own an iPod too, but this is getting ridiculous... i say let the skin be used on a shitty phone: when people get to use the real thing, they will see that UI isnt only pretty Aqua buttons...

Jobs changed the name to Apple Inc. but i'm starting to think it should be Apple Legal inc.

ant

Bad decission for buisiness (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633714)

This is one bad idea. Clearly the use of iPhone skins for other devices simply shows admiration. People can't get an iPhone (yet), but they think it looks so cool that they want their current device to have that look. It's not as though it would prevent anyone from buying an iPhone. The same thing happends with the iPod. People love their iPod, and thus skin winamp or WMP or their phone to look like one. Apple should consider this flattery. If someone were offering a ripoff of the iphone that used some of the patent technology, then they would have reason to get angry. But do they really think anyone is going to choose a skinned phone over the iPhone, when they otherwise would have gone with the iPhone?

from what I see (1)

jon_joy_1999 (946738) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633926)

someone ripped Apple's interface for their iPhone and has now published the interface for other, non-iPhone Smartphones. my questions is this:
what would Apple do if someone ripped off their MacOSX interface [portraitofakite.com] and ported it to Microsoft Windows, or Linux. or, what would Microsoft do if Joe Shmoe ripped off Windows XP's Luna interface and ported it to MacOSX, or Linux? (I don't know if MaxOSX is capable of being `skinned' or not.) would they do the same thing? or would they just ignore it, or encourage it?

OSX has been copied for years (1)

Itsallmyfault (1015439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634126)

Karamba/Superkaramba has been around for years, with widely distributed widgets that transform a Linux desktop into something that very closely resembles OSX. Did I miss something? Apple doesn't want to anger the Linux community?

It's multi-touch; the image isn't what makes it go (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634206)

So what? Apple's device, whatever they're calling it this week, is a multi-touch surface. You can copy the image, but it can't be manipulated like Apple's interface on single-touch devices.

Multi-touch is going to be a big deal. Being able to grab two things and manipulate them at the same time is a huge win. It's the next step beyond the object-verb and verb-object GUI approaches.

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