Apple backs off Bluwiki legal threats in censorship dispute

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
After repeatedly threatening legal action against a site host for content covering iTunes database exploration -- and drawing return litigation in the process -- Apple has decided to back off its threats against the Web site Bluwiki.



The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was the Web site's legal representation, announced the development Wednesday.



Bluwiki offered a set of anonymous user-created wiki pages where users explained how to sync media with iPods and iPhones without the use of iTunes. That drew legal threats from Apple, which prompted the Web site to fire back.



OdioWorks, which runs the free and open wiki service BluWiki, wanted to bar Apple from repeatedly threatening its own legal action for letting BluWiki users host a wiki for iTunesDB.



iTunesDB is a project to learn about iTunes' database file system and create third-party software that can replicate the sync functionality of iTunes for iPhones and iPods without forcing users to run Apple's own media software.



Starting in Nov. 2008, Apple, through a series of lawsuits, claimed the very existence of iTunesDB violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)'s rules on circumventing copyright locks and successfully frightened OdioWorks into taking down the wiki entries.



Then, in April 2009, the EFF and Keker & Van Nests, a San Francisco-based law firm, returned fire, suing Apple on behalf of OdioWorks. They asked a court to reject Apple's claims and allow Bluwiki to restore the pages in question.



But earlier this month, Apple sent a letter withdrawing its cease and desist demands, and EFF responded in kind, moving to dismiss its complaint against Apple.



"Apple no longer has, nor will it have in the future, any objection to the publication of the iTunesDB Pages," Apple's letter reads.



"While we are glad that Apple retracted its baseless legal threats, we are disappointed that it only came after 7 months of censorship and a lawsuit," EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann said in a statement. "Because Apple continues to use technical measures to lock iPod Touch and iPhone owners into -- and Palm Pre owners out of -- using Apple's iTunes software, I wouldn't be surprised if there are more discussions among frustrated customers about reverse engineering Apple products. We hope Apple has learned its lesson here and will give those online discussions a wide berth in the future."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    retroneoretroneo Posts: 240member
    Good news.



    Reading your own list of songs isn't against the law let alone talking about reading it. Sheesh!
  • Reply 2 of 43
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,213member
    Quote:

    "While we are glad that Apple retracted its baseless legal threats, we are disappointed that it only came after 7 months of censorship and a lawsuit," EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann said in a statement.



    Disappointed there Fred? Were you hoping it came later?



    How about, ``we are dissapointed that it took 7 months of censorship and a counter lawsuit for this action to resolve amicably. We had hoped it would have come much sooner, but we applaud Apple for blah, blah, add more legal glad handing blah blah,'' for a shot?
  • Reply 3 of 43
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,720member
    .....
  • Reply 4 of 43
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,584member
    Apple walked into a no win situation for them and it is unfortunate they even tried this at all.
  • Reply 5 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post






    Regardless of your almost 8000 posts, that cat picture should have your account banned. IMO
  • Reply 6 of 43
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    iTunesDB is a project to learn about iTunes' database file system and create third-party software that can replicate the sync functionality of iTunes for iPhones and iPods without forcing users to run Apple's own media software.



    But earlier this month, Apple sent a letter withdrawing its cease and desist demands, and EFF responded in kind, moving to dismiss its complaint against Apple.



    "Apple no longer has, nor will it have in the future, any objection to the publication of the iTunesDB Pages," Apple's letter reads.



    "While we are glad that Apple retracted its baseless legal threats, we are disappointed that it only came after 7 months of censorship and a lawsuit," EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann said in a statement. "Because Apple continues to use technical measures to lock iPod Touch and iPhone owners into -- and Palm Pre owners out of -- using Apple's iTunes software, I wouldn't be surprised if there are more discussions among frustrated customers about reverse engineering Apple products. We hope Apple has learned its lesson here and will give those online discussions a wide berth in the future."



    Apple probably figures it's easier and cheaper to update iTunes programming to make such sync database tutorials invalid until they too are updated.



    Be prepared to see iTunes update 8.2.1, 8.2.2, 8.2.3, 8.2.4, 8.2.5...
  • Reply 7 of 43
    What exactly is the huge problem with iTunes that people need an iTunesDB to allow 3rd party software to sync their media with their iPhones and iPod Touches? Are people other than the folks with jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches calling for a need for this option? Sorry, I just don't find the iPhone OS limiting or unappealing (aesthetically or functionally) and syncing my iPhone with iTunes is pretty damned seamless.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    iTunesDB is a project to learn about iTunes' database file system and create third-party software that can replicate the sync functionality of iTunes for iPhones and iPods without forcing users to run Apple's own media software.as learned its lesson here and will give those online discussions a wide berth in the future."



    That's ethically wrong. iTunes' database file system is Apple's IP.



    There's a name for that sort of activity, it's called stealing.



    "steal |stēl|

    verb ( past stole |stōl|; past part. stolen |ˈstōlən|)

    1 [ trans. ] take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it"
  • Reply 9 of 43
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,014member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPeon View Post


    That's ethically wrong. iTunes' database file system is Apple's IP.



    There's a name for that sort of activity, it's called stealing.



    "steal |stēl|

    verb ( past stole |stōl|; past part. stolen |ˈstōlən|)

    1 [ trans. ] take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it"



    It's legal in a lot of jurisdictions to reverse engineer for the purposes of interoperability. Most 'advanced' nation are signatories to TRIPS which I believe recognises this right. So there no ethical issues at all. It's permitted by the law.



    And I'll say it again - you can't steal IP. Check any IP text and get back to me on it.
  • Reply 10 of 43
    ktappektappe Posts: 759member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPeon View Post


    That's ethically wrong. iTunes' database file system is Apple's IP.



    There's a name for that sort of activity, it's called stealing.



    Bzzt, wrong, try again. Under your claim, it would be stealing for me to figure out how Honda assembled the Accord I bought from them; ie. I'm not allowed to remove and replace parts on my own car. Unless you want to defend that, you might want to back off your assertion.
  • Reply 11 of 43
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djsherly View Post


    It's legal in a lot of jurisdictions to reverse engineer for the purposes of interoperability. Most 'advanced' nation are signatories to TRIPS which I believe recognises this right. So there no ethical issues at all. It's permitted by the law.



    And I'll say it again - you can't steal IP. Check any IP text and get back to me on it.



    I thought I was quite familiar and in good standing with the TRIPS Agreement. Could you indicate where in the agreement it is permitted by law?
  • Reply 12 of 43
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,014member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    I thought I was quite familiar and in good standing with the TRIPS Agreement. Could you indicate where in the agreement it is permitted by law?



    You're right. I told a porky. TRIPS does not say it is impermissible which is different from how I tied legislation and treaty together.



    Nevertheless, many jurisdictions do permit reverse engineering for the purposes of interoperability without infringing the rights of the rights owner.



    Art 7,8 objective and principles support such measures as long as they not inconsistent with the provisions of the treaty. Yes?
  • Reply 13 of 43
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post


    Bzzt, wrong, try again. Under your claim, it would be stealing for me to figure out how Honda assembled the Accord I bought from them; ie. I'm not allowed to remove and replace parts on my own car. Unless you want to defend that, you might want to back off your assertion.



    Since you bought it (exchanged work for), it is your property and you are free to do what you want with it. But if you do so to duplicate Honda's designs to then profit from, or to aid others in taking business away from Honda by "stealing" their designs, then it is ethically wrong. Legal maybe, but "legal" does not equal ethical.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    elliots11elliots11 Posts: 270member
    I have an iPhone 3G, not jailbroken, and through AT&T.



    Yet I cannot bring myself to run that iTunes update that breaks syncing with the Pre. It just seems wrong to me to release an update with the intention of making something less compatible.



    This is a step in the wrong direction.
  • Reply 15 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post


    What exactly is the huge problem with iTunes that people need an iTunesDB to allow 3rd party software to sync their media with their iPhones and iPod Touches? Are people other than the folks with jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches calling for a need for this option? Sorry, I just don't find the iPhone OS limiting or unappealing (aesthetically or functionally) and syncing my iPhone with iTunes is pretty damned seamless.



    jailbroken iphones work fine with itunes thanks...
  • Reply 16 of 43
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,014member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPeon View Post


    Since you bought it (exchanged work for), it is your property and you are free to do what you want with it. But if you do so to duplicate Honda's designs to then profit from, or to aid others in taking business away from Honda by "stealing" their designs, then it is ethically wrong. Legal maybe, but "legal" does not equal ethical.



    there's a huge third party parts market for cars. Given that Honda sells their vehicle in an environment which they know permits other manufacturer to make compatible parts I fail to see the ethical issue or how it could be perceived that Honda is wronged?
  • Reply 17 of 43
    multimediamultimedia Posts: 864member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post


    What exactly is the huge problem with iTunes that people need an iTunesDB to allow 3rd party software to sync their media with their iPhones and iPod Touches? Are people other than the folks with jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches calling for a need for this option? Sorry, I just don't find the iPhone OS limiting or unappealing (aesthetically or functionally) and syncing my iPhone with iTunes is pretty damned seamless.



    iPhone is only allowed to synch on one Mac unlike iPods which can synch with multiple Macs. So if your iPhone is manually syched on a home iMac or Mac Pro and you travel with a Mobile Mac, when you hook your iPhone up to your Mobile Mac while traveling to for example manually add a newly purchased album from the iTunes store on your Mobile Mac, iTunes will offer and ONLY ALLOW YOU to ERASE THE ENTIRE CONTENTS of your iPhone before you are allowed to communicate with your iPhone on THIS FOREIGN Mobile Mac. Very annoying "feature". And good reason to need an alternative manually synching mechanism.



    Looking forward to it's release ASAP please.
  • Reply 18 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post


    What exactly is the huge problem with iTunes that people need an iTunesDB to allow 3rd party software to sync their media with their iPhones and iPod Touches?



    Nothing wrong w/ itunes...but it would be nice to allow any application to use my music DB for other functionality...like auto-lyric downloads or better metadata management, etc.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,691member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post


    What exactly is the huge problem with iTunes that people need an iTunesDB to allow 3rd party software to sync their media with their iPhones and iPod Touches? Are people other than the folks with jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches calling for a need for this option? Sorry, I just don't find the iPhone OS limiting or unappealing (aesthetically or functionally) and syncing my iPhone with iTunes is pretty damned seamless.



    You're right, of course. Only a tiny, tiny, minority of malcontents are always at the bottom of stuff like this. This is the same crowd that just had to break into and modify the Apple TV to "improve it". Same goes for the iPod jailbreak losers. They always know better than the manufacturer of the product. This is fringe stuff and will be totally ignored by the general user population.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    lfmorrisonlfmorrison Posts: 697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post


    What exactly is the huge problem with iTunes that people need an iTunesDB to allow 3rd party software to sync their media with their iPhones and iPod Touches? Are people other than the folks with jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches calling for a need for this option? Sorry, I just don't find the iPhone OS limiting or unappealing (aesthetically or functionally) and syncing my iPhone with iTunes is pretty damned seamless.



    One potential useful application would be for people who, for various reasons, are either not using Windows or Mac OS X on their primary computer system, or who are using a version of Windows or Mac OS X that is too old to work with the version of iTunes required for the current lineup of iPods.



    The information gathered by iTunesDB could be used to create an alternative application, designed to run on these operating systems -- systems, by the way, that Apple has not made any effort to support themselves -- to allow the end user to synchronize their music libraries with their iPods.



    If anything, I think this sort of development would certainly not do anything to discourage mainstream users from purchasing Apple's products, and it would actually serve as an incentive for a certain demographic of people, who would not have otherwise bought an iPod due to incompatibility, to now consider a purchase - thus actually increasing Apple's potential marketshare. And Apple wouldn't need to invest one iota of additional research or development, because all that burden is taken on by third parties.
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