updated 10:20 pm EDT, Wed July 22, 2009
Apple backs down on threat
Apple has withdrawn a number of legal threats against the public wiki site Bluwiki, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The threats were initially sent to the site publisher late last year, after anonymous users authored pages relating to enabling content sync with iPods and iPhones without going through Apple's iTunes software.
Apple had accused the wiki authors and site of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), despite the lack of any real workaround achieved by the users. The original iTunes protection methods had already been reverse engineered, although the wiki authors were discussing the revamped process utilized with the iPhone and iPod touch. The site complied with the cease-and-desist letter and removed the relevant pages.
Although letters from Apple's legal team are not uncommon, the Bluwiki issue sparked return fire from the EFF and the San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest. The attorneys filed a lawsuit against Apple, on behalf of the Bluwiki publisher OdioWorks, and asked the court to allow restoration of the discussions and rejection of the threats.
Earlier this month, Apple finally backed down and sent a letter withdrawing the initial threats. "Apple no longer has, nor will it have in the future, any objection to the publications of the iTunesDB Pages." The EFF and attorneys then agreed to dismiss their filing against Apple.
"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."