Wiki sues Apple over DMCA claims

Wiki sues Apple over DMCA claims

Summary: Last year, Apple lawyers contacted OdioWorks, the operator of BluWiki.com, claiming that certain user postings violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and copyright law.

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Last year, Apple lawyers contacted OdioWorks, the operator of BluWiki.com, claiming that certain user postings violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and copyright law. Apple threatened to sue Odioworks if the documents weren't removed and OdioWorks complied.

Now, with the assistance of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, OdioWorks is back -- this time with a lawsuit requesting declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.

According to the lawsuit, the documents in question were attempts to reverse engineer iTunesDB, the file that keeps track of songs on an iPod, and Apple's hash value, designed to prevent other software from syncing an iPod.

"I take the free speech rights of BluWiki users seriously," Sam Odio, owner of OdioWorks, said in a release. "Companies like Apple should not be able to censor online discussions by making baseless legal threats against services like BluWiki that host the discussions."

EFF's Fred von Lohmann said Apple is trying to censor people from technical discussions about their products, not protecting copyright interests. "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."

On November 10,2008, counsel for Apple sent an email to Sam Odio, the owner of OdioWorks, claiming that BluWiki was "disseminating information designed to circumvent Apple's FairPlay digitaJ rights management system" and demanding that Mr. Odio take down the discussion on the "Ipodhash" webpage. Apple's attorney wrote in the email that "(t)he DMCA explicitly prohibits the dissemination of information that can be used to circumvent such technology.

Apple's counsel sent another email to Mr. Odio the following day, demanding that he also take down the "Itunes_obfuscation" webpage "for the same reason." Apple's attorney threatened Mr. Odio that "Failure to do so will result in legal liability" and,demanded that he identify his lawyers, if he had any.

Apple's attorney then sent a third email to Mr. Odio on November 13,2008, declaring that the iTunesDB Pages "violate the DMCA."

The lawsuit argues that these claims are dubious at best and asks the court to make a determination that the iTunesDB files are not an encryption device for purposes of DMCA and that there was no copyright infringement or that the publication was fair use.

This sounds like an interesting one. Stay tuned for further details when Apple answers.

[4.28.09: Spelling of the site corrected]

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Collaboration, Hardware

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16 comments
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  • Bully for BlueWiki!!

    If we start bottling up what can and cannot be talked about publicly then we may as well be living in a Kafkaesque nightmare.

    Whilst I understand the company not wanting to have all its secure measures of retaining a customer torn away it cannot run a monopoly. Without an understanding of technical capabilities the 'App Store' Apple is so fond of disappears completely.

    If we're not careful soon we won't be allowed to learn how to cook, as it infringes upon someone else's methods.

    -m0r
    m0r1arty
    • You're 7 Years Too Late

      http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT6846504

      1. A method for cooking a substantially complete meal in a single closable vessel comprising the steps of:

      (a) placing selected foods in the vessel in layers in a specified order depending on the structural strength and cooking characteristics of the foods selected,

      (b) adding liquid substantially comprised of water to the vessel in an amount selected to correspond to the absorption and cooking characteristics of the food in the bottom layer in the vessel,

      (c) substantially closing the vessel, and

      (d) cooking the closed vessel in an oven until the food is done,
      whereby the foods are uniformly cooked and are kept separate and retain their structural integrity so that they can be removed from the vessel and served separately.
      john.lemme
      • This is a crock

        I'm sure Rival's patent on the Crock-Pot(R) ran out a long time ago.
        jabster17
        • Read it Again

          It's not a patent on the crockpot -- it's a patent on the method of arranging the food in the crockpot so that it cooks evenly.

          It's a patent on a !@#$ cooking technique.
          john.lemme
          • It is specifically not about the crockpot

            It is just a method of putting your complete meal, layer by layer, into a pot, covering the pot and then cooking it in the oven.
            Beat a Dead Horse
  • sonner or later will have to decide ?????

    Corporation right or individual right personally its not even a question ......

    Soon i hope that a few large corporation will taste population wrath and suffer the consequence

    I hope that we will make the right choices and make corporation bend to civilian will ......
    Quebec-french
  • The site name is bluwiki.com.....

    BlueWiki.com is a advertising link farm. You need to proofread a bit better!
    codegen
  • Oh Apple

    Where were the stories about Apple threatening the people hacking the iPhone? I remember the ZDnet, and Wired stories (with videos) about jailbreaking iPhones. But Apple just refuses customer service to anyone who's "broken" their phone. But when you mess with the iPod, it's fire and brimstone!
    odcchaz
  • Typical Apple

    I have been told a story about Apples earlier days.
    Apples lawyers wrote to an Australian store called "The
    Apple Store" and demanded it change its name. The store
    had been in existence before Apple existed and was a
    greengrocer owned by Joe Apple the second in the family
    business.
    misceng
    • It's not just Apple

      Check out Nissan dot com for the story about how Nissan attacked a web site named after it's creator (Nissan) that sold computers. The company had been around since Nissan was known in the US as Datsun.
      Beat a Dead Horse
  • Apple is clearly in the wrong here

    Sounds like Apple's lawyers need a little training in the
    definition of Trade Secret. You can't sue people for figuring
    out how something works, you can only make it harder to
    figure out.

    IBM knew that years ago, they used to build their mainframes
    using nothing but blue wires so that it would be significantly
    harder to reverse engineer.
    ChiperSoft
  • RE: Wiki sues Apple over DMCA claims

    Apple is so quick to jump on stuff like this. Who knows.. maybe they'll go after the author of this story for defamation of character and DMCA violation for writing about a lawsuit about circumventing iTunesDB...awful jackasses
    NamelessFor Now
  • SLAPPing back against the DMCA

    Has anyone successfully filed an anti-SLAPP suit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SLAPP ) against a DMCA smackdown order?
    jabster17
    • probably not

      I'm guessing not since the copyright holders tend not to sue: they just
      slapdown. Thus there wouldnt be a chance for an anti-SLAPP.
      rkoman9
  • RE: Wiki sues Apple over DMCA claims

    While I believe in free speech, you can't stand in front of a Bank, and proclaim that you are planning to rob the bank... without certain repercussions. Perhaps in this case they authorities are going after the bank instead of the guys standing in front of it.

    I think there's too much money in Apples legal department because they can afford to go after the small fish. BUT I still believe that if they don't protect their copyright, they'll lose it. You will never see the word "Kleenex" used in a novel unless the author is willing to pay royalties on the name. Kimberly-Clark will defend the use of the name KLEENEX in general use, or they'll potentially lose the rights to the name.

    Apple in the same way has to defend its trademarks and patents. No matter where infringements pop up and no matter who the infringers are. If Apple makes no move to block third party development on top of their technology, and then tries to sue when third party technology is mature, the courts could rule that they have no case. They watched development for years, and only take action now? Now that the product is on the market? Too late! Too bad so sad. Just like cases where major companies are trying to claim patents on hyperlinking, or popular file formats.

    I think Apple should lay off bluwiki.com, and keep a sharp eye on those actually discussing the material that violates the DCMA, but that's what the courts are for... to determine exactly what is the law in these cases.
    sawatzky
  • RE: Wiki sues Apple over DMCA claims

    Too see how Apple throw their full weight around right away left no way for OdioWorks to discuss a solution that both parties would be alright with...

    I think it about time someone fights back for the every day rights of people before they start to call thinking for your self A CRIME.People need to know they can still think and discuss things in any level I think that is what we call "freedom of speech" is it not...
    Verne Frazer

    visionary6