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Apple Backs Off DMCA Threats Against Wiki 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the red-light-green-light dept.
netbuzz writes "A wiki operator who was pressured by Apple's legal team into removing anonymous discussions about circumventing the company's music-playback software for iPods and iPhones says he is relieved that Apple has backed off and he'll be able to restore the disputed material. Apple dropped its claims of copyright and DMCA violation against BluWiki only under legal pressure of its own in the form of a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation."
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Apple Backs Off DMCA Threats Against Wiki

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @09:36AM (#28794517) Journal

    In November 2008, Apple sent a series of legal threats to the operator of BluWiki, alleging that these hobbyist discussions about interoperability ...

    Right because we wouldn't want hobbyists out there devoting their free time to making a hardware device more supported, interoperable, functional, etc. That would be horrible. It's funny how my operating system of choice was created from just that.

    You know, I have to ask: what's Apple's motive here? Because if I made a hardware product and someone developed a new novel way to utilize it, my sales would increase. Sure people might not be using my software that goes with the hardware but who cares? Sales of these devices can go nowhere but up. All I can think of relating this to is game consoles. Which--up until the PS3 & Yellow Dog Linux--they have been very wary of people using for alternative purposes for the sole reason that pricing schemes have long involved a loss on the console with massive profits raked in on licensing titles to the console. So you don't want your XBox360 turned into a Linux server never to play a game again or Microsoft just took a loss (not sure if they still take losses on that console, just an example).

    So what's up, is Apple selling iPods at a loss with the expected return being iTunes Music Service sales? Or even the monetary value they assign to having iTunes and Quicktime on the consumer's computer?

    If a hobbyist or start up company or anyone figures out a way to utilize iPod hardware in new ways, don't consumers have a right to purchase/use this? I don't recall signing a contract when I bought my iPod shuffle. And, as a consumer, I will state that the more functionality the better. This is why I hate that Apple bullies people out of using their iPods with different software and stops hardware makers from integrating with iTunes directly. It's borderline monopolistic in the same way IE was bundled with Windows.

    ... discussions about circumventing the company's music-playback software for iPods and iPhones ...

    After digging through the EFF documents, I'm not sure who to believe here. The story, the EFF and the wiki operator claim it was a discussion about doing this and it was not actually implemented. But from Apple's latest letter [eff.org]:

    As you know, Apple's objection about the "iTunesDB Pages" (as referenced in your complaint in this matter), sent to OdioWorks over seven months ago, centered on the publication of certain Apple code on those Pages. Since that time, Apple has stopped utilizing the code in question, rendering the code obsolete for the purposes at issue in this action. Publishing that code is no longer of any harm or benefit to anyone.

    So I am to believe that there was a potential exploit in the Apple code that the wiki pages talked about exploiting and Apple has since removed/patched that code to be non-exploitable? I don't think Apple backed down, I think they just stopped discussion until they could render the exploit a non-issue.

    • Two things:

      First, this is what you get when the lawyers hold sway over the techies and visionaries.

      Second, why o why don't modern companies just stfu with their legal hollering and get on with making products? If they make good products customers will come flocking and that in and of itself secures brand loyalty.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Third:

        Fucking Apple... how can you not hate this self serving, pissing-in-the-face-of-every-consumer company?

        Don't get me wrong, I hate all companies. Some more, some less. Not because I'm bitter, but because only idiots are unaware of the fundamental concepts of trade. It's a battle between the seller and buyer, and only an idiot consumer sides with the seller. The consumer, aka buyer, is supposed to pressure the seller to lower prices and increase quality and terms. The whole point of trading is to make
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          It's a battle between the seller and buyer, and only an idiot consumer sides with the seller.

          That's elementary, theoretical concepts of trade. In the real world, all out war between sellers and buyers results in less profits for sellers, and less goods for buyers. Trust is an important part of trade, and without it, sellers won't be able to offload their goods, and buyers won't feel confident in forking over their cash. There is real incentive for being conservative in business, and actually giving customer

      • Re:Control fetish (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:47AM (#28795283)

        Chief, this has nothing to do with lawyers taking over a company. Anyone who has ANY knowledge of Apple's history, especially under Steve Jobs, knows the man and the company he drives has a hard on for absolute control over their devices.

        If Steve could find a way to make it profitable, he'd officially stop selling hardware and start leasing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by BasilBrush (643681)

          He's the CEO of a corporation. He makes decisions that he sees as the profitable ones. That's what CEOs are supposed to do. If CEOs didn't have that instinct then none of us would have any sort of cheap hardware to run our choice of OS and software on.

          • Re:Control fetish (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:51AM (#28796077)

            And he's also a human with a personality, which influences those decisions based on his world view, likes, dislikes, and etc.

            He could just as easily make money hand over fist if he loosen his death-like grip over Apple products and allowed others to play. Licensing money is 'easy' money. He doesn't because he has a control fetish.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by BasilBrush (643681)

              He could just as easily make money hand over fist if he loosen his death-like grip over Apple products and allowed others to play.

              Plenty of people and companies "play". There are countless products and open source projects that interoperate with Apple products.

              The particular niches which Apple tries hard to defend are a tiny proportion, and all have sound business reasons. So yes, it really is about making profit, not character flaws.

              • A message to all Slashdotters:

                Unless you work high up in Apple, chances are, you don't know what business decisions are most profitable.

                That is all.

          • by mdwh2 (535323)

            This is a common Apple defence, and of course what you say is true - but it makes no sense as a defence.

            Consider, when there's a Microsoft story about them doing something bad, imagine people crawling out of the woodwork to say "But they're a corporation, all they're doing is making decisions to make as much profit as possible, and screw over consumers and their competitors. What's wrong with that? If companies didn't do that, you wouldn't have cheap hardware to run your choice of OS and software. So you sh

            • It's not a defence. It's just pointing out the concept that some parts of apple products aren't open because Steve Jobs is a control freak is missing the real reason. i.e.

              3. ...
              4. Profit.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by HiThere (15173)

                As an ex-Apple advocate, I disagree. They want control for the sake of control. They're limited in what they can do because they also want to remain profitable.

                I supported Apple over MS within the company I worked for for decades...but when it came time that people were willing to listen, I'd switched to supporting Linux. So the company went to Linux. And it's because Apple made things too difficult if you wanted to do something that wasn't what Apple had in mind.

                (My personal switch to Linux was because

                • Apple has fewer viruses, but MS was cheaper [in every sense of the word].)

                  Clearly not in the battling viruses sense of the word. Not other support costs come to that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        First, this is what you get when the lawyers hold sway over the techies and visionaries.

        Sounds to me more like a legal department that is granted too much independence. "Defend our property, I'm assuming because we pay you so much that you know what's reasonable and what should warrant a lawsuit."

        I often find that I'm naive when I assume things about companies though.

        Second, why o why don't modern companies just stfu with their legal hollering and get on with making products? If they make good products customers will come flocking and that in and of itself secures brand loyalty.

        It's more than just lawsuits. DRM is of course another example of companies foolishly wasting more effort trying to maximize profit than they do making things that are actually profitable.

        If you're spend X dollars developing a p

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 23, 2009 @09:48AM (#28794643)
      >> Right because we wouldn't want hobbyists out there devoting their free time to making a hardware device more supported, interoperable, functional, etc. That would be horrible. It's funny how my operating system of choice was created from just that.

      In other words, Apple is the new Microsoft. I am sure this will be moded down very soon, but since the time Apple has hit jackpot with ipod/iphone, they have shown their true colors.
      • by jpmorgan (517966) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:20AM (#28794989) Homepage
        No, they really are. In the past 5-10 years, Apple has risen to a staggering level of popularity, but what has been the end result? More lock-in, more bullying. I think it's important to put this in perspective- Apple eventually dropped their lock-in DRM from the iTMS (but not until more than a year after some of their competitors, like Amazon), and they replaced it with encrypted iPod indexes and legal abuse like this. I understand why they're popular amongst certain groups, but to me they just seem so opposed to the hacker/geek ethos that used to be the rule at places like Slashdot.
        • by pizzach (1011925) <pizzach@gmailTIGER.com minus cat> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:51AM (#28795311) Homepage

          And Apple is getting lambasted sometimes for the wrong reasons just like MS now. Go figure.

          I think it's important to put this in perspective- Apple eventually dropped their lock-in DRM from the iTMS (but not until more than a year after some of their competitors, like Amazon)

          That is because they were fighting to keep the $1.00 price for all their songs while the record industry wanted tiered pricing. Apparently Apple lost that negotiation in the end...not that you noticed.

          For the other Apple related topics...

          • You know Pre did what they did for the publicity. Palm is not stupid.
          • Developers also know that Apple frequently breaks unofficial APIs. Even Palm devs. This hasn't changed for more than a decade.
          • Do you think it's better for the Pre to have it's compatibility broken earlier, or later when there is a huge install base?
          • Fixing a TIFF exploit that let users jailbreak (and maybe alternatively get a virus from a webpage) is a major hole. What did you expect them to do? Try to write around the jailbreak code to make sure it works?

          Yes, Apple is overly controlling and I personally don't own anything Apple. They should have an API for syncing with iTunes etc. But at least try to keep your comments in perspective please. It doesn't help anyone. Thank you.

          • by jpmorgan (517966) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:21AM (#28795659) Homepage
            Huh? I never mentioned the Pre, which 90% of your comment is about. As for jailbreaking... that's the point. You shouldn't HAVE to rely on a security flaw to do what you want with a phone you own. Apple can even keep their draconian marketplace rules if they want, they just need to let people install apps without going through the app store. This is what Windows Mobile does, and you know what? When your platform is significantly less open than Windows Mobile, you're doing something very wrong.

            As it stands Apple won't even allow a C64 emulator [slashdot.org] because that could let you run C64 games for the iPhone they haven't approved of you playing. WTF? Seriously, what argument is there for that other than Apple being obsessive control freaks?
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by BasilBrush (643681)

              When your platform is significantly less open than Windows Mobile, you're doing something very wrong.

              Sales figures for iPhone are 600% up on the year ago quarter. That seems to indicate they are doing something very right, given that they're a business, not a club for hackers.

              • by tomtomtom (580791) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:48PM (#28796965)

                Sales figures for iPhone are 600% up on the year ago quarter. That seems to indicate they are doing something very right, given that they're a business, not a club for hackers.

                How sustainable is that though? At the moment, Apple have the advantage because people don't realise you can put "apps" on other phone models and noone else has a simple "store" for them.

                When (not if) that changes, their stupid approval model for apps will ensure that developers focus their efforts elsewhere [slashdot.org].

                • Remember it's not enough for another company to be as good as Apple's App Store. They'd actually have to be significantly better to change people's loyalties. There's no sign of that. And Apple hasn't stopped improving their platform yet, so that leapfrogging will be hard to do.

                  Ref: 1001 "iPod killers" that have been heralded in the tech press and slashdot. Not a single one has managed to take significant market share from the iPod, let alone over take it.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by babblefrog (1013127)

                By that measure, Microsoft is doing everything even more right, since they own the desktop OS market.

                I think we are using differing definitions of 'right', here.

                • Microsoft was doing illegal things to ensure, they owned the desktop OS market.

                  There fixed that for ya!
                • Read again. Microsoft is doing *SOMETHING* right is the extension, not everything. And sure, when they were gaining market share they were, it didn't just happen. However now, Microsoft is losing market share in most or all markets.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                >> Sales figures ....

                I am sure you believe Briney Spears is one of the best singers ever!

                Who is arguing they have the best selling music players and best selling phones? We are not debating popularity here. We are debating behavior of the company.
                • No, again by logical extension of what I said one can only say that she's doing something right. Not necessarily singing.

                  • So, in your opinion, 'right' means making shitload of money. Closed/open/lock-in/lawsuits/suicide/secrecy does not figure at all in that. And that's the reason I mentioned singing, and not making money.
                    • No. I'm saying quite clearly that making shotloads of money only happens when you do something right. Where "right" means playing the game well, not some kind of arbitrary moral judgement.

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      I am sure raising concerns about a company making shitload of money and then threatening bunch of guys discussing something about your device with DMCA is definitely arbitrary moral judgment.
                    • Ah yes, in the topsy world of Slashdot, Apple is guilty because they are successful, and the guys are innocent because they are hackers. Not in law, of course, not in any ordinary sense of morality. Just in the slashdot morality book.

                • "I am sure you believe Briney Spears is one of the best singers ever! "

                  Yes, she is a bit of a salty lass, isn't she?
              • by Draek (916851)

                Wow, if that trend continues there'll be more iPhones than human beings in less than a decade!

                Lies, damn lies, and all that.

                • Use Google to look up the S shaped technology adoption curve. Stadard stuff. There's no lies here, iPhone DID increase sales by 600% over last years quarter. Technologies that are heading for market leadership do tend to perform like that.

                  • by Draek (916851)

                    My comment was in reference to an old quote, "there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics". Growth rate is irrelevant, if I sell a computer last month and sell six this month, I've achieved a 600% growth rate in sales as well but that doesn't change the fact I've only sold 7 computers in total, out of millions being used worldwide.

                    Same thing for Apple. It doesnt matter how fast they grew over a trimester, as long as Nokia sells more phones *they* are the ones you should look towards to le

                    • It doesnt matter how fast they grew over a trimester, as long as Nokia sells more phones *they* are the ones you should look towards to learn how to do things "right", not Apple.

                      Not when Nokia is losing market share and Apple is gaining it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by mjwx (966435)

              As it stands Apple won't even allow a C64 emulator because that could let you run C64 games for the iPhone they haven't approved of you playing. WTF? Seriously, what argument is there for that other than Apple being obsessive control freaks?

              Not an Apple defender but that has another legitimate reason, the same for not allowing flash. It kills the market for cheap games, with a C64 emulator they cant resell you copies of ancient games. Yes I know, being greedy is only slightly better then being a control f

          • >> For the other Apple related topics...
            >> ... Pre ...
            >> ... Pre ...
            >> ... Pre ...
            umm....

            >> But at least try to keep your comments in perspective please.

            Sure...
        • ...but what has been the end result? More lock-in, more bullying.

          Just as much lock-in, but spread over a larger population.

        • by Locklin (1074657) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:34AM (#28795863) Homepage

          You really thought Apple wasn't all about lock-in? Apple is the last vestige of the old proprietary hardware + software-stack business model that MS "rescued" us from in the 80's. Ever since DOS/PC, we have had Free hardware, a necessary step to Free software. Apple has always been a step backwards in Freedom.

          (yeah, I see the gross oversimplifications above, but the message is the same)

          • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:03PM (#28796243) Journal
            picture this scene; an auditorium full of crazed Apple fanatics, all hailing the speaker - Steve Jobs, up at a podium, and simu-cast on a huge screen.

            Suddenly, a pudgy guy in a a rumpled business suit comes running thru the back door, swinging an ugly beige 1980's era PC chassis by its powercord. He runs up the center aisle, and flings it into the big screen, shattering it.

            The tag line; I'm free, and I'm a PC.
            • by euxneks (516538)

              picture this scene; an auditorium full of crazed Apple fanatics, all hailing the speaker - Steve Jobs, up at a podium, and simu-cast on a huge screen.

              Suddenly, a pudgy guy in a a rumpled business suit comes running thru the back door, swinging an ugly beige 1980's era PC chassis by its powercord. He runs up the center aisle, and flings it into the big screen, shattering it.

              The tag line; I'm free, and I'm a PC.

              If you're wearing a business suit you are most definitely not free.

              Yes, I realise it was a reference to Jon Hodgeman.

              • >> If you're wearing a business suit you are most definitely not free.

                Well, isn't that the irony? Even the business suit seems like angel of freedom, in this scenario.
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Duradin (1261418)

              You forgot that before the pudgy guy in a rumpled business could throw the ugly beige 1980's era PC chassis he had to stop and click "Allow" on the dialog box that read "You are about to throw an ugly 1980's era PC chassis by its powercord, Allow or Deny?".

        • It's not Apple's decision whether there is DRM on the music files. The record labels decide. The record labels started with the smaller stores because:
          a) They wanted to experiment. And it's better to start small when you're experimenting.
          b) They wanted to negotiate tiered pricing to go with the DRMless music. Apple resisted this longer than other stores because a single price for all songs is a clearer message for consumer.

          Any citation for them REPLACING unencrypted indexes with encrypted ones? And the

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by carou (88501)

          Apple eventually dropped their lock-in DRM from the iTMS (but not until more than a year after some of their competitors, like Amazon),

          Not really true.

          Apple was the first legal download service to feature major-label music DRM-free. "iTunes +" was introduced with the EMI catalogue in May 2007. Amazon's MP3 store launched in September 2007, and it wasn't until 2008 that they got all the major labels on board.

          Perhaps you are referring to April 2009, at which time DRM had been removed from the entire iTMS catalogue. Yes, there was a delay here (maybe it was Apple's fault, maybe the music companies were being awkward? We might never know) but

          • by prockcore (543967)

            Apple was the first legal download service to feature major-label music DRM-free. "iTunes +" was introduced with the EMI catalogue in May 2007.

            Nope. Yahoo Music partnered with EMI to offer DRM-free music in 2006.

            Norah Jones was the first artist EMI tested. You can find stories about it published *before* Steve even wrote his DRM letter.

        • Ah yes, the inevitable -1 Troll moderations arrive.
        • by DJRumpy (1345787)
          DRM was required by the recording industry. Back when iTunes was the little guy and RIA held all the cards it was a different story. Cut to today and iTunes is huge. It sets the industry standard for track pricing and is arguably a primary source for music online. Apple actually leveraged iTunes and it's substantial market share to get the RIA to drop DRM. Jobs has always disliked DRM. Only after agreeing to allow the RIA to hike the costs for individual tracks beyond the typical 99 cents.

          http://www.mac [macworld.com]
      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:28AM (#28795079) Journal

        >>>In other words, Apple is the new Microsoft

        No. Apple is just like any other business that seeks to hold onto a monopoly. MS, Comcast, Cox, OPEC... they all act alike because they all share the same fundamental fear of loss. They don't want to lose the market, or the money that comes with it. It's basic human instinct made manifest at the mega-corporate level.

        As for the DMCA Notice:

        I wouldn't be happy, but I would look at it as an opportunity. First it's a chance to refuse to comply and stand-up for my second basic right of free speech (with the most basic right being ownership of my body and my mouth). Second I've never been inside a courtroom, so it would be a new and exciting experience (life is dull). And third given how long these things typically drag-out (4-5 years), I could earn a law degree. My thesis would be about my self and my case.

        Okay I'm just joking on that last bit.

        But I'd still look at the notice as an opportunity not a tragedy. Court cases are how you change legal interpretation for the better. Example: The guy who was sued by a local mall because he owned a website that provided mall information *prior* to the mall's existence. The mall called it cybersquatting, but the U.S. Supreme Court called it free speech. The interpretation of the law was changed in the favor of the average citizen.

        • by mcgrew (92797)

          Second I've never been inside a courtroom, so it would be a new and exciting experience (life is dull).

          I've been in one, and my life is FAR from dull. Here are some of my court experiences from back in 2003-4:

          I'm getting a final divorce decree for Christmas! [kuro5hin.org]
          At the bar... no, not THAT bar [kuro5hin.org]
          Evil always wins [kuro5hin.org]

          Stay our of courtrooms unless you absolutely have to be there!

          • Yeah but I don't have an Evil-X, so that automatically makes my visit to the courtroom ten times happier than your visits.

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          ...given how long these things typically drag-out (4-5 years)...

          They only last that long if you have the money or support to fight that long. Typically a long, drug out court case lasts a few months at the most. Most court cases last a week or two, with maybe a month or two of prep time before going to court.

          It's the right to a speedy trial in the constitution, they try to move people through the courts as fast as they can so the world doesn't end when someone requests a speedy trial. It's only when you've got cash to spend and the issue is muddy enough that a decis

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DWIM (547700)

          >>>In other words, Apple is the new Microsoft

          No. Apple is just like any other business that seeks to hold onto a monopoly. MS, Comcast, Cox, OPEC... they all act alike because they all share the same fundamental fear of loss. They don't want to lose the market, or the money that comes with it. It's basic human instinct made manifest at the mega-corporate level.

          And how does that equate to "No?" What you described is the behavior MS engaged in and have been condemned for.

        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          No. Apple is just like any other business that seeks to hold onto a monopoly. MS, Comcast, Cox, OPEC... they all act alike because they all share the same fundamental fear of loss. They don't want to lose the market, or the money that comes with it. It's basic human instinct made manifest at the mega-corporate level.

          But hang on - even if it's just "human instinct", that applies to MS too (as you note). So it's still true to say that Apple are the new MS.

          And I take it that there will be no more slagging off

      • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:44AM (#28795253)

        In other words, Apple is the new Microsoft. I am sure this will be moded down very soon, but since the time Apple has hit jackpot with ipod/iphone, they have shown their true colors.

        I've said it for years: Steve Jobs/Apple are Bill Gates/Microsoft wannabes. Before their marketshare fell in the 1990s Apple had been very monopolistic in their practices...sueing and putting clone makers out of business, deciding whose software was "good enough" to run on their platform (sometimes disallowing stuff simply because it competed with, and was better, than Apple's offerings), etc. It is because of those behaviors that Microsoft rose to prominance in the early days, on the back of IBM clone makers, because the Intel platform was perceived to be more open (and it was...until Microsoft established its monopoly. That said, it remains more open on the hardware side).

        I like Apple's products. I go so far as to recommend Apple to friends and family who are not technically savvy enough or interested in running Linux, but that said, make no mistake: the moment Apple feels it has market dominance, it's behavior is likely to be very reminiscent of the monopolistic practices of Microsoft, and before them IBM. Perhaps that moment has arrived.

        As anathema as it is to Apple fanbois, iPhone addicts, and those who like to wear cynicism as a ficade in a futule effort to look worldly and "wise", it has to be said: once again, Richard Stallman has been vindicated. If you really want freedom in the digital age, be it freedom to innovate, freedom to use, freedom to create, or (apparently in this case, for the past several months) freedom to speak and discuss technical details of interoperability without fear of economic or legal reprisal, you'd better be using a free and open platform. Alas, most people aren't too concerned about that...until something like this happens to them (or something a little less draconian, like...oops, your financial data is no longer accessible and the software you need to access it doesn't run on a current os, and is no longer available for purchase. Then suddenly gnu cash looks pretty appealing, and voila! you have another advocate of free software. You'd be surprised how many in the business world, on the business rather than technical side of things, are starting to adopt that attitude.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 91degrees (207121)
          I've said it for years: Steve Jobs/Apple are Bill Gates/Microsoft wannabes.

          It's closer than that. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are very much cut from the same mould. Both ruthless businessmen, both willing to take any opportunity for success. Bill Gates was more successful because he was in the right place at the right time. I dare say if IBM decided to write their own OS, Gates would have had a hugely successful software company but MS wouldn't have dominated the market in the way it has. If IBM had d
          • by prockcore (543967)

            Bill Gates was more successful because he was in the right place at the right time.

            I'd say he was the better businessman (which probably means he's more evil). Just look at how he used Applesoft to not only kill MacBASIC, but also secure a perpetual license to the Macintosh UI.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by russotto (537200)

          I've said it for years: Steve Jobs/Apple are Bill Gates/Microsoft wannabes.

          You have it backwards. Microsoft settled for taking over the world because they couldn't be Apple.

        • Well said, sir!

          And you know what - Apple has not learnt anything from past mistakes. Android will do the same what PC did to them yeas back. Slowly, but surely.
          • by Nossie (753694) <`IanHarvie' `at' `4Development.Net'> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:58PM (#28798507)

            I've been waiting on that happening ... .... still waiting.

            • Still waiting? Like - for 10 years?
              • by Nossie (753694)

                difference is Apple makes good hardware and software.

                That cant be said for android at the moment..

                What killed apple during the 'clone wars' was that their products were inferior and more expensive than the cloners.
                Once/If that happens I'm sure Jobs should reconsider licensing the OS. Until then he can just keep raking in the cash with no worries.

                • by FreeUser (11483)

                  What killed apple during the 'clone wars' was that their products were inferior and more expensive than the cloners.

                  That really wasn't the case. Apples were actually better hardware than the clones (remember CGA?). So was Atari, among others. What allowed the PC clone market to take off was exactly that...it was a market of multiple vendors competing, so while the technology was inferior, it was also much cheaper, and much more open for new products to appear at sensible price points (such as, initially,

        • Freedom is all very well and good, and I agree with most of the points you made, but in the end I just want something that works really well with a minimum of fuss. For me, that is an Apple Mac, and various other Apple systems like the iPhone and Apple TV.

          I know, I'm supporting an evil corporation etc.

      • Apple is the new Microsoft

        Hardly new. First of all, Apple is one of the only companies (along with Lotus and Xerox) to have been actively boycotted [gnu.org] by the FSF and LPF, back in the nineties. The boycott ended in 1995 [gnu.org], but still, that proves that Apple has managed to reach a level of dickheadedness that even Microsoft has failed to achieve. So far. :)

        (Just to really smear the icing of irony on this cupcake, one of the companies that the LPF/FSF boycott was in defense of was...are you ready for it? That's right...Microsoft!)

      • No Apple is the old MS. Hell, Microsoft pretty much rescued us from Apple and the others like it.

    • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @09:51AM (#28794687) Journal
      After digging through the EFF documents, I'm not sure who to believe here. The story, the EFF and the wiki operator claim it was a discussion about doing this and it was not actually implemented.

      IIRC, Apple accused them of discussing how to circumvent the Fairplay system (This can be confirmed easily [bluwiki.com]). BluWiki claimed they were only discussing software to communicate with the iPod for transferring music, not for circumventing the encryption. The wiki pages haven't been restored yet so we can only take their word for it here. Apple seem to have changed their story and now claim they only objected to decompiled code.

      Not sure about the rights and wrongs of it but it looks like Apple have decided to backpedal based on the bad PR from a case that they most likely can't win, and are changing their story to make it look like they haven't lost.
      • The Wiki pages were about getting ANY music to play at all on a device without using iTunes. They had nothing to do with DRM; it's a separate crypto hash that Apple added to their iTunesDB files for the sole purpose of locking out third party syncing apps. Apple's FairPlay claims stem from the fact that the latest versions are obfuscated using the same obfuscator used for FairPlay and there may or may not be some code shared between the DRM scheme and the hashing scheme.

    • Besides the obvious "protecting revenue" reason, I think there is a very fundamental principle at work here. Apple is obsessed with usability. They spend a lot of time on proprietary designs to achieve this goal. The experience with media/computer/device/store they want to control so that it is all a single, logical, and usbale experience. Interop with things not under their control will introduce usability differences and eventually destroy the overall design - in their minds. Jef Raskin [wikipedia.org] was one of their
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >>>I think there is a very fundamental principle at work here. Apple is obsessed with usability.

        That Apple Kool-Aid is really good isn't it? ;-) Your reason is only a symptom, not the cause. The fundamental cause is that Apple is afraid of clone companies like Gateway or eMachines or Whoever coming-along and stealing their Mac/iPod/iPhone market the same way they took the IBM PC away from IBM.

    • by Late Adopter (1492849) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:10AM (#28794891)

      You know, I have to ask: what's Apple's motive here?

      Apple's motive is to sell you The Experience, not a piece of software or hardware. Anyone other than Apple who interoperates with Apple products aside from a tightly controlled few avenues (a few open communication standards and their SDKs), is going to be seen as a threat to that.

      They want to be able to sell you their vision and their experience, and anyone who deviates from that while piggybacking off their products is going to be seen as a threat. They could be worried about sub-par experiences tarnishing their name, and they could be worried about excellent experiences that they could be making every cent of the money from. But mostly they're worried about people being different, not buying into their vision. Then they can't sell you the next revision of the next product that integrates seamlessly into your digital lifestyle of Apple products.

      So they'll bring down every tool they have to fight you, legal and otherwise, because this is the core of their business, and they view it as the thing worth most defending.

      • by wall0159 (881759) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:18AM (#28795611)

        ...and I think that's really shitty. It's like MS could use their strong OS position to force out all other browsers, search-engines and office suites, because they have a "vision" of how we should use the internet and word-processor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Serenissima (1210562)
        I think it's even simpler than selling Apple's vision. It's money, plain and simple. The reason they're up in arms about it is because of the iTunes Store. Any way to open up the usability of iPod is a way for them to lose revenue on the sales of movies, tv shows, and music from the iTunes store. Sure, they make money selling iPods; but the real reason to sell iPods, and Video iPods, isn't just to sell more iPods than Zunes. It is so that they can get millions of dollars of residual sales from the iTunes St
    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:14AM (#28794927) Journal

      >>>I have to ask: what's Apple's motive here?

      Same motive that leads Apple to lock-up its Macintosh hardware. Apple is afraid they might end-up like IBM, who lost control of their PC invention and was undersold by the clones. IBM was lucky that it had lots of other businesses and didn't need the PC to survive, but Apple without the Mac or iPhone or iPod business would probably go bankrupt. Apple doesn't want to join the ranks of Atari or Commodore.

      So they stringently enforce control over their hardware, to prevent potential loss of business to clones.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by db32 (862117)
      I am going to go with zealous lawyers. That whole thing about malice vs stupidity. Apple is hardly alone in that boat. There have been quite a few DMCA and GPL type lawsuits that basically came from fanatic lawyers that probably don't know anything more about technology than how to push the power button on their computer. (And then call the tech guy because it didn't boot up and have him come to their office and push the power on the monitor too).

      I view the heart of the problem here is asshats like Te
    • by burnin1965 (535071) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:17AM (#28794955) Homepage

      what's Apple's motive here? Because if I made a hardware product and someone developed a new novel way to utilize it, my sales would increase. Sure people might not be using my software that goes with the hardware but who cares?

      The motive is greed, the objective is monopoly control.

      Apple makes money off more than just hardware, they make a killing off software and services as well. It is no secret that many businesses in the United States utilize ethically questionable and often times out right illegal business tactics to establish and maintain monopolies that provide an opportunity for the business to control the market prices of their products rather than the other way around.

      None of this is new and Federal legislation was passed to provide the Justice Department with the means to stop this type of activity, note the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 [wikipedia.org] and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 [wikipedia.org]. Unfortunately there seems to have been a shift in the thinking in the Executive branch and the Department of Justice as one of the most recent and significant cases, the DOJ case against Microsoft [usdoj.gov], resulted in a slap on the wrist and business as usual to this day.

    • The answer seems pretty obvious. Apple was only able to arrange the one-stop music store that is iTunes Music Store by negotiating with record labels and accepting their demand to use DRM. After a few years, and at various times, the record companies relented and allowed iTunes to sell music without DRM.

      Whilst DRM was still being used, it made sense and was perfectly reasonable to fight people trying to hack the iPod via the DMCA. The Apple legal department clearly had standing orders to do that.

      But once

      • Whilst DRM was still being used, it made sense and was perfectly reasonable to fight people trying to hack the iPod via the DMCA. The Apple legal department clearly had standing orders to do that.

        But once music stopped being sold with DRM, it then became pointless to fight the hackery. The DMCA is not relevant where media files are unprotected by technology.

        Really? then why did ipods starting with the iPod touch (which AFAIRecall came out when DRM on the iTunes store was already dying out) use a hash of the database to make it harder for 3rd party software to load music files into the iPod? Notice that this is about ADDING files, not about copying them out, so it has nothing at all to do with piracy.

        I would say exactly the opposite: the hash was added so that apple could keep the ipod tied to the itunes store even once DRM was out of the picture, by using a

        • Really? then why did ipods starting with the iPod touch (which AFAIRecall came out when DRM on the iTunes store was already dying out) use a hash of the database to make it harder for 3rd party software to load music files into the iPod?

          The iPod touch was launched mid 2007. Apple's announcement that standard downloads from the iTunes store would be without DRM didn't happen until January 2009. There was no way this was agreed upon with the record labels when iPod Touch was being developed. It's an entire

    • by mjwx (966435)

      So what's up, is Apple selling iPods at a loss with the expected return being iTunes Music Service sales?

      Nope, the ipod is already more expensive then more complex MP3 players. The Cowon iaudio S9 [minidisc.com.au] (32GB) is A$100 cheaper then the Ipod Touch 2nd Generation [minidisc.com.au] (32 GB). Cowon does not have a music store to derive profits from so they need to make a profit on the device, but to be fair so does Apple as they get pennies to the pound on each song sale on itunes.

      Whats going on here is Apple's trademark control.

  • Hooray EFF! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by castironpigeon (1056188) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:16AM (#28794953)
    I'm as cynical as the next moderately informed /.er, maybe more so, but I've gotta hand it to the folks at EFF. They're one of the few groups making any noticeable impact on corporate and government actions that threaten us little people.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vil3nr0b (930195)
      The EFF strikes fear into the Rotten Apple!!! Couldn't get any better. At least someone is looking out for the users.
  • by ivogan (678639) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:01PM (#28797849)
    The one thing that we as consumers forget from time to time is that questionable business practices are passively approved by us the consumers when we trade said companies our hard earned money for the product/service in consideration. If interoperability is not included in a product I am considering, I find an alternative product to trade my money for. Do I really need an iPod when a mp3 player will do? Is purchasing mp3 tracks from Amazon a better alternative to iTunes since I can put them on any mp3 capable device? Consumers have the power to be in control... We just need to realize it.
  • Wikileaks, Of Course (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:16PM (#28797995)
    They should have just moved all the existing pages to Wikileaks during the downtime. A legal discussion that Apple was using legal threats to suppress ought to have qualified.
  • another $5 is flying to eff from me. my donations may be small, but at least frequent and im doing what i can.

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