EFF Blasts Apple For Fraudulent DMCA Takedown Of Wiki Page

from the let's-look-at-the-law dept

It's no secret that Apple is excessively protective of the way some of its systems work. That includes trying to stop any other application, other than iTunes, from controlling an iPod. That's a bit of a pain for those of us who like to use alternative apps, such as Songbird. Because of this, there are plenty of folks who work out ways to reverse engineer Apple's system to make this work. Specifically, they need to understand a file called iTunesDB, which Apple tries to prevent others from writing to with a checksum hash. When Apple first introduced the hash it was reverse engineered within a couple days. Apple just recently changed the hash, meaning that it needs to be reverse engineered again. There's a public wiki where a bunch of folks were collaborating to do just that... but Apple sent a DMCA takedown notice to the site.

The EFF has stepped up to walk through the many, many reasons why there's no DMCA violation on the site, and Apple's takedown notice appears to be fraudulent. Yes, the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA do say it's illegal to offer a technology, product, service, device or device to get around DRM, but an open discussion on a wiki is not any of those things. Perhaps more importantly, Apple doesn't own the copyright on iTunesDB. Each iPod makes its own iTunesDB file based on what files they put on their device. The copyright is unlikely to belong to Apple. Next up, reverse engineering is perfectly legal, and the DMCA has a specific exception for reverse engineering. And, finally, the anti-circumvention clause is designed to protect copyright infringement -- but the folks building alternative software programs aren't doing anything for copyright infringement -- they're just trying to make iPods work with their software.
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Filed Under: copyright, dmca, ipod, itunes, itunesdb
Companies: apple, eff

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  1. identicon
    Krayol, 26 Nov 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Awful Apple

    We are all aware of how Apple are terrible suppliers, overcharging drastically for products, demanding that customer use the products exactly the way that they say (and only that way).

    They are quick to attack their own customers if they feel it is profitable (or will save them trouble). In truth, if sheep had money they would be the ideal target customer for Apple.

    They are quick to litigate against anyone, supplier or customer who crosses them.

    The sad thing is that Apple produce much more usable, better designed products than anyone else. Despite the fact that they don't use advanced technology and their products are actually very basic, they have huge margins - due to lack of effective competition? Why? I don't know!

    With Microsoft resources I could design and build an MP3 player that blows the iPlayers away, but the Zune is not that good. Most MP3 players look like the were made by Russia during the cold war - functional, ugly, as far from user friendly as you can get!

    I don't have an MP3 player because only Apple produce decent ones. I will not give Apple my money - it's waiting for a good, open, product to hit the market.

    There must be a supplier that can produce high quality sound, include 16GB memory (£20 worth!) as standard, design a good menu system, and not lock the user out of their own product? Surely?

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