A win for people who hate the DMCA and censorship. As we reported on earlier this year, Apple pressured the public wiki site Bluwiki into removing several pages about how to sync iPods and other devices with the iTunes database without actually going through iTunes. Apple invoked the DMCA and sent several cease and desist letters, after which Bluwiki removed the pages in question. However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation got involved, and together with law firm Keker & Van Nest they sued Apple. It worked.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the law firm Keker & Van Nest, from San Francisco, filed a lawsuit against Apple, asking the courts to allow Bluwiki to put the pages and discussions around iTunes-less syncing back online. Apple has now withdrawn their original threats. In a letter, the Cupertino company states that “Apple no longer has, nor will it have in the future, any objection to the publications of the iTunesDB Pages.” Consequently, the EFF and the law firm have withdrawn their lawsuit.
“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, “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.”
This isn’t the first time Apple tried to censor websites, and it’s a good thing the EFF and the law firm were able to pressure Apple into dropping their threats. It’s behaviour like this that makes me not like Apple as a company – they are free to be a bunch of control freaks within their own company, but trying to censor websites just because they contain information they don’t like simply should not be acceptable in an open society.