Apple Bullying Wiki Site Over Piss-Poor DMCA Claims

November 29, 2008

Manufactured in China, and learning valuable lessons in freedom by manufacturing osmosis

Manufactured in China, and learning valuable lessons in freedom by manufacturing osmosis

As an avid Apple user, sometimes I just want to punch somebody over at Cupertino in the balls. First, I love their nomenclature for their brutal DRM scheme — Fairplay. It seems to just shout “hey stupid consumer! Restricting how you can use media you PAY for is just fair play!” Fuck you, Apple.

The latest Apple initiative to irk my ire is a cease-and-desist notice sent to wiki hosting site Bluwiki, ordering them to take down wikis related to Itunes hash files. Apple’s problem is that these wikis contained information about hash files encapsulated in itunes.db, an iTunes file that has information about the user’s music library.

To make a long story short, Apple likes Ipods to be managed only with iTunes software, so that the sheep fill their Ipods with music purchased through Itunes and not with music leeched from the intertubes. Thus, they restrict access to your music library database (not the files, but only the index) through a hashfile that periodically gets changed in iTunes revisions. After a couple of days, internet users figure out the hashfile and update the third-party applications that allow users to access their ipod’s music library. Apple got their panties in a twist and fired off a cease-and-desist letter. Bluwiki, like little bitches, immediately complied with the cease-and-desist fearing litigation with Apple.

The EFF (aka my heroes) caught wind and, as the kids would say, are hella pissed.

Where’s the “technology, product, service, device or device”?

The DMCA provides that:
No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that … is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner….

The information posted on the wiki appeared to be text, along with some illustrative code. Nothing that I saw on the pages I was able to review would appear to constitute a “technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof.” In fact, the authors had apparently not yet succeeded in their reverse engineering efforts and were simply discussing Apple’s code obfuscation techniques. If Apple is suggesting that the DMCA reaches people merely talking about technical protection measures, then they’ve got a serious First Amendment problem.

Translation: Apple — go get your fucking shinebox.