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Apple Withdraws Threats Against Wiki Site

July 22, 2009

Apple Withdraws Threats Against Wiki Site

Free Speech Vindicated, EFF Dismisses Suit

San Francisco - Apple has retracted its legal threats against public wiki hosting site Bluwiki, and, in response, EFF is dismissing its lawsuit against Apple over those threats. The skirmish involved a set of anonymously authored wiki pages in which hobbyists were discussing how to "sync" media to iPods and iPhones using music library playback software other than Apple's own iTunes.

In November 2008, Apple sent a series of legal threats to the operator of Bluwiki, alleging that these hobbyist discussions about interoperability violated copyright law and constituted a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), even though the author(s) of the pages had not yet figured out how to accomplish their goal. In response to Apple's legal threats, Bluwiki took down the wiki pages in question. In April 2009, EFF and the San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest sued Apple on behalf of OdioWorks, which runs Bluwiki, asking a court to reject Apple's claims and allow Bluwiki to restore the discussions.

On July 8, 2009, Apple sent letter withdrawing its cease-and-desist demands and stating that "Apple no longer has, nor will it have in the future, any objection to the publication of the iTunesDB Pages." As a result, EFF has moved to dismiss its complaint against Apple.

"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," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "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."

For more details:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/07/apple-backs-down-blu

For more information about OdioWorks v. Apple:
http://www.eff.org/cases/odioworks-v-apple

Contact:

Fred von Lohmann
Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
fred@eff.org

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