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|| ||EFF: Wiki Operator Sues Apple Over Bogus Legal Threats |
|| ||Mon, 27 Apr 2009 10:37:15 -0700|
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Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release
For Immediate Release: Monday, April 27, 2009
Fred von Lohmann
Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
+1 415 436-9333 x123 (office), +1 415 215-6087 (cell)
Media Relations Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
+1 415 436-9333 x125
Wiki Operator Sues Apple Over Bogus Legal Threats
Apple's Baseless Copyright Claims Squelch Free Speech
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
filed suit against Apple Inc. today to defend the First
Amendment rights of an operator of a noncommercial, public
Internet "wiki" site known as BluWiki.
EFF and the San Francisco law firm of Keker & Van Nest
represent OdioWorks LLC, which runs the BluWiki website.
Like many "wiki" platforms, such as Wikipedia, it is open
to the public for collaborative authoring and editing on
any topic. The site is entirely noncommercial, operated by
OdioWorks as a public service.
Late last year, after BluWiki users began a discussion
about making some Apple iPods and iPhones interoperate with
software other than Apple's own iTunes, Apple lawyers
demanded removal of the content. In a letter to OdioWorks,
the attorneys alleged that the discussions constituted
copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA's) prohibition on
circumventing copy protection measures. Fearing legal
action by Apple, OdioWorks took down the discussions from
the BluWiki site.
OdioWorks filed the lawsuit today in order to vindicate its
right to restore those discussions. Filed in federal court
in San Francisco, the suit seeks a declaratory judgment
that the discussions do not violate any of the DMCA's
anti-circumvention provisions, and do not infringe any
copyrights owned by Apple.
"I take the free speech rights of BluWiki users seriously,"
said Sam Odio, owner of OdioWorks. "Companies like Apple
should not be able to censor online discussions by making
baseless legal threats against services like BluWiki that
host the discussions."
The discussions on the BluWiki site focused on how
hobbyists might enable iPods and iPhones to work with
desktop media management software other than Apple's own
iTunes software. The discussions were apparently spurred
by Apple's efforts prevent the iPod Touch and iPhone from
working with competing media management software such as
WinAmp and Songbird.
"Apple's legal threats against BluWiki are about
censorship, not about protecting their legitimate copyright
interests," said Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann.
"Wikis and other community sites are home to many vibrant
discussions among hobbyists and tinkerers. It's legal to
engage in reverse engineering in order to create a
competing product, it's legal to talk about reverse
engineering, and it's legal for a public wiki to host those
For the full complaint in OdioWorks v. Apple Inc.:
For more on this case:
For this release:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported
organization and maintains one of the most linked-to
websites in the world at http://www.eff.org/
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