Apple takes legal heel off throat of wiki operator

After being sued by EFF, company relents on claims of copyright, DMCA violations

A wiki operator who was browbeaten by Apple's legal team into removing posts about circumventing the company's music-playback software tells me he is relieved that the iTunes proprietor has changed its tune and he'll be able to restore the disputed pages.

Apple backed off only under legal pressure of its own in the form of a lawsuit filed against it by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

From an EFF press release:

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 (a) 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."

In response to my e-mail, BluWiki operator Sam Odio says: "It's a relief that Apple has backed down from this issue.  As the operator of a non-commercial wiki the idea of a prolonged legal battle obviously stresses me out.  We are planning on putting the disputed wiki back online in the next few weeks.  There's some DMCA Safe Harbor paperwork that we need to fill out."

You can read the original takedown demand e-mail from Apple's lawyer here.

And the EFF archive has more information about the case.

I've requested comment from Apple's public relations department.Welcome regulars and passersby.

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