Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Apple's DRM heading to court

The iPod is great, but what if you don't want to use iTunes to sync your music to it? For a while, you could consult a website called BluWiki, which offered crowdsourced advice on how to use other software to load your device. But then Apple leaned on BluWiki, and the forum was closed.

The computer comnpany suggested that, should BluWiki have continued to share the advice, it could be considered to be inviting people to "circumvent the DRM". God forbid that if you pay a couple of a hundred quid for a music player, you be able to decide how to use it.

Now, though, the lawsuits are flowing in the opposite direction, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation co-sponsor a claim that Apple are stifling free speech:

According to the EFF, Apple alleged this type of discussion constituted copyright infringement, as it strongly guards iTunes' status as an exclusive content delivery and management tool for all iPod and iPhone hardware.

Fred von Lohmann, EFF senior staff lawyer, argued: "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 these discussions."

Free speech versus DRM. Which is better? There's only one way to find out...