Company makes a patch to allow Apple's iDVD to interoperate with non-Apple-provided DVD drives. Apple invokes DMCA, claiming this "violates their intellectual property."
Presumably because they had to reverse engineer iDVD to make it work, which is now thoughtcrime. But really because Apple wants to use DVDs as the hook to sell new machines, so you'll buy a whole new machine instead of just a drive.
News flash: Apple continue to be weasels
Apple: Burn DVDs--and we'll burn you
Tags: computers, copyright, corporations, doomed, mac, mpegs
Current Music: Juno Reactor -- Silver ♬
Patching copywrited iDVD to add functions the owners don't want in it, and selling your patch in conjuction with firewire dvd burners was illegal before the DMCA. Not all software is under the GPL, alas...
The solution seems to me to be simple. Either ship a different piece of DVD software that DOES work with the firewire drive, or if one doesn't exist, write one and sell it. Don't be stealing other peoples code and then using it for your own benefit, especially if it directly hurts them financially. If enough people start using the other software, that might well change Apple's mind, in order to compete.
Now, if Apple had crippled the OS so that only iDVD was the only burner software that worked on it, and then invoked the DMCA when someone tried to reverse engineer the api that iDVD used, THAT would be a microsoft style crime.
I think you're wrong. Shipping a modified version if iDVD would be a violation of copyright, but figuring out how iDVD works and distributing a patch to it had been legal before DMCA.
As I understand it, all these people did was write a damned driver and figure out how to plug it in. Apple says "thou shalt not write interoperable drivers."
Don't you need permission and have to pay royalties to implement DVD decoding software in anything? I would think that's why there was all that hub-bub about DeCSS, right? Otherwise there probably would be a multitude of open-source players. Or no?
I remember a time when you didn't have to be a lawyer to write a fucking program.
Uhh, off the top of my head, CSS is the (crappy) encryption used to encode DVD movies. and yes, I think you need to pay a licence fee to use a decoder. Which is a moot point for linux, because there is no legal decoder available for non windows platforms. There are a number of open source players, but they all rely on DeCSS to decode legally bought DVD movies on unsupported platforms. Probably the biggest irony is that pirates don't decode DVD's, they just copy them, encryption and all. IIRC it's macrovision that handles the region encoding, and most players outside the states these days are region free.
The point here is about DVD data disk burning.
Then again, iDVD may well be used for movie playback as well, though I'm sure there are alternatives there too...
Sorry, it's late, i'm getting tired. That should have read no legal decoders for non-windows or non-mac platforms...
And if OMC had written their own program rather than hacked Apple's, they wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.
Sorry, I should have missed out the word 'copywrited' there as I agree, they weren't shipping a hacked iDVD, just a patch to hack iDVD.
When I said it was illegal, I was thinking of the breach of the licence terms of iDVD they must have committed in order to write the patch, and indeed, ship it. Not having a copy of the licence to hand (being a linux boxen user, not a mac user!) I obviously can't be sure of that, but any standard boiler plate eula prevents decompilation or reverse engineering.
Apple only want people to use their superdrives, so they can sell more; OWC wants people to be able to use their firewire drive, so they can sell more. Apple stop people using firewire drives in their software; OWC 'stops' people using superdrives by reverse engineering iDVD (because people only use the patch if they're not not using superdrives!).
I honestly don't see why apple wanting to sell more superdrives is worse than OWC wanting to sell more firewire drives, outside of a monopoly situation, which this patently isn't. Having looked it up, you can use OWC's drive with DVD studio pro, itunes, roxio's toast, charismac discribe and 'others'.
Apple make most of their money from hardware, the whole point of the platform and the source of it's stability is that the hardware choices for it are limited. Apple say, "Thou shalt not make money at our expense, by hacking our own software".
There's nothing wrong with them wanting that. But, call me a nut, call me a crazy dreamer, but I think the competition between the two products ought to be based on things like quality, price, and support, instead of based on whose laywers can get away with what. That's the problem in a nutshell: product competition having more to do with licensing than with the actual products. In that situation, the consumer always get screwed.
Apple's choice of business models is their own business. If Apple finds that their model doesn't let them make money off a particular product, it should not be the responsibility of the legal system to prop them up.
If the only way Apple can afford to market the superdrive is by using the law to prevent the firewire drives from competing with them, then that means the superdrive is overpriced and the consumer is getting fucked.
There are plenty of ways for the firewire drive to compete with the superdrive. OWC could ship it with a copy of roxio toast, which by all accounts is a better bit of software than iDVD anyway.
We're not talking about apple stopping the firewire drive working - we're talking about apple stopping it working with Apple's own software with they give away for free. Would you be happier if they said 'Right. We'll make iDVD work with all other drives, but it's not free unless you buy a superdrive?' It's the same difference.
Or how about if OWC wrote a DVD burner program which only worked with their firewire drive (which is VERY common in pc land, HP certainly does it). Would you be defending Apple's 'right' to hack that software when it was installed?
I think Apple are making a stupid move because they can ill afford consumer backlash, regardless of the rights of the situation. But that said;
I honestly don't think we can get much further with this. You don't think Apple have the right to do what they choose with their own software. I do.
OWC breached the licence terms of apple's software for their own financial benefit, and apple's loss. I think that's wrong, you think it's right.
I also find breathtaking your view that if someone is using Apple's IP to make a profit, that it's Apple's responsibility to change their business model.
How is OWC different to say, Microsoft taking apache's code, incorporating into IIS, and flogging it without releasing the source? Ignoring copyright violation for the moment (as copyleft has never been proven in court), it's a breach of the GPL licence, it's a direct benefit to the consumer (anything which improves IIS would be a benefit to the general public!) and even better, it doesn't even cost apache anything, as they don't sell the product. By your logic, anything which benefits the consumer in the short term is a good thing, regardless of the long term effects, or the legality of the act.
I don't see how that's particularly relevant; Apple could sell cars instead of hardware. The issue is whether they're allowed to.
This is not about what Apple can do with software written by Apple! This is about what third parties can do with software written by third parties that tries to interoperate with software written by Apple. You think that Apple should get to dictate the terms under which others can write plugins to Apple's software. I don't.
Yes, I certainly would -- if by "hack" you mean something like "make it work properly with other drives", and not something like "take advantage of their OS monopoly to stop it from working at all."
Did they? That's not clear to me. (It's clear they violated the DMCA.)
That's not what I said at all. I merely pointed out that Apple is yet another in a long line of companies who, when their products can't compete on their own merits, turn to the courts to legislate the competition away. That practice is, in my humble but correct opinion, despicable.
Because copying pieces of Apache into IIS without permission would be a violation of copyright. That's not what OWC is alleged to have done. To use your analogy, it would be as if Microsoft wrote a closed, proprietary module that could be plugged into Apache, without re-using Apache's copyrighted code.
If you think I think that, you haven't understood a thing I've said.
For the record, I am no fan of the GPL, so please don't tar me with that brush, either. The reason I dislike the GPL is because it comes from the point of view that person A gets to dictate what person B does with code written by person B, based on proximity to person A's code. Which is the same despicable shit Apple is doing. So in that sense, Apple's behavior is very GPL-like indeed.
1) It's supremely relevent. You complain that Apple are acting uncompetitively towards OMC. '..using the law to prevent the firewire drives competing with them...'. I'm pointing out that in no way does this act by apple suddenly stop firewire drives working with the OS. It does not poison the commons against OMC, it only stops them using, for free, apples IP, one of any number of alternative programs available that do the same thing.
2) Dead right, I do think Apple have the right to control what plugins can interface with in their non-OS software. i'd hope like hell that if I wrote software, I'd be able to stop people using plugins to use my own software to directly compete with me.
3) Explain to me how this is about the OS. Apple haven't stopped OMC connecting to the OS. iDVD has nothing to do with the OS. OMC can connect their drive to the OS using any number of other programs.
4) OK, until I can lay my hands on a copy of the licence agreement, we'll have to fight this one another day. I'm still betting that the EULA forbids what they did.
5) "If Apple finds that their (business) model doesn't let them make money off a particular product, it should not be the responsibility of the legal system to prop them up. " I.E. adapt or die. I agree that legislating away competition is wrong. But that's not what apple did. Apple did not block OMC's drives from the OS, they blocked them from an add on program. OMC drives will still work on an imac with several pieces of software. A small but significant difference you appear to keep missing.
6) To use your analogy, it would be as if microsoft wrote a closed module to apache that directly benefited microsoft while harming apache, and that was not removeable by apache. According to you, apache should not be able to tell microsoft where to stick their plugin. I used the example of copyright, because it's not actually possible to reverse engineer GPL code, as the source is already freely available! Therefore, I picked an equivalent and equally illegal act under the dmca, that of copyright theft.
7) So if it's not in the interest of the consumer, why ARE you recomending that one company be allowed to screw another other, breaking the law and possible the licence in the process?
8) It's not a plugin anyway. It's a patch. From what I can tell from the various media stories on mac sites, it sounds like it overwrites part of iDVD as well as add new code.
To summarize. OWC are NOT blocked from using their drive with the OS. In the Pc world, when you buy a CD or DVD burner, you get something like roxio or a homebrew version of it with the drive, not an illegal hack for someone else's program. Why should mac's be different?
Apple have not screwed the OS to stop all non-superdrive DVD's working with OSX. They have stopped one programme that's not part of the OS being altered illegally in order for a third company to make a profit from apple's work. If you can't see the difference between those two positions, you haven't understood anything *I've* said.
Apple is in the business of selling computer hardware (not software), so I guess it's not exactly unexpected that they wouldn't want people using competing products.
I think that analysis is oversimplistic. First off, the availability of software to interface iDVD with any other drive is not going to drive consumers to buy or not buy Apple products. Apple doesn't give you a choice in which model DVD drive you get with your machine; if you want to install a new one you still have to buy it separately. People who make hardware purchasing decisions based on this criteria are few and far between, and thus won't affect Apple's bottom line.
Personally I think this is more a move to cover their asses against the highly litigious MPAA from suing the pants off them. But then, I have to agree with whatshisname in that interfaces should be free but implementations should not. If I use an interface privately in a single app, I should be able to say whether or not somebody else can use it. Heck, even the GPL acknowledges that fact. I'm not totally familiar with the circumstances here, but if its correct that this company accesses and interfaces with private hooks in iDVD, well, Apple has every right to get them to stop.
Generally speaking, in a world where the government is run by lawyers for lawyers and the largest lobbying group is the American Association of Trial Lawyers, it's no wonder that business has degenerated/is degenerating to he who has the best legal team wins.