Bad Apples

This is one of many reports this week about Apple sending cease and desist letters to bloggers who dare to show pictures of or (rumour has it) link to sites that feature ways to create a skin for your mobile that looks just like the iPhone. This article quotes from one of the letters

“…the icons and screenshot displayed on your website are copyrighted by Apple,” the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP wrote….

Going after the people who create those skins, ok, that’s a pretty clear violation of intellectual property. But going after the people who talk about it? Hello folks, here in America we have this little thing called the First Amendment. Now I know the Constitution may seem like it’s secondary to proprietary corporate interests, but guess what? It’s not! They didn’t seem so upset about the copyright violation entailed by all those bloggers swooning over the majesty of the iPhone, so I guess it’s only a copyright violation when they don’t like it?
Besides, as Gordon Finlayson writes in the first link above:

When is Apple going to realize that the sort of people who post mods like this are the sorts of fans that have kept the company going for all these years?

I was also more than a little put off by this week’s reports that:

Black Eyed Peas Will.I.Am likes nothing more than rushing straight to the internet after a gig – to catch fans who posts illegal clips of their show on the web.[...] The 31 year old says, “I check MySpace and I look on YouTube to see who posts up phone clips of the show first. They get arrested.”

He may be right that they’re breaking the law, but it’s a very sad thing if one’s immediate response to the high of performing for adoring crowds is to run right home and see which ones you can get arrested. And besides … arrested? This is lawsuit stuff, not “hello, police officer? you need to go arrest BEPfan3398 on YouTube” “yes, sir, we’re right on it, we’ll be subpoenaing YouTube and MySpace immediately to get IP information to track that user down and we’ll have him in a cell by morning.” And where is the economic loss here? Are people not buying BlackEyedPea records because they can get a cell phone video on YouTube for free? Are they skipping the tickets and the merchandise for that reason? I can understand why musicians don’t like this stuff, and I concede that they’ve got some valid concerns, but get a grip, this is just stupid.

Comments (2) to “Bad Apples”

  1. Maybe it´s because Black Eyed Peyes and Will.I.Am are so crappy live he doesn´t want people posting bootleg-phone-clips on the internet? New nickname proposal: Silly.I.Am

  2. I do not know when the anachronistic corporate model will begin to wake up. Rather than fight it, embrace it. If Apple truly is concerned about ‘leaked’ photos, the way to dilute this is to allow a million fakes, thus the real one will actually be a surprise (which it was). Apple has been a pioneering companay in many ways, however their practices towards the blogosphere has out-Microsofted Mircosoft. While I respect intellectual property, the fundamental paradigm should be reexamined as most our laws date back over a century. Our modern rules were established in the 30’s and we’ve taken a giant step backwards in this regard.

    With respect to the Black Eyed Peas, i think that the RIAA has convinced artists that they need to do this. The artists have drunk the RIAA’s Kool-Aid. Why they can’t learn the Metallica lesson is beyond me. I am firmly in the camp that disagrees that every downloaded song equals a lost sale. Rather I think over 90% would never have purchased it in the first place. There are many CDs that I listen to in full before I purchase (i.e. the new Shins CD which is not even out yet).

    Viral is infectious!