Apple sued by EFF over gagging threats

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Apple sued by EFF over gagging threats

Apple is being sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation because it has attempted to shut down online discussion forums about the iPhone.

The suit, filed today in San Francisco, stems from a letter sent in November last year by Apple’s legal team to OdioWorks, which runs the BlueWiki discussion and information site.

In it the team demanded that OdioWorks remove documents that users had posted up showing how to make the iPhone and iPod interoperate with other music software.

OdioWorks removed the pages in the face of a legal threat but are now suing Apple, via the EFF, claiming that the takedown was illegal under First Amendment rights.

"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 suit alleges that the documents were copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA's) prohibition on circumventing copy protection measures.

"Apple's legal threats against BluWiki are about censorship, not about protecting their legitimate copyright interests," said EFF 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 discussions."

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