As a company, Apple (s aapl) has a tendency to bully small fish. While it seems harsh at times, it might also be one of the reasons Apple has been so successful in the highly competitive computer and media player field, since they maintain firm control of their corporate and product images by maintaining strict control of how their products are used and portrayed. So we’re used to stories about them threatening a blog or web site if they don’t remove some content. What we’re not so used to are stories about those same sites offering some sort of resistance instead of just rolling over and removing the offending content.
The site in question is BluWiki, which originally complied with Apple’s takedown request by removing the offending string, which talked about using iPhone/iPod hardware with non-Apple software alternatives to iTunes. BluWiki has now teamed up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (see their official story) and law firm Keker & Van Nest to fight the Cupertino giant over the November takedown notice. They’re suing Apple, claiming that it’s violating the first amendment by blocking people from “discussing Apple’s code obfuscations techniques,” as EFF lawyer Fred von Lohmann put it.
Considering BluWiki originally complied with Apple’s request, and are bringing suit some six months later with the backing of heavyweights like the EFF, this is probably more about taking a political stand against Apple’s aggressive muzzle tactics in general than about BluWiki’s specific instance. Regardless of the reason behind the suit, it could have significant ramifications for Apple product owners, since it will ultimately decide exactly what it is you’re buying when you purchase a piece of Apple hardware.
I’m a little torn here, since I appreciate that part of the reason Apple products work so well and so consistently is that Apple fights to maintain its vice-like grip. On the other hand, I’d love to see great apps like Songbird get some hardware support love, and it’s hard not to side with the little guy. Maybe some kind of middle ground can be reached? Here’s hoping.