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Apple Attacks the Unofficial Apple Archive

Sadly, it didn’t take long for Apple to send a swarm of lawyers after Sam Henri Gold’s Unofficial Apple Archive (see “The (Unofficial) Apple Archive Documents 40 Years of Apple Materials,” 16 January 2020). And the way Apple did it was particularly obnoxious: the company filed a total of 3700 DMCA complaints against the archive’s Vimeo account in a 3-hour period on the night of 25 January 2020, just before closing the office down for the weekend.

Gold took most of the videos down (but he hasn’t deleted his copies), but the other materials remain available for now. Sadly, many of the videos that Gold had published are unavailable anywhere else, so if Apple doesn’t relent, this takedown will be a blow to Apple historians, particularly those who can’t travel to see the physical items housed in the Apple collections at Stanford. We’re not particularly surprised that Apple did this, but we’re still disappointed in the company’s heavy-handed legal behavior.

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Comments About Apple Attacks the Unofficial Apple Archive

Notable Replies

  1. Perhaps predictably Apple hasn’t realised yet that MS/Windows has grown up big time.

  2. What is wrong with that company.?.It is so outrageous. It is true Windows has grown up big time.
    I know somebody in Adobe who says he and his colleagues rather use Photoshop in Windows rather than Apple. My point is that they are losing users. What are they protecting with coming down hard on an Apple archive. You would think they would encourage it and also to invite users. They have become a big marketing company instead of serious R&D. This is from Dave Nanian @Shirt Pocket and I think he makes a good case. The whole blog can be read on his Super Duper site:
    “But constantly changing a platform in ways that break compatibility, or
    confuse users, or make their data less safe and secure stops that progress.
    We all spend the year between the releases trying to catch up with the
    latest change, without actually being able to spend time reaping the
    purported benefits.
    It can be frustrating. But it’s the way it is, right now.
    It doesn’t have to be. We can make progress without jerking everyone around.
    Security can be improved without subjecting users to confusing prompts and
    bad UX. New APIs can be built without forcing users to throw away software
    and hardware they’ve been depending on for years.”

  3. The headline seems unnecessarily sensational. Any responsible corporation is going to protect their copyrighted material by issuing takedown orders. Seems like this belongs in the ‘Nonstop Whining About How Apple Sucks’ topic.

  4. I know of responsible corporations that would take a few moments to contact an apparent infringer and discuss the issue before taking the bullying tactic of sending hundreds of takedown orders. Apple may have done so in this case – I have absolutely no inside knowledge – but if a legal barrage using controversial provisions of an unpopular law was their first response, I think people are justified in criticizing them


  5. I am far from being a lawyer, but as I understand it, when it comes to trademarks the owner is legally required to contest infringing uses or risk losing the trademark: that’s how Bayer lost the trademark for “aspirin” in the US—as a German company it couldn’t contest infringements in the US during WWI. If those videos contained Apple trademarks, that may have legally required Apple to defend them.

  6. As I understand it, the issue is one of copyright, not trademark. Quite a lot of the content are videos that were either produced by Apple or are of Apple events.

    I don’t think copyright law has a “defend it or lose it” precedent, the way trademark does, but they may be afraid that if they don’t prosecute someone who is openly sharing thousands of items without a license, then that would set the precedent that they’re OK with anyone sharing similar content. That would make it more difficult to prosecute others in the future, in cases that might actually involve damages.

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