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Shocking news: Apple involved in theft of copyrighted material

I would have thought a software and IP-house such as Apple would keep its path clean and make sure not to infringe other peoples copyright or downright steal other peoples creations. Not so it seems.

Apple and copyright violations – Virtuelvis

The page in question that had made it on to the Apple web site, was a chopped-off version of the rounded corners tutorial, incorporated into the WebCore layout tests for generated content, most likely since earlier versions of Safari exhibited some very funky rendering (screenshot).

The short story: Code, images and a tutorial for CSS rounded corners, created by norwegian blogger Arve Bersvendsen was stolen by a team member at Apple, included in source code and the tutorial published (a pure copy) on the Apple website. When confronted with the ordeal, Apple goes mute and refuses to try to straighten out the obvious infrigement on copyright.

I guess they think they are big enough to just ignore cases such as this one.

8 Responses to Shocking news: Apple involved in theft of copyrighted material

  1. Alex Barnett blog April 6, 2005 at 4:59 pm #

    Apple – watch out: the blogosphere is just about to bite.

    I think this one is going to do the rounds, rapido.

    “Fed up with silence and rudeness from Apple Computer,…

  2. felix April 6, 2005 at 6:44 pm #

    Is it really a huge deal? Anything published on the web is pretty much up for grabs.

  3. Jarle April 6, 2005 at 7:01 pm #

    Felix: Are you serious? It seems to me like you might be a designer. If someone systematically steals your designs and sells them for 1/10 or less of your asking price – and just lives off of your work – would you think its ok “since its on the web and pretty much up for grabs”?

    Or how about your Flickr photos, anyone can download them and use them for any kind of commercial purpose? I can just grab whatever I want and use them for posters, magazine ads etc? Its on the web, so it must be up for grabs – right?

    No, that’s not how it works. Your creations are yours, and they can not be used by anyone else without a written license from you. Some people will give away the rights to their creations, there are several licensing schemes for that. But in this case – and when someone doesn’t explicitly allows for any kind of use – the works that are published on the web are covered by Copyright and can not be used indiscriminately.

  4. Sweitzer April 6, 2005 at 7:11 pm #

    I think it kinda is a big deal since Apple would most likely come after me if I copied the source for a few of their web pages, took the image files from their web pages, and put them up as my own and just changed a few lines to make it look like I did it myself.

    Just because there wasn’t any money involved doesn’t mean it isn’t a copyright violation, and just because CSS tutorials aren’t a big deal to most of us doesn’t mean that Apple shouldn’t have to abide by the same rules of copyrights that the rest of us have to follow.

    I am a Mac-fanatic who loves just about everything Apple, but if what has been described in this guy’s blog is true, there isn’t really much of a defense. Apple should remove the material and offer to at least discuss terms of compensation for the past violation. That would be the responsible thing to do.

    They should also reveal how this happened. Was it a careless Apple employee who didn’t think it would get caught or was it a submission by someone who wrongfully told them it was okay to use it?

    I find it upsetting that a company whose legal actions I have defended recently didn’t seem interested in responding dutifully to someone who is asking for the same consideration. A CSS tutorial might not qualify as a trade-secret and the damage might not be as great, but it doesn’t mean that it is okay to print without permission.

    Then again, this was a tutorial, aren’t there different copyright constraints for educational material? – Regardless, I’m still certain that doesn’t mean you can publish the material without giving proper credit. All that could mean is that Apple doesn’t can’t be held financially liable, but I’m only guessing here.

  5. Arve Bersvendsen April 6, 2005 at 7:56 pm #

    Sweitzer. I am the author of said document, and I can indeed assure you that this is true.

    Prior to publishing, I have had third parties grab copies off the Apple web site and store them, in case I decided to take legal actions.

    It should also be noted that I:

    a) Notified Apple of the documents that existed on their server

    b) Suggested that Apple suggested a fair compensation, or other terms for allowing the documents to stay on the server. I did not directly request Apple to take them off the site.

    c) Remnants of my copyrighted work still remains in the resources subdirectory: http://www.opensource.apple.com/darwinsource/10.3/WebCore-106/layout-tests/fast/css-generated-content/resources/

    As for copyright restraints on educational material: For material published on paper for educational purposes, and when published to a limited audience (such as students following a course), standard means of compensation do exist, but I don’t believe Apple’s incorporation into the WebCore test suite fall into this category.

    Neither would this document fall into any fair use category, as they copied most of it, and chopped of the bits that had linkbacks or anything that could identify me as the author.

  6. Jonathan Moore April 6, 2005 at 9:09 pm #

    The site http://www.copyscape.com/ is a great find. As a result of the post I did a quick search of my site (http://www.newezra.com) and noticed a terrible blatent rip of my site – http://www.design-axiom.com.

    If you view the source in their flash page you can see the comment at the bottom documenting the software, date, and time they downloaded/mirrored my site for the purpose of ripping it.

    I too am in the whole legal process now.

  7. Anders Jacobsen's blog April 8, 2005 at 3:52 pm #

    Apple nicking bloggers’ code snippets?

    Whoa. Check this out: Norwegian blogger Arve published funky CSS tutorials, Apple picks up and includes in their software distributions, Arve discovers and does not get anywhere: […]

  8. Aidan Maconachy November 1, 2005 at 5:07 am #

    Exactly Jarle – I had a similar predicament with art work and it’s not at all the case that people can or should simply be able to avail themselves of images because they happen to be on the web. In most cases this involves some type of copyright infringement.