Apple has a history of hypersensitivity toward the media. It once sued Think Secret, a now defunct Apple rumor Web site, because Think Secret published information about upcoming hardware and software products (for the record, that hardly counted as trade secrets). Now, Apple’s lawyers have sent Wired a cease and desist order for posting a video tutorial on hacking netbooks to run Mac OS X. In response, Wired has pulled the video.
I’m all for the freedom to tinker, and my first inclination was to think “Apple’s off attacking the press again.” However, after watching the Wired video–which is still available at Gizmodo as I write this–I have to take Apple’s side on this one, for one specific reason. The video tells viewers, in detail, where they can download illegal copies of OS X (while recommending that they purchase OS X legally) to be installed on non-Apple netbooks. The piracy advice was a big no-no; otherwise, it was a very interesting video.
If a journalist published the source code to Mac OS X, that would be a clear violation of trade secrets. Fiddling with hardware? Not so much. Apple has the right to void warranties, and to sue clone makers that violate its software license agreements and profit from it, but stopping the press from reporting on geeky projects is a bridge too far.
I’d like to see the video re-posted with the piracy bit removed, and would hope that Apple would then back off.