The law is supposed to be black and white. It seldom is.
Case in point: Davander Mobile’s app on the Mac App Store that plays CBC Radio’s streams on Apple desktops facing threats from CBC. Who is right, who is wrong? No one can seem to agree on the answer.
As Davander tells it:
On August 23rd I received a notice from Apple that CBC had filed an infringement complaint against my app. I sprung into action immediately, and within two days I had submitted an update to Apple. The update changed the name, removed all references to the CBC in the app description, and removed the CBC logo from the icon and from the app. “CBC Radio Player” became “Canadian Radio Player”. Not as snappy a title, but I realize their need to defend their copyright and avoid confusion. I used the logo only because I was trying to communicate what the app was for. In retrospect I should have taken the time to find a clearer way to communicate that. This was my mistake, and I responded promptly to fix it.
But this was only the beginning. Not long after…
The next thing I heard is another notice from Apple, saying that the CBC had asserted that I was still infringing on their copyright. Apple informed me that my only option was to resolve the issue with CBC directly.
Davander Mobile eventually recieved an official letter from CBC:
“Again, your unauthorized use of CBC’s marks and content (i.e. re-distribution of CBC’s radio content) infringes on CBC’s intellectual property. To be clear, CBC objects to your use, repackaging, and sale of CBC’s marks and radio content without authority.”
Naturally, Davander is pissed. Calling it “completely false characterization,” the developer claims it is just a radio reciever and does not “contain, package, or distribute any CBC content.” But here’s the issue critics are observing: the app is being sold for profit.
The question is, is Davander selling CBC content or simply selling his technology? Or perhaps the question is, does that even matter?
Some contrasting comment’s on Davander’s blog regarding the issue:
• “They should support you instead of discourage you from actually helping them to spread their own content. The letter is probably written by one of those retarded lawyers who doesn’t know a sh** about Internet.”
• “Seems like you are clearly in the wrong here. You are taking their content and selling it. Period. You don’t even have the right to take their content and give it away free. It’s theirs.”
• “He’s selling “the radio” not the radio content. Seems fair game to me.”
• “Its no surprise CBC is demanding you take your app down. Their work is supposed to be freely available and programs like yours make it appear that the stream isn’t free and must be paid for, with it being worse not a cent of the money goes back to the CBC.”
What are your thoughts?