DOES APPLE REALLY WANT TO CRIPPLE YOUR IPHONE? â€œThe leading computer company plans to build a system that will sense when people are trying to video live events â€” and turn off their cameras.â€
Sounds like totalitarian governments would love this. . . .
UPDATE: Reader James Eric Johnson emails:
For a company that built a reputation on the back of its â€œ1984: Big Brotherâ€ ad, this type of thing is perplexing. Apple has no conceivable duty to police the use of its products in this fashion. In fact, by doing so, Apple may be assuming a duty to act as a big brother. At the very least, it is enabling Big Brother.
And this coming from a recent Apple convert who would dread the idea of going back to PCs for my personal computing functions (primarily Adobe CS and programming). Iâ€™m not at all anti-Apple; Iâ€™ll defend their products, but not their worldview.
Indeed. Perhaps this story will turn out to be incorrect.
Well, it’s like this. Whether it is correct, or a complete fabrication, or a test run, Apple is not necessarily looking to become a vassal of the Evil Empire. Not, at least, the real Axis of Evil, Evil Empire.
Rather, it’s an IP thing. Not the Internet Protocal, which is what you’d think an iPhone is about, but, of course, intellectual property.
Apple has complex and highly lucrative relationships built on and in many cases solely concerning intellectual property. It’s fairly IP-nutty. Apple’s technology, and the highly proprietary nature of its historically non-open-source business model, is highly dependant on IP enforcement. To a fault — even if not always consistently.
The App Store licenses IP. And the app developers –well, they have some kind of weird relationship with Apple regarding their work that is, mainly, better for Apple than for the developers.
There’s lots of IP in “APPLE.” You could even call IP the seed of Apple’s growth.
But one thing Apple doesn’t want any aggravation about is secondary liability — no, not for trademark, though you can read all about that here, of course — but for copyright. The right to public performance is one of the central rights protected by copyright. And iPhones are the most likely gadget in the world to be used to unlawfully record copyright-protected works on screens, stages and elsewhere.
And when you can’t sue the person who did the recording, or if that person is essentially judgment proof — who ya gonna sue? The guy who made the widget (or the server, or the credit card company) that made the infringement possible.
Apple needs to be the next Betamax like a hole in the head. Yes, the “Betamax” won the case in which Universal sued Sony for enabling copyright infringement, but ultimately VHS was preferred by the market. Litigation did not kill the Betamax. But while the iPhone is already a proven winner, that will make it an even juicier target for the frustrated owners of copyrights. Moreover, Apple’s relationship with IP owners doesn’t need that sort of strain. Think how nicely they’ve learned to play lately, after all.