For years, tech publications large and small have hovered around Apple like fruit flies, constantly digging for scoops about the company’s future products. Every once in a while, Apple swats one.
Digital Music News, which covers online music, yesterday yielded to a demand by Apple to remove a copy of a contract that iTunes Radio offered to small independent record labels, the site said in a blog post. Apple claimed that by posting a copy of the contract on its site, DMN violated Apple’s copyrights.
“APPLE IS USING COPYRIGHT TO TRY AND SUPPRESS INFORMATION.”Copyright? For a contract?
Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says that contracts can indeed be copyrighted, although it’s rare. “It’s not out of legal bounds to do this,” Goldman told The Verge. “It’s just kind of a jerk move. We all know what’s happening here. Apple doesn’t care about protecting the copyright of contracts. It’s using copyright to try and suppress information that it doesn’t want made public.”
According to DMN’s story, the site published the contract in June after acquiring it from unnamed source. Likely the contract’s most significant aspect, according to DMN, was that it “forced sub-standard terms” on all but the largest and most influential indie labels — although the publication acknowledges that the labels offered little to no resistance to Apple’s terms. Representatives from Apple and DMN did not respond to interview requests, so it’s unclear why Apple appears to have waited more than three months to make its demand.