October 20, 2017

Apple Uses DMCA Threat Against Competing Product

Declan McCullagh at news.com reports on Apple’s use of a DMCA threat to force a useful product off the market.

Apple’s iDVD application allows the user to burn DVDs – but only on Apple-brand drives. A DVD drive vendor called Other World Computing shipped its drives with a “DVD Enabler” program that modified iDVD so that it could burn DVDs on any FireWire-connected drive.

Apple was displeased, so it used various threats, including one based on the DMCA, to convince Other World to back down and yank DVD Enabler from the market. According to the story, the main reason for Other World’s quick backdown was a general desire to stay on Apple’s good side. But clearly Apple thought the DMCA threat would have some impact, or they wouldn’t have made it.

Apple’s use of the DMCA here has nothing to do with preventing copyright infringement, since Apple-brand drives can make infringing copies just as easily as other brands can. The real motive is to weaken competition in the market for Mac-compatible DVD drives.