Apple Computer’s lawyers were working overtime last week when they sent a stern letter of warning to Apple dealers, warning them that a “patch” to Apple’s iDVD burning software runs afoul of the 1998 copyright law. The issue surrounds an option in the iDVD software that limits users’ rights to burn DVDs only on internal drives that are manufactured by Apple. In iDVD’s unmodified form, the software will not allow a user to write to external drives that are built by third parties.
What this means to Apple owners is that if you own an older MAC, or if you choose not to purchase the “Superdrive” option, you will not be able to use the iDVD software to save movies to these devices.
Because so many people were unhappy with this proprietary, write-protected limitation, Other World Computing began offering a product called “DVD Enabler” that patched iDVD, so that the user was able to save completed DVDs to any Firewire device. This was helpful for the Mercury Pro DVD-R/RW Firewire drive that Other World Computing was selling. A press release issued by Other World Computing stated that as of August 12, 2002, Other World will no longer offer the DVD Enabler software.
Apple has chosen the proprietary, closed route for the moment with its iDVD software. Many believe that since Apple is currently in the business of selling hardware, it stands to reason that Apple wants people to purchase Apple-branded products. In reality, Apple wants its buyers and users to see iDVD as value added feature that only works when you buy a system that is iDVD-ready, and that features an internal, compatible iDVD drive.
Other World Computing has reportedly said that this action by Apple is a poor business decision, and we think that it, once again, is indicative of Apple’s closed-minded approach that continues to haunt Apple. If Apple wants people to buy and use their products and systems, they cannot continue to lower the boom on third parties that are trying to advance Apple’s products platforms and increase Apple’s product sales.