If you scour the tech landscape, you’d be hard pressed to find a company more preoccupied with secrecy than Apple. While Apple understandably takes steps to prevent the release of details surrounding new products, they also like to keep, as much as possible, details surrounding their operations under wraps.
That being the case, Apple flexed some of its corporate and legal muscle recently when it demanded that a website called Digital Music News remove a copy of an iTunes Radio contract it had offered to small independent record labels.
And just what was the legal theory Apple posited in requesting the site take down the contract?
Yep, Apple explained that their contract agreement, which was presumably offered to a bevy of small record labels, was subject to copyright protection.
The Verge reports on the legality of Apple’s position:
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.”
What’s curious about the story is that Digital Music News posted the contract back in June, meaning that it took Apple over three months before demanding that it be removed.
In any event, it’s only natural to wonder why Apple was so adamant in having the contract taken down. To that end, Digital Music News relays that it was because the contract reflects that Apple “forced sub-standard terms” on smaller independent labels that typically lack the leverage bargaining power of larger ones.