back to article Apple tells GitHub to fork off: iGiant steps outside DMCA law in quest to halt iBoot leaks

Apple's fruitless attempts to remove its leaked iBoot source code from the internet have escalated into requests to have community code site GitHub disable all downstream forks made from identified infringing repositories. In a DMCA takedown notice sent to GitHub on Sunday and published on Monday – its sixth since the …

  1. ST Silver badge

    Dear Apple


  2. Brian Miller Silver badge


    "But that's not @pp1e code! None of the variables are the same, the comments are different, and the structures are dissimilar."

    What sed and some vi wizardry can do in short order. Never mind that it compiles to identical code.

  3. Michael Hoffmann

    Them horses....

    ... are just about a mere dust cloud on the horizon.

    Good idea to shut those stable doors now, Apple!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Them horses....

      The lawyers have to do something to earn their money... running about tracking this done will keep them in nice suits and cars for a long time.

  4. tony trolle

    !oh dear

    Heard there were copies on that 'bad sailor cove' website

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: !oh dear

      Hell there were still copies on GitHub as of Sunday. Not to mention places like the Bay of Pirates.

  5. Oh Homer

    And fruity playthings didst voyage skywards beyond the realm of the perambulator

    Oh dear, dear Apple.

    Eventually you'll have to make a formal request to disable the entire Interwebs. If that doesn't work, maybe you could demand that humanity itself be disabled.

    I fork, therefore I am, and now I hath seen the holy code! Oh lordy, my brain must be purged!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don’t piss off Apple. They will buy the company with their pocket change, and shut it down.

    1. Pomgolian


      but not if someone forks Github first.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is way too late.

    I imagine some groups who care about iphones and would care about iboot (let's face it, Android has those people) would find it eventually but now EVERYONE has found it.

    Even sourceforge is getting loaded with it. I'm glad of this actually but that's because I'm one of the "hippies" it seems, "you own your device!" and all that stuff no one else gives a shit about.

    But yeah I don't know why they're bothering now. Both the camp I mentioned first and those who'd otherwise never find it know about it. There's absolutely nothing that can be done.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: This is way too late.

      But yeah I don't know why they're bothering now ... There's absolutely nothing that can be done

      If someone were going round scrawling some nasty lie about yourself all over the walls of the town you lived in would you say "c'est la vie" and let it continue, or would you take steps to get it removed where you could, even if you could never eradicate it entirely?

      And if you don't do anything about it are we to take it that you are in fact happy for that to be put about and persist in the public domain, don't have a problem with that?

      At the proverbial end of the day it is an unwinnable game of whack-a-mole but that doesn't mean one shouldn't put up the best fight one can if one chooses to.

      If one doesn't do anything it will exist forever. If one does the best one can the damage can potentially be reduced, and the rest may fade away over time. It's try or give-in, and I don't see much wrong with trying.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is way too late.

        (Same AC here)

        This is MORE like: some specific group did the thing (ignoring the breakdown of the analogy with your suggested thing) so me going "right listen up everybody" at a town meeting "what that thing there is, it has to stop" and now everyone who is even neutral will take a look because that's people.

        Either way it exists now they're not going to forget it, and for as long as I try to do something about it some will do it for laughs.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barbra Streisand

    Good luck with that, Apple...

    1. handleoclast

      Re: Barbra Streisand

      Yeah, I'd fork Barbra Streisand.

      Or is that not what you meant?

      1. DropBear

        Re: Barbra Streisand

        Barbara Joan Streisand, born April 24, 1942 (age 75). Either that is a coat with a time machine, or you're incredibly, uh... brave.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Barbra Streisand

          Hey even grannys need love.

        2. handleoclast

          Re: Barbra Streisand

          Either that is a coat with a time machine, or you're incredibly, uh... brave.

          Are you saying the age difference is too large? That sort of thinking is frowned on these days.

          Anyway, she's not that much younger than me.

      2. onefang

        Re: Barbra Streisand

        "Yeah, I'd fork Barbra Streisand."

        Ewwww, but have an up-vote anyway. And a beer, beer goggles might help.

  9. Joe Werner Silver badge

    Apple has a point

    Yeah, that'll get me downvotes... (no, I don't like Apple either, or the DMCA, or its use)

    1) They have a point. The code was leaked unlawfully, in contrast to some other company who uploaded code & encryption keys themselves and made them public - oops!

    2) The bird has flown. Like a bird, a word you say cannot be caught again once you let it fly. Same applies to stuff on the internet. Even if Github complies...

    3) Yes, it's against the letter of the law - but this time not against the intent. Usually it's the other way round ;)

    4) If I was an Apple lawyer, I'd write me a script to follow the branches on Github, send out an individual letter for each, with individual bills.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If I was an Apple lawyer

      4) If I was an Apple lawyer, I'd write me a script to follow the branches on Github, send out an individual letter for each, with individual bills.

      ROFL. Lawyers can code? Please....

      The only thing they can code is their bills. Make them pure gobbledegook and you get less pushback when the time comes to pay them.

      The above applies to all of the scumbags not just those employed by Apple.

      1. SolidSquid

        Re: If I was an Apple lawyer

        With the amount they could potentially charge apple for a near-infinite number of forks, I'd say they'd be happy to hire someone to code a script for them

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Apple has a point

      Apple does not have a point because of how the DMCA works: safe harbour is guaranteed for websites who in return are required to respect takedown notices without question. This is why YouTube is full of copies of the same clips because there has be a notice for each one.

      However, the T&Cs at GitHub explicitly put users on the hook in this kind of situation (key difference in one of the clauses between GitHub and, say, BitBucket). So redress with GitHub's help against people for knowingly posting copyrighted code is possible.

      But this code is already published in places where the DMCA has no effect. All Apple can do is continue to issue takedown orders but they really need to get over this and bury it as quickly as possible.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Apple has a point

        > are required to respect takedown notices without question.

        No, no they are not.

        They are allowed to first asses the takedown notice, and they can refuse a takedown if it is deficient in some way, e.g. claiming copyright ownership of something they don't own (e.g. sending a DMCA for happy birthday which is in the public domain).

        They can also consult with the actual publisher of that material first (as long as they do it quickly) to get more information, and the publisher can issue a counter-DMCA notice to get the material put back up.

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Apple has a point

      I expect that the hypothetical script to track copies of Apple's proprietary iBoot program code and issue automatic DMCA notices, could be tricked into issuing a DMCA for some non-infringing data. That would be painfully expensive for Apple.

      Having said that, is GitHub really so full of hackers, or is this one or half a dozen hackers who are opening 100000 accounts at GitHub in order to "publish" Apple's should-be secure software to the world public and foreign governments particularly?

  10. onefang






    Damn, gonna need a bigger hammer.

    ... after much furious swearing and loud banging ...

    Oops, broke the bottle, and the genie is laughing at me. Maybe we should try the nuke from orbit option?

  11. LDS Silver badge

    Big company enjoys the pleasure of DMCA....

    .... which was written exactly to protect big companies from liabilities arising from what users upload....

    It will be interesting to see what will happen - will Apple obtain rights others are denied?

  12. T. F. M. Reader

    "Apple may want to ask GitHub to disable its search functionality"

    Live and learn... I didn't even know iBoot was a stage in Apple's boot process (had to google it). To me the term means booting from a remote disk over iSCSI, as invented by IBM (during the time when Apple computers ran on PowerPC, I might add, but absolutely unrelated). So asking GitHub to "disable searching for iBoot" as the article suggests (probably tongue-in-cheek, I realize) may be not entirely feasible.

    Btw, it seems that a trademark for "iBoot" is held neither by Apple nor by IBM... Dataprobe... Go figure,

  13. Joerg

    So Google has at least a mole inside Apple...

    ... to steal code and cause damage like that .. with all sort of illegal activities spreading code to the public.

    I wonder if Apple ever put a mole inside Google too.. let's see all the dirty stuff by Google...

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Cui bono

      Read the motherboard report the article linked to and you'll see that it wasn't a mole. It doesn't help Google, anyway.

  14. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Low-level employee

    Should they have access to the iBoot code?

    I mean, apart from being low-level, would you want a low-level dev making changes anyway? What happens if they commit something bad that somehow gets past Apple's legendary code reviews and QA...? (goto fail;) (put root as user and hit return twice)

  15. Adam Connelly

    Infringing Forks?

    "Now, it's fair to say all or most copies of the copyright-infringing material will also be infringing. We can't imagine someone forking the stolen iBoot blueprints, and then taking out all the Apple-eyes-only code – there wouldn't be much left, except maybe the source comments."

    Even if you did this, I would have thought the fork would almost certainly still be infringing because the original code would still be contained in the git history. Sure, it's possible you could get rid of this via some git gymnastics, but in that case it would seem a bit weird to have created a fork in the first place - you'd have been better just downloading the code, removing anything infringing, and then publishing it rather than forking.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Infringing Forks?

      It is rather straight forward, actually:

      1) Make a local copy of the repo.

      2) Delete the .git subdirectory.

      3) Make whatever code modifications you want to "scrub" it.

      4) git init

      5) Upload your totally not infringing code to where ever.

      1. Adam Connelly

        Re: Infringing Forks?

        Yes, hence my "you'd have been better just downloading the code, removing anything infringing, and then publishing it rather than forking" comment...

  16. my fingers stuck

    This is way too late.

    will it affect the price of mature chedder in my lical supermarket, if not i dont give a f.....k

  17. Dinsdale247


    I'm not a fan, but I can see the point Apple is making. Forks are pointers to the same code until someone starts changing things. Once a repo with Apple code is identified, Github should make efforts to not allow it to proliferate.

    Either way, it's a good thing for Apple that there is only one way on planet to share code anymore. That could be read as irony over the shutdown of codeplex and the slow death of sourceforge, or as sarcasm about the fact there is now millions of copies of iBoot floating around in torrents and emails.

    I'm eager to see if any of my previous posts about the break-ability of handheld arm computers rings true.

  18. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Does this really work at all?

    Legend has it that back in the Unix days, there was a management discussion about this subject. Someone asked the lawyer what would happen if an employee were to publicize the source. <pause> "Well, he would never work again, and would probably go to jail. And the code would no longer be a trade secret."

    The laws have changed, but, assuming the point of the legend is true, I doubt that the code can still be considered a "trade secret". It seems likely to me that Apple more or less has to pursue these takedowns in order to preserve their copyright. It's not entirely clear to me at all why Apple needs to preserve their copyright, however. Is it even remotely likely that someone else would make use of this code to create a competing product? Would not a letter to the dozen or so mobile phone manufacturers would preserve their rights?

    Maybe they are thinking that they can attract talent by this?

  19. JaitcH

    Apple: Pot Calling Others Black

    Tell me, how many judgments are there against Apple for plagiarising others works?

    Let's start with the payment made by Apple to Creative Labs, the American subsidiary of Creative Technology Limited, for knocking off it's music player patent.

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