Why Apple’s intellectual property prohibitions are necessary

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“I got an iPad as a birthday present a little while back (thanks again, Mom!), and am loving it. So when I heard that Cory Doctorow, the science fiction author and editor of the blog Boing Boing, was not enamored of the device, I was eager to learn why. I checked out his post expecting to read a review but instead found a diatribe. And one that cries out for a response,” Andrew McAfee writes for Forbes.

McAfee writes, “He rails against the fact that it’s hard to physically take apart the iPad, but he seems even more angry at the ‘technical and social infrastructure that accompanies it.'”

This infrastructure includes:
• Prohibitions on swapping, sharing, reselling and forwarding many kinds of content once they’re downloaded to the device.
• Gatekeeping by Apple with the App Store. Only Apple-approved apps can be easily installed.

McAfee writes, “Neither do I, which is why I’m really glad for the one-two punch of the First Amendment and the Web. Doctorow, I and everyone else with Internet access in America are free to create almost anything we want with astonishingly few restrictions (the Supreme Court recently decided that even appalling depictions of animal cruelty are protected speech), and to distribute our digital content via the Web. And the iPad provides Politburo-free access to all this Web content.”

“Doctorow dislikes that in addition to providing Web access, Apple has also created the walled garden of the App Store and allowed companies like Marvel and Amazon to place restrictions on replicating some content delivered to the iPad,” McAfee writes. “And even though I like free stuff, too, I’m really happy Apple put this infrastructure in place. Let me explain why.”‘

Read more in the full article – recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dow C.” for the heads up.]


  1. Too many of these so called experts are even capable of a focused thought. They blather about everything one can not do. Yet, focus little on what it will do. They complain about freedom to put malicious code onto the device with one thought of the problems it will cause the user.
    As normal, they forget most users do not care about putting anything you want on the iPad, rather quality apps that do their job well. If it works and does not cause a problem, does what is needed, and offers mobility that even a net book can not offer- people will be happy.

    Sad to say, a few grumpy writers tarnishes a great device with useless doubt.

  2. Doctorow, a proficient sic-fi writer and not so proficient social commentator, at least practices what he preaches. His published novels and short stories are all available for free in ePub format. I read them on my iPad.

    His preference is for everything to be free on the Internet. That’s not a stupid preference. But not very practical. I don’t feel the least constrained by the zillions of apps that have passed the Jobs filter. Of the feature set of the iPad. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

  3. I don’t understand the whole balk against paying for content on the internet. Or for software. I’ve spent a lot of money over the years to learn the skills I have, and I think it only fair that I be compensated for the service I provide. Why all these contemporary socialists take issue with that, I don’t know.

  4. Taking Doctorow a step further, given his strong preference for everything wanting to be free, I am sure he won’t mind if I crash on his couch, scarf down all his food, and while I’m at it, have a nice go at his girlfriend. I doubt he’ll mind a bit.

    And I’m sure he gives all his books away for free as well.

    The fact is that entrepreneurs take risks. They bet the farm on an idea, in the hope that the market will respond and reward them with a profitable venture. Having intellectual property protections in place gives an idea a chance to succeed. And it is a big reason why America has had a history of success.

    Or, since you want everything to be free, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present The People’s Republic of China, where intellectual property protections are a joke. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at some of the nifty cars the Chinese are fraudulently copying: http://gemssty.com/2006/10/29/top-10-copycat-cars/ or even an underperforming pirated version of the Russian SU-33 fighter jet: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article20043.html

    You can argue to the contrary. But I will argue that innovation flourishes when the potential reward far exceeds the risk. And that is why I am firmly on the side of McAfee. A tip of the cap to him. Socialism might be all the rage with liberal cafe intellectuals. But it’s capitalism that gets things done.

  5. NCIceman:


    That’s the mindset of the, parasitic, non contributing and deadbeat generation that has no respect for musicians, author or any intellectual property creator.

    Paying dues, is not a term that’s in their vocabulary. They expect everything for free the spoiled ignorant brats.

    When the givers are gone, they will really fuck up what’s left of their legacy and culture, they have zero skills, talents and couldn’t even change a light bulb on their own.

    The tea baggers mentality shares much of this entitlement and noise.

  6. Support the Musicians, authors and creators of “content” they need to be rewarded for what they give the world. Giving does not necessarily mean free.

    Support the arts, there was never a culture in history, that thrived without them.

  7. Cory Doctorow is a pure a number one a$$hat. If you disagree with him on Boing Boing, he will ban you. I know, I have disagreed with him.

    I believe in, what seems to be, two very unique concepts:

    I believe in paying for my software – always have – I would not want anyone stealing my work from me or not being paid for the work I do.

    Secondly, I am an inventor and I can filly support the cause of ownership and IP wherein the right to exclude must be a part of ownership. Otherwise, you will stifle creativity. Period.

    I have spent over $1.5 million dollars US in developing my technology, struggled and almost lost my home – I really do not want to just open up my work to every Tom, Dick and Harry so they can do as they wish.

    Some may call that greedy. I call it having earned the right to decide how my work is used.

    I have supported Apple and Apple products since 1983 – pre Mac – and it is the only system we use at home or in my company. It is because I respect and support the culture that is Apple.

    -steps down from soap box-

    It is good to see someone take the pi$$ out of Doctorow. His books suck.


  8. The strenuous objection of Mr. Doctorow is to the ‘Walled Garden’. That concept is somewhat flawed; we are surrounded by walled gardens everywhere; each country is a walled garden on many levels (protecting domestic markets, etc), not to mention that the planet Earth is in a way also a walled garden in that we simply cannot go live outside of it. So, the issue is much more of the size of the walled garden that Apple has put up, and the quality of offerings (and severity of restrictions) that it presents us. And that is exactly where his argument fails. From his personal viewpoint, he may be right (as was mentioned before, he practices what he preaches), but he so clearly represents minuscule group of people who are intrepid tinkerers and explorers; those who cut open their teddy bear at age 2 to find out what’s inside. All the rest of people simply enjoy very much playing with their teddy bear.

  9. Maybe Cory D would prefer that his books be distributed for free ala music file sharing. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind losing the $. for the sake of openness…

  10. I firmly believe that this idea stems from several things:
    First, since MS gouged businesses for so long, home users would just download stuff (including the OS) for free.
    Second, it’s easy to download stuff online if you don’t have a conscience.
    Third, I think somehow, because Apple has a stockpile of cash, that means it shouldn’t charge fairly for its products.
    Of course, I don’t subscribe to any of these ideas, I just think it’s the mindset.

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