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ATPM 6.05
May 2000



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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

I’d Like the Filet Mignon

Last month, I talked about iMovie, and how it’s not available for anything besides the iMac, yet. I spoke of KFC moments, and what they mean to you, the consumer. What I didn’t have, was a recent MacCentral news story and a trip to eBay, wherein I’ve discovered an underground movement of people selling their copies of iMovie. One is even including the FireWire cable, for those of us that want mashed potatoes and cole slaw with our steak. So, since I have no real topic this month, as what we really wanted to come out of NAB a few weeks ago didn’t, I’ll expand on the meat metaphor.

For those who tuned in late, let’s review. iMovie is only available to you if you buy an iMac DV. Apple doesn’t sell it as a stand-alone product, on the theory that they want you to purchase Final Cut Pro instead. A conspiracy theory of JFK proportions.

But I’ve got a bigger one.

It seems that the fine folks at eBay are not allowing the auctions to complete. Now, I’ve been in contact with a lawyer on this one, and he says eBay is within their right to halt an auction, for whatever reason. Which is probably true. However, if they are stopping them with a false sense that the sale of iMovie is illegal, then we’ve got a problem.

I’m reminded of Garth Brooks. It seems about five or six years ago, he decided that he’s due royalties on the sale of his used CD’s. Which is patently ridiculous. He feels he has the right to collect twice on the sale of one CD. This is absurd on the face of it. If I sell you my used Scirocco, does Volkswagen get the money? Ok, my lawyer friend says a better analogy is if you lease a car for say three years, you can’t sell it. However, you can transfer the lease. Now, I have to believe that the license agreement for iMovie isn’t that strict, however, I haven’t read it. But if it’s as boilerplate as the licenses on OS 9, AppleWorks 6, and every other piece of Apple software for which I have read the license, it contains the following clause:

2. Permitted Uses and Restrictions. This License allows you to install and use the Apple Software on a single computer at a time. This License does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time. You may make one copy of the Apple Software in machine-readable form for backup purposes only. The backup copy must include all copyright information contained on the original. Except as expressly permitted in this License, you may not decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, modify, rent, lease, loan, sublicense, distribute or create derivative works based upon the Apple Software in whole or part or transmit the Apple Software over a network. You may, however, transfer your rights under this License provided you transfer the related documentation, this License and a copy of the Apple Software to a party who agrees to accept the terms of this License and destroy any other copies of the Apple Software in your possession....Your rights under this License will terminate automatically without notice from Apple if you fail to comply with any term(s) of this License.

The emphasis is mine, for sake of clarity. Now, the way I read this is that I can sell a piece of Apple software, as long as I delete the copy from my HD, and all related documentation, and give you the original CD. Such as one auction did, with the following pic. imovie

And I’ve recently received an e-mail from one auctioneer, telling me that his auction did indeed complete. So, it can happen. He was encouraged by one of the bidders to withdraw the auction, but not by anyone official. The way it was presented on “The List” is that eBay is closing down the auctions, for fear of being sued by Apple. Which according to the above, shouldn’t happen.

However, in an effort to be totally objective, I’ll present the other side and then leave it up to you, the home viewer. Who’s right? Apple, eBay, or the individual that wants to sell his unused copy of iMovie?

Apple’s stance has been put forth as follows: You bought it, it’s yours. We don’t care what you do with it, except, it’s yours for the rest of your life. eBay, believing this, will stop an illegal auction. Of course, as noted previously, this hasn’t always happened, and I don’t believe that a sale of iMovie as put forward above is illegal. The individual consumer, believing he has the right to sell his iMovie CD, attempts to sell in on eBay. If eBay mistakenly believes they can block the auction, do you as the consumer have the right to take them to small claims? And if you do, what can you expect to recover, if anything? Does Apple have the right to stop you from selling your copy of iMovie legally?

Well, in the two hundred or so words that I have left, I’ll try to answer these questions. The answer to the last is no. I’m not sure about the rest, because as I’ve told you before, I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t even play one on TV. Having been in correspondence with one on this issue, I’m almost qualified to answer. We can take eBay out of the equation, as Apple wouldn’t have a cause of action against them, in as much as they aren’t doing anything illegal, beyond facilitating the sale. So, it comes down to whether Apple can stop you from selling your copy of iMovie. Again, I say no. Apple and eBay both believe the answer is yes. Who’s right? (Besides me, of course.) We may never get a stand-alone copy of iMovie, so this seems like a viable alternative. After all, I’m not the one that forecasts the future, I leave that to the rumor sites.

Well, It’s About Time

A word about deadlines, and lead time. So that you may receive your issue of ATPM fresh every month on the 1st, all columns, articles, and reviews must be submitted no later than the 23rd of the previous month. This time, that was Easter, so, I managed to finagle an additional two days to bang out what you’re reading now. This also means that I can’t really react to any news or breaking stories after that, as I would need to wait ’til next month’s column to do so.

So, on Friday, April the 28th, when Apple announced that they were giving iMovie away as a free download, rendering my entire column almost pointless, I was mildly upset. And ecstatic at the same time. All of the opinions above still hold, however, I’m glad the fine folks at Apple realized a need, and attempted to fill it. Sure, they say iMovie will only work with the later G3s and the G4, as well as the latest PowerBook, however, there have been reports that other Macs will work as well. So, I suggest you run, don’t walk, on over and grab a copy of iMovie for yourself. Or, for a nominal shipping fee, you can order the CD from Apple, which also includes the iMovie tutorial—at about 160 MB it’s too big for an online download.

And while you’re at it, you can send an iCard to Steve, thanking him for coming to the realization that not everyone needs Final Cut Pro. Except for me, of course.

72 and sunny in Redondo.

e You next time.

appleDisclaimer: Mike is currently searching for a female lead for “Diamond in the Rough,” as the woman he originally cast is nowhere to be found. For this and other sad stories, Mike can be reached at

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Reader Comments (1)

Angel:) · August 31, 2001 - 18:51 EST #1
I love filet mignon!!!!!!

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