Apple wants to squish themes project

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Apple has issued a cease and desist order against the Mac Themes Project (MTP) for creating a theme editor, according to Macworld UK .

Apple claims the editor enables third parties to "improperly copy Apple's copyrighted software code and graphic files." In a letter to MTP, Apple requested that the company stop distributing the editor on any Web site or server under its control "including any hyperlink to other locations where the material may be available." Apple also wants written confirmation to this effect.

Apple has accused MTP of infringing the Lanham Act that governs trademark law in the US. Apple said, "By allowing the public to access and download the editor, we believe that you are engaging in contributory infringement of Apple's copyrights, trademarks, and trade dress in violation of the Lanham Act."

It's possible for different parties to use the same trademark in certain instances. However, if Apple establishes a "willful violation" by MTP, it will be entitled to recover profits and any damages, Macworld UK said.

Apple further accuses MTP of unauthorized reverse-engineering of its software, stating that the specifications for the Mac operating systems in question have never been released, the article reported. Reverse engineering of the Mac OS violates the software license agreement undertaken upon purchase. MTP hasn't responded to the charges.

The MTP, formerly known as the Allegro Themes Project (ATP), is a not-for-profit organization that works together over the Internet to create themes and theme-designing programs for the Mac OS. The Theme technology in the OS' Appearance Manager lets you choose an overall look and feel for your Mac interface. In Mac OS 8.5, two themes -- HiTech, and Gizmo -- appeared in the beta version of the operating system update, but, for reasons unknown, didn't make the final cut. Only the Platinum theme shipped.

Apple had also revealed another beta theme called DrawingBoard, but never released it. And although it was once believed that Apple would release a way for creative sorts to create themes of their own, it hasn't happened yet. There's no official documentation, much less a tool for theme building. Apparently, Apple iCEO Steve Jobs wants the Mac OS to have a universal, uniform appearance.

MTP's group of developers are dedicated to "hack up" the themes that were once provided by Apple, and create an application that has the ability to allow users to make themes of their own, similar to what Design Studio does for the popular shareware utility, Kaleidoscope, and its "schemes." They've released ThemeMachine, an application used for manipulating themes.

This story, "Apple wants to squish themes project" was originally published by PCWorld.

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