Wozniak Questions Apple's Legal Zeal in Tiger Leak Lawsuit

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has criticized his former company for going after a student who shared a developer release of Mac OS X Tiger, saying Apple is wasting time going after "small time wrongdoers." Mr. Wozniak promised to donate $1,000 to help in the students defense.

In an online posting to the blog site DrunkenBlog, Mr. Wozniak wrote that he believed Vivek Sambhara of Atlanta, Ga. was guilty of an honest mistake.

Mr. Wozniak wrote:

"...This is an unintentional oversight and the interviewed student appears to be one of the most honest people on this planet. I have to question who is most right in this case. I wish that Apple could find some way to drop the matter. In my opinion, more than appropriate punishment has already been dealt out. In this age of professional spammers and telemarketers making fortunes, weire misusing our energies to pursue these types of small time wrongdoers. I will personally donate $1,000 to the Canadian studentis defense."

Mr. Sambhara, along with David Schwartzstein of Norwalk, Conn. and Doug Steigerwald, of Raleigh, N.C. are being sued by Apple Computer for allegedly distributing "Tiger," the companyis next major Mac OS X release. Apple is seeking an injunction against the defendants, as well as unspecified damages.

The company alleges Mr. Steigerwald violated his membership agreement to the Apple Developer Connection (ADC), Appleis in-house developer network, by downloading and distributing the Tiger builds through BitTorrent, a popular peer-to-peer file-sharing network. Mr. Sambhara and Mr. Schwartzstein, also ADC members, allegedly redistributed the file to others via the Internet, first obtained by Mr. Steigerwald.

Details of the case were first reported by The Mac Observer on December 21, 2004.

Mr. Sambhara, in an online interview with DrunkenBlog in early January and identified as iDesicanuki, admitted distributing the Tiger build.

"Did I do exactly what Apple is accusing me of doing? I did share the file," he wrote. "So in that regard yes. But there was no malicious intent. Iive never done anything malicious in my life...I do think what I did was wrong and I understand why they are suing me."

An Apple spokesperson was not immediately available for reaction to Mr. Wozniakis comments.

Editoris Note: In an earlier version of this story, it was implied that Mr. Sambhara had contradicted himself in an admission that he had illegally shared Tiger via a peer-to-peer service. Mr. Sambhara did not, but rather said he had not shared previous versions of the Tiger developer build.