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Apple threat prompted name change, coders say

Developers behind a tool for handling podcasts say Apple Computer's legal team paid them a visit.

A group of open-source developers say they've changed the name of a podcast application after pressure from Apple Computer's lawyers.

iPodder Lemon was a free application distributed under the General Public License, or GPL, that allows users to manage their podcasts--audio and video programs downloaded from the Internet to an MP3 player.

The product supports more than 15 languages and has a built-in directory with thousands of podcasts feeds. It automatically downloads new podcasts when they become available.

The application's developers say Apple's legal team asked the open-source group to drop the name of the software because it suggested a connection to the company's flagship iPod device. The developers have changed the name of the product to Juice.

Scott Grayban, a Juice developer who also works on a similar product called CastPodder, denied Apple's claim that iPodder's name would confuse consumers.

"It's disappointing to see a large company such as Apple go after a small open-source project, and just shortly after we had over 1 million downloads," Grayban added.

"In fact, if anything we helped their sales of iPod because that was one of the MP3 players iPodder could sync to," he said.

Apple declined to comment for this story.

In a Web posting, developer Garth T. Kidd said the name change was inconvenient but could have been worse.

"Fortunately for us, Apple's lawyers were polite almost to the point of being apologetic--and entirely reasonable. It's not appropriate for me to go into the details of our arrangement, but I can say I don't feel hard done by. Sure, I wouldn't have minded not having to change our name, but that couldn't really be avoided," he wrote.

Karen Gomm of ZDNet UK reported from London.