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Apple has forced a Web site devoted to lauding the art of the advertiser to pull copies of its Macintosh commercials under threat of legal action.

Now if AdCritic.com was one of those sites taking the mickey out of Apple's ads, we wouldn't have raised an eyebrow over this story - typical corporate sense of humour failure, we'd have thought.

But no, it turns out AdCritic.com is for people who like commercials, and Apple's own offerings were included among the site's showcase of examples of the genre.

And, ironically, AdCritic.com provides all the ads it showcases exclusively in Apple's QuickTime format.

In short, it's about as pro-Apple as it's possible for a non-Mac site to be.

So why did Apple get so heavy? Clearly, it's a case of a company missing the point big time. Apple's lawyers emailed the site back in April to request it remove all Apple ads. The legal team followed that two weeks ago with a letter officially demanding the removal of the ads or face the legal consequences.

Apple's beef appears to be something more that AdCritic.com's minor - and surely permissible in the circumstances - copyright violation. "We tried everything we could to work out an arrangement. They simply didn't want to budge. I got the impression part of this might be related to talent fees to people like actor Jeff Goldblum who does their voice over work," AdCritic.com founder Peter Beckman told US newswires.

"This is hurting Apple more than it is us because we've got a lot of great content. I told them that by doing this it would create a lot of cynicism about Apple being the bad guy. They didn't seem to care," he added.

Apple's action against AdCritic.com comes months after it forced UK Web site MacCards to shut down for daring to offer a service along similar lines to its own iCards electronic greetings card facility. Like Beckman, MacCards - now back as EyeCards - founder Simon Jones had to comply because he lacked the resources to make a fight of it. ®

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