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Apple will be forced to allow iTunes downloads to be compatible with other MP3 players

Apple has been given two weeks to fix iTunes after the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman ruled that the MP3 download service breaks consumer protection law.  In fact, at least three Nordic nations, want iTunes downloaded songs to be playable on all digital music players -- not just iPods.  If Apple does not make its songs playable on all music devices by June 21, the company will first face heavy fines which would then be followed by court action.

The formal complaint is online as a PDF file and claims the following:
The Consumer Council of Norway hereby wishes to lodge a complaint against iTunes Music Store with the Consumer Ombudsman. The complaint is based on iTunes’ standard terms and conditions as specified at (Terms of Service) and  Terms of Sale). It is the view of the Consumer Council that several aspects of these terms are in breach of the Marketing Control Act (Markedsføringsloven) and other legislation.

In addition, iTunes uses DRM (Digital Rights Management), a type of technical standard terms and conditions, which determine how the service can be used. The Consumer Council of Norway also believes that certain aspects of the technical terms and conditions are in breach of the Marketing Control Act.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) recently stated that iTunes music downloads should be allowed on non-Apple MP3 players.  European regulators have given Apple enough time to eradicate the problem, with reportedly little interest from Apple.

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By sprockkets on 6/10/2006 11:28:18 AM , Rating: 1
Someone intelligent in Europe says that DRM sucks and that you should have the legal right to play your PAID music wherever you want.

RE: translation
By michael2k on 6/10/2006 11:53:10 AM , Rating: 1
When are they going to apply that to DVDs then? Isn't it still illegal to rip your own DVDs due to the EU Copyright Directive?

There are TONS more DVDs than there are iTunes tracks, and it isn't legal to rip a DVD to a format playable by, of all things, an iPod in the EU.

See, all you people complaining about not being able to play iTMS tracks on non iPods... we iPod people want to play our DVDs on our iPods too!

RE: translation
By Griswold on 6/10/2006 12:49:50 PM , Rating: 4
Err.. you can play your DVDs on any DVD player right? Can you play your (itunes) music on any portable music player?

What was your point again?

RE: translation
By michael2k on 6/10/2006 3:50:04 PM , Rating: 1
Uh, I can legally transport, copy, and burn my iTMS files but cannot legally rip my DVDs to play on my iPod in h.264 nor cannot burn copies of my DVDs.

Your statement, "Play your DVDs on any DVD player" is like saying "Play your iTMS on any iPod, right?"

Because I can't actually play my DVDs on ANY portable video player. My iPod, for example, is a portable video player.

RE: translation
By Griswold on 6/10/2006 5:07:06 PM , Rating: 2
You just dont get it. You can play your DVDs on any DVD player of any brand. It doesnt matter whether or not you can or are allowed to rip it. On the other hand, you cant play your itunes music on any other player than the ones from apple.

This isnt about legal rights to copy, this is about a company preventing anyone from playing the music on any other hardware other than their own - and that makes your DVD example look rather silly in the first place.

Got it now?

RE: translation
By michael2k on 6/10/2006 5:14:41 PM , Rating: 2
I get your point, do you get mine? The only difference in your example right now between DVDs and iTMS files is that Apple does not license the Fairplay codec. As soon as Apple does license the Fairplay codec, your world becomes identical, in that any iTMS file can be played on any player.

My example however is quite different. iTMS files can be burned to CD and ripped to MP3, unprotected AAC, raw WAV, or WMA. This is explicitly allowed for in the iTMS terms of service. DVDs, however, by laws that say DRM cannot be circumvented, cannot be ripped to the HDD, cannot be re-encoded to M4P, cannot be copied to my iPod, and cannot be reburned to CD/DVD/whatever.

All this legal rumbling will do nothing that cannot already be done with songs purchased from the iTMS, so I think of it as a waste of time; will these laws then also allow me to take my 40+DVDs, legally rip them to my HDD, reencode as M4P files, burn back to a DVD for backup, and then copy them to my iPod for later viewing?

RE: translation
By BladeVenom on 6/10/2006 3:55:55 PM , Rating: 1
What about game consoles then? Should Nintendo have to make their games playable on any console?

RE: translation
By Griswold on 6/10/2006 5:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
THEIR games, thats right. Its not apples music though. They just charge you for downloading it.

RE: translation
By BladeVenom on 6/10/2006 5:19:24 PM , Rating: 2
Most games for Nintendo weren't developed by Nintendo. Usually they are made by outside developers.

RE: translation
By Zelvek on 6/10/2006 5:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
That is also quite differnt. See the true issue is that Apple wont share/sell thier file format with others. Game consoles are a hardware issue not software. Nintendo could sell their hardware design but no one would buy into it because they would have to sell their version for more and still make almost no profit on the hardware.

RE: translation
By lemonadesoda on 6/10/2006 5:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
My goodness you guys are dim.

The legal point is that YOU the consumer, have paid ALL LEGALLY REQUIRED FEES demanded by the music industry to "own" the recording and have the right to do with that recording WHATEVER you want, up to the point of NOT broadcasting it, or making copies that will be given to other people either by sale or gift.

So YOU as a comsumer have that right. Under law.

But Apple is making a condition of purchase that you do not have this right. It enforces their terms via DRM.

EU is not against DRM. It is against a company making terms of business that are contrary to the existing rule of law.

Can you imagine if 711 sold coca-cola but made it a condition of sale that you could only drink that coke in a 711 cup and on a certain table in the corner made for coke drinking?

I think the people would be pissed. Coke would be pissed. And if the government had consumer law saying that you were allowed to purchase, eat, drink and take away whereever you wanted, then the government would be pissed.

Perhaps you get it now?

Whoever is comparing this to Nintendo needs their head smashing against a wall to help them think more clearly. Remember, Apple has created nothing here (regarding the music). All they have done is gone to the record companies and agreed to pay a small fee for each song they sell. (Which is in fact peanuts compared to the price they sell you the song at... ). Apple does not own the rights to any songs. While Nintendo does own the rights to the programs/games it produced.

RE: translation
By Zelvek on 6/10/2006 5:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
No but apple does own the rights to the format that the music is in and they are not making the format available.

RE: translation
By lemonadesoda on 6/10/2006 6:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree with your comment Zelvek.

In a strange twist of law, if you own an iTunes song, then you probably have the "right" to download the same music as WAV or MP3. And via P2P!

As long as the P2P "uploading" is intended to be made available ONLY to people who ALREADY owned the same songs via iTunes, (or other format). Then the uploader might not be on the wrong side of the law... Except for any "broadcast" to people who DO NOT already have some format ownership of that song.

I can see the defence lawyers helping me out here with the details...

RE: translation
By protosv on 6/11/2006 12:20:49 AM , Rating: 2
I believe this is a common misconception. Apple does not own the AAC format. What they own is the Fairplay DRM which is applied to this format. They are not under any kind of obligation to make this DRM scheme public. They should, however, under EU law, be required to license it to other companies so that iTMS tracks will be compatible with other music players.

RE: translation
By ElFenix on 6/11/2006 1:05:21 AM , Rating: 2
if 711 were selling it cheap enough then yes, i would gladly go to 711 and buy coke there and drink it according to their terms. apple broke the album up into component tracks successfully, so i can get the songs i want without the songs i don't, and i'm willing to give up a little for that.

you don't understand contracts. i don't have to buy into apple or its system. but if i want to buy something from iTMS, and i do so fully understanding the limitations of such tracks, i don't know why some euro government determines that it has to tell me and the person i'm contracting with what the terms of our agreement have to be. does the government of norway think that norweigians are idiots? it must.

Conspiracy? I think so.
By AT39 on 6/10/2006 1:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, here comes the conspiracy theory.

Apple has everyone right where they want them. I swear to god that this is the most successful monopoly I have seen in this industry. Think about it.

Apple got the iPod popularized by a wonderful and very intuitive design. It is a great design, you must agree with that. But now they have music that can only be played on their player. ONLY. And now Steve Jobs has announced that everyone has to buy a new player each year. Plus the batteries seem to die after abotu a year. Coincidence?

And then Apple uses the iPod deathes to get people in their stores to look at iMacs.

Apple is very intelligent and clever, but someone really has to blow this thing wide open because like Microsoft in the Operating system sector, it has pretty much a complete monoply on the industry.

RE: Conspiracy? I think so.
By gez on 6/10/2006 5:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
While I completely agree with the assesment of Apple's marketing strategy, Apple has about the farthest thing from a "Monopoly" on portable audio players. Remember that "Dominant" is not nearly the same as "Monopoly." Apple has the dominant portable music player, but there are entire store aisles filled with alternatives to iPod. Even Microsoft is not, and never was, a true monopoly. A successful company does everything they can to steer you toward their product, and hold your business for as long as they can. That is what MS has done, and that is all Apple is currently doing.

RE: translation
By scorn100 on 6/10/2006 1:20:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think this ruling is ridiculous. If you follow their logic, then every PC software should be made to work on a Mac and vica versa. Why shouldn't Apple be permitted to sell ipods and music that only plays on ipods? When I buy MS Word for the Mac, I don't expect that it should work on my other PC. I realize that I have to buy MS Word for a PC as well.

i think that this is a bunch of consumers complaining about a succesful product. I'd like to make all the EC regulatory bodies read a copy of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". maybe then, they'll realize that it's ok for the creator of a successful product to reap their rewards.

BTW, why isn't anyone complaining about Napster making it tracks work on iPods?

You can still always buy the CD and rip it to your computer as MP3 files. An iPod will play any MP3 file. Plus it's still legal to do this.

RE: translation
By killerroach on 6/10/2006 1:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
The difference being that there isn't just one company making PCs, and that Napster uses the PlaysForSure DRM standard, which works on players from several different companies. For a company to have cut deals with the record industry in order to give themselves a market-dominant position and then use that position to lock everybody else out of the market, that's where the issue lies. While it is true that it isn't a monopoly, it is vaguely anticompetitive.

The only other issue is whether or not the anti-competitive position is the fault of Apple or actually the fault of the RIAA in allowing the widest range of their music be carried only on Apple's music store with its heavy restrictions on what devices it can be played back on.

RE: translation
By Zelvek on 6/10/2006 5:29:56 PM , Rating: 2
A file format and software are two very different things the point is that the format you download the music in is exclusive and not even being made available to others to use.

RE: translation
By Lonyo on 6/10/2006 6:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think if Apple did the required stuff Napster could play on the iPod, Apple just choose not to.
Other manufacturers CAN'T get a way to allow iTunes music to play on their players, that is the issue.
The complaint is I believe that there is not an option for people to put the required stuff on their players (like protected WMA support, Napster etc). Not everyone is going to add wma/Napster etc to their players, but people CAN'T even if they want to add support for iTunes protected music.

As far as MS Word, that's a poor comparison.
It would be more akin to only allowing .doc files to be read on a PC running Windows. As it is you can read them under Linux, on a Mac etc, and there is likely the option for other OS'/hardware to be able to support reading them as well, if people so wished to add the support.

By Cunthor01 on 6/10/2006 7:56:44 PM , Rating: 2
If they want to fight piracy, they should make all pirated mp3s DRM infected, and legaly purchased stuff DRM-free.

But that will never happen since it makes sense, and RIAA and rest of those criminals are stupid.

RE: Yep.
By Zirconium on 6/10/2006 9:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
You have no idea what you are talking about. If they make "legaly [sic] purchased stuff DRM-free," then how will pirated mp3s be "DRM infected?" Will pirates be inserting DRM as they rip their CDs or redistributing their legally purchased DRM-free content?

RE: Yep.
By Cunthor01 on 6/11/2006 4:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
Agree, its very much impossible. However, the principle fact is legaly purchased anything should have a clear and distinct advantage over pirated material. Simple as that (even though the example above is not feasable). Pay for the material, it works on every device, download it illegaly, and it doesnt.

A positive step
By PrinceGaz on 6/10/2006 11:37:47 AM , Rating: 2
I feel sorry for people who've bought many tracks from iTunes because up until now they've been unable to play them on any portable device other than an iPod. Granted, iPods are popular (though only because of marketing rather than actually being a superior product) but anyone who has spent several hundred pounds buying music from iTunes is effectively prevented from switching to a non-iPod music player because they lose their music collection.

Okay, they can always resort to "unofficial" software that is available (if they know about it) which strips the DRM from the AAC files, but even then they need a music player which supports AAC format or have to go through a lossy conversion to a more mainstream format like MP3.

Apple won't like being forced to remove the DRM from their files in Scandinavia, Britain (hey it's good that the British Pornographic Industry are actually on the side of us consumers for once), hopefully all of Europe or better still worldwide. The iTunes/iPod scam has made them a lot of money and they want to force their customers to contine buying iPods to access their music, and continue using iTunes to buy more music for them, but it's about time a stop was put to it.

RE: A positive step
By michael2k on 6/10/2006 11:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
You can believe an iPod is only successful because of marketing, but if it were ONLY marketing, it wouldn't have lasted past one generation. They are now at, what, five generations of iPod and three generations of mini/nano, and one generation of Shuffle.

Hype would only have gotten them through one, at most two generations.

Do you know what you anti-iPod people sound like? The original Mac users who hated Windows!

How does it feel to be lumped in with them?

"You're stuck because you're tied to your entire software collection is tied to Windows"
"Windows is only successful because of massive business adoption, because really it sucks"

RE: A positive step
By Strunf on 6/10/2006 12:39:51 PM , Rating: 2
You're wrong marketing can make sell crap for as many generations as it takes... just look to Intel and how long have they been selling inferior CPU when compared to the competition and they still there with an hefty 75% of the market share...

RE: A positive step
By michael2k on 6/10/2006 3:47:33 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, Intel is hardly crap. It may note be best of breed, but it's certainly not crap. If you think Apple:Intel as ???:AMD, the problem is who will take the role of Apple as the superior product? Creative didn't have a superior usability, size, or function, and Sansa is #2 and is copying Apple's physical design.

RE: A positive step
By Zelvek on 6/10/2006 5:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
Ah last I checked the creative zen micro was smaller than the Ipod of the same generation (hell the nano is onle slightly smaller and its the next gereration). Creative suports as many mainstream formats as Ipod and the usability of the Ipod is due to an interface that Creative owns. So is apple superior to creative when the only thing exclusive to them is a propriatary music store which with a simple hack programe can be used with creative? obviously not. No I don't hate Ipod I think their fine players I have even owned one but I do feel that they are not the best as many people claim they are.

RE: A positive step
By michael2k on 6/10/2006 6:32:26 PM , Rating: 3
1) Zen Micro is 3.3"x2.0"x0.7" while the mini was 3.5"x2.0"x0.5", so approximately the same size; shorter, but thicker.
2) The Zen Micro was released 9 months after the iPod mini, and three years after the first iPod; it took Creative 3 years to release something smaller than an iPod.
3) Creative still doesn't support MP4 (also known as AAC), and it lists only 3 codecs supported: MP3, WMA, and WAV, while the iPod lists MP3, AAC, WAV, AIF, Audible, and ALE, a losslessly compressed codec
4) The Zen interface wasn't actually implemented until AFTER the iPod. Apple inherited the interface from NeXTStep, who had the interface since 1986.
5) Apple is superior because it consistently creates better players. Here's the list of "revolutionary/evolutionary" capabilities that Creative LATER copied.

A) 1.8" HDD in 2001, Creative later adopts this size and format in 2004
B) 1" HDD in 2004, Creative later adopts this size and format 9 months later in 2004
C) Firewire support in 2001 allowing for 16mb/s synchronization, Creative later adopts USB2 in 2002
D) Mass Storage support to allow for driver-less synchronization on any computer, using as a HDD, and a boot device in 2001. Creative later adopts USB mass storage with the Zen Neeon 2005, but until the relies on PDE and later MTP, requiring drivers to use their devices.
E) Simple, usable, easy UI; the iPod introduced the now famous 5 button+scrollwheel interface in 2001. Creative doesn't follow suit until 2004 with the Zen Touch and Zen Micro.

Now it is 2006 and Creative has been able to copy ALL of Apple's at the time innovations. Maybe now you can buy a Zen without fear, but they have consistently been ahead of the pack in terms of features, UI, design, and size. Even now the Zen Vision:M is thicker than an iPod with Video.

So for the first three years of it's life the iPod was the king of MP3 players (2001-2004) and it's been augmenting that success with the addition of the ultra portable and compact Shuffle, the ultra slim and stylish Nano, and the addition of new content from the iTMS. If Creative wants to take that crown away, it'll take more than a 3 year late copycat!

RE: A positive step
By Wonga on 6/10/2006 5:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
The point I'm driving at here is that the iPod is a huge success, which in turn is making iTunes a huge success. Due to this, people will end up buying AAC songs which won't work on any other players by design.

Maybe the stats say the average number of songs people are getting from iTunes is small, but some people get loads. I know loads of people who buy off iTunes.

I'm pleased that Apple is getting into hot water over this in Europe, not because I like to see a company fail (as I really like the iPod, as I said), but because people are going to struggle in the future when they have a load of songs that won't play on anything but an Apple device. Now, who's to stop Apple from raising the price of their players at this point?

I'm not having a rant about DRM or anything here (I don't mind that at all, if people don't want to buy the CDs themselves and copy them onto the device), but rather the proprietary nature of this format. No matter how you slice it, it has the potential to force consumers to buy a certain brand (short of throwing all their music away).

RE: A positive step
By Wonga on 6/10/2006 5:25:20 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm... that shoulda gone further down the topic...

RE: A positive step
By PrinceGaz on 6/10/2006 11:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, you put it a lot better than I did.

Once people have bought an iPod and start building a music collection from iTunes, they are locked into only ever buying iPods in future, or throwing away their entire music collection. Or using "unofficial" (unauthorised, probably illegal) software to remove the DRM from the music they've already paid for if they want to play it on anything else.

Personally I hate this whole virtual ownership model that companies are pushing. When I buy the rights to use something, I want a complete unrestricted copy of it on an industry standard media-format so that I know I'll always be able to use it provided I take care of the media. That's why I never bought a copy of Half Life 2 because the disc was useless without going online to obtain the part of the game they excluded from the disc (it was still a damn good game though, but I'd never buy it in that format).

Sell music in an unrestricted format and we'll buy it. Ideally follow the example of AllOfMP3 and allow us to buy it in whatever format and bitrate we want, and at a price that represents what it really costs after all the marketing, distribution, and retailing costs are removed.

RE: A positive step
By ElFenix on 6/11/2006 1:11:10 AM , Rating: 2
apple has found plenty of buyers without putting the music in an unrestricted format. you're aware that iTMS would not exist whatsoever if it weren't for that restricted format, aren't you?

and marketing costs need to be paid regardless of the distribution method. and of course, iTMS involves a distribution cost: someone has to pay for the servers, the bandwidth, the programming, the techs to keep the whole thing running, etc. so, obviously you can't strip out *all* the marketing, distribution, and retailing costs. again, apple has found plenty of buyers. there were tons of people buying CDs for the 3 good tracks on them. the price for those 3 good tracks has decreased from ~$5 each to $1 each. that isn't a bargain?

RE: A positive step
By Wonga on 6/10/2006 12:41:58 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know, I could be wrong here, but I think it has survived five generations because of great marketing. Everyone knows about the iPod and iTunes - the media often talks about "iPods" before they talk about "MP3 players". In fact, I bet some people still don't know what an MP3 is, but they know about "iPod files".

So, since everyone knows about these things, everyone gets an iPod, so therefore uses iTunes, which in turn causes them to stick with iPods. It is a little bit of a trap.

Not to say that iPods are bad - I actually wish I'd paid the extra and got one instead of my Creative Zen I have now (well, in fact, I don't have it, since it's a second one returned under warranty - I no, I aint been throwing it around!).

RE: A positive step
By michael2k on 6/10/2006 3:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
The numbers are out there; do the math, there is something like 11 songs per iPod. On the other hand how many CDs are there per iPod? 80? 90? 100?

The iTMS is essentially irrelevant to the success of the iPod. It is, however, because of the success of the iPod (42 million sold now?) that the iTMS is a success. If everyone who owns an iPod got a $15 gift certificate for Christmas from the iTMS, that would explain a lot of the success of the iTMS.

I bought an iPod in 2001. The only real alternative were 128mb Rio flash player or a 6GB Creative Nomad. Both were crap compared to an iPod. Then look at Creative's players; they didn't release a 1.8" HDD player, the Zen Touch until 2004, giving Apple three years and tree generations to cement their lead. Apple additionally released the wildly successful iPod mini in the January 2004 Macworld, which Creative could not match until later in November with the Zen micro.

So 3 years is a long time to give the competition to dominate the market.

RE: A positive step
By Wonga on 6/10/2006 5:25:38 PM , Rating: 3
The point I'm driving at here is that the iPod is a huge success, which in turn is making iTunes a huge success. Due to this, people will end up buying AAC songs which won't work on any other players by design.

Maybe the stats say the average number of songs people are getting from iTunes is small, but some people get loads. I know loads of people who buy off iTunes.

I'm pleased that Apple is getting into hot water over this in Europe, not because I like to see a company fail (as I really like the iPod, as I said), but because people are going to struggle in the future when they have a load of songs that won't play on anything but an Apple device. Now, who's to stop Apple from raising the price of their players at this point?

I'm not having a rant about DRM or anything here (I don't mind that at all, if people don't want to buy the CDs themselves and copy them onto the device), but rather the proprietary nature of this format. No matter how you slice it, it has the potential to force consumers to buy a certain brand (short of throwing all their music away).

RE: A positive step
By acejj26 on 6/10/2006 12:03:07 PM , Rating: 2
You can play iTunes songs on other mp3 players but it requires that you jump through a hoop. You just burn the songs to a CD in iTunes and rip them back using another program of your choosing (i.e. Windows Media Player). Not that big of a deal in my mind.

RE: A positive step
By Griswold on 6/10/2006 12:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
Too big of a deal for Joe and Jenny Average.

RE: A positive step
By michael2k on 6/10/2006 3:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
So is converting their library of AAC files to MP3 to play on alternative MP3 players!

RE: A positive step
By modestninja on 6/10/2006 4:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
You also lose quality from the already questionable quality of the 128kbs aac unless you rip it to a lossless format (which takes a tone of space for a poor quality song.)

RE: A positive step
By Strunf on 6/10/2006 12:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you, more so when Apple did all that crap against Real's Harmony, I know very well Real Networks ONLY wants to sell just like Apple and ANY other company... some may say MS and Real do the same just like Apple but at least they give the chance to make MP3 players compatible with their solution and that's not the case of Apple... I’m somewhat surprised that the authorities took so much time to start filling lawsuits maybe they were too busy filling lawsuits against MS…

Only Half What I Want
By kelmon on 6/10/2006 12:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
My position on the subject is that I want digital music to be treated in the same way as CDs. I not only want to have the choice on WHICH media player to use when playing back my music but also to be able to choose WHERE I buy it from. Since I use a Mac, and have no intention of going back to Windows in the near future, it's disappointing that I have very little choice of where I buy music from because most of the "alternatives" require Windows. I'd like to see cross-platform access to music stores so that I can take advantage of the best prices/services, and be able to playback that music on whatever device I want.

Adding Apple's FairPlay to other players and adding Windows DRM to iPods would certainly help but the software used to access the stores also needs to change.

By newbrew on 6/10/2006 6:40:44 PM , Rating: 1
What idiots. Uhhh, burn CD, rip into MP3, PORTABLE. DUH. Is Europe really that stupid? And, it's Apple's service. Don't like it, don't use it. Don't like that iPod it's tied to? Don't buy iPod. Oh, that sucks because iPod is the best? Well, if GM does stuff to my BMW, my warranty is screwed. Hmmmm? Free Bimmer for me cause I'm inconvenienced or too stupid to just take it to the BMW dealership?

Tell France and Norway to shove it. Buy the crap from Samsung or Creative or iRiver. Let those who want iPods make their decision and live with it.

There's competition in the market. And even if there weren't, Apple isn't doing anything to hinder the market. Except make the best stuff.

By lemonadesoda on 6/10/2006 7:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
You are the idiot newbrew, not Europeans.

The issue is not the DRM. The issue is that the consumer has legally bought a copy of a song and he/she is allowed to use it without restriction.

Therefore, Apple only needs to create a "player" codec to use on other devices and the issue is solved. This could be in QuickTime, MediaPlayer, or even make it available to other companies to incorporate (under license) in other players.

ALTERNATIVELY, sell the song via iTunes using DRM that can be used on other players.

By JackBurton on 6/10/2006 7:29:22 PM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, I'd say YOU are the idiot lemonadesoda. If you can get out of the cave you've been living in for the last few years, the recording inductry has been trying out all types of copy protection to keep you from playing the music you [b]bought on CD[/b] from ANY mp3 player. They've even gone as far as to keep you from playing your CD on your PC. There was no law that kept the recording industry from doing this and the ONLY reason they've moved from one protection scheme to another is because it kept getting cracked and was proving very ineffective. The RIAA is roaming free to aparently do whatever they want, so I REALLY don't see a porblem with Apple's service. Like I said, Steve Jobs needs to tell Norway and their 10 iTunes downlolads to suck his ass.

Apple should be able to do whatever they want with their own service that they invested quite a bit of money in. If you don't like it, don't use it. It's as simple as that.

By lemonadesoda on 6/10/2006 8:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps, JackBurton, you are right. Only you are an even bigger idiot.

PS. I'd like to point out that I dont take a habit of insulting individual posters, other than my ironic use of newbie's generalised insult on Europe, which, I believe is unwarranted.

(so I herewith take back the idiot on you Jack)

To the point: The copy protection mechanism on some CDs is exactly that: copy protection, not play protection. You can play it on any CD device. You can "record" your CD to Mini-disk, tape, or audio input into your MP3 player.

UNFORTUNATELY, some distributors of music, took the view that people don't really "play" their CD's on their PC's, but rather RIP and COPY them... to either full CD's, or MP3s, and then SHARE these with friends, or P2P.

And based on this view, they attempted to stop this element of amateur copying by implementing this restriction.

The RIAA (American), or any other organisation representing music rights throughout the world, cannot stop you for making copies for your own use. FULL STOP.

You bought the music. You bought the rights to listen to the music. The "format" is irrelevant. However, you did not buy the rights to re-publish or broadcast the material.

Although I fully agree with the comment "Apple should be able to do whatever they want with their own service that they invested quite a bit of money in. If you don't like it, don't use it. It's as simple as that", technically speaking, they are breaking existing consumer rights laws.

Yes we have consumer rights laws in Europe. Shock.

The EU itself is shutting down more P2P servers than any other country. They do not condone piracy. But unfortunately, in this situation, Apple is breaking the law.

Under European law (or at least in many countries), if you cannot use a product you purchased in the way you intended, you can return it for a full refund.

And Apple doesn't allow this either.

Its a legally tricky situation. Although in most circumstances, you say, "Well common sense"... unfortunately when it comes to laws, we cannot ignore them and substitute with common sense on a case by case basis.

Although iTunes is a relatively low-value issue (on a case by case basis), the existing law is relevant for a lot of products and services, and the protection is welcome and needed

By JackBurton on 6/10/2006 9:11:04 PM , Rating: 2
"Under European law (or at least in many countries), if you cannot use a product you purchased in the way you intended, you can return it for a full refund."

The way YOU intended to use it? So if I can't rip a DVD I bought, you can return it? Give me a break. iTunes is playing on ALL devices it was intended to work on. If you are trying to manipulated it to get it to work on devices it wasn't inteneded to work on, that is not Apple's problem. Now if you have some moronic law that dictates to a company what their prodcuts should and shouldn't do, that's not Apple's problem. If Apple is breaking some law in that country, I would suggest pulling iTunes completely from that country. Now lemonadesoda, you can now invest all your money in a service that will fill the void of where iTunes USED to be. But be sure to ask everyone in Europe what your service needs to support or you might get sued. Have fun.

And for the record, I do think you are a moron. But I'd like to point out that I don't take a habit of insulting individual posters, so I herewith take back the moron on you lemonadesoda. ;)

By ElFenix on 6/11/2006 1:15:37 AM , Rating: 2
so, when you bought a track at iTMS, knowing full well in advance it would only play on an iPod, not being able to play the track on something other than an iPod is keeping you from using it as intended?

that simply isn't reasonable.

By Xavian on 6/10/2006 7:19:23 PM , Rating: 2
Against Consumer Choice? Check!
For non-interpolarable DRM? Check!
Tied into iPods and thus iTunes? Check!
Thinks Apple has the highest quality players and the rest is crap? Check!
Thinks we should all buy CD's to remove the DRM to play on other players? Check!
Thinks Apple is gods-gift to MP3 Players? Check!

Apple Fanboy Alert!

seriously there are so many points that are wrong in your post.

Think about this, Plays For Sure DRM its every every music store except iTunes and is available on every MP3 Player out there, except Apples. Why? you ask, because APPLE DOESN'T WANNA INTERGRATE IT INTO THEIR PLAYERS. Ok now we have that down.

Lets take Apples AAC fairplay DRM, its only available on Apples players, iTunes sells music in ONLY that format and DRM and no other music store has fairplay DRM AAC music files. Why? you ask, because APPLE WON'T LICENCE FAIRPLAY DRM TO ANY OTHER COMPANY OUT THERE, ok we have that down.

Now, if you can't see the problem there and the serious trap that lies before those who have an iPod and want to move to another music store, then i give up.

By Xavian on 6/10/2006 7:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
1st every = on, whoops, need edit people!

What's the issue?
By Chad Woodburn on 6/11/2006 7:48:29 AM , Rating: 2
I have absolutely no problem playing my iTunes music on other devises. I play them on my Sony Walkman, I play them on my boom box stereo system, I play them on the car sound system, and I play the iTunes music from my DVD player. So what's the issue?

Oh, I see. Some people want Apple to do the conversion for them? Well, the video companies don't do the conversion for me when I want to watch a DVD on a CD player machine. I have to do that myself. It is no problem to do, though. I can save the DVD to a crunched down format so that it just takes up 770 Megs. (Only with ones I bought!) That way I can watch them on computers that don't have DVD players (some are old).

I think the European courts and harpies are nuts.

RE: What's the issue?
By Hare on 6/11/2006 8:34:42 AM , Rating: 2
I think the European courts and harpies are nuts.
And you are from the US? That was priceless :D

RE: What's the issue?
By Helbore on 6/11/2006 3:01:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get why so many people stick up for Apple in situations like this. Apple is supposed to supply us, the consumer. We don't owe them loyalty.

iTunes might be something developed by Apple, but how can anyone say that gives them the right to do whatever they want with it? Consider it this way. Richard branson decides to build a new Virgin Megastore. He invests money in developing the building. He then decides that all the CDs will only be sold to people who agree to play them on a particular brand of CD player. Now Virgin might own the store, but they don't own the music. They are reselling a product and cannot go restricting its uses like that. The consumer law states that, once you have purchased the song, it is yours to do with as you please, as long as you are not redistributing it (you don't have a licence to resell the music) or broadcast it (you do not have a broadcasting licence) Hence Mr. Branson would never be so stupid to try and pull off an exercise like this in his store.

The issue here is that Apple are reselling a product. It is not their product, it is someone elses product. They are then controlling how the consumer can use it. Consider this; I buy an iPod because it is the best player on the market. I but loads of music from iTunes because it integrates so well with my iPod. A year goes by and I now need to replace my iPod. A new company has brought out a superior player, £100 less than the iPod and the new model iPod is a pile of shite. I want to buy the non-Apple player, but crap, none of my music will work on it. So I'm now forced to buy a sub-standard player at a premium price. Sure, I could do all these fancy things to strip out Apple's copy protection, but I've got 3000 songs in iTunes. It will take forever. I need to be an expert with computers.

This is where the problem lies. This is how companies railroad consumers into products.

1) Apple are forcing consumers to stick with the iPod brand for future generations. Generations which could be sub-standard, over-priced or both.

) Apple are ignoring consumer music licencing by not allowing the consumer to use the purchased product as they see fit. Apple can slap any disclaimer they want on iTumes. Its still illegal. I can't sell a product without a one-year guarantee here in Britain. If I stick a disclaimer on it saying it only has a 30-day guarantee, I am in violation of the Sale of Goods Act. Simply providing a product doesn't give you the right to sell it with any stipulation you see fit.

Simply put, we, as consumers, should be glad that governments remind big business that they are ALSO subject to the law. It is in our best interests that companies are not allowed to get away with dong whatever they want.

RE: What's the issue?
By Logical on 6/11/2006 5:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
I agree why stick up for Apple which has clearly built a better music player and stood up against the music companies to keep the cost of songs at 99 US cents.

We should definetly find a way to weaken their position and drive up the per song cost.

RE: What's the issue?
By TomZ on 6/12/2006 2:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
I agree why stick up for Apple which has clearly built a better music player and stood up against the music companies to keep the cost of songs at 99 US cents.

Oh, right - you believe that PR bullshit? Like Apple is the great protector of the consumer, and defended our ability to buy songs for "only" 99 cents. Yea, right.

RE: What's the issue?
By Helbore on 6/13/2006 1:42:23 PM , Rating: 2
So Apple make a good player. Ok. So now we owe them everything and should allow them to get away with anything?

I'm not saying Apple is a shitty company that has no worth. The point is that just because Apple might have done some good things doesn't mean they can do whatever they want and still expect the respect of the customers.

Apple are breaking consumer protection laws. Plain and simple. Apple should get their arse kicked for that, just like any of us would do if we broke a law.

RE: What's the issue?
By ElFenix on 6/11/2006 9:00:40 PM , Rating: 2
if the next iPod blows people simply won't buy it and will stick to their current ones.

again, the only way apple is allowed to distribute these songs is if they are DRM enabled. otherwise, apple wouldn't be distributing these songs, there'd be no iTMS, and we'd all be stuck listening to either ripped CDs, illegally downloaded tracks, or the really crappy music stores that the record labels wanted to have (go look up their first couple of music stores). i guess Norway has decided that having an iTMS and $0.99 tracks is a bad thing and we should go along with not having legal music downloads whatsoever.

Learning the hard way
By crystal clear on 6/10/2006 11:14:26 PM , Rating: 2
"The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) recently stated that iTunes music downloads should be allowed on non-Apple MP3 players. European regulators have given Apple enough time to eradicate the problem, with reportedly little interest from Apple."

Just like MS is leaarning the hardway in its dealing with E.U., Apple will do so the same way.
Lets be realistic,you can give arguments & counter arguments
with 10s of examples for & against.
E.U. laws bite you hard deep into pocket & if you want to
operate in the E.U. region ,you got abide by their laws-
like it or not.
They are after China & Russia also for other reasons.
In short Apple should learn from M.S. about the E.U.-no point fighting the E.U,you end up loosing huge sums of money

RE: Learning the hard way
By michael2k on 6/11/2006 12:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
So... what Apple needs to do is offer a button, "Convert to MP3" and they would then meet the BPI/EU requirements right?

Because to play an AAC file on an MP3 player (since most of the non Apple players don't play AAC) requires transcoding.

RE: Learning the hard way
By crystal clear on 6/11/2006 12:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
What Apple needs to do is-GO TO BRUSSELS and sort it out.
This from my own experience with EU.

Good Luck!
By andrewholden on 6/11/2006 1:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
Good luck! Norway is NOT a member of the EU and does NOT want to be. We chose to stay outside the EU twice by popular referenda thus preserving our national sovereignty. Apple can complain all it wants to - Brussels has no power here.

RE: Good Luck!
By crystal clear on 6/11/2006 2:05:32 AM , Rating: 2
"The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) recently stated that iTunes music downloads should be allowed on non-Apple MP3 players. European regulators have given Apple enough time to eradicate the problem, with reportedly little interest from Apple."

I am talking about E.U -not Norway.
Anyway Norway is not far away for a brief stopover to sort out the problem there also or the Nordic region.

RE: Good Luck!
By Strunf on 6/11/2006 7:50:58 AM , Rating: 2
"In fact, at least three Nordic nations, want iTunes downloaded songs to be playable on all digital music players"
Norway is not but I'm betting that at least one of the other two is, since 3 out of 5 are part of the EU ;)

Class action v Ignorance
By smilingcrow on 6/10/2006 7:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
If Apple made it clear that music purchased from the iTunes store would only play on ipod hardware and iTunes software, then I don’t see the problem. If they didn’t make this clear, then the phrase that comes to mind is Class Action. I know that you can convert AAC-DRM to MP3, but this involves a loss of quality, technical skills and time. Did Apple make the limitation clear so that non techies could understand?

RE: Class action v Ignorance
By lemonadesoda on 6/10/2006 8:15:03 PM , Rating: 2
Although this sounds like an easy solution, its not that simple.

Existing legislation gives consumers certain rights. For example, did you know that in some countries there is a MINIMUM NUMBER OF YEARS WARRANTY that must be provided with all consumer electronics.

That means a Samsung warranty in one country, just an example, may be longer in one country than another. Samsung cannot just write on the box: "Never mind your local laws, you only get a 3 month warranty with this item".

Although the Apple issue is different, the legal one is similar: existing consumer protection law is being broken. Apple needs to comply with the sales laws in each country it sells in.

Remember also that a lot of what Apple is selling is also "European" licensed music. Music written, produced, or distributed through European music associations.

Apple could solve this by selling iTunes downloads in another format in European countries. This could be WAV, MP3, or other "open" DRM format. So long as local laws are complied with.

I bet you Americans would be pissed if that happened! LOL.

RE: Class action v Ignorance
By JackBurton on 6/10/2006 9:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
I actually buy very few iTunes song due to the DRM and lossy audio compression. I buy the CD, rip it to DRM free MP3 and THEN move it to my iPod. I accept Apple's rules and make the decision to buy or not buy a song from iTunes. Like I said, MOST of the time, I just go out and buy the CD.

iTunes on iPod
By scottnov on 6/12/2006 1:26:58 AM , Rating: 2
I don't get it. Why can't anybody just burn their iTunes songs onto a CD and do whatever they want with them from there??

RE: iTunes on iPod
By TomZ on 6/12/2006 2:16:51 PM , Rating: 2
If someone is willing to rip a CD, they would have just bought the CD in the first place, and avoided iTunes/AAC in the first place, not to mention the hassle of recording then ripping a CD.

But I think there is a valid point made, that it is not clear to consumers that, without jumping through hoops, that their AAC songs they bought from iTunes will effectively only work on an iPod. I think most consumers have the expectation of using the file just like a book, i.e., being able to place a purchased song on any reasonable device, their PC, etc.

RE: iTunes on iPod
By michael2k on 6/12/2006 3:08:24 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I know, an iTMS is MORE usable than a DVD.

The iTMS terms of service and the Fairplay DRM allows the following:
1) Burn to CD for use in CD player
2) Copy file for backup
3) Burn to CD to transcode to another player (especially since few support AAC)

With CSS and a DVD I am not allowed to do the following:
1) Rip the DVD to HDD for use on my system
2) Copy the DVD for backup
3) Transcode the DVD for use on another player (especially since few players natively support the DVD format, such as an iPod or PSP)

Now I can rip the DVD, but I can't actually play it; CSS disallows me that luxury. So iTMS isn't any worse off than DVDs today, and seems quite a bit more flexible too, and DVDs seem quite reasonable to most people; why would consumers have any problems with the iTMS, especially since Creative and Sandisk STILL don't support AAC? They would need to convert their files to use on an MP3 player anyway.

By Hare on 6/10/2006 11:37:16 AM , Rating: 2
Look at the other side of the coin. Maybe MP3-players should support Apples fairplay drm? That way you could play iTunes downloads with your player. Yeah I know, poor example...

This "law" would require iTunes to drop the DRM protection. The problem is that if they drop the DRM many music labels will propably ditch the scandinavian DRMless iTunes market. That would be a shame. Do you want drm and music or no drm and no music...

Anyway. Interesting to see what will happen. Btw. I live in Scandinavia. Front row seats \o/

RE: Hmmm...
By smitty3268 on 6/10/2006 12:08:30 PM , Rating: 1
That would be an acceptable solution, I believe. But its not going to happen - look at the fuss Apple caused when Real reverse engineered support for it.

RE: Hmmm...
By Zelvek on 6/10/2006 5:32:20 PM , Rating: 2
But Apple won't sell the format they are using to other companies if they would I am sure that this would never have come up.

I've said Good bye iTunes
By drwho9437 on 6/10/2006 2:48:56 PM , Rating: 3
While, I do have an iPod for its best in class design, I have said goodbye to iTunes MS for DRM reasons, and gone over to eMusic. True big label stuff isn't there, but luckly most big label music is aweful anyway. The few that I might care for I will just get the CD.

I just realized its iTunes MS.... 'MS' that explains completely why they have a monopoly.

RE: I've said Good bye iTunes
By Mudvillager on 6/10/2006 8:51:32 PM , Rating: 2
I love iTunes, however I can not stand the 128kbit/s bitrate that ITMS offers so what I do is I download music illegally from the web and when I start to like it I go order the CD. When I get it I simply rip it using Apple's lossless audio codec (come on 300-400MB for one CD is nothing compared to one ripped movie when taking the replay value into account).

A bit clumpsy but I will not have any future problems with DRM stuff (if I buy a player other than iPod I can simply convert my songs to a supported format without having lost any sound quality earlier).

By shabby on 6/10/2006 10:12:33 AM , Rating: 3

Not Really Apple's Fault
By Ralph The Magician on 6/10/2006 3:44:12 PM , Rating: 2
As many have already said, this doesn't really have anything to do with Apple. They'd sell just as many iPods and songs if you could transcode AAC to MP3. It's a DRM issue, and it's the record labels that press it.

RE: Not Really Apple's Fault
By JackBurton on 6/10/2006 6:29:29 PM , Rating: 1
Umm, if I was Steve Jobs I'd tell Norway so suck my ass. Apple developed their service, they can do with it what they'd like. If you don't like to, fine, use another service. But don't try and tell me what my service HAS to do. If they want to play that way, I'd yank iTunes completely out from under Norway's feet. "I'm sorry, due to the actions of your government officials, iTunes will no longer be available in Norway. To bad, so sad."

By jogrim on 6/10/2006 12:57:20 PM , Rating: 2
You might be interested in this article which explains more of the background for the Consumer Council of Norway's original complaint leading up to the Ombudsman's decision:

and what about Plays For Sure?
By fortnighttv on 6/10/2006 1:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
Making it possible to listen to Napster or Urge downloads on a mac and ipod would be even more difficult. Microsoft has no plan to introduce Media Player 11 for Mac. So how's that gonna work? It won't. Microsoff and Apple will join forces AGAINST the interoperability issue... And it's not even an Apple/Microsoft issue. It's a record label issue. Those are the greedy bastards.

What about iPod compatibility
By Hare on 6/10/2006 2:58:10 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, if iTunes songs (aac fairplay-drm) should be compatible with every other player what about every other music store. Their songs should be playable on iPods (windows media files etc). The problem is that there are way too many drm-solutions. What this law would require is pretty much dropping the whole drm scheme (which won't happen if you want to download music from major labels) or develope a joint drm scheme with universal support (won't happen either and would only affect new firmwares and players).

It's about time.....
By nangryo on 6/10/2006 11:23:37 AM , Rating: 1
For apple to stop their greediness.....
Stop selling IPOD in EU....
Making 'great deal' with the authority...


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