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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 http://www.apple.com/no/support/itunes/legal/terms.html (Terms of Service) and http://www.apple.com/no/support/itunes/legal/policies.html  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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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.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997











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