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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: 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).


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