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Print 82 comment(s) - last by Helbore.. on Jun 13 at 1:42 PM

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: What's the issue?
By Hare on 6/11/2006 8:34:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
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
quote:
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.


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