Norway complains about Apple iTunes Music Store

“Norway’s Consumer Ombudsman has filed a complaint with Apple’s music download sales service iTunes, arguing that the transaction terms violate Norwegian law. The move is the latest step in Scandinavian skepticism towards the successful service’s protection system of songs sold for use on Apple’s massively popular iPod player,” Joacim Lund and Jonathan Tisdall report for Aftenposten.

“Sales at iTunes are downloaded in a format expressly designed to be played on iPods, and if users want to play their music in another format on another advice after purchase, they must violate their agreement,” Lund and Tisdall report. “Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon told TV 2 that Apple iTunes would either have to change their practices in Norway or pay fines.”

Full article here.

“Apple was reported to Norway’s Consumer Ombudsman earlier this year by The Consumer Council of Norway, an independent consumer rights organization. The Consumer Council complained that the iTunes Music Store’s terms and conditions and DRM violated Norway’s Marketing Control Act,” Peter Cohen reports for Playlist.

“The group called FairPlay ‘an unreasonable technical term of use, in so far as it prevents purchasers of music files at iTunes from using other MP3 players than iPods. The sole purpose of this type of DRM is to lock consumers into buying products from a dominant market player.’ The group said in its complaint that Apple’s terms of service for using the iTunes Music Store expressly forbids users from circumventing the DRM, and said that such a restriction is forbidden under Norway’s Copyright Act,” Cohen reports.

Full article here.
We’ll comment as soon as we finish playing our Norwegian-bought Xbox games on the PlayStation we picked up in Oslo; right after we download some songs from MSN Music Norway that play on our Macs and iPods. But, first, we’re going listen to Apple iTunes Music Store-purchased songs on our Motorola SLVR mobile phone.

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Related articles:
Consumer Council of Norway files a complaint regarding Apple iTunes Music Store’s terms of service – January 27, 2006
Apple’s vs. Microsoft’s music DRM: whose solution supports more users? – August 17, 2005


  1. I guess in Norway, all software applications are written to ensure they can be run on all plaforms and not locked to one specific operating system.

    On a similar note, its great that Norwegian razor blades are universal so you aren’t locked into buying one brand of razors.,, and inkjet toner cartridges… so on… and so on…

  2. I think MDN is trying to have it both ways, here.

    -Whenever someone says “Apple will fail again with the iPod where it failed with the Mac,” MDN is pretty fast to proclaim that music is nothing like games or any other application, since they can easily be converted to play on any other mp3 player.

    -Yet, whenever someone complains about the format used by the iPod not working with other mp3 players, MDN makes silly comparisons about how your Playstation games don’t work on your XBox.

    MDN. As you’ve said before, music is different than applications, which take a lot more development hours. Stop comparing the two when it suits you.

  3. J they arent mixing their arguments.

    If people say itunes will fail because it being a (so-called) proprietary system and the person claiming that compares it to the mac platform, it is certainly a valid response to point out that making music work on multiple platforms is FAR easier than making software work, making making the claim invalid, then its certainly appropriate and factually correct to do so.

    If someone wants to talk about formats that are supposedly locking in consumers (which Apple isn’t doing anyway), its certainly a valid point to point out that other companies and businesses lock in their consumers to their hardware. Another valid point.

    They arent mixing arguments. They aren’t picking and choosing as you put it. Each case is different and they use different points of fact to rebuff the arguments the writers are making.

  4. Hats off to them. The more bad publicity that gets out regarding DRM of any kind, the better.

    Hey “The Other Steve”, sure I can burn a CD to convert my iTMS purchased music to be DRM free. The question is why should I? What if I’ve got 500 songs? How many CD’s will that require I burn before I can convert to MP3 or AIFF? Why doesn’t Apple allow you to convert directly on your hard drive?

    If you think Apple isn’t the one forcing DRM, you’re wrong. Try selling your music as an independent artist on iTunes and requesting that Apple not put DRM on it and see how far you get.

    Also try playing the videos you buy off of iTunes on something other than the iTunes player. Then you can see why DRM sucks period.

  5. Macromancer. I respectfully disagree (Wow, has phrase ever been used by an MDN reader before? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> )

    Someone can’t play music on their (inferior) Creative mp3 player, and MDN’s response is to forget about it because why would one expect to be able to play Xbox games on their Playstation. Its a silly comparision.

  6. J, Jeff . . . Why aren’t you two bitching about Microsoft’s DRM policy as loudly as you are about Apple’s? Just because WMA-locked tunes play on MORE devices doesn’t make MS’s restrictions any less onerous than Apple’s for an individual user.

    Now, if you’re against ALL music protection schemes, that’s one thing. But to grouse solely about Apple’s relatively benign DRM is unfair and hypocritical.

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