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. “J,

    What about MDN’s excellent point that Motorola mobile phones play iTunes songs? That totally destroys Norway’s argument all by itself.”

    Fred. Yes, it does. But the Motorola example also demonstrates is that it isn’t such a stretch to have Fairplay music playing on other devices, or as MDN would say “an X-Box playing Playstation games.” Comparing mp3 players to gaming consoles simply does not work.

  2. 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?

    No, that’s a question of convenience. No one has ever claimed that it’s convenient to legally convert iTunes songs for use on other players. But too often we hear the bogus claim that it’s impossible.

    iTunes songs can be legally burned to audio CD and re-ripped to another format. Therefore it is incorrect to say that iTunes songs can only be played on an iPod. Period. End of story.

  3. “No, that’s a question of convenience. No one has ever claimed that it’s convenient to legally convert iTunes songs for use on other players. But too often we hear the bogus claim that it’s impossible.

    iTunes songs can be legally burned to audio CD and re-ripped to another format.”

    Actually, re-ripping an audio CD burned from iTunes as a means of circumventing the DRM isn’t technically legal.

  4. Norway, why did you not allow British, American, French and other forces to supply Finland over your territory when they attacked the country and they were fighting for their survival?

    That goes for gutless Sweden, too.

  5. Hypocrites,

    I’m singling out Apple because well, this is an Apple site and the story is about iTunes. But yes, all DRM should be removed. I agree that Apple’s Fairplay is the least obstructive of all the DRM’s. But thats not good enough. But its still about vendor lock-in. There are a number of digital music streamers out there to play music off your computer onto your home stereo. You can also do the same with TiVo. But none of them work with downloaded music from iTunes because of Fairplay.

  6. Before there was ‘Lock In’ to any company’s devices there was the demand by The Music Labels for DRM on every music file sold over the Internet.

    Many people the world over conveniently forget that salient fact.

    Apple chose a DRM method that is in the iTunes software not in the music file itself. Thus anything sold on iTMS has DRM.

    This was all done before any hint of device ‘Lock In’.

    Remember that people!

    You don’t want me to come over there.

  7. Well, when I heared about on the Norwegian news last night i made a report myself to Forbrukerombudet. I asked them to investigate a Norwegian internet musicstore for forcing me to Windows as they require Microsoft Media Player which isn’t available for Mac.

    I do find it unacceptable that a dominant OS supplier (have more than 95% marketshare in Norway) is allowed to force me to buy a PC when I’m fully satisfied with my Mac. Going to be interesting to see the respons…

  8. The legislation is not targeting iTunes Music Store DRM as such, but defines “relevant equipment” and gives consumers the right to break copy protection schemes i.e to play a CD with a copy protection mechanism on a PC. This definition is also extended to digital music files.

    Microsoft DRM and others are also in line to be tested against the same legislation. Full story here.

  9. On one hand, I will always take the side of ALL DRM IS BAD DRM, because it restricts the consumer from using the products of their choice.

    For example, in two years, if I want to use a different mp3 player than the iPod (though I certainly don’t forsee that happening), then the hundred or so song I’ve downloaded from the iTMS will need to be burnt to CDs. If I continue to buy at the rate I do now, that will be a lot of CDs.

    But, at the same time it annoys me that no one ever mentions the fact the Microsoft, Real, etc. uses DRM, too. They’re just as bad, if not worse!

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