“Apple’s popular iTunes music-download service is facing fresh legal attacks in Europe. Government consumer protection agencies in Norway and Sweden want Apple to remove restrictions that prevent customers from playing music they bought through iTunes on devices made by other companies,” Thomas Crampton reports for The International Herald Tribune. “And in Britain, one of the largest digital music markets, the British recording industry’s trade association, known as B.P.I., told a Parliamentary committee on Tuesday that iTunes music should be made compatible with other portable music devices. It was the first time the group had taken a public stance on the issue.”
“Apple representatives in Norway and Britain declined to comment for this article. But a major Norwegian news Web site quoted a company official as saying that Apple was seeking a settlement of the complaints. ‘We want to resolve this without closing down our operations in Scandinavia,’ the Apple spokesman, Fredrik Hallstan, told the Web site, Forbruker.no,” Crampton reports. Bjorn Erik Thon, director of The Consumer Ombudsman’s Office of Norway, a government authority with power to fine companies for marketing and business practices that it deems unfair, “dismissed the claim Apple has often made that its policy helps combat copyright violation. ‘They are not protecting against piracy, but instead encouraging it,” Mr. Thon said. “When consumers cannot copy an iTunes song onto their mobile phone, they will get a download of it free from Napster.’ Consumer protection authorities in Sweden echoed Norway’s action today, and Denmark is expected to do the same… Mr. Thon said that he himself had bought a large number of songs from iTunes for about 1 euro apiece, and now wanted to transfer them to his new Nokia N80 cellular phone, but could not.”
Full article here.
Thon could burn a CD and import it into his Nokia N80 cellular phone, but that would require basic knowledge of how iTunes works. iTunes, of course, is the only major online music service that works on both the Mac and Windows platforms and when you burn a music CD, the DRM is no longer present. By the way, Mr. Thon, Napster isn’t free anymore. It hasn’t been for years. Try to keep at least a little current before seeking fines and stating your assumptions, okay?
So, obviously for Thon, it’s easier to seek fines via governmental legal action than it is to use iTunes for approximately fifteen seconds (max.) to figure out what that oh-so-cryptically-labeled “Burn Disc” button does or, God forbid, RTFM. The same goes for the other geniuses in the other countries, too. We wonder, because the article makes no mention of any other services, will Thon et al warm up the insides of their protective helmets and seek to fine Napster, MSN, and all the rest of the Microsoft Windows Media-based outfits that actually exclude an entire platform, Macintosh, that’s used by over 25 million people worldwide? You’d think they’d shoot for those fines first, if they’re so dead set on wasting everyone’s time, wouldn’t you?
UPDATE: We have struck the second part of our take above after receiving better information about Norway’s actions. Apologies to Mr. Thon. Curses to IHT’s Crampton. Please read the latest article and our very different take on this subject here: Norway: iTMS DRM under scrutiny, Microsoft DRM next
• Introducing the super-fast, blogging, podcasting, do-everything-out-of-the-box MacBook. Starting at just $1099
• Get the new iMac with Intel Core Duo for as low as $31 A MONTH with Free shipping!
• Get the MacBook Pro with Intel Core Duo for as low as $47 A MONTH with Free Shipping!
• Apple’s new Mac mini. Intel Core, up to 4 times faster. Starting at just $599. Free shipping.
• iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
• Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.
• iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.
Norway complains about Apple iTunes Music Store – June 07, 2006
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