“A Norwegian complaint accusing Apple’s iTunes Music Store of breaching that country’s law may turn out to be a twist on the old debate between government and business – not one government, however, but many,” Natali T. Del Conte and Mark Hachman report for PC Magazine.
“Following a similar complaint by France, Norway seems ready to be joined by both Denmark and Sweden in making the case that iTunes needs to be modified in order to do business in those countries. In Norway, the government has demanded that Apple revise its iTunes Terms of Service by August 1 — an extension from June 21 — or else face fines and possible prosecution,” Del Conte and Hachman report. “‘There is definitely a feeling so far that markets work themselves out, but that is not the attitude that European legislators are starting to take,’ said Paul Resnikoff, founder and editor of Digital Music News. ‘We’re talking about different economic systems, which is why most of the action is happening overseas.'”
“The complaint, filed by the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman, demands that Apple make iTunes content usable by other manufacturers’ MP3 players. Apple has yet to officially say what it will do, but experts have warned that this could force the company to pull iTunes from Norway altogether. Representatives for Norway’s Consumer Council told PC Magazine that Apple’s Norwegian representatives have said that they hope Apple wouldn’t have to pull out of the country,” Del Conte and Hachman report.
“According to analysts, Apple is not at liberty to simply lift its Digital Rights Management (DRM) policies and open its content, because the company’s licensing agreements with the music industry are binding,” Del Conte and Hachman report. “‘It’s a question of whether Apple created this DRM solution to lock you into using a device, or did they do it because they had to, because otherwise the record labels wouldn’t license them the content,’ said Michael McGuire, a lead analyst with Gartner. ‘The legitimate online music market is still very, very young, and this isn’t just going to be Apple’s issue if legislation goes through. It will be anyone who provides DRM content.'”
Much more in the full article here.
This is not limited to Apple. Apple’s is just the biggest, so they get tested first. It is an interesting case that we hope will ultimately successfully establish precedent for consumers to be able to legally strip or circumvent DRM on legally-purchased material (perhaps with something like JHymn, for one example). You should be able to do what you want with stuff you own, within reason, right? Of course, with iTunes, you can just burn an audio CD which removes the DRM, so we’re a big foggy on what really is the problem; iTunes Music Store customers simply are not “locked in.” If anyone’s “locked in,” it’s the three customers of the WMA-based music outfits that only work with Windows and “lock out” Mac users completely.
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Scandinavian triumvirate extends deadline to August 1 for Apple to reply to iTunes concerns – June 14, 2006
Norway gives Apple until June 21 to change iTunes Music Store terms – June 12, 2006
Apple’s iTunes Music Store faces fresh legal attacks from Norway and Sweden – June 09, 2006
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