Apple gets vote of confidence for iTunes from US antitrust chief

“A top U.S. antitrust official Wednesday urged foreign governments to think twice before interfering with popular new technologies, singling out overseas scrutiny of Apple Computer’s iTunes online music service as an example of misguided enforcement,” Peter Kaplan reports for Reuters.

Kaplan reports, “Justice Department antitrust chief Thomas Barnett cited proposals by some officials overseas to impose restrictions on iTunes as an example of overzealous regulation that he said could discourage innovation and hurt consumers. Barnett warned about a rise in ‘regulatory second-guessing” that “threatens to harm the very consumers it claims to help.'”

“The comments came during a speech at an antitrust law conference in Washington, D.C., before an audience that included antitrust officials from Europe and Asia,” Kaplan reports. “Barnett did not name specific agencies or countries. However, officials in France and several Scandinavian countries have been considering steps that would require Apple to permit iTunes music to play on devices other than its iPod.”

“Barnett said the scrutiny of Apple ‘provides a useful illustration of how an attack on intellectual property rights can threaten dynamic innovation.’ Barnett said Apple should be applauded for creating a legal, profitable and easy-to-use system for downloading music and other entertainment via the Internet,” Kaplan reports. “Excessive government interference can deter innovation and encourage rival companies to ‘devote their resources to legal challenges rather than business innovation,’ he added.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Scandinavian agencies to meet Apple over iTunes – August 16, 2006
Norway not satisfied with Apple concessions – August 02, 2006
Norwegian council reviews Apple response to Nordic iTunes complaints – August 01, 2006
Can Scandinavians really force Apple to change iTunes Store terms? – June 16, 2006
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
Norway: iTMS DRM under scrutiny, Microsoft DRM next – June 09, 2006
Consumer Council of Norway files a complaint regarding Apple iTunes Music Store’s terms of service – January 27, 2006

Gutted French ‘iTunes law’ ends up solving nothing – August 01, 2006
French anti-iTunes law deemed unconstitutional – July 31, 2006
Parts of French ‘iPod Law’ struck down as unconstitutional – July 28, 2006
French lawmakers give final approval to watered-down ‘iTunes law’ – June 30, 2006
Apple awaits final approval of French DRM Legislation – June 23, 2006
French lawmakers agree to water down DRM bill that would affect Apple’s iTunes – June 21, 2006
It’s no wonder EMI is supporting Apple in France – May 23, 2006
EMI backs Apple on French DRM law – May 23, 2006
BusinessWeek: still very possible that Apple will close iTunes Music Store in France – May 12, 2006
French copyright bill approved: Apple will not have to share FairPlay DRM details with competitors – May 11, 2006
French Senate vote could offer loophole for Apple’s iTunes – May 09, 2006
Vive l’iTunes! French ‘state-sponsored piracy’ DRM law gutted in committee – May 01, 2006
Force open Apple’s FairPlay? What has possessed the French this time? – April 27, 2006
French Trade Minister: Apple’s iTunes must play fair in French music market – April 14, 2006
JP Morgan: French DRM law will have limited impact on Apple Computer – March 28, 2006
Dvorak: What the French got right with proposed DRM law – March 28, 2006
Will Apple’s Steve Jobs bid France adieu? – March 22, 2006
Wired’s Kahney: Proposed French copyright protection law a good thing for consumers in the long run – March 22, 2006
Apple calls proposed French DRM law ‘state-sponsored piracy,’ predicts iPod sales increase – March 21, 2006
French National Assembly approves digital copyright bill; could affect Apple’s FairPlay DRM – March 21, 2006


  1. The US Government should shut its mouth and let Apple deal with these countries on a piece by piece basis. With Washington’s current low standing in the world, any comment from The Justice Department inferring that US jurisdiction overrides the rights of national Goveernments to govern their own territories is likely to hurt Apple’s cause rather than help it.

  2. “Excessive government interference can deter innovation and encourage rival companies to ‘devote their resources to legal challenges rather than business innovation,’ he added.”

    Well, EU burocrats are nothing but lawyers!

  3. When all software is cross platform.
    Then they should go after the people that only write for one product.

    The masses, and governments didn’t care when MAC users couldn’t get certain things, but now the shoe is on the other foot.

  4. Mac7, your views are a good 20 years out of date. The USA has already lost it’s dominant position in the world and now needs to learn to work with others.

    Back on topic, this is Apple’s fight and one that Apple can win by beating each legislative body in their own courts. US Government interference is not necessary and highly unwelcome.

  5. As much as i dislike the US government, i have to agree with them on this one. iTunes is cross-platform unlike most other services and it’s doing well by creating a simple-to-use and good product-service and not by unfair competition.

  6. “The masses, and governments didn’t care when MAC users couldn’t get certain things, but now the shoe is on the other foot.”

    Right on the mark, NINEboy!

    It irritates me to hear my ISP say “Well, we don’t really support the Mac.” I think it’s time we Mac users band together and hit these unconscionable goons with class action law suits for taking our money just like PC users, but giving us second or third rate service.

  7. Exile5,

    USA has lost their dominant position in the world?
    Let’s see:

    #1 Militarily – USA
    #1 Economically – USA
    #1 Higher Education System – USA

    It seems to me that unless we’re considering quality of cheese production, skill at soccer, or rich millenia long historical traditions, USA is still up there.

  8. The US government is spot on on this one. Europe is being greedy and singling out Apple because they can’t compete and are jealous of the US. They should make MS make their Media Player DRM work with Macs before they go after iTunes. And while they’re at it active x and load of crap internet explorer. The US rocks. Real men Europeans stand right beside you and support you. Don’t listen to all of the negative crap most these pencil necked geek, can’t get snogged, posters say.

  9. Mac7, your views are straight out of The Ugly American. No wonder we are hated by other countries! Other nations have every damned right to establish their own laws and haul anyone into their courts whom they suspect might be violating them. Everyone here cheered the EU when it dragged Microsoft into court for illegal monopoly practices. I’m sure Apple can take care of itself and present a good case on its own behalf.

  10. Mac12EightK

    I really don’t want to hijack this thread with something which is off-topic, so this is my last post on the subject. My point is that the USA used to tower over all the other countries, whereas now it’s clinging onto those #1 positions by its fingertips. It has neither the wealth nor firepower to dictate to the world in the way it used to. China, Japan, & the EU all have bargaining power against the US should it choose to throw its weight around and it won’t be long before India and Russia can do the same.

    As for education, that I find rather difficult to believe. If the higher education system is still #1, I guess it’s professors and students from other countries keeping it there. That won’t last for ever.

  11. The U.S. antitrust official didn’t say other countries don’t have the “right” to enact their own laws, he said that it would be BAD POLICY because it would hurt their own consumers. Further, it would violate international trade treaties to which these countries have already committed themselves (i.e., “international law”). BTW, not all of us endorsed the EU’s assault in M$. I would much rather have Apple beat M$ in the market, rather than have M$ beaten by a bunch of bureaucrats flexing their authoritarian muscles.
    On a side note, it’s pretty pathetic that some Americans, like Berrylium, can’t even defend their government when they acknowledge it’s RIGHT.

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