‘Surprising progress’ in Scandinavian iTunes discussions

“Negotiations with Apple have made ‘surprising progress’ toward resolving a dispute with Scandinavian governments about restrictions on music purchased from the iTunes music store, Norway’s official consumer advocate said Monday,” Thomas Crampton reports for The International Herald Tribune. “‘Our meeting was much more constructive than I expected it would be,’ said Bjorn Erik Thon, director of the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman’s office.”

“But fully resolving the dispute could require Apple to change the iTunes business model. Norway and other Scandinavian countries had complained formally about how iTunes customers were not able to play songs on music devices that compete with iPod,” Crampton reports.

“The four-hour meeting Monday also included government representatives from Sweden, Denmark and Finland, which have similar consumer protection laws and had agreed to follow Norway’s lead on the case,” Crampton reports. “Interoperability, the ability of iTunes customers to play music on portable devices other than the iPod, was just one of five issues discussed.”

“Other lines of conflict discussed included Apple’s refusal to accept liability for damage to a computer that might be caused by the iTunes software; Apple’s assertion that the contract terms can change after purchase of a song and Apple’s assertion that English law can apply to purchases in Norway,” Crampton reports.

Full article here.

[Attribution: Macworld UK. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]
Er, exactly where’s all of this progress with which we’re supposed to be surprised?

Related articles:
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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
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Dvorak: What the French got right with proposed DRM law – March 28, 2006
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20 Comments

  1. “Norway and other Scandinavian countries had complained formally about how iTunes customers were not able to play songs on music devices that compete with iPod”

    Irrelevant. You buy the hardware first, and then you purchase a song from a compatible store. You don’t buy songs first and then buy the hardware. If you own a competing player, why would you try to buy your song from iTunes, when exactly the same song is available from a WMA-based store?

    The only problem I can see is when you have owned an iPod, purchased songs from the iTS, and then purchased a competing MP3 player, and you want to transfer your purchases to it.

    In that case, simply burn to a CD & re-rip them into your new player. People will say this is a hassle, but what would be the theoretical alternative?

    Apple ‘could’ come up with some software that strips out the Apple DRM, and inserts WMA-based DRM. This would be more of a hassle to do than burning to a CD.

    “Other lines of conflict discussed included Apple’s refusal to accept liability for damage to a computer that might be caused by the iTunes software; Apple’s assertion that the contract terms can change after purchase of a song and Apple’s assertion that English law can apply to purchases in Norway,”

    And how is this different from the EULA on Windows XP OS?
    It isn’t – the only difference is that this is Apple. They will not go after Microsoft I guarantee (basically because all this stems from lobbying from Microsoft friendly (i.e. funded) groups).

    Can we expect the same approach when they see the Zune, which operates on the same business model? I absolutely guarantee that we will not hear a word from them.

    More proof that this smells of lobbying by Microsoft PR. If I were Apple, I’d pull out of their market until the Zune is released, and then once the Zune passes them by without comment, relaunch and wait for them to say something. They won’t.

  2. This is the real story: all those consumer groupies and govern-mentals received free nanos to form an educated opinion. After trying the iPod/iTunes/iTMS combination, the head honcho got up.
    “All in favour of saying ‘Fuck interoperability!” please raise your hands!”
    The vote was unanimous …

  3. This is the real story: all those consumer groupies and govern-mentals received free nanos to form an educated opinion. After trying the iPod/iTunes/iTMS combination, the head honcho got up.
    “All in favour of saying ‘Føck interoperability!” please raise your hands!”
    The vote was unanimous …

  4. It’s true, the gimps in power over here, and especially up there in Sweden, are so concerned with equality that they ignore reality and blinding, forehead-slapping common sense.

    You don’t want an iPod, you buy something else. You wanna play your song on a machine other than an iPod, you don’t download it from the iTS. I got that explained to me by my three year-old niece. Well, it’s so simple, I might well have done.

    Anyway, what about the report that said most people over here in Europe DON’T download from the iTS, they copy from their CDs? Surely that upsets the meddling for the sake of meddling Scandinavians’ Apple-cart somewhat?

    My reply if I was leader of Apple’s legal team after Scandinavians present their ‘case’: “Meh!”

  5. “…Apple’s refusal to accept liability for damage to a computer that might be caused by the iTunes software.”

    Apple should do this, PROVIDED that Microsoft also accept liability for damage to a computer that might be caused by Windows software. That would nuke Microsoft in a weekend.

  6. Apple pointed out that accepting campaign donations from Microsoft put several of the politicians on the fact finding panel in a conflict of interest situation.

    Once those bozos were out of the room real progress was made.

  7. Something has changed since the case was brought up: MS introduced Zune with the same limitations that the iPod has. If they go through with the case against Apple and win, they will have to do the same with MS. Which they will not do.
    So now they have to beat the retreat and make it all look nice.

  8. I’m going to start a new campaign:

    “MUSIC CD’S DONT WORK ON iPODS OR OTHE MP3 PLAYERS”

    It’s a rip off. It’s a violation of my consumer rights. CD’s should automatically play on my player.

    WHY should I have to rip the CD to hear the music on my iPod?

    Tree hugging little sh*ts shouldbe made to live in Siberia, free from all these diffuculties that they can’t comprehend.

    And when it comes to damage caused by software..if they go down that route with any degree of seriousness, then Microsoft will be in really deep trouble. And Apple will be able to laugh off any complaint, just as they did here…

  9. Apple: “Look, this is called ‘burning a CD’! It makes a CD of iTunes music that plays in any CD player!”

    Scandinavians: “Ahhhhh!”

    Apple: “Watch! I can re-rip the CD to MP3! This makes files that play in any digital player! See, interoperability! So what do you think?”

    Scandinavians: “Der iTunez is okey-dokey! Bork bork bork!”

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