iTWire: Norway deeming Apple’s iTunes ‘illegal’ is one of the dumbest decisions of all time

“In what is obviously one of the dumbest decisions of all time, Norway has declared that iTunes is illegal because songs sold on iTunes can’t be played on other mp3 player,” Alex Zaharov-Reutt writes for iTWire.

“While I wish that iTunes would work with any mp3 player, I also wish that Blu-ray discs would work in existing DVD players and HD DVD players. I also wish I could use Gilette blades in Shick razors… It’d also be nice to have a GSM phone running on a CDMA network, Nintendo Wii games playing on a PS3… and it’d be nice if I could use much cheaper liquefied natural gas in my petrol/gasoline or diesel engine without needing any modifications,” Zaharov-Reutt writes.

Zaharov-Reutt writes, “While we’re at it, why doesn’t government mandate that all coins be exactly the same size, so you could use them in any vending machine anywhere in the world? Heck, why not make the Zune store sell songs that can be played on any mp3 player, too? I’m equally annoyed that games I buy for the PSP can only be played on a PSP. It’d be nice to pop them into my Nintendo DS, and vice versa. And surely the decision to release songs on the CD format discriminated against anyone owning an audio cassette player. I mean, where was the Government action then? How dare music companies release music in a format that, at the time, couldn’t be played on the vast majority of the world’s music players?”

“Look, when it comes to a company being able to create a system, they should be able to do this. Why should Apple allow iTunes songs to be played on other players? They were designed to be played on an iPod, or another device that has iTunes, such as PCs, Macs and a couple of phones from Motorola, with the iPhone itself on the horizon,” Zaharov-Reutt writes. “Governments should be very careful about mandating that a company make its proprietary system open for all to use, otherwise why will businesses take the chance to develop new products and services if the Government can just come along and change the rules on you?”

Zaharov-Reutt writes, “It all comes down to whether or not we have a free market. While we live in a world of regulation in our markets, this decision hurts no-one but Apple themselves, and aims to give a free kick to all of their competitors. Precisely why do any competitors deserve such a free kick?”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Norwegian Ombudsman: Apple’s FairPlay DRM is illegal in Norway – January 24, 2007
Major music labels ponder DRM-free future – January 23, 2007
European consumer groups unite to pressure Apple for iTunes Store ‘interoperability’ – January 22, 2007
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. I’m not even sure the video game comparison works. Is every game released in PSP, X-Box and Nintindo formats or are some limited to a certain format?

    With the music being sold on iTunes (I assume Norway only has music at this point?) it can likely be purchased in numerous formats. That is, you can buy it on CD or via other online sources. It is not like Apple has an exclusive on Gwen Stefani or anything. Wake up Norway.

  2. One of the problems with all these analogies is that you would actually have to convert the product to make it work with other devices. A Nintendo game needs to be coded differently if you want it to work in a Playstation, and even then it probably wouldn’t function the same because the different consoles have very different features and abilities. However, the songs that you buy from iTunes actually come in a format that already works with other players, and then iTunes intentionally cripples it in order to prevent it from working with other devices and software.

    A more correct analogy would be if Sony, Microsoft, LG, and Panasonic all made Playstation consoles, but EA Sports only made games that work with Sony branded Playstations, and they do this by adding a layer of software to the code to prevent it from working with the others.

  3. The analogies to razor blades, video games, etc. are poor. You can easily go the other way…what if Sony TVs only played Sony content? Video games can’t be made to perform on every machine unless they’re severely dumbed down. Digital music can easily be made to play on any digital music player without loss of quality. The only thing standing in the way is proprietary DRM. Not DRM, mind you. Proprietary DRM.

    The recording industry insists on DRM, and Apple’s version is fairly liberal. But it’s Apple who makes it proprietary so it won’t work on any other portable player.

  4. point taken. Anyway, I think this debate is great since it rises some pretty interesting question regarding not only software. The only thing what annoys me about Apple’s iTunes monopoly – is their decision to sell their songs at 128kbps, which, in many cases, sounds shite on decent equipment. With some competition selling tracks at 192kbps AAC, Apple would maybe follow. Oh, and spare me the “scientists have found out that the human ear doesn’t notice any differences yadayada”…

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