EU Commish backs off on Apple: No problem with iTunes Store’s FairPlay DRM

“The European Union’s consumer chief soft-pedalled her views on Apple Inc. on Tuesday, backing off the line that its iTunes online music store must become more compatible with other formats,” Reuters reports.

Reuters reports, “Meglena Kuneva told a news conference there was no reason to talk about legal action against the U.S. computer and technology company and that she merely wanted to raise questions. ‘I would like, really, to start this debate. What is best to develop this market and to have more consumers enjoying this really very important, very modern way of downloading and enjoying the music?’ she said of Apple’s iTunes.”

Reuters reports, “In this week’s edition of the German magazine Focus, Kuneva had been quoted as saying: ‘Do you think it’s fine that a CD plays in all CD players but that an iTunes song only plays in an iPod? I don’t. Something has to change.'”

“Kuneva said she worked closely with Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, whose department has found no reason to pursue Apple. Kroes’ department has said there were no problems with Apple’s use of digital rights technology,” Reuters reports.

Full article here.
Well now, it looks like something changed alright. Kuneva seems to have quickly learned the valuable lesson to think before you crack your yap lest the U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Technology and others excoriate you for your ignorant ramblings.

Related articles:
U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Technology says EU ‘rhetoric’ against Apple is confusing – March 13, 2007
EU Commish on Apple’s iTunes + FairPlay DRM: ‘Something has to change’ – March 12, 2007
Anti-DRM activists rap Steve Jobs; Group petitions Apple CEO to remove FairPlay DRM software – March 10, 2007
Is DRM doomed? – March 09, 2007
How Apple’s FairPlay DRM works – February 26, 2007
Windows Vista’s DRM is bad news – February 14, 2007
Monster Cable announces full support of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 13, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Dvorak: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dead right about DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007
Norwegian Ombudsman: Apple’s FairPlay DRM is illegal in Norway – January 24, 2007
Major music labels ponder DRM-free future – January 23, 2007


  1. “Do you think it’s fine that a CD plays in all CD players but that an iTunes song only plays in an iPod?”

    iTunes songs do play in all CD players. Just click a button.
    It’s amazing to me how many people (and politicians) don’t know how to click a button.

  2. “‘I would like, really, to start this debate. What is best to develop this market and to have more consumers enjoying this really very important, very modern way of downloading and enjoying the music?”


    “I know this has been covered before, especially since only 3% of a music on a iPod is FairPlay DRMed and Microsoft and Sony both do the same thing with their music stores and devices. Especially since the music labels demanded DRM for all online stores and most of the labels are right in our own European backyard and we are powerless to do anything about it.

    “But I’m a woman and feeling a bit left out of the male domination of politics, so I’m going to rake Apple over the coals to get my face in the news”

    Enjoy your minutes of fame, wrench.

  3. How stupid can she be?

    A song purchased through iTunes can be:

    1. Put onto an iPod (yes)
    2. Burned onto a non-DRM’d CD, playable in any CD player and computer.
    3. Burned into an MP3 CD playable in most modern CD players and computers.
    4. Can be streamed locally via sharing.
    5. Can be put onto any MP3 player on the market provided you copy the songs onto a CD first (which you ought ot do anyway as a backup).
    6. Can be played through any modern Macintosh or Windows PC via iTunes with speakers or headphones attached.
    … I’m sure I’m missing something else?


  4. not stupid…

    Yeah, you did miss something…

    Can’t be played on any other digital media device other than the ones that Apple allows.

    Both Sonos and Roku have both pursued Apple for a licence to use Fairplay and both of these units deliver functionality and/or utility without equivalent in Apple’s own product range.

    Both Sonos and Roku have access to DRM schemes offered by other vendors and yet none of the parties involved have suffered any kind of major collapse.

    If I own a Macintosh, an iPod and a Sonos network, why should I have to resort to the positively 20th century approach of burning and re-ripping simply because Apple (namely Steve Jobs) believes that dealing with these companies is in some way beneath him,

  5. Apple would be just as stupid as the “I wanna play all music everywhere whaaaaaaaaa” crowd, if they actually would change the current system of iTunes and iPod.

    Apple has finally a chance to deliver all these PC moron-idiots and bring this world out of the dark ages (Windows).

  6. The argument is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if it is possible or easy to change Apple’s DRM media files to other formats because:

    (1) If you (like me) started buying songs from the iTunes Store before buying an iPod, you knew what the restrictions were. I knew those DRM’d files would most likely be directly playable on iPods only, if I decided to buy a portable media player in the future. When I bought audio tapes in the 70’s, I did not complain when they did not work in CD players of the 80’s. That would have been silly.

    (2) If you bought an iPod first, it is likely you did not care about compatibility with the iTunes Store because you planned to put your music on it first. If later, you bought music from the iTunes Store, you did so knowing the restrictions.

    So everyone who bought DRM’d media from the iTunes Store in the past did so knowing the DRM restrictions. Apple did not try to trick or mislead its customers (take some capability away after the sale).

    So what’s the complaint??? Customers paid for a product and got what they paid for. Even if Apple made it impossible to use the “burn the CD” method, there would be no argument.

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