Apple asks judge to dismiss FairPlay lawsuit following Steve Jobs’ deposition

“A federal judge was asked by Apple Inc. to dismiss a consumer antitrust lawsuit claiming the company limited choice by linking iPod music downloading to its iTunes music store,” Pamela MacLean and Karen Gullo report for Bloomberg.

“Robert Mittelstaedt, an attorney for the Cupertino, California-based company, yesterday told U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, California, that blocking iPod music downloads that used competitors’ software was intended to improve downloading quality for iTunes customers,” MacLean and Gullo report. “Changes that Apple made in 2004, just days after Internet music software company RealNetworks Inc. announced a technology allowing songs from its online store to be played on iPods, weren’t anticompetitive, he said. ‘Apple’s view is that iPods work better when consumers use the iTunes jukebox rather than third party software that can cause corruption or other problems,’ Mittelstaedt said at a hearing.”

MacLean and Gullo report, “By March 2009, digital music files offered on iTunes were sold without proprietary software, according to court records. Apple co-founder and chief executive officer Steve Jobs, ordered by a separate judge to answer questions in the case, met with plaintiff attorneys for a deposition on April 12, Bonny Sweeney [a lawyer representing iTunes customers who sued] said yesterday. She declined to comment further.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I’m going to sue Honda because they won’t support a Ferrari engine in my Civic. What software is this person so in love with? Windows Media Player? Winamp? Something that doesn’t exist anymore?

  2. There could have possibly been some merit to the suit in 2005, when music files were still shackled in FairPlay, but it hasn’t been so for more than two years.

    The suit is basically two-part:

    1. The inability to play FairPlay-protected AAC files bought in iTunes on non-iPod players; and

    2. The inability to play PlayForSure-shackled WMA files (bought on RealNetwork store, Rhapsody, Napster, Yahoo Music, etc) on iPods.

    The first one went away (you can play music bought on iTunes on ANY MP3 player or cellphone that supports ordinary AAC, which is pretty much all of them today). The second one is still there, as it requires Apple to pay Microsoft a license for PlayForSure in order to enable WMA.

    The volume of music sold with PlayForSure is practically negligible, and no court can reasonably force Apple to negotiate licensing, just so a few people can play their WMA files on their iPods.

    1. Real, Amazon and others got around Apple’s Label required restrictions, with help from The Labels, by selling unencrypted, higher bit rate AAC and MP3 files to iPod customers.

      Real’s point is moot.

  3. “By March 2009, digital music files offered on iTunes were sold without proprietary software, according to court records.”

    This lawsuit is about DRM (Digital Rights Manglement). If only the lawsuit was correctly pointed at RIAA members who demanded and perpetrated DRM in the first place.

    It’s time DRM died the death. It was nothing more than a disrespectful insult to customers in the first place.


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