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Apple responds to anti-DRM complaints

updated 09:55 am EDT, Tue August 1, 2006

Apple, anti-DRM complaints

Apple has offered a reply to criticism by consumer agencies in Scandinavia of its digital rights management (DRM) policy for iTunes. The Norwegian council is still reviewing the response which came in the form of a letter, according to InfoWorld, meeting the deadline set by those agencies which prompted Apple to defend itself. The letter will likely determine the future of the iTunes Music Store in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. "If they won't change anything, we'll most probably have to take them to the court in Sweden," Bjorn Smith said, a spokesman for the Swedish Consumer Agency. [updated, corrected]

The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman first filed a complaint with Apple earlier this year, requesting that the company change some of its iTunes Music Store agreement terms and asking that the company defend its DRM policy.

The Consumer Council of Norway requested that the Ombudsman send the complaint to Apple, claiming that because digital music consumers can't play music purchased from iTunes on the player of their choice, the iPod-maker's DRM violates the Norwegian Copyright Act.

Norway did not wish to ask Apple to change the DRM policy without offering the company time to defend its policy, because that kind of change would require a major business model change, according to the report.

Some of the iTunes Music Store agreement terms also came under fire, which state that Apple retains the right to change the terms of purchases while claiming no responsibility for damage that iTunes software could incur to users' systems.

In early June consumer rights agencies in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden won a preliminary ruling, asking Apple to reply to their complaints by the 21st of June. Those groups later decided to extended the deadline to August 1st to allow Apple ample time to respond to their complaints.

by MacNN Staff



  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nice move

    "If they won't change anything, we'll most probably have to take them to the court in Sweden," Bjorn Smith said, a spokesman for the Swedish Consumer Agency.

    And Apple will close down access for you and you will have screwed your citizens. Smart...

  1. bjurasz

    Joined: Dec 1969



    These Scandavians are even more stupid than the French. You can't play Apple-purchased music on the player of your choice. You also cannot use Apple-purchased operating system on the computer of your choice. Will they go after OS-X next?

  1. RickVanderveer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    all a little hypocritical

    The thing I think it B.S. about all these demands by foreign countries to open up DRM is; would they be making the same demands if it were Microsoft with 80% marketshare and their DRM?!

    A nagging feeling tells me no. Their argument would probably be that it plays on many players. But, not on iPod. And while you have different player choices, you wouldn't have a choice on format (it would be all Microsoft).

    With the upcoming player from MS (Zune, or whatever the heck they call it), and their partnership with M-TV, I have a feeling that Apple might be in for some stiff competition. Say what you will about the iPod-advantage, M-TV is a powerful marketing force that cannot be ignored.

    And, superior products doesn't translate into majority marketshare (witness Mac vs. Windows).

  1. migs647

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Maybe that should quit going after the underdogs who are forced to use proprietary software, and go after the ones with monopolies... ahem M$.

  1. danibo77

    Joined: Dec 1969


    scandinavia goes crazy..

    I wrote to the norwegian ombudsman concerning the point they made clear for apple to answer. My 2 page answer that i got in return claimed:

    - They WILL go after microsofts drm next DEPENDING ont he ruling in this case. - On the other hand: They did NOT care about iTunes pulling themselves out of scandinavia. In fact, that would be better than to sucumb to their terms.. - I also told them to go after microsof for not allowing me to play x-box games on my nintendo..

  1. kw99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You also cannot

    play music on cassette tapes in CD players. And you can't play Xbox games on a Playstation. So what's the point? It's up to Apple to define the terms for use. It's up to the consumer to decide if the product and terms for use are desireable. I believe the consumers have spoken through their collective wallet. The only parties that want Apple to "open it's DRM" are Apple's iPod competitors. You know Apple is NOT going to do that for the sake of iTunes sales in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

  1. mjtomlin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    a bit ridiculous

    The content creators are free to sell their content wherever they want, in any format they want. Most choose to do so on iTunes. Instead of targeting Apple, maybe the stupid consumer groups should go after the content creators/publishers/owners to provide an alternative source for people with "other" mp3 players.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The Europeans are either too bloody stupid or simply have way too much time on their hands.

  1. e:leaf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Although I might heavily

    Although I might heavily disagree with government intervention into business like this (why is it the government's responsibility to "protect the consumer?"), I do agree with the anti-DRM sentiment.

    All of you who claim that "Nintendo doesn't play in Xbox" or "cassettes don't play in CD players" are using a false analogy which in no way brings you even close to being correct. Nintendo and Xbox are completely different technologies which require different hardware and software. The same goes with cassettes and CDs.

    There are no (none, zero, nada, nunca, nunc) technological differences between the files bought at the iTMS and the files that all AAC players can play except for the artificially placed DRM. It is not the files themselves which don't play, but the nasty DRM that the files are laced with which disallows them from playing. That seems fishy to me, and dirty business.

    A proper analogy is if Sony were to lace their Sony Pictures DVDs with DRM which only makes those movies playable on Sony DVD players despite the fact that all DVD players are perfectly capable of playing the format, a circumstance that none of us would stand for. We would all collectively scream for Sony's head, and we would be in the right. Yet, because Apple-centric boards are littered with Apple fanboys, most of you will blindly side with Apple while throwing around meaningless (and utterly wrong) analogies in order to "justify" their dirty business practices. And to those of you who would say "no one forces users to buy from the iTMS" you are correct. But no one forces users to purchase Windows either, yet you would be the first in line (just look at the posts here which needlessly bring MS into the equation) to point out their monopolistic practices.

    I don't believe that Apple created their superior marketshare via a monopoly, but if they keep going at this clip, they will be maintaining their dominance through one, and that will end ugly.

    And as a question, why is the answer to simply leave the market if Apple is forced to change their practices? First France, now Scandanavia. Who next? England has also announced public displeasure at Apple's DRM scheme. Does Apple simply back out of Europe altogether? Is that the right way? From numbers that I have seen, France alone accounts for about 5% of the iTMS store business, which, for the first billion songs sold, is approximately 50,000,000 songs sold in France alone. Simply giving that share away is plain stupid, and doesn't seem like a good way to maintain dominanace in a given market, and shouldn't be a viable option for Apple. Who the f*** just gives away 5% of their business to try and prove a point? None if they want to stay in business.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    you ask "The thing I think it B.S. about all these demands by foreign countries to open up DRM is; would they be making the same demands if it were Microsoft with 80% marketshare and their DRM?! "

    Actually, they would most likely have gone after Microsoft as well, if the situation were reversed - on the other hand, if the market leader had been a skandinavian company, or any other EU company, most likely nothing would have happened.

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