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Norway responds to Jobs' open DRM letter

updated 06:20 pm EST, Tue February 6, 2007

Norway responds to Jobs

Senior advisor Torgeir Waterhouse of the Norwegian Consumer Council has responded to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' open letter concerning digital rights management and free music, which the executive published earlier today. "We're happy to see Steve Jobs take on the responsibility that follows from Apple's role as one of the leading companies in the digital sphere and comment on the complaint issued by the Norwegian Consumer Council," Waterhouse told MacNN, referring to Jobs' letter. "Our concern is of course that it's Apple and [the] iTunes Music Store [that] should be addressing the issue of record companies and DRM themselves if it needs to be addressed - and as we've stated earlier it's iTunes Music Store that's providing a service to the consumers and therefore has the responsibility to offer up a consumer friendly product."

Responding to Apple's chief about the Cupertino-based company's closed iPod/iTunes ecosystem, the senior advisor says Jobs' claim that consumers aren't locked into using Apple's own products when they purchase music from the iTunes store is a contradiction, since the point and function of FairPlay -- Apple's digital rights management (DRM) -- is to lock the music purchased from the iTunes store to work exclusively on iPods.

"[Steve Jobs] also goes on to turn the whole issue on its head by stating iPod owners are not locked into [the] iTunes Music Store - the issue our complaint [addresses] is of course the opposite, iTunes Music Store customers are locked to the iPod."

Apple's CEO argued that Apple, Microsoft, and Sony all compete with proprietary systems and that music purchased from each store will only play on that company's hardware. Waterhouse effectively expressed that Apple is not free from fault simply because it is not alone in its proprietary ventures, and that the iTunes store as well as other closed music offerings are unfair to consumers.

"The fact remains that both iTunes Music Store and others are unfair to consumers no matter how many download services follow the proprietary approach."

Addressing the delegation of blame to record companies, Waterhouse admits that music labels need to carry their own weight to ensure fairness for customers at the global level.

"It's quite clear that the record companies carry their share of the responsibility for the situation that the consumer [is] stuck in," exclaimed Waterhouse. "However no matter what agreements [the] iTunes Music Store [has] entered into, they're still the company that's selling music to the consumers and are responsible for offering the consumer a fair deal according to Norwegian law."

Jobs concluded his open letter by stating that he fully embraces free music, and that Apple would sell unprotected tracks if it were possible to do so.

"If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store," Jobs said in his letter published earlier today.

Waterhouse viewed Jobs' conclusion as a potential good sign that Apple is indeed willing to "kick the lock" in technology from the iTunes/iPod combination.

"This is really good news - news that should be put into action as soon as possible to bring us all one important step closer to a well functioning digital society."

by MacNN Staff



  1. VinitaBoy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Norway's Reaction

    Norway, Norway, Norway. Hmmm. Is that even a country? Sounds more like an ice flow with caribou garnish. But seriously . . . Steve didn't mention a fourth alternative to this issue in his magnificent letter, one that I, at least, support wholeheartedly: STOP SELLING MUSIC FROM THE ITUNES STORE TO ANYONE IN NORWAY! (A piece of advice to Norwegians: Make your own icePod, connect it to your own iceTunes store, and drop out of the rest of the world's commerce! That'll show us!

  1. shawnce

    Joined: Dec 1969


    hate to say it...

    don't like it, don't buy it...

  1. russellb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ha Ha

    I agree

    No one forces you to buy an Ipod, No one forces you to buy from itunes. people do it as it just works and they like it.

    If you dont like it dont use it .. go elsewhere.... people are free to choose and they choose Ipods... get over it

  1. - - e r i k - -

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dear vinitaboy

    You are a moron.

    Sincerely, A Norwegian

  1. e:leaf

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Don't be stupid. It isn't sound business to simply stop selling music to certain people because their government doesn't like your business policies. Remember, much of Europe is following Norway's lead which, according to your brilliant business mind, would mean the possibility of simply cutting off much of Europe (France, Germany, Holland, and the 2nd largest music consuming nation in the world the UK) and just giving away business. Giving away business is bad business.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    open letter to Norway

    Say good-bye to the iTunes store.

  1. parkds

    Joined: Dec 1969



    According to Jobs' letter, Apple is currently liable to protect all the music is sells. Altering its DRM currently would put Apple in significant financial risk. As a global business that has shareholders to answer to, I pretty sure you will not see Apple change their behavior. Consumers do not have to purchase from iTunes, they have other choices for obtaining music. Really though how different is this than xbox games only working on an xbox and PS3 games only playing on a PS3 other than they do not call it DMR.

  1. I.P. Freely

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Some people...

    "[Steve Jobs] also goes on to turn the whole issue on its head by stating iPod owners are not locked into [the] iTunes Music Store - the issue our complaint [addresses] is of course the opposite, iTunes Music Store customers are locked to the iPod."

    Mr. Waterhouse, is now just confused. iTunes Music Store customers are NOT locked to the iPod. You can buy iTunes music without iPod.

    Of course you have to burn them to music CD to use it on anything else... I dont see how that makes you locked into iPod.

    Also ITMS is a service that you could use with iPod.

    Is it hard for him to connect the dots? Does he even know what computer is?

  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    WRONG Norway

    WRONG!!! You don't like the DRM you need to talk to the record labels who control it. They obviously didn't get it, Idiots!!!

  1. Speckledstone

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is directed at any Norwegian...

    Who's pushing this whole issue?

    Is there public outcry about how unfair Apple's iTunes Store is toward its customers? Or... Is this something the government is pursuing on its own, in the so-called "best interests" of its citizens?

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