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EU investigates Apple, may levy £323m fine

updated 06:55 pm EDT, Mon April 2, 2007

Apple may face £323m fine

Despite a landmark agreement with EMI to offer DRM-free music via iTunes, European Union regulators are investigating Apple's iTunes Store for possibly violating competition laws, and said that they object to the Cupertino-based company's practice of forcing consumers to purchase songs from its iTunes Store only in their home country. The European Commission sent a letter outlining the accusations to Apple as well as major record companies -- including Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music, and EMI Group, according to the Associated Press. A spokesman for the EU competition commissioner says Apple's arrangements restrict music sales because "consumers can only buy music from the iTunes store in their country of residence." Companies that breach competition law face a fine of up to 10 percent of annual turnover, which according to the Times Online would total roughly £323 million.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said the Cupertino-based company originally wanted to run a Europe-wide store, but music labels and publishers feared legal concerns as well as copyright complications.

"We will continue to work with the EU to resolve this matter," Dowling said.

EMI said it doesn't believe it has breached European competition law, and will make its case strongly to the commission.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Regulatory overhead... the LIFE out of companies - perhaps we should 'regulate' these idealistic parasites into the private sector so they understand what it is like to be told how to run a business for profit, and be let go when they don't make enough money or perform...

    Nobody is forcing anyone to buy an iTune as far as I know...?

  1. GreenMnM

    Joined: Dec 1969


    shouldn't they be...

    ...suing the music companies? Aren't THEY the ones with the individual licensing agreements for each individual country? Even if it was just for different types of monetary payment, the UK doesn't use Euros yet. Maybe the EU should sue the UK?

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!! they are called CD's! my iPod is FILLED with them!

  1. Geobunny

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's about bloody time the European Commission got onto Apple about this. There's supposed to be a "free movement of goods within the EU" but Apple's restrictive ITMS sales structure prevents this basic right.

  1. myramoki

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple sued just cuz...

    Every time I see one of these 'EU suing Apple for ...' articles I just have to wonder what brain dead idiots do they have over there running things? Apple neither had an option for DRM or for selling all music to anyone world wide. The music industry has had a stranglehold on the distribution of music for far longer than Apple has even been around. Every country has their own little 'franchise' that is licensed to distribute music locally, and no one else is allowed in.

    How about they sue the record companies that set up the distribution systems? This is nothing more or less than old world business practices that allow some company to buy an exclusive license for distrubtion, of something like Pepsi. You do know that Pepsi at your grocery store doesn't come from Pepsi-Co but from a local bottler that bought a license to server your community.

    This was a nice practice back in the day when material goods were expensive to ship around the country, but all it does today is limit competition and favor the good ole boys that bought in early. When it comes to intangible electronically distributed goods, there isn't a reason for it in the world.

    Count on the record companies to fight this tooth and nail. While companies would have new markets opened to them, many would probably see a large portion of their bread and butter from distribution deals of foreign music go up in smoke.

    If the EU thinks that Apple wants or likes to have to deal with umpteen different distributors of Britney's latest 'music', and having to negotiate deals in every country they go to, they are smoking some excellent weed. Start suing the people that are really responsible for system instead of those who have to deal with it.

  1. Mongoos150

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is the reason government should be kept small. What a ridiculous accusation! Who'se being forced to buy this music? Is iTunes the only source of digital music? Good God!

  1. smitch

    Joined: Dec 1969


    time to..

    ..move on and leave these rogue EU states without iTunes OR music? That should resolve their idiocy! Unless they then will try to sue someone because they (the EU states) ARE idiots! What a bunch of losers!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    f*ck regulation

    And yet you all praise the EU when they take MS to task...

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    you're annoying testudo. tell us, how many sleepless nights do you toss and turn over these mac people on MAC F%&CKING FORUMS? po' boy, it must eat at you all night long. ah shucks, i forgot, you are, according to none other than your own high and mighty self, the "voice of reason". go to a ms apologist site already where you'll be welcome with open arms.

  1. Gepard

    Joined: Dec 1969


    look around..

    1. They (EU officials) have nothing else to do. 2. They want to make some extra income. 3. They want to demonstrate that they have power too.

    On the other hand left EU alone, look around - the famous Russian mp3 online store quietly has been selling music from all of the World to any resident in any country, DRM-free, various quality and much much cheaper (songs $0.10-0.20, albums $2-4).

    How many times the US Government have tried to shut down the store? It's still up and running. Read here:

    No success. It's in Russia and it's an Internet store. They are saying that the songs sales were not intended for other countries other than Russia. But anyone can buy from it. Nobody, nobody can touch them.

    iTunes store, yeah! They have a lots of money, we will make them to share with us. Who cares about the Russian store? Can't reach them, they probably don't have too much money, plus why deal with the bad guys?

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