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Norwegian official applauds Apple, EMI

updated 12:20 pm EDT, Mon April 2, 2007

Norway applauds Apple, EMI

Following EMI's announcement today that it will launch new high quality DRM-free downloads via Apple's iTunes Store, senior advisor Torgeir Waterhouse of the Norwegian Consumer Council immediately came forward to applaud the move. "It's with great interest [that] I've listened to the webcast from EMI & Apple today," Waterhouse told MacNN. "No matter how the digital music market develops, today will always stand out a very important date, the day when two of the really big market players finally took responsibility that follows from the position and made an interoperable solution available to consumers." The advisor told MacNN in early February that Italy had officially joined other European countries to apply pressure to Apple and the iTunes store to open up its musical tracks, enabling consumers the freedom of choice to choose their own medium for playing iTunes tracks. "I applaud [EMI and Apple's] move, and encourage all the other contenders in the digital music business to make the same important move."

Waterhouse also asked the other music labels to follow suit, encouraging them to offer DRM-free music for the sake of consumers.

"I especially call on the three other mayors to [seize] the moment and show that [they are] able to take on the responsibility as some of the most important distributors of culture and offer music without DRM or DRM that offers the consumers 100 percent interoperability," Waterhouse said.

The senior advisor also asked the movie industry to take heed of EMI's important step, as well as any company in other cultural sectors that are slowly entering the download service market.

"If they want the respect and business of [the] consumer they also need to offer up a fair deal which among other elements includes true interoperability [with] the complete absence of lock-in technology."

Waterhouse says it's encouraging to see EMI and Apple take this important first step, but notes that Apple is still refusing to let the Ombudsman release its reply regarding what actions it plans to take to make sure iTunes complies with Norwegian law. The official stresses that one of the key factors to achieve a well functioning information society is for the debate and steps toward it to be open to the public -- the very same public that is the basis for a successful transition toward the digital information society.

The official also warned that Apple is still required to abide by Norway's deadline in September, which the country enacted to ensure iTunes is legally operating within that country in the name of fairness on behalf of consumers.

"It's important to note that this move does not take the heat off iTunes for the end of September deadline. By the end of September [Apple] needs to alter the terms of service and DRM used in the iTunes Music Store to provide a fair deal to the consumers who legally buy music," Waterhouse said. "Still, this move by EMI and Apple today should serve as proof that it really is possible to fix the problems the industry has chosen to introduce with DRM."

"I really hope that all relevant market players now show the determination that we've seen today by EMI and Apple and that today marks the beginning of a new era -- an era where the entertainment industry works with the customer and not against them. As of today we might very well be back on track for a future in a well functioning information society with a focus on access to content and interoperability instead of negative consequences of the DRM implantation's we're seeing today."

"Today both EMI and Apple have proven that they're willing and able to start their part of the job -- they really deserve a round of applause for the important step they've taken today. We're now calling on all other relevant market players and governments to be equally responsible and solution oriented and take the similar and first important steps themselves."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. jhorvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    It's not just Apple

    What appals me the most about the Norwegions and Europe is they are only focusing on Apple's iTunes saying it's a closed system when iTunes is essentially the most open system compared to any of the other online retailers of online music. Microsoft is probably the most closed system of them all with only Zune compatible players and IE6 or IE7 browers required to even get to there stores. Most others require the same browser restrictions leaving Mac users out completely. One sided argument doesn't work here and now Apple is proving once again that it has the most open system of them all with DRM free music.

  1. jhorvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Norwegion law is Stupid

    Norwegion law is stupid and Apple cannot do this on its own as Steve Jobs has already stated. The record labels have to cooperate or no songs can be sold in that country and that's what may happen anyways which I think would be the best resolution to Norwegion law. They don't understand that Apple has to abide by US contracts not Norwegion law which means until the record labels say yes to changing or removing DRM Apple can't do anything except shutdown the store.

  1. Enforcer5981

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Yeah, it was all you bud

    Way to go Norway for not having any impact whatsoever on the agreement between EMI and Apple Inc.!

    Oh, and great job reminding Steve Jobs about the September deadline. I'm sure Steve and Apple shareholders will be crushed by the $7 loss that results from closing iTunes Norway, but hey, we all know you have to take a stand and protect the Norwegian consumers who are apparently too stupid to buy CDs if they don't want DRM...

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Ditto

    to the previous comments. Thanks for saying it for me.

  1. Rezzz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    the record companies...

    the record companies...suck. so, in that sense i 'applaud' the norwegian chef for his grandoise vision of interoptability (drop 'Information Society'; that's sooooo 1982).

    punishing apple for any inability on their part for making record companies so that they suck less is moronic.

    what the Europian Bunion is after is Open-Fairplay: a standard by which all media players can play Fairplay files. of course, if the big 4 sell all their stuff without DRM is it still a viable demand? of course! 'Information Society' must flurish!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: norwegian law...

    Norwegion law is stupid and Apple cannot do this on its own as Steve Jobs has already stated. The record labels have to cooperate or no songs can be sold in that country and that's what may happen anyways which I think would be the best resolution to Norwegion law. They don't understand that Apple has to abide by US contracts not Norwegion law which means until the record labels say yes to changing or removing DRM Apple can't do anything except shutdown the store.



    There's nothing in the Norwegian law or in Apple's agreements that say they can't license fairplay to other hardware makers. (And now with some music going DRM free, its even less a reason now). So why not just license the DRM to MS and Creative and all those other wannabe makers?

    Its not the record companies. Its apple's unwillingness to license their DRM to others. Trying to put the blame on others is just apologizing for Apple's desire to keep all its money in house.

  1. boleric

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I agree with testudo

    they are not asking for anything but the ability for users to use the music on other players. They are not telling them how to do it. Just that they find a way. The Norwegians are pushing for something that helps all users.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Norwegian Law

    >They don't understand that Apple has to >abide by US contracts not Norwegion law >which means until the record labels say >yes to changing or removing DRM Apple >can't do anything except shutdown the >store.

    I suspect that they FULLY understand that, but the point is making a stand before we go too far down the line - especially of having consumer protection laws over-turned by big business.

    And while Norway doesn't count much, the entire of the EU is a big market. Apple don't really care about the iTunes store either - as Steve notes, it doesn't really sell iPods - it's probably been responsible for more anti-iPod FUD than anything else. It was just a necessity given the exclusion of the iPod by other on-line stores.

  1. appleuzr

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Testudo, how we love thee

    Testudo shut's down his Windows Vista wannabe mac equivilant, slowly rolls back in his chair and throws his hands behind his head. He sits, trying to come up with an original thought/argument(other than his usual "if it were MS in the spotlight, all you apple fan boys...). Meanwhile, his poorly assembled wannabe computer chair he purchased from a company that it is a subsidiary of Microsoft, gives way. The air compressed cylinder controlling the raise and lower functions bursts through the poorly manufactured seat of the chair and jams right up his @$$. Testudo remains still, trying not to move. The cylinder inching deeper and deeper (you get the picture). All along, Testudo grins with enjoyment, for this very situation is similar in feeling to what Testudo experiences on a daily basis. Moral of the story. He is angry and lonely and can only find pleasure in sticking/inserting things into his @$$. You wouldn't have anything better to do than troll MacNN if this was your life. Have sympathy for the guy. Embrace his awkward obsession. Testudo, we don't know how it feels to insert things in our @$$'s (as you do) but we do feel your pain. Write on Testudo. We are all laughing with you (as far as you know).

  1. JohnnyFive

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: testudo

    because perhaps apple makes more money on ipods than their music store? so opening up fairplay will give people less motivation to buy an ipod?

    see, there's a reason steve jobs is a billionaire and you're not.

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