updated 10:05 am EDT, Mon September 29, 2008
Norway vs. iTunes Store
Apple should soon face scrutiny from the Norwegian government over practices at the iTunes Store, writes the Associated Press. Bjoern Erik Thon, the consumer ombudsman for Norway, says he is planning to bring Apple in front of the government's Market Council, over allegations that the iTunes Store is closed off to non-Apple media players. The company has until November 3rd to respond; Thon has been pushing for a voluntary change for two years however, on the basis that Apple's practices break Norwegian law.
The problem, Thon alleges, is that DRM-protected files sold through iTunes will work only on iPods and iPhones. Even iTunes Plus files, technically DRM-free, are still sold in the uncommon M4A format. iPods are also incapable of playing Windows Media files, despite their being one of the most common types of DRM-protected media.
"It's a consumer's right to transfer and play digital content bought and downloaded from the Internet to the music device he himself chooses to use," says Thon. "iTunes makes this impossible or at least difficult, and hence, they act in breach of Norwegian law."
The Market Council's decision is expected in early 2008, and could have international ramifications for Apple's business. Denmark, Finland, France, Germany and the Netherlands are said to back Norway's efforts.