updated 09:00 pm EDT, Mon October 24, 2011
Participants will get $3.25 iTunes credit
Apple has opted to settle a long-standing class-action lawsuit brought about by the change in pricing to some songs in the iTunes Store and the wording on gift cards that were available for purchase at the time, AppleInsider reports. Originally filed by Gabriel Johnson in July of 2009, the lawsuit charged Apple with deception by distributing cards that stated songs cost 99 cents, when it then raised the price of some songs to $1.29. Participants will receive $3.25 in iTunes credit.
To become a claimant in the settlement, users must be able to show that they purchased songs from iTunes for $1.29 on or before May 10, 2010 via an iTunes gift card, and fill out a form in order to be registered. Though Apple denied the allegations, the parties opted for a settlement to avoid the cost of litigation. Apple originally began allowing record labels to charge the higher rate in April 2009 on selected songs, but also won a concession from the record companies to lower the price on selected older songs (down to 69 cents).
Earlier that year, Apple had also begun rolling out its iTunes Plus upgrade, which promised better sonic quality and higher bitrate as well as dropping the FairPlay DRM wrapper in exchange for an additional 30 cents per song already purchased, which raised the effective price of the voluntarily upgraded songs to $1.29 from the previous system-wide 99 cent price. The settlement covers the difference in pricing for an average of approximately 10 songs, but the credit can be used on anything else sold through iTunes -- from music to rentals to apps to e-books.
The settlement also included an agreed-on award for attorney's fees and expenses of up to $2,117,500, which will be subject to court approval in February and does not detract from the award amount that goes to claimants. Today, most songs in the iTunes Store remain priced at 99 cents (and are all now iTunes Plus quality), achieving a remarkable permanence given that prices have remained, on average, about the same for over eight years. [via AppleInsider]