Norway Says Apple's FairPlay DRM Isn't So Fair
from the crowbar-as-a-business-tool dept
Last year, the Norwegian Consumer Council filed some complaints about the terms of service of the iTunes Music Store. The council was unhappy with Apple’s response, and pressed on, and now the country’s consumer ombudsman says that the DRM used on ITMS purchases is illegal, because it doesn’t allow playback on any music players other than iPods. The ombudsman has given Apple three choices: it can license its FairPlay DRM to anybody that wants it, it can work with other companies to create an open DRM standard, or it can simply abandon DRM altogether. This sounds pretty similar to what French politicians had envisioned last year, when the parliament approved a law forcing Apple to open up. Apple’s reaction was that it would probably just stop selling music in France, and eventually the law was rendered relatively toothless. It’s not yet clear what the final outcome of this ruling will be, but once again, this provides Apple and the record labels with an opportunity to experiment with DRM-free sales and see how it effects their businesses. There’s no upside of DRM for consumers, despite what industry groups say, so you’d be hard pressed to argue that its inclusion helps sales in any way. With signs emerging that some of the labels are rethinking DRM, this decision in Norway could provide the impetus for them to abandon DRM there, and hopefully realize they’ve got more to gain by doing so than they have to lose by hanging on to it.