Norway Drops Complaint Against Apple Now That Apple Dropped DRM In iTunes

from the no-problem-with-movies-then? dept

We never quite understood Norway’s legal attack on Apple for its use of DRM in iTunes. Sure, using DRM was annoying and bad, but users had the choice to buy from iTunes or not, and it didn’t make any sense for a government to get involved. That said, it’s nice to see the government now drop the complaints after Apple announced it was dropping DRM on music files in iTunes. Still, if Norway is so upset about DRM, why isn’t it still pissed off about Apple using DRM in many other areas?

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Comments on “Norway Drops Complaint Against Apple Now That Apple Dropped DRM In iTunes”

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6 Comments
Yosi says:

Maybe because "other areas" are your imagination?

Mike, despite the fact, that I generally share your point of view on DRM, I would call BS on (most of) EFF’s whining.

“Apple uses DRM to lock iPhones to AT&T and Apple’s iTunes App Store; ” – US-specific problem.

“.. prevent recent iPods from syncing with software other than iTunes ..” – what does it have to do with DRM? The only real problem here is that it doesn’t work on linux. Take (free) vmware and run (near-free) windows there. Problem solved.

“prevent OS X from loading on generic Intel machines”. Not a problem AT ALL. Does Apple have any kind of obligation to support Non-Apple machines? I guess no.

The complains about movies and audiobooks in iTunes are real, but such amount of BS doesn’t add credibility.

PaulT (profile) says:

“but users had the choice to buy from iTunes or not”

I don’t think they did when this thing first came around, at least not in Europe. Any other store that was licensed to sell music by the major labels had Microsoft’s DRM and, as we know, Apple wouldn’t let anyone else use their DRM.

So, an iPod user either had to use iTunes to buy music digitally (or buy a new MP3 player, in which case their existing DRMed library wouldn’t work) or buy a CD (technically a different market so wouldn’t be considered by this complaint). That still stands in some ways AFAIK – I’m not aware of any DRM-free major label music retailers that sell in Europe outside of the UK (apart from 7digital, which doesn’t cover Norway as yet).

Now that a user is allowed to remove the DRM from their purchased music by Apple themselves (i.e. without the CD workaround) and competitors are also allowed to sell downloads to iPods, it’s now a moot point. I suspect that if the competitors were not there, Apple would still be pressured to open up Fairplay, even if they didn’t use it themselves.

“Still, if Norway is so upset about DRM, why isn’t it still pissed off about Apple using DRM in many other areas?”

One step at a time. There isn’t really any competition in Europe for movie or audiobook downloads yet, but I expect that the same complaints will emerge at some point during the future for these items. Now, at least, there’s a precedent. The fact that DRM has apparently been dropped from music with no negative repercussions will hopefully act as ammunition when dealing with other content.

Brad says:

DRM was at issue due to retail license

As I recall, the problem wasn’t that Apple used DRM, it was that (like may other industries in Norway) you’re not allowed to use your position in one industry to cut competition in another.

For example, you can’t be the only company in a town that sells gas, and refuse to sell anyone gas if they don’t own a Fiat, and then direct them to the local Fiat dealer which you also own.

The license to operate as a Music retailer required them to make music available for comparable devices. Clearly the DRM was technologically optional, not required for players to work. With the DRM being used to lock out other vendors of MP3 players, and as the only distributor of digital music, they were violating the terms of their license.

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