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Apple DRM Is Illegal In Norway, Says Ombudsman  
User currently offlineTmatt95 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 489 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1638 times:

"Apple's digital rights management lock on its iPod device and iTunes software is illegal, the Consumer Ombudsman in Norway has ruled. The blow follows the news that consumer groups in Germany and France are joining Norway's action against Apple."

http://www.out-law.com/page-7691

This seems to me to be on the same lines as when Microsoft was taken to book for locking users into Windows media Player and Internet Explorer. I think that Apple are being attacked due to their large market share and that if Microsoft/Sony had as many users, they would also be under the spotlight. What do you think about the descision?
Regards,
Matt

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21495 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1621 times:

I think your assessment is probably correct.

It's high time that the DRM principle itself got a thorough examination.

Content owner interests are justified up to a point, but fair use interests of the consumer are justified as well.

Apple's DRM is about the most liberal implementation the music industry has accepted so far (free CD burning, use as many portable players as you like and up to 5 computers for the same account), but there are also legal alternatives who sell music completely without any technical DRM at all ( http://magnatune.com ).

The HD DVD/Blue Ray content "protection" debacle with its complete shackling and gagging of the user and the accompanying costs and limitations has made it clear that this has gone too far by now.

Both HD DVD and Blue Ray have apparently been cracked already - so the professional pirates will definitely have access to the content (surprise, surprise!  crazy  ), it's only the paying user who has to put up with severe limitations.

While I think that the consumer advocacy groups should in fact keep a critical eye on DRM in any form, I think they're not really looking at the most critical target.


User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12262 posts, RR: 35
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1602 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Now there's a surprise  Wink Norway tends to do stuff like this every now and then  Smile


“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
User currently offlineGSM763 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1589 times:

Surely as far as DRM goes FairPlay is pretty lenient. I can buy a song and put it on to as many iPods as I want (in fact my songs are on about 10 different iPods) I can burn it as many times as I want and I can play it and sync it on up to 5 computers. Compare to this say Audible. You can burn once play on 2 (I think) computers and that's about it.

User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1567 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 1):
It's high time that the DRM principle itself got a thorough examination.

Content owner interests are justified up to a point, but fair use interests of the consumer are justified as well.

Let's explore this a bit. How is the consumer hurt by this? Are they getting anything less than what they paid for? It isn't fraud, Apple fully discloses the limitatons and prices the product accordingly. If you want more freedom why is it wrong for the provider to expect more from you (a high price) for the additional freedom?

Aren't you buying one thing and then complaining that you wanted another?


User currently offlineAdh214 From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 360 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1547 times:

In situations like this, I believe that this should be left to the market place. The caveat is that all market participants (meaning Apple, Microsoft and others) must be honest about the features and limitations of their product prior to sale. In this case, Apple has never represented that iTunes can work with other digital music players so they have not committed fraud. The buyer knew what they were buying prior to purchase (or at least had the opportunity to find out) and still made the purchase. Further, Apple has not changed the terms or features of iTunes to exploit their dominate market position.

Frankly, I think it time for some of these companies to put European regulators in their place. I would be completely supportive of Apple simply telling Norway that given their ruling they will unapologetically stop selling iTunes songs in Norway. I would think iPod users would rightly ask their government to stop meddling in the marketplace and demand that Apple to reopen iTunes in Norway.

Similarily, I don't think it would be inappropriate for Microsoft to withhold Vista from the European market. Apparently, several European governments are attempting to meddle in the design of Vista because they believe Microsoft is acting in an uncompetitve manner. I am not sure on all of the details of this case so I won't make a strong argument for or against Microsoft but the general situation seems to be the same.

I will generally state that if the government wants to impede innovation, the companies can simply not sell their product in that area. I think eventually the market will decide and the governments will have to get out of the way.

Andrew


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21495 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1547 times:

Quoting Pope (Reply 4):
Aren't you buying one thing and then complaining that you wanted another?

Hardly, if you really bothered to read my post above.

Apple's DRM just about satisfied the demands of the content providers but places almost no visible limitations on the paying customer.

Even the complaint publicized above is basically moot - you can still burn any music bought from the iTunes Store on a CD, then rip that one back into any format and use that on any non-iPod player you like. If that player supports lossless compression, you can even have it at identical quality to the original. So this complaint is simply nonsensical.

If there is to be any limitation at all (which the music industry insists on), this is how it's to be done.


With HD video content (on air and on prerecorded media) it is quite different - you can't record anything, you can have your HD/BR DVD player crippled remotely by the content providers at a whim and every single one of your components has to be locked down to the point of damaging usability.

And the pirates still can get at the content anyway - pirated copies will therefore offer improved quality and usability over the originals.

That is where consumer advocacy groups should target their complaints.


User currently offlineThom@s From Norway, joined Oct 2000, 11953 posts, RR: 46
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1542 times:

I don't think any changes would be likely if Germany and France hadn't joined in. If Norway were threatening on their own, then I doubt Apple would worry much. There is much more money to lose in Germany and France.

Thom@s



"If guns don't kill people, people kill people - does that mean toasters don't toast toast, toast toast toast?"
User currently offlineAdh214 From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 360 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1493 times:

Quoting Thom@s (Reply 7):
There is much more money to lose in Germany and France.

True, but there are also a lot of iTunes users in France and Germany that would likely tell their government to ease up if Apple cut them off. Do you think there are politicians in France and Germany that really want to campaign on protecting the voters from iTunes? That might work in US politics but surely European voters are brighter than than. Cutting them off makes the government look as stupid as they are acting.


User currently offlineTmatt95 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 489 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1490 times:

Quoting Adh214 (Reply 8):
True, but there are also a lot of iTunes users in France and Germany that would likely tell their government to ease up if Apple cut them off.

but why, this is in the users interest to support it. It will be interesting to see what happens. I think the comsumers will see the logic in the arguments for opening the format up,
Regards,
Matt


User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1473 times:

Whoa.

Anyone with any google sense can find the 'secret' to taking a iTunes track and putting it onto a non-iPod player. Hint: Burn it to CD, use the CD to upload to the other player. This is NOT rocket science (but don't tell anybody, thanks)

Does Gillette have to make their blades usable in Schick razors? Does GM have to make their parts usable on a Ford? Merc/BMW? Why not require that CDs be playable on my old 75rpm turntable? How about Zune and the MS product - why doesn't it have to be playable on an iPod?

This 'consumer ombudsman' doesn't actually seem to understand the law and appears to want to punish Apple for their success. Shame on them.


User currently offlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5569 posts, RR: 36
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1453 times:

I don't understand this. Apple is a private company and they can protect their products as they want. Nobody is forced to buy and use an iPod.

Quoting ANother (Reply 10):
Does Gillette have to make their blades usable in Schick razors?

This is good example. I hate Gillette because they come out every half a year with a new product which is not much better but much more expensive. Therefore I don't use Gillette anymore, there are other cheaper products. So if you don't accept Apple's protection, don't buy it.


User currently offlineAdh214 From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 360 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1438 times:

Quoting Tmatt95 (Reply 9):
I think the comsumers will see the logic in the arguments for opening the format up

If Apple wants to open the format that is their choice and should not be thurst upon them by a European regulator. Isn't the whole reason for the Apple's DRM to prevent theft of music? Is Norway saying the rights of the consumer trump to rights of the copywrite holder? I don't think Apple can change their DRM without asking the music industry for permission.

The consumer knew how the product worked when the bought it. If they want interoperability buy a different product.

Finally, if Apples shuts off Norway, they should issue a great press release stating. "While negotiations continue, it is clear the the governments of Europe do not believe in protecting the copywrite holders of digital entertainment. Further, they have decided to withhold innovative products from their consumers. We sincerely hope that these regulators decide to allow the market to guide which products are available in Europe."

Andrew


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21495 posts, RR: 53
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1422 times:

Quoting Adh214 (Reply 12):
If Apple wants to open the format that is their choice and should not be thurst upon them by a European regulator.

If they had a really controlling share of the market and if an abuse of their monopoly was clearly visible, regulators would indeed have to intervene at some point.

But neither is happening so far, not even in the USA where they have a much more dominant market position regarding portable music players.


Microsoft got into hot water with the European Commission because some of their american(!) competitors were able to substantiate their claims that MS was trying to leverage their almost complete operating system monopoly (90+% of the market) into additional markets such as the ones for digital media.

Since the US antitrust proceedings had been swiftly killed after the Bush administration got elected with huge campaign contributions by - surprise, surprise - Microsoft, they had apparently believed to have escaped for good.

Not quite, as it turned out.


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