Apple sued by French consumer group over DRM | iLounge News

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Apple sued by French consumer group over DRM

A French consumer group has sued Apple and Sony, claiming their online music stores violate European anti-trust laws. The Register reports: “Like California resident Thomas Slattery, who filed a similar complaint against Apple in January, Paris-based UFC-Que Choisir claims that Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Sony’s Connect service are anti-competitive because they only work with the companies’ own music players.”

“Apple can also argue that the French government’s anti-trust watchdog has already ruled that it has a right to maintain a proprietary link between its music store and the iPod. Last November, the watchdog dismissed an attempt by Virgin’s French retail subsidiary, VirginMega, to force Apple to license the Mac maker’s FairPlay DRM technology, which would be essential to allow any third-party device to play iTMS-downloaded songs.”

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Comments

1

Now the French Legislature really need to be shot!! haven’t those French B*sterd! done enough harm to Apple and there End-Users with the Frenchbacked EU Volume Cap?!?!?

I think these People in Frace should get a Life (or at least a Clue!)...

Posted by Ichijoe in Deutschland on February 14, 2005 at 10:27 AM (PDT)

2

Wow, that’s a bunch of bs. If they don’t like that the music stores aren’t compatible with ipods, thern don’t use the stores in the first place. You should be happy that a companies such as Apple and Sony are glad to develope stores, and let you buy music from all over the world.

Posted by M Bargo in Chicago, IL on February 14, 2005 at 12:42 PM (PDT)

3

Oops, Let me correct something and add something. First of all i mean to say “If you don’t like that the music stores are only compatible with ipods, then don’t use the stores in the first place” I also wanted to add that it isn’t Apple’s fault that most other companies didn’t decide to switch to mp4, instead of mp3.

Posted by M Bargo in Chicago, IL on February 14, 2005 at 12:49 PM (PDT)

4

Actually M Bargo Apple does have the Key to it’s Fairplay DRM and I guess this and the lack of Motorola’s new Phone was the issue. But who would actually want to use the iTMS when they didn’t own an iPod Device?

I wonder if I can start a Suit stating that Microsofts Janus DRM infringes on me in that M$ fails to be compatible with the iPod! Which would be a more logical complaint! In so far as the iPod is the Nr. 1 DAP at the moment.,.

Posted by Ichijoe in Deutschland on February 14, 2005 at 1:29 PM (PDT)

5

Sorry, not true. It totally is Apple’s fault. It’s not like the other people just DECIDED to not use their format. Apple won’t let people use it. For example, Real made Real Harmony to work on iPods, and then Apple re-engineered the iPod to only play iTMS downloads, and not Real’s downloads. Obviously, as this makes it impossible to get legal files for the iPod without buying from the iTMS, it eliminates the competition, and is anti-trust. This makes me laugh because it’s so much more unethical than anything Microsoft has done.

Posted by catboy17 on February 14, 2005 at 1:33 PM (PDT)

6

You guys clearly don’t understand what competition is.  And let me give you a clue—in the end, it often benefits the consumer.

What if Wal-Mart bought out every department and convinence store and had a monopoly on the distribution of basic every day goods?  Now what if Wal-Mart started only accepting purchases from a Wal-Mart credit card that had 25% interest?  You don’t want to own a Wal-Mart credit card?  Fine, then don’t buy anything from Wal-Mart.  Oh, it isn’t that easy now, is it?  This lack of competition ensures that Apple can keep its iPod prices sky high since it has one of the best music delivery services around.  Fair?

Oh, it is not Apple’s fault about mp4s?  I’m sorry, but mp4 isn’t an open, free standard. Companies have to PAY in order to license it, and if Apple has a cozy enough deal they can essentially strongarm their way into preventing other companies from utilizing aac/mp4 by influencing a high licensing cost.

Posted by NeoteriX in Houston, TX or Westchester County, NY on February 14, 2005 at 2:04 PM (PDT)

7

“this makes it impossible to get legal files for the iPod without buying from the iTMS”

Buy CDs and rip them.

Or is that also illegal in France?

Posted by Seishi in Seattle on February 14, 2005 at 2:09 PM (PDT)

8

So does this mean they don’t sell Playstations, Game Cubes or XBOX’s in France? 

I mean, you can only use games designed for each on the respective system.  I guess the French Consumer Group will have to sue Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft next.

Posted by skell on February 14, 2005 at 2:20 PM (PDT)

9

Last time I checked Anthony, there seems to be no lack of competition among online music stores or digital playback devices.  There’s a ton of them!

Guess how many of those other services have a client for the Mac?  NONE!

So f*ck those other guys!

Posted by skell on February 14, 2005 at 2:27 PM (PDT)

10

Buy CDs and rip them. Or is that also illegal in France?

God knows it probably is!

Again if M$ led Janus DRM’ed junk peddeld (read: Pimped), by, the likes of Crapster (read: Napster), don’t play on my iPod then said company Crapster should format there Music to be leagly avalible to play on my iPod if that means useing the .Mp3 File Format instead of .M$‘s .WMA then so be it! I’m not saying what Apple is doing is correct but, screw Crapster and Janus! THOSE PEOPLE COULN’T GIVE A WIT ABOUT THE iTMS! Just like I don’t give a wit about not being able to use the Crapster Service (Keep giving us all your Money or you’ll never get to listion to your Music ever again!). or The Janus DRM. It’s just sour grapes that these People can not shot down that thing which will (has), shaped the ‘00’s the same way Sony did in the ‘80’s with there Casset Player. And, they can’t stand the idea that no one wants there ‘Play for sure’ Crap!! Knowing it’s the iPod that gets all the cool $h*t. Like iPod Socks or an Aluminimum Skin for a USB Stick! Hell what do you think Mr. Fong (Creative Labs!), can do to try and get more People to use his stuff. Joke is when looking at the Shuffel he 100% CORRECT! but that doesn’t stop People from buying iPod’s and there knock off Accesseries!

Posted by Ichijoe in Deutschland on February 14, 2005 at 2:34 PM (PDT)

11

<quote>I’m sorry, but mp4 isn’t an open, free standard. Companies have to PAY in order to license it, and if Apple has a cozy enough deal they can essentially strongarm their way into preventing other companies from utilizing aac/mp4 by influencing a high licensing cost.</quote>

MP3 has licensing fees, too. All download formats have fees. Apple does not own the licensing rights to AAC (MP4) – the MPEG Group does, the same group that “owns” MP3. Apple pays to them fees like anyone else. AAC (MP4) is an open MPEG-codec and anyone can license it. Real Player supports non-DRM AAC files as do most of the iRiver brands of players out there.

Windows Media Audio, however, is a 100% Microsoft creation, and Microsoft can dictate what and how WMA (plain, vanilla, non-DRM WMA) works. Apple doesn’t control what MPEG does with the AAC codec.

What Apple does own is the FairPlay DRM for the iTunes uses at the Music Store. It’s on top of the open MP4, and Apple has decided not to license it to anyone else (until Motorola came around and has made iTunes compatible phones). Where is it written that a company is required to license anything it produces, and when they don’t how is that a monopoly? Microsoft licenses everything under the sun and it’s the biggest monopoly out there. The Government even sued Microsoft when it locked Internet Explorer so deep into the workings of its operating system that it made trying to use any other browser near torture. And the government settled the case without exacting any real changes from the company.

Posted by Chris VandeVenter in Bismarck, ND on February 14, 2005 at 9:26 PM (PDT)

12

Is the Gamecube outlawed in France for only playing GC games?  For that matter, X-Box and Playstation, likewise?  This is a bunch of BS; there’s a million precedents in favor of Apple’s position, and there’s no reason to think that a tech company should have to (a) support other formats it doesn’t want to, or (b) give out sensitive proprietary technology.

As far as I’m concerned, a “vertical monopoly”—which is what the iPod-iTMS relationship would be considered—is any sort of antitrust situation.  There are still many other options for buying digital music, both via online downloads and on CD.  If anything, this type of vertical integration requires companies to succeed on their own merits, not on the shoulders of others.  That’s what free enterprise is all about.

The monopolies that truly stifle competition, are the horizontal ones a la MS windows.

Posted by SPThom on February 14, 2005 at 9:26 PM (PDT)

13

Does the Gamecube, XBox, or PS2 own 92.1 percent of their respective market?

There is a difference.  The dominance of iTunes as a music delivery software, and the dominance of the iPod as a digital audio player, make it a bit less ambiguous as the video game comparison where all three have a nice foothold of the market.

Posted by NeoteriX in Houston, TX or Westchester County, NY on February 14, 2005 at 9:34 PM (PDT)

14

Windows has 98 percent of the computer market. I want a court to mandate that businesses now be required to purchase an equal number of Macs and PCs to boost Apple’s market share.

Your “iPod rules the marketplace” is not a valid argument either. Marketplace dominance is one of consumer choice, and people obviously are choosing the iPod and iTunes, the same way people seem to prefer PCs over Macs. It only becomes anti-trust and monopolistic if a company makes it impossible to use anything other than their technology. People are free to use whatever download service and MP3 player combo they want. It seems people prefer the iPod more than any other player, and behold there is a music service that works with it. If I choose another player, I can find a service that works with it. If I have an iPod, why would I need to shop elsewhere when I can get the same product through iTunes?

As to the game anology, there are a ton of PC games that don’t work on a Mac. Should I sue those companies for refusing to make Mac-compatible versions?

Posted by Chris VandeVenter in Bismarck, ND on February 14, 2005 at 10:47 PM (PDT)

15

There is not a monopoly involving the iPod, and here is why:

No one is forcing me to use iTunes.  I can use any number of players and download services out there.  If I want to use MP3s on my iPod, I am not required to use iTMS to do so.  I have plenty of ways of getting MP3s onto my iPod through other means.

No one if forcing me to use an iPod.  Even if i use the iTMS, I don’t need an iPod.  I can use my PC fine.  An iPod is not a requirement.

No one is forcing me to use Apple’s products.  I once owned a Nomad Jukebox, and it sucked.  I made the active decision to move to an iPod instead.  I could easily switch back if I wanted to, but I have no desire to.

Just because someone makes a sucwessful product, does not mean it is a monopoly.  A monopoloy would occur if there was no choice involved.  If the iTMS were the ONLY way to buy tunes, and the iPod was the ONLY player out there, it would be a monopoly.

This lawsuit is as silly as suing AOL and saying “I got your service, and was focred to buy a PC to use it.” The service is for the PC, not the other way around.  iTMS is for iPod, not the other way around.

Posted by Geoffrey in Valhalla, NY on February 15, 2005 at 5:59 AM (PDT)

16

Does the Gamecube, XBox, or PS2 own 92.1 percent of their respective market?

There is a difference. The dominance of iTunes as a music delivery software, and the dominance of the iPod as a digital audio player, make it a bit less ambiguous as the video game comparison where all three have a nice foothold of the market.

But iPod’s dominance is not the result of some unfair, unobtainable advantage.  They control the Fairplay DRM, but there are other DRMs out there and still others can be written.  The iPod dominates because it raised the bar on players, and other manufacturers are still catching up.  iTMS dominates because most other online music stores just suck—iTunes and iTMS have a great ease of use (for most users).

As far as I’m concerned, anti-trust laws ought to be enforced when a company intentionally, deliberately stifles the competition, its technology, etc.—which I don’t see is the case with Apple.  (By the way, France must believe Sony has a good foothold on the market as well, don’t ya think?)  Apple just won’t allow others to benefit from their own advancements, and that’s a perfectly reasonable business strategy.

Posted by SPThom on February 15, 2005 at 7:16 AM (PDT)

17

I disagree, Geoffrey. If you buy an iPod, besides buying CDs, you cannot choose whatever service you want to download legal mp3s. You can only use iTMS. Real made Real Harmony, which worked on an iPod. It gave iPod users another option, had better quality, had a different selection, and generally put more competition in the legal mp3 downloads for iPod users. Unfortunately, Apple reworked the iPod so it wouldn’t work with Harmony, therefore maintaining a monopoly on the legal mp3 iPod downloads. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day Apple makes the iPod no longer support mp3 (as of course only people who steal music use it…) and only support iTMS downloads.

Posted by catboy17 on February 15, 2005 at 9:30 AM (PDT)

18

All download formats have fees.

Not true. Vorbis is free, open, and sounds better than either MP3 or AAC.

And if you want highest-quality, then lossless FLAC is free, and open.

Posted by Demosthenes on February 15, 2005 at 4:05 PM (PDT)

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