EU launches iTunes antitrust probe | iLounge News

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EU launches iTunes antitrust probe

The European Commission is investigating Apple and the major record companies, alleging that they are restricting music sales in Europe. A spokesman for the commission said agreements between Apple’s iTunes Store and the record companies—Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music, Warner Music and EMI Group—violate the European Union’s competition rules.

“Consumers can only buy music from the iTunes online stores in their country of residence and are therefore restricted in their choice of where to buy music, and consequently what music is available and at what price,” said Jonathan Todd, European Commission spokesman.

Apple said it has wanted to offer a pan-European store, but blames the record companies for not letting it happen. “Apple has always tried to operate a single pan-European iTunes stores accessible by anyone from any member state. But we were advised by the music labels and publishers that there were certain legal limits to the rights they could grant us,” Apple said in a statement.

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Comments

1

Just pull the itunes stores out of those countries. Do they really generate that much cash that you have to deal with this sort of craziness?

Posted by unreal on April 2, 2007 at 7:03 PM (CDT)

2

Do they really believe Apple dictates and controls the record companies.

Thats like America investigating Sony because you have to buy electrical adapters to play Playstation in Europe.

Why arent they talking to the record companies?

Posted by unreal on April 2, 2007 at 7:07 PM (CDT)

3

Well, they ARE talking to the record companies - it says so in the article - but I have to wonder what’s in the water that’s making Europe so stupid these days.

People in those countries are NOT restricted to buying music from iTunes. They could go to any number of other websites or actual brick-and-mortar stores. Would the European Commission come down on a chain of music stores for not carrying certain products, therefore restricting what their citizens could purchase? No.

Posted by Multimoog on April 2, 2007 at 8:39 PM (CDT)

4

Is it just me or does the EU do nothing but complain?  So annoying.  Yes, I agree the system sucks.  To this day, I do not understand why I cannot buy music from any iTunes music store in the world.  There’s no problem for me to order any import from any European online retailer or order it from my local record shop. Why can I not simplify the process by just buying something from another iTunes store and having it tracked as an international purchase and not affecting local charts?  Do record companies not realize the potential profits from international sales?

Posted by canadan on April 2, 2007 at 10:53 PM (CDT)

5

This is just US/Japan-Bashing.
The European EU just want the US-based RIAA to pull their head in, and are using Apple and the iTS as a leverage tool.

I hope the EU are successful; It’s a step towards Free-Trade Media; something the US companies are not very supportive of. I’d love to buy DVD’s of Charlie Jade in Australia without the restrictions of DVD Regions and International Billing Addresses.

Posted by Dan Woods on April 2, 2007 at 11:17 PM (CDT)

6

Funny that this would be announced the same day as Apple and EMI announce they’re dropping DRM.  A more cynical soul might suggest that the DRM announcement was simply to diflect attention away from this or make themselves look good in the eyes of the court, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Posted by phennphawcks on April 3, 2007 at 2:44 AM (CDT)

7

Well most songs on iTunes are avabile from (GASP) Napster, MSN Music, etc. So if we dont like it, we go else where, but not with our ipods.  (Please note I live in Scotland)

Posted by ryan10ad on April 3, 2007 at 4:29 AM (CDT)

8

Ryan10ad - you dont really believe that your forced to buy music from iTunes to use an iPod? You dont EVER have to buy any music from iTunes to add music and enjoy an ipod. Buy a CD and add it to itunes in MP3 format.

You can use those other services if you want, nobody is forcing anyone, thats the whole point.

Posted by unreal on April 3, 2007 at 10:25 AM (CDT)

9

From what I read, they are simply complaining that the individual stores violate EU trade rules. In th EU there is no limitations in buying from different countries. It is a common market for quite some time now… but being Greek prohibits me from buying songs from the UK iTS. I can buy anything (physical merchandise) I want from the UK with minimal shipping and no international fees, but I can not use the UK iTS. Same goes for the French, German, Italian, Spanish etc…

Personally I see it as a secondary issue, since I would rather have them unify ALL iTunes Store into one big one. I’d love to buy some Jrock, some Chinese music, songs not availlable in the Greek iTS… but I can’t. My credit card is Greek…

Damn the music industry and their technophobia…

Posted by Peskat in Greece on April 3, 2007 at 12:10 PM (CDT)

10

Makes perfect sense for this to be a legal issue given how the EU is supposed to work.  Good luck to the Euro iTunes users!

Posted by superape on April 3, 2007 at 1:23 PM (CDT)

11

For you guys not living in the UK you will not understand we live in a rip off country. Do the math 99 cents US does not equate to 79 pence sterling (52 pence approx). Equally 99 cents Euro still doesn’t equate to 79 pence sterling (62 pence approx). The £ is strong against your currencies yet we pay more for the same product. The European Union is just that. A union of markets and a choice for consumers to buy what they want from where they want. This pricing strategy is illegal. However Apple/Music Industry are not the only culprits, check out other European companies eg. Ikea, H&M, Sony etc. different markets different prices. Even if you add an import tax into Europe, the US prices are still far cheaper again.

Posted by SMC on April 3, 2007 at 4:41 PM (CDT)

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