European consumer chief complains of iPod-iTunes link | iLounge News

European consumer chief complains of iPod-iTunes link

European Union Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva is the latest to criticize Apple for its closed copy-protection system used by the iPod and iTunes. “Do you think it’s fine that a CD plays in all CD players but that an iTunes song only plays in an iPod? I don’t. Something has to change,” Kuneva said in a recent interview. A Commission spokeswoman in Brussels confirmed Kuneva’s comment, but said it represented the commissioner’s personal views. “I don’t think she was stating it as a definitive policy position. At this stage it is her gut instinct,” spokeswoman Helen Kearns said. Apple is facing pressure to open up its FairPlay digital rights management technology in countries such as Germany, France, Finland and Norway.

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Hey, my PS3 games don’t work with the 360 and my Wii games won’t work in my PS3, my vcr tapes won’t work in my DVD player, and my bread won’t toast in the microwave. Please fix all of these as well.

Posted by nosedive51 on March 12, 2007 at 9:33 AM (CDT)


People who blithely toss off this sort of thing are sheep.

There are markets that have honest to goodness reasons for proprietary formats (c.f. video games) and then there are those markets that use proprietary formats to attempt to leverage market share into more market share by improperly tying products.

What if Microsoft had used their market position to not support the Mac platform with Office? Does anyone here actually think the platform would have survived the 90s without that sort of cross platform compatibility? Apple has had a bit of renaissance with the success of the iPod bleeding over onto their MacOSX based machines, but when they were struggling in the 90s all it would have taken was MS pulling their support for Office and, poof, that would have been the end of the Mac as a viable platform as campuses and offices throughout the world declared that the Mac users would have to switch. It is only because the Mac plays well enough with the other 95%+ of the computing world and vice versa that there is an Apple Inc. today to bring the sheep the iPod, yet these same sheep now want it to be fine for Apple to do as they see fit in the absence of any justification beyond, “they can”.

Every DAP player and computer out there in the world is one software update away from iTunes compatibility, there’s no actual reason why Apple can’t open up iTunes other than using the market position of the iPod to leverage more market position for the iTunes store, and that IS illegal under many countries’ consumer laws and should be illegal under all countries consumer laws.

Only if the iPod only played iTunes music would the sheep have a leg to stand on. Then it would be arguable that the two products are inextricably linked. Since the iPod performs just fine without any content from the iTunes store, Apple is guilty of what they’re accusing them of.

Posted by Code Monkey on March 12, 2007 at 10:02 AM (CDT)


nosedive51, You can’t be serious!
A Playstation game is just that, “a PLAYSTATION GAME.” A song however is a song and not an Apple or iTunes’s Song.
You’re trying to compare apples and oranges… there ‘s just no comparison and honestly doesn’t even make sense.

Let me ask you this. “Do you honetly want your music only to be played on one device?”  Just answer that question… yeah yeah I know you can burn and rip, blah, blah, blah; but should we have too.  Just answer the question please, I’m interested in what you think.
BTW, just so you’ll know, I love my iPod and iTunes and don’t use any other dap or music download service.  From time to time I still wonder about this DRM.

Posted by 3rdEye on March 12, 2007 at 10:35 AM (CDT)


Actually a Playstation game is a GAME just like an iTunes Song is a SONG. There are no differences. The only difference is how people perceive the two and I think if someone wants one thing opened up then everything has to be. Why just music and not games or electronic parts or remote controls to tvs? Why stop at just music?

Posted by nosedive51 on March 12, 2007 at 10:45 AM (CDT)


I can burn CDs from my iTunes software and then play said CD anywhere in the free world. This is a nonissue for me. Of course Apple does this, it’s about profits, and personally I don’t give a rodents backside. Mario is a “game”, but it’s not played on any other system but Nintedo, untill you rip it, crack it, hack it, and it ends up on a PC or PSP or Mac.

Posted by Matt on March 12, 2007 at 11:22 AM (CDT)


“Actually a Playstation game is a GAME just like an iTunes Song is a SONG.”

WRONG. A playstation game is specifically written for the playstation’s hardware and, unlike the computing world, you can’t just run the same source code through a compiler with a different setting and get a X-box game.

You have to actually dedicate a complete dev team to get cross platform compatibility with console games.

Posted by Code Monkey on March 12, 2007 at 11:33 AM (CDT)


“You have to actually dedicate a complete dev team to get cross platform compatibility with console games.”

Which makes iTunes purchased music a non-issue, because you do not need any developers to make a music file play on any system;this ability is built right into iTunes. Let me know when I can put an Xbox disc into a PS and get it to transcode to allow playback.

Apple has an earned monopoly on digital music, but not a monopoly on music in general. If you have a problem with the DRM there are other venues to get the same music, including just buying the CD.

Posted by consumer_q on March 12, 2007 at 12:06 PM (CDT)


I don’t think it’s fine that a song with Windows DRM won’t play on my iPod. Can the EU make Microsoft fix that too please?

At least I can copy an iTunes song to CD and rerip it to WMP - you can’t do that successfully the other way round because the burned CDs are ‘broken’ to prevent it.

Posted by Phil B on March 12, 2007 at 12:07 PM (CDT)


First and foremost what are they talking about.?a CD is a CD and downloadable music File is a File not a CD.

It sounds like a digital file and a plastic and whatever cd are the same thing. 

do subscription songs play in all players?  do windows media files and real files and on and on and on with the boring news

Posted by Bryan Cody on March 12, 2007 at 12:32 PM (CDT)


iTunes works in ALL iPods.

Posted by gel on March 12, 2007 at 12:44 PM (CDT)


“Do you think it’s fine that a CD plays in all CD players but that a Gilette blade only works in a Gilette razor? I don’t. Something has to change,” Kuneva (should have) said in a recent interview

Posted by otaku on March 12, 2007 at 2:39 PM (CDT)


I think this has all been explained in the whole “Thoughts on music” thing!

Posted by connorclarke on March 12, 2007 at 2:51 PM (CDT)


“I think this has all been explained in the whole “Thoughts on music” thing!”

Not really.  That was just Jobs trying to point the finger elsewhere.

Posted by dodo on March 12, 2007 at 2:52 PM (CDT)


Alternatively, “Do you think it’s fine that a CD plays in all CD players but the music labels nonetheless went ahead and tried to make protected CDs that couldn’t be ripped and would only play in players with appropriate components?”

People like Kuneva really need to go talk to Edgar Bronfman and get some idea of why Apple isn’t seeming to listen to them.

Posted by Jeremy Avalon on March 12, 2007 at 2:54 PM (CDT)


Okay, maybe it’s me, but I can’t help to think that all of the people complaining over the iTunes-iPod link are missing one very important factor.  It has been noted that if people do not create backups of their songs, then they are lost.  Anything from the iTunes store does not automatically have a backup.  Now, yes, if one simply backs up the songs using the iTunes backup wizard, then the files are backed up as they are in their original form.  However, one can also back up their songs through making albums purchased through iTunes into CD format.

To me, this is the most logical way to back up iTunes (music) for then, (if I want to), I can also put that same music I purchased through iTunes onto any other medium I wish.  Also, if for some reason, I’m not feeling like using my iPod, I can just pop the CD into a CD player, (or DVD player) my preference, and then play that very same CD filled with content that was once locked to iTunes.  Since we have to make backups of our files anyway, why does this matter?

No one wants to have a computer freak out on them, and then lose their whole music library, so why can’t these countries see that the files (naturally) would already be placed onto other media to ensure that does not happen?  And if they still think it’s an issue, then why not encourage the user to save albums as individual CD’s ?  iTunes makes it pretty easy to turn iTunes store bought music into audio CD’s.  I fail to see the big issue here.

Posted by David on March 12, 2007 at 3:41 PM (CDT)


Maybe I missed something here but was Steve Jobs not pointing the finger in the right direction with his “thoughts on music” thing?  I don’t understand why people keep blaming Apple for DRM.  Who insisted that DRM exist in the first place?  I may be wrong but is it not the record companies?  Did Steve Jobs not clearly say that he would support removal of DRM?  Did I miss something or read between the lines incorrectly?  Can anyone help me on this?  Did the European consumer chief not contact European record companies to insist on removing DRM enabled iTunes tracks?  And yes, what about all those wonderful WMP tracks on other online stores that don’t work for my iPod/iTunes?  If it is indeed true that Windows DRM files dont work on my iPod, then I hope the consumer chief is fighting real hard for me on that one too.  I think we need to ask record companies what they are actively doing to resolve this issue don’t you think?

Posted by canadan on March 12, 2007 at 5:43 PM (CDT)


“Maybe I missed something here but was Steve Jobs not pointing the finger in the right direction with his “thoughts on music” thing?  I don’t understand why people keep blaming Apple for DRM.”

Because just because Apple has to include DRM with its iTunes files it does NOT have to limit their compatibility to iPods and iTunes.

My WMA-DRM files from Yahoo! Music play in WinAmp and whole slew of other players via plug-ins, if I had compatible players they would play on dozens of them, if Apple would license the technology from Jobs then they would play on the iPod.

Steve needs to put his money where his mouth is: Yes, DRM sucks, but so long as he is using it in a way that only benefits Apple, he’s just a hypocrite. He could call up MS tomorrow and sometime next month roll out the new iPod WMA compatibility and iTunes compatibility for everybody else. Steve IS the bottleneck here, not the recording industry no matter how many fingers he wants to point.

So long as two products both have a dominant market share and their owning company is leveraging them to further their market share, that’s illegal. This is the same reason why MS was forced to uncouple Windows and IE in Europe.

This isn’t a terribly difficult concept to understand: iTunes and iPod two different products, ergo, they *cannot* be linked in the way they are in Europe. Gods forbid the law favors the consumers over corporations.

Posted by Code Monkey on March 13, 2007 at 3:16 PM (CDT)

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