Norway Tells Apple Change iTunes or Face Court

Norway has given a final date by which Apple must open up iTunes. If Apple does not make iTunes songs playable on music players other than the iPod, by October 1, the company will be taken to court. The case would first be handled by Norway 's Market Council, a special legal body that has the power to demand changes to contract clauses, and if appealed there, the case would move on to the ordinary courts. The courts could impose fines on iTunes until Apple makes the appropriate changes. Last June, Norway 's powerful ombudsman said iTunes violated Norwegian law which prompted other European countries to review the situation.

"They must make iTunes music compatible with other players than the iPod by the end of September, or we will take them to court. ITunes is imposing unreasonable and unbalanced restrictions that are not in accordance with Norwegian law," said the ombudsman, Bjoern Erik Thon.

Link: Forum Discussion (Thanks Soham)
News source: eWeek

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22 Comments

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A.) Norway has no pull in the global market.
B.) Steve Jobs is an arrogant ass and wouldn't change it anyway.

I have an ipod (2 actually) but i don't use itunes. I prefer to get my songs elsewhere so that i know i can do what i want with them anytime, anyplace. For those saying apple should be able to do what they want, think about this. If you shelled out $500 over a few years for songs/videos and now you decide you want to get a new mp3 player that's not an ipod, how is itunes going to transfer all those legally bought songs to the new device? if Itunes is a 'music store', then i should be able to use what i bought on whatever player i like...drm free too

good thing... apple is forcing people to stick only to their software and gadget with their strict DRM. People shouldn't be force to use a particular product, or software just because they buy music from apple.

I hope other countries are going to follow the suit.

If I were apple, I would just pull out of Norway, but if other countries followed suit, then I might consider changing.

Its about time ... i like ipods but the itunes store is not good offering people only the possibility to play their files on ipods. To be honest though stupid people fund this as if people simply didnt buy the music they would stop doing it anyway.

Oops! Another illogical complaint.

Apple can do whatever they want with their own products and services and if they want to lock down iTunes then they have every right.

The *customer* is responsible for understanding that iTunes media won't play on other portable devices and the customer *chooses* whether they still want to purchase said media. If they don't agree to the terms including the player lock down then they have every right to choose to buy their media from another retailer.

Very simple economics and all based on choice. Apple's own choice to lock down and customer's own right to choose where they buy their stuff.

Governments, keep out, your intervention is not necessary.

The same can be said about Norway. It is a sovereign country and it has its own laws. It has every right to allow or disallow a product that they deem to be violating their law. Worst case is apple will either leave the Norwegian Market.

if you people want a store that sales music to be played anywhere you make that store... i cant believe that if i ever want to make a store that sells certain product it has to be available for everyone to buy or use... is like saying kids should be allowed to buy porn, or medicine should be sold without a prescription.

No... we're (or I am at least) just saying that any company doing business in a country should comply with that countries' laws. Either that or not do business in that country. Simple.

If the laws of a country said that kids could buy porn, and that all medicine should be available over the counter, then I expect any company that sells porn or medicine in that country to respect those laws.

I think this is a great move by the Norwegian government.

This isn't just about iTune songs being playable on other brands than Apple, this is about DRM in general. The way that Apple (and other media stores) restrict how, where and on what hardware you can play your legally purchased music is not in compliance with most European countries' "Fair Use" laws.
In Sweden, for instance, it's a consumers right to copy legally purchased music for personal use. The consumer should be able to play and transfer the music in any way he chooses. It's even legal to share your music with your "closest peers". Apple should be forced to respect these laws or cease doing business in the concerned countries.

DRM is a silly concept anyway and should be fought, tooth and nail, where ever it rears it's nasty head. The only ones to suffer are the consumers who LEGALLY buy a DRM-protected product. Once the product hit's the p2p-networks the DRM is gone and the person downloading the illegal product gets all of the fun and none of the hassle.

Bit long for a comment, I know.

I'm not sure if this is good or not, sure digital media should be standardized but if a company wants to protect their song their own way then let them do it, why should they make their service available for people who don't use their products?

People who own a zune are more likely to purchase music through wmp, people who own other cheap mp3 players aren't likely to dish money out on music anyway are they? =P

yes, standardization is the way to go.... but this won't work.... Apple might just pull out of the Norway market, it's like like they're making a super ton of money there anyway. It would take a bigger threat than this to convince Apple to make a change to the core of how they do business.

Norway is only the first country which this happens in. Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France are reported to follow apparently...

Good, finally a country trying to force standardization in the digital music sale industry... Personally I think there should be a universal format or at least make the music avaiable in multiple formats!

No silly, they sleep together but can survive just fine on their own. Example: my ipod is loaded 100% with mp3s, no protected aac. I can purchase music on iTunes, listen to it on my 'puter, and not have an ipod. Even if u read apple's website, they tells u that you don't need an ipod in order to enjoy iTunes.

I agree that apple should remove the drm from their aac files, that's all. They do not have to go as far as making their music available in mp3 format, that's asking for tooo much. AAC is not some apple made up format so if apple wants their music in AAC, then that's cool, as long as there is no drm.