Reuters is reporting that an angry iTunes customer is suing Apple, claiming that he is forced to buy an iPod if he wants to listen to his music on the move. Thomas Slattery, from California, filed the lawsuit for unspecified damages over the inclusion of Apple's "Fairplay" Digital Rights Management system in tracks bought over iTunes. "Fairplay" encodes files in the AAC format, and downloaded songs cannot be transferred to MP3 players - except Apple's own iPod.
The suit alleges Apple has broken anti-trust laws by only allowing its songs to be played on its own player. The majority of MP3 players support rival Microsoft's WMA format which also has DRM. The WMA standard is also used by most online music stores, including Napster. Apple is believed to hold as much as 87% of the digital music player market, with more than six million iPods now sold.
It alleges that "Apple has turned an open and interactive standard into an artifice that prevents consumers from using the portable hard drive digital music player of their choice, even where players exist that would otherwise be able to play these music files absent Apple's actions". Mr Slattery described himself as an iTunes customer who "was also forced to purchase an Apple iPod" if he wanted to take the music he had bought with him.