Apple’s digital rights management lock on its iPod device and iTunes software is illegal, the Consumer Ombudsman in Norway has ruled. The blow follows the news that Germany and France are joining Norway’s action against Apple.
The Norwegian Consumer Council, Forbrukerradet, lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman on behalf of Norwegian consumers claiming that the Fairplay DRM system acted against the interests of consumers. It said the fact the technology stopped songs bought from iTunes being played on any player other than an iPod broke the law in Norway.
The Ombudsman has now agreed, according to Torgeir Waterhouse, senior advisor at the Consumer Council.
“It doesn’t get any clearer than this. Fairplay is an illegal lock-in technology whose main purpose is to lock the consumers to the total package provided by Apple by blocking interoperability,” Waterhouse told OUT-LAW.COM. “For all practical purposes this means that iTunes Music Store is trying to kill off one the most important building blocks in a well functioning digital society, interoperability, in order to boost its own profits.”
Waterhouse said the Ombudsman has written to Apple to say it believes that Apple’s Fairplay system is illegal. “iTunes Music Store must remove its illegal lock-in technology or appear in court,” he said. “As of right now we’re heading for a big breakthrough that will hopefully pave the way for consumers everywhere to regain control of music they legally purchase.”
The Consumer Council believes Apple has only three options: it can license Fairplay to any manufacturer that wants iTunes songs to play on its machines; it can co-develop an open standard with other companies; or it can abandon DRM altogether.
Source: The Register