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Apple DRM attacked as anti-comptetitive in Florida lawsuit

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 07 Sep 2007 6:56 User comments (5)

Apple DRM attacked as anti-comptetitive in Florida lawsuit A Florida man is suing Apple for violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by putting technical restrictions on iPods that he claims unfairly restrict competition. Frederick Black is upset that he can't use his iPod with online retailers other than iTunes or easily transfer content purchased from iTunes to other devices.
He's hoping to get his suit certified as a class action, which would include all Florida residents who purchased either an iPod or songs from iTunes since 2001. Apple faces a similar suit in Federal court in California, which they've tried unsuccessfully to have dismissed.

According to Black's suit Apple restricts the use of iTunes digital media to the iPod or iTunes software. So if the iPod is lost or breaks, the suit says, a consumer "is forced to repurchase an iPod" or "lose the use of the iTunes content."

The suit adds that Apple "has attempted to maintain monopoly power," "has the power to control prices," and "has been able to exclude competition."

At the heart of the issue is something that affects consumers every day, and not just Apple's customers. The real question centers around the relationship betwen technology and the law. Regardless of whether DRM is an effective deterrent against piracy, it's clearly effective against the exercise of fair use rights. In the case of the iPod it also appears to be effective in making Apple the 800 pound gorilla of the music download industry.

The important difference with trade related issues is that, unlike most fair use rights, trade and competition guidelines are well documented in written law. Fair use, on the other hand, is a nebulous concept, documented primarily through case law, and therefore subject to a great deal of interpretation.

The irony is that DRM itself is largely a product of trade laws. While the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and EUCD (European Union Copyright Directive) sound as if they're copyright laws, in reality their real authority is related to trade rather than intellectual property. Wouldn't it be ironic if similar laws were used to dismantle it?

Source: TechNewsWorld

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5 user comments

17.9.2007 13:00

i hate apple but its ironic that im trying to get the iphone for free so i can sell it :D but it is true that apple has a monopoly over the market.same with iphone and at&t which also has a monopoly and buys every company.and also charges american troops in iraw 3 dollars a minute.wheres the loyalty to the troops who serve your country?im pissed off as a canadian about that.screw both of them!

27.9.2007 17:23

comptetitive isnt the corrent spelling, once fixed just delete my post.

37.9.2007 21:04

Do your research before buying. If you don't like the DRM, acquire your music another way like everyone else. This lawsuit should be settled by Apple throwing the loser a burner and a stack of blank CDs and force the moron to burn everything as redbook.

410.9.2007 21:08

That's a naive comment. Even IF Apple publicized their blatant violation of those laws, that wouldn't make those violations any LESS of violations. But they intentionally omit all their carefully-engineered limitations from the advertising so that potential customers CAN'T find out until it's too late.

511.9.2007 1:17

this is just a load of legal hogwash.

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