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Media (Apple) Businesses Media Music Apple

EU Countries Call Out iTunes DRM 457

Posted by Zonk
from the cue-the-gunfight-music dept.
seriouslywtf writes "Europe is upping the pressure on Apple to open up its restrictive DRM that ties iTunes to the iPod. Norway ruled last year that the iPod-iTunes tie-in was unreasonable and gave Apple a deadline to make a change to its policies, but was unsatisfied with the response they got. Now France and Germany have joined forces with Norway, making it a lot harder for Apple to just walk away from those markets. From the article: 'France's consumer lobby group, UFC-Que Choisir, and Germany's Verbraucherzentrale are now part of the European effort to push Apple into an open DRM system, with more countries considering joining the group. However, the company has been under some fire over the last year due to those restrictions, first with France and then Denmark looking to open up restrictive DRM schemes (including, but not limited to iTunes) ... Norwegian consumer groups were unimpressed by Apple's response. Norway has now given Apple a new deadline of September of this year to change its policies, and the pressure on Apple will likely grow in the months leading up to the deadline.'"
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EU Countries Call Out iTunes DRM

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  • by D4rk Fx (862399) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @01:49PM (#17725710) Homepage
    Am I missing something here?
    Yes you are. The only place that can put DRM in the songs that will play on the iPod, is iTunes. Other places want to be able to put DRM in their songs, and have them be compatible with the iPod. Apple is essentially locking people into buying from iTunes if they want to buy music from big record labels online. Yes, there are alternatives to buying DRM'ed, but their legality is still not confirmed.
  • Finland, too! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @01:50PM (#17725746)
    This is a coordinated action by the Finnish and Norwegian consumer ombudsmen and German and French consumer watchdog organizations. At least that's what the strange gobbledygook here [kuluttajavirasto.fi] maintains.
  • by a16 (783096) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @01:53PM (#17725792)

    If you don't like the iPod, don't buy one.

    If you don't like iTunes and Apple's DRM scheme, don't buy from the Apple music store.


    I like my iPod. I own an iPod.

    I don't like the iTunes music store. I'd quite like to try out some of these subscription services, ignoring the DRM aspect (which I'm addressing now) I quite like the idea of paying "rent" to have access to a huge music library. And if someone did the same for films I'd like that too, I'd happily pay a fairly big monthly fee to the music and movie people to get unlimited digital viewing of whatever they produce.

    What these countries are trying to do is let you use any music player with any music store, and vice versa, and hopefully get rid of the extra DRM problems created by all of this in the mean time. And it doesn't seem to be exclusive to iTunes, it applies to everyone. I'm certainly hoping for these kind of changes, more choice is nver a bad thing.
  • by VJ42 (860241) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:05PM (#17726012)
    It's not the EU The title is misleading, Norway isn't even part of the EU! France and Germany, as sovreign nations, are following Norway's example. It dosn't appear to be anything to do with the EU at all.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:07PM (#17726038)
    You said:
    I own music that I bought from iTunes.
    and:
    I paid for that music, it's mine

    Actually, one of the problems with DRMed media is that the record and movie companies don't view that you have bought anything. They view it that you have rented it for play on one specific device, which means that if you want an iTunes purchase to play on, say, Zune, you need to buy it again for Zune.
  • by tetsuo29 (612440) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:09PM (#17726080)
    I know this is somewhat off topic, but I see that there are ad-sense type ads on this discussion for software that allows you to get songs off of an iPod. Now, I know that slashdot wouldn't exist without advertising, however, in this case, the ads do clueless readers a disservice.

    No one should have to pay to get their music off of their iPod. Hell, even Apple now has a page that explains how to do this without any additional software other than iTunes:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=300 173 [apple.com]

    Also, there are plenty of free programs out there that do what the advertised programs do:

    Windows:
    http://www.ephpod.com/ [ephpod.com]
    http://www.sturm.net.nz/website.php?Section=iPod+P rograms&Page=SharePod [sturm.net.nz]

    Mac:
    http://www.ilinkpod.com/ [ilinkpod.com]
    http://fadingred.org/senuti/ [fadingred.org]

    I'm sure there are some for Linux as well, but I've yet to connect my iPod to Linux so I haven't ever looked for any.
  • by phayes (202222) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:18PM (#17726226) Homepage
    Yes, there are alternatives to buying DRM'ed, but their legality is still not confirmed.
    Bzzzt, incorrect! I still buy CD's and rip them myself which, contrary to what the RIAA would have you believe is legal.

    If the CD is "copy protected" (given to me as a gift as I refuse to buy any DRMed media), I play it through my external DVD player which has a digital output connected to my PC's sound card. Slightly more work, yet also incontrovertibly legal.

  • by jm.one (655706) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:20PM (#17726252)
    norway is not part a member of the EU
  • by nick.ian.k (987094) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:26PM (#17726364)

    A magazine I subscribe to included in this month's issue a free 35 song sample from eMusic.com. I investigated it and the service was horrible in every way. Music catalog sucked. Finding songs in their catalog sucked. The sound quality of samples sucked. Their purchasing options were limited to three subcription models. Even with free music samples I could not find any compelling reason to use their service. If a company wants to compete successfully against an iTunes, they better offer an advantage somewhere.

    I'll agree with you on eMusic's site being quite the unholy steaming coil of a mess (don't like installing mystery stand-alone clients myself, so I didn't bother trying theirs). I'd say you couldn't rightly say the catalog (meaning selection) "sucked", but rather that you considered it less extensive than that of iTunes, devoid of the artists you enjoy, or both. I'd disagree about the sound-quality of samples from a functional perspective: why would you expect a free sample to sound particularly crystal-clear? The samples aren't making them any money, and as such, it's best to keep the bitrate low to both decrease the download time for the potential costumer and to conserve bandwidth and thus save costs for eMusic.

    The real clinker, though, is your talk about competitive advantage. eMusic's got a very clear advantage: no DRM. Thus, no buy-burn-re-rip dance maneuvers (minimal as they are, it's about as fun and convenient as killing fruit flies), no voting in favor of DRM with your hard-earned dollar, and no guilt.

    I sign up for a trial with eMusic about two to three times a year when offered just to see what's changed. The main problem is that the site itself is getting *worse* and is a real bitch to navigate through efficiently. The number of artists, however, is growing, and I'm finding more and more quality stuff up there every time I give it a look. If they'd fix the site, I'd be a customer for sure.

  • by HistoricPrizm (1044808) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:31PM (#17726444)
    There are a lot of things that are only available on iTunes. Just search for "iTunes exclusive". Sometimes they are special tracks, sometimes live versions unavailable elsewhere, etc.
  • by tetsuo29 (612440) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:43PM (#17726642)
    I have the exact opposite opinion of eMusic. I think their music catalog is great. I do agree that the subscription model is a bit tiresome, but I find it worth putting up with as they have a lot of content that I want. I currently have 75 albums in my "Saved for Later" playlist on eMusic and I enjoy downloading 1 or 2 albums per weekend in high quality variable bit rate, non DRM'ed MP3 format. eMusic is what is keeping me out of the used CD bins that I used to so frequently visit (sorry local CD shops). I only spend $14 a month on music now, instead of the $60 - $100 per month I used to do.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @02:52PM (#17726784) Homepage Journal
    15 minutes? jeez, get with the future.
    I ahve a modest computer, and it has never taken me longer the 3 minutes to burn a disk.

    What are you using, so 2x burner on a 486?

    Burn at 192. There is no detectable quality loss by the human ear. Yes, even your ear.

    You can import using AIFF,WAV(isn't this lossless?),Apple lossless,AAC,MP3(128/160/192).

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @03:00PM (#17726904) Homepage Journal
    "So how is it possible to buy a tune from the ITMS and play it?"

    What is the big deal here? I mean, you CAN buy music from other sources....something as easy as a CD, rip it, put it on the iPod and play it all you want. You don't have to buy music through iTunes, you can play non-DRM music on an iPod and through iTunes...the only place you get hit with DRM is if you buy through the iTunes store, and noone is holding a gun to anyone's head to do that.

    Hell, I think stats show that most iPod owners do not get their music through iTunes Store.

    I don't see why the EU is getting their panties in a wad...it isn't like you can only use the iPod with music from iTMS. You do have a choice....

  • by alisson (1040324) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @03:03PM (#17726950)
    Apples DRM is as follows:
    Unlimited CD burns
    Unlimited iPods(yes, this includes your friends. you can have music uploaded from multiple computers and users on one iPod)
    Five computers.

    Boo. Freaking. Hoo.
    "Oh noes! I can only burn it to ? CDs, on which the DRM does not carry over! And I, unlike 99.99% of iTunes users, cannot use my crappy third party Mp3 player! I am limited to iTunes, CDs, and iPods! Unless I just rip it again!"

    If you actually download from iTunes, chance are you have an iPod. If you don't, who cares?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @03:10PM (#17727094)
    France and Germany, as sovreign nations, are following Norway's example.

    One might add, that - at least for the German side - it is not "Germany" (or the German government), but the "Verbraucherzentrale", which is a non-profit organization with task to support consumers. They are (partly) sponsored by the German state(s), but they are not a state organisation, ie this is not a political decision.
  • Re:Wrong solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @03:31PM (#17727370) Journal

    Plenty of manufactures make devices capable of playing Microsoft DRM'ed files
    No they don't, they make devices capable of playing PlaysForSure files. Microsoft's DRM files, however, only play on the Zune.

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