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Norway Outlaws iTunes 930

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the run-out-of-town dept.
haddieman notes that while many people are getting more and more annoyed at DRM, Norway actually did something about it. The PC World article explains: "Good intentions, questionable execution. European legislators have been giving DRM considerable attention for a while, but Norway has actually gone so far as to declare that Apple's iTunes store is illegal under Norwegian law. The crux of the issue is that the Fairplay DRM that is at the heart of the iTunes/iPod universe doesn't work with anything else, meaning that if you want access to the cast iTunes library, you have to buy an iPod."
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Norway Outlaws iTunes

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  • Good! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:39PM (#17762628)

    Now, when are they going to outlaw all the other DRM-infested music stores? If "Fairplay" is unfair, then so is "PlaysForSure!"

  • WTF? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:44PM (#17762692)
    While I don't agree with DRM, and don't support it (financially), why does the government need to regulate a vendor that has lock-in features, when other companies [microsoft.com] do the same thing?

    --
    Plays For Sure .. unless your MS and can't even get that right!
  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Monsuco (998964) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:51PM (#17762762) Homepage
    The difference between fairplay and playsforsure is that fairplay *only* supports ipod, playsforsure is compatible with all sorts of hardware. I get the impression that Norway doesn't have a problem with the DRM itself, it's because it forces you to use specific hardware.
    I think this is sorta right, however I think it more or less falls along the lines of apple dominates the MP3 player market and is using that to force out competition in the online music market.
  • Re:Good! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:55PM (#17762808)
    So the problem is that Apple won't let competitors to use the software they developed and paid for and the relationships they fostered with the Norwegian labels, both indie and the RIAA, nor share the revenue from that process and iPods sales with companies that don't have Apple's best interests in mind?

    Are you in favour of regulations that forces Sears to haul around merchandise from JC Penney without compensation as well?

    There's no law that forces people to use iTunes, nor does iTunes have a monopoly on downloaded music, and Apple hasn't used its market share to squeeze others out of the business (unlike Microsoft). What have they done wrong, except become popular?

  • by AutumnLeaf (50333) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:06PM (#17762958)
    What I found interesting about this article is that it seems to advocate one choice is better than no choice, and implies Norway is harming its citizens and consumers by depriving them of a monopoly.

    This tends to be the self serving argument monopolists use when justifying their actions. "By enhancing the user experience by bundling a product the user experience is enhanced. Depriving them of our monopolistic business model harms them."

    In my view, choice is never bad. Competition is good. Apple won their market share by out-innovating the rest of the pack. But history is full of examples of the stagnation occurs once a market is consolidated. So I think other players should be allowed to work with iTunes.
  • Re:And... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris&beau,org> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:11PM (#17763014)
    > no, it's democratic government responding to its citizens.

    Which is a perfect example why the US Founding Fathers thought democracy was a a wicked and stupid idea. And why the US has a republican form of government with lots of checks and balances and concepts like Rights that trump the 'will of the People" and being a nation of laws and not men, meaning there are supposed to be a great many things the State should NEVER do; regardless of whether it might be popular at the moment.

    Norway on the other hand is a socialist "Worker's Paradise" and lacks any such restraints.
  • by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:50PM (#17763396) Journal
    iTunes came after the iPod, as an accessory service to the iPod and nothing more. Why should an iPod accessory have to work with other players? (HINT: It does, you can burn the tracks to a CD and re-rip them in a format usable on any player, though with some loss in quality.)

    Allow me to rephrase that: HD-DVD content with the HDCP bit set came after HDCP-enabled HDTV sets, as an accessory to HDCP-enabled HDTV sets and nothing more. Why should an accessory for HDCP-enabled HDTV sets have to work with other sets? (HINT: It does, you can watch it on your existing set, though with some loss in quality.)

    And, again: McDonalds hamburgers came after the trash can, as an accessory to the trash can. Why should an acccessory for a trash can have to work with anything else? (HINT: It does, you can eat it and still live your life, though with some loss in quality.)

    Okay, so I threw that last one in for a luagh. I could have (and perhaps should have?) given a longer list of, perhaps less obvious, examples, but I feel it's better to let you post them in reply to this; it may help my karma. Or not.
  • Next on the block... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sethstorm (512897) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:51PM (#17763412) Homepage
    It'd be a longshot, but maybe they could extend that to their practices regarding OS X and their hardware? Repackaging it in a desired format with spare parts gets you in trouble these days if you sell it, much less the hardware binding. They'd not need to ban OS X, just remove the restrictions on interoperability and hardware use.

    Of course, fanboi's will come far and wide to dispute this- but not all of us like their products in "Ivory Tower" white as a majority, in non-ATX forms, or even the architecture they bless. I'll take a clone or a custom built machine, and run whatever, however - economics be damned.

    Hopefully at least the iTMS ban holds up and works.
  • by fatalb7 (852308) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:25AM (#17763782)
    Already the case here in Belgium...
  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:16AM (#17764294)

    while many people are getting more and more annoyed at DRM, Norway actually did something about it
    By "many people," you mean Slashdotters and blog writers who think their obsessive DRM concerns have any presence outside their little media bubble. Regular consumers don't give a hoot, and most rip their CDs into MP3s in iTunes.

    Why should Apple be forced to provide service to competitors? Should HD-DVDs be forced to play in Blu-ray players? Should Sony be forced to allow its PS2 games to play on the Nintendo Wii? Should Ford be forced to make vehicle parts for Toyota?

    What a load of crap. NOBODY IS FORCING ANYBODY TO BUY MUSIC FROM THE ITUNES STORE. Case closed.
  • by mpaque (655244) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:43AM (#17764542)
    I bought a copy of "Destroy All Humans 2" for my PlayStation. It won't play in my XBox. Microsoft says I have to buy another copy for the XBox.

    I invented an interesting technology. My business partners all insist on using it. Now the government has noticed, and insists I provide it to non-partners and competitors on an equal basis to my partners.

    "'Once a long, long time ago, when I was a little boy, another little boy, equally young and foolish, and I formed a club. Just the two of us. Since we had a club, we had to have rules...and the first rule we passed--unanimously, I should add--was that henceforth we would always call our mothers, 'Crosspatch.' Silly, of course...but we were very young. Mr. Kung, can you deduce the outcome of that rule?'
    'I won't guess, Dr. Harshaw.'
    'I tried to implement our 'Crosspatch' decision once. Once was enough and it saved my chum from making the same mistake. All it got me was my bottom well warmed with a peach switch. And that was the end of the 'Crosspatch' decision.'

    -- Robert A Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

    Congratulations, Norway, on your "Crosspatch Decision"

  • by Technician (215283) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:10AM (#17764802)
    For starters, Gillette don't have much of a choice since there is no standard format for razer blades.

    Look up Safety Razor in either the single or double edge variety. Then hunt for as many brands of compatible blades as you possibly can. You can choose stainless steel, high carbon steel, hardened and polished or not, extra sharp or extra strong, etc.

    Enjoy. There is a standard format if you wish. It's just like they would like MP3 to just go away as an obsolete format that nobody uses anymore. As soon as they can crush MP3's, support for it on the players will slowly vanish... Hopefully the rejection of DRM will keep MP3 the most popular format for some time to come.

    Gillette is doing the "ours is better than the open format" and they hope it will die. It is long from dead. Many devices from box cutters to art supplies to paint scrapers to medical prep tools to shavers use the blades much to Gillette's dismay. They pretend there is no standard format and hope to crowd it off the market as obsolete.
     
  • by Hugo Graffiti (95829) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:07AM (#17765522)
    In my view, choice is never bad. Competition is good.


    But by making iTunes illegal, you are taking away people's choice to use it. Nobody is forcing you to buy an iPod and if you do, nobody is forcing you to use iTunes. You still have the choice of buying CDs and ripping them.

    If you don't like the iPod/iTunes setup, buy another player. Let the market decide.

  • by Saint Fnordius (456567) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:28AM (#17765620) Homepage Journal
    Look, to clarify: it's not the iPod that has been found illegal, but the iTunes Store. In the eyes of the Norwegians, it sells in a form of DRM that is restricted to only one portable music player manufacturer. WMA-based stores have either been too small to notice or have gotten away with Microsoft arguing (to paraphrase): "Well, Apple is free to license DRM-enabled WMA from us at any time." Apparently they didn't accept like France did that it could easily be circumvented through burning to a CD and recompressing.

    Now, if Apple does open the FairPlay license to other hardware manufacturers (it's already semi-open, based on the Fraunhofer MP4/AAC compression and technology from Veridisc), in theory it could be easily ported to any QuickTime-supporting appliance.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pofy (471469) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:28AM (#17765624)
    But they are not discussing computer programs written for specific hardware here. They are discussing media (not sure if this is the correct word, but basically various forms of data or information), such as music and how it should be possible to move it away from the computer but more specifically that it should be possible to move it to other players. The music is itself not tied ro made for a specific sort of hardware or player and they oppose how Apple add that tie in the form of DRM.
  • by nordicfrost (118437) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:33AM (#17765920)
    But Norway is in the European Economic Area. That means we have to adapt to EU regulations. In fact, Norway is one of the countries in Europ most adapted to EU regulations and laws. more than 90% of our laws have been adapted to fit inside the EU framework.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:38AM (#17767354) Homepage
    This discussion is interesting, because it illustrates the difference between two different groups of /. users, who are usually allied.

    First, there is the freedom crowd. They of course cheer on Norway, as this decision will increase competition between music stores and makers of portable music players, by cutting the tie between the dominating player in both groups.

    Second, there is the cool technology crowd. They hate the decision, because Apple is "the good master", providing us with all kind of cool technology. And come up with all kind of objections, that really only make sense to a true believer.

    The Good Master meme is well integrated in our culture, think about how many fairy tales are about the good king versus the bad king, rather than about the peasants maybe being able to do without a king in the first place. The Apple worship (and the Microsoft demonising) draw directly on that archetype.

    Usually the crowds are aligned, because Microsoft is usually the dominating player, systematically abusing their desktop monopoly in order to expand into other areas. They have been convicted for that many times. And at the same time their technology, while not a sucky as it used to be, is still very boring.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:52AM (#17768404)
    parent is a moron. Because Toyota makes parts that only fit on Toyota cars, they are somehow illegal? Toyota needs to make parts to fit Honda cars? Apple 'makes" songs that fit Apple music players. Don't like that? Then don't buy the song from Apple. Duh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:40PM (#17771376)
    Rational Person: Songs bought from the iTMS will play on Apple iTunes (the FREE software used to DL them in the first place) and thus the DRM is not tied to the iPod, but to iTunes (iTunes, of course, can remove the DRM by the simple expediant of burning the song to an Audio CD).

    Case fucking closed.
  • by zootm (850416) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:40PM (#17776208)

    I think it's the "artificial vendor lock-in" thing that's being complained about, not "their own success". Whether you think that that should be attacked or not (I think it's a good reason to never buy anything off of iTMS, but I don't think legal action is justified), it's at least a valid complaint.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday January 26, 2007 @06:04PM (#17776628)

    "But what about video game consoles? If one wants to play "Gears of War", one is locked into Microsoft's Xbox 360 hardware. Same for any console wrt games exclusive to that console. Is Norway going to outlaw video game consoles as well?"

    There is a huge difference between coding games for multiple platforms and encoding music in a file format that multiple media players can read. Microsoft released WMA and WMV for a wide array of audio and audio/video players. Why can't Apple?
    The difference is that unlike consoles, most songs are available on all stores. You are not forced to choose based on the content available. The only people without a choice are mac users but that is not the fault of Apple. MSFT chose to discontinue the development of WMP and they never intended on bring store and DRM support to Mac OS X.

    Apple does not have to license if they do not want to. You are free to choose either an iPod, a Playsforsure device or a Zune if you are a windows user as Microsoft chose to lock out Mac users from the market. This lockout is part of the impetuous to the creation of the iPod in the first place. Apple wanted to provide its mac users with mac os alternative to the window only window media ecosystem. I think MSFT was foolish for not trying to maximize their potential market in the first place.

    I don't think you get that Apple makes most of it's music profit on iPod sales rather than music. They knew from the start that it would take a long time for sale of music to brake even let alone show a profit. For this reason, they do not have an incentive to license to others. MSFT is about long term profits and domination while Apple is interested in creating useful products and making a nice profit on them.

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