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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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  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:53PM (#17762780)

    So what? It's still DRM, so it's still just as restrictive!

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:01PM (#17762888) Homepage
    I don't like that comparison. For starters, Gillette don't have much of a choice since there is no standard format for razer blades. In addition, there are replicated blades available on the market for a lower price. iTunes, on the other hand, uses common software but has intentional limitations set to it.

    Also, when you are in a dominant position as an online music store, you kind of have advantages over all of the competition, so what they're doing is more related to what Microsoft did with Internet Explorer.

    Last but not least, you must remember that newly formed laws on computer software cannot be compared to the laws of items.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:27PM (#17763152)
    Norway did not "Outlaw iTunes". They outlawed iTunes Music Store. There's a big fucking difference, and on /. of all places the editors should know the difference.
  • Re:Oh, F'ing please (Score:3, Informative)

    by jtotheh (229796) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:32PM (#17763218)
    I just tried your "menu:advanced" recommendation. iTunes tells me that protected files cannot be converted to other formats.
    I also think that if you burn and rip to get it in as mp3, you lose the ID3 tags, but I don't feel like verifying that right now.

    QT Fair Use and another program I don't recall converted everything to mp3s quite nicely though, as I just switched from an ancient iPod to a Creative Vision
  • Re:Oh, F'ing please (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:42PM (#17763306)

    1. Buy song on iTunes
    2. Menu: Advanced => Convert selection to .mp3

    I'm sorry, this is only a problem for morons.

    Obviously I must be a moron then, because when I tried that this message popped up:

    "Doctor My Eyes" could not be converted because protected files cannot be converted to other formats.
  • Re:Dumbass (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:51PM (#17763400)
    Your analogy is wrong (and not even close) because there are many, many places online where I can download music legally and cheaply which plays just dandy with my iPod and are in common, non-DRM'ed codecs not under Apple's control. Apple does not lock you into a sole vendor for your music when you get an iPod.

    And then there other quasi-legal methods of finding music or ripping my own CD's that I bought online. Maybe you were thinking of the Zune, which locks up even your legal tracks under DRM?

    10 minutes, nay, 30 seconds on Apple's iPod page would have told you this.
  • Re:Good! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kalriath (849904) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:04AM (#17763526)
    Correction to this, the Windows Media Rights Manager software is licensed at NO CHARGE to virtually anyone willing to use it. All you need to do is prove who you are to Microsoft (by means of using a code signing certificate to sign a dummy executable) and sign an agreement which pretty much amounts to "don't redistribute the rights manager, and don't do bad things like install spyware using the rights manager's 'Acquire License' feature". The only actual requirement is that they'll only give it to you for use on a Windows 2003 Server (which, incidentally, comes bundled with Windows Media streaming services licensed for use with about 6 billion clients.) And to play WMDRM music, they only charge you $0.10 per unit to incorporate the DRM decrypter into your device (annual maximum $400K)

    Apple wont even allow THAT.
  • Re:And... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:07AM (#17763542) Homepage
    No.

    The Constitution does not guarantee copyrights. Nor does it require Congress to enact copyright laws. All it does is empower Congress to enact copyright laws, or not, as it chooses. That's why it says that they have a power, not that they shall do something.

    Before the current government was established, the states had control over copyright, along with interstate commerce, extradition, and a number of other things. And they made a hash of it. The numerous screw-ups on the part of the states and the very weak confederate government gave rise to the wholesale recreation of the US government that gave us the federal constitution. While the framers wanted a stronger central government, they didn't want it to be too strong, so they limited it so that it could only have certain enumerated powers. Since the states had shown themselves to be inept at certain kinds of things, those were the powers given to the federal government. One of those things was copyright.

    The framers generally didn't think that copyright was needed, but that under the right circumstances it was useful. They thought that their circumstances were such that it was useful, but of course, given different circumstances, or different amounts of copyright, that usefulness might not exist.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:52AM (#17764050) Homepage Journal
    How many of the ones that aren't iPods work with the iTunes Store?
    It's the store Norway wants to get rid of, not the iPods themselves.
  • by eiscir (968749) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:58AM (#17764118)
    What really happened is that the consumer ombudsman stated that FairPlay was, in his opinion, illegal. The ombudsman is not a court, nor a judge, nor a legislature. The easiest comparison to make is that he's like an attorney general, but rather than advise the govt, he advises consumers, and acts on their behalf, subjectively. The most he can do is recommend a prosecution to the director of prosecutions, but his opinion is not, repeat not law. TFA is stupid and badly researched.
  • by grimJester (890090) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:58AM (#17764122)
    It probably is illegal in Norway already. It used to be in Finland, but the law was recently (as in a few months ago) changed to allow bundling of service and phone. People seem to think they get cheaper phones, when in fact they pay it off (and substantially more) in monthly fees.
  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:11AM (#17764262)
    Norway isn't in the EU.
  • by grimJester (890090) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:55AM (#17764650)
    I'm just watching BBC World, where a guy called Torgeir Waterhouse from the Norwegian Consumer Council talks about this. When asked about competitors like Microsoft and the Zune, he said they are all illegal under Norwegian law. They only went after iTunes first because it's largest.
  • by dangitman (862676) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:57AM (#17764676)

    Nullsoft Winamp Can I play my purchased music from services such as the new Napster, MusicMatch, MusicNow, or BuyMusic.com through Winamp 5? Yes. Yes you can. Amazon Unbox video player Musicmatch Jukebox

    All of those applications use Microsoft software (or at least APIs, but probably software) to gain Playsforsure functionality. All of them only run on a Microsoft OS.

  • Re:And... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Technician (215283) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:58AM (#17764690)
    When will they outlaw razor blades that only fit one razor?

    Only when they can't buy safery razor blades and double edge razor blades and you have to go to a Gillette. There is a standard razor format still out there. The blades fit box cutters and paint scrapers, art tools, medical tools, as well as razors. You can buy the blades at either the grocery store, drug store, or hardware store. Your other option is to go the single vendor lock-in route. You don't have to pirate blades if you decide not to go with a single vendor solution.

    You can't find many online music stores selling a variety of formats for several brands and functions of devices. This is the issue. I can buy several brands of razor blades at any one of the stores to fit my open format razor and can shop for the best brand and price. There is no online store selling competing brands of DRM content compatible with whatever brand of music player you happen to like. There is also no price and quality choices. If you buy online for your iPod, the only choice in the USA is 99 cents a track at the only quality level of 128Kbits. If you have a Zen, you can't buy compatible content for any price. If your device plays MP3's, you are SOL at the iTunes store. It's like having a safety razor and absolutely nobody sold blades for it so you had to rip your own from tin cans. (I know e-music, but try to buy any mainstream music there..)

    Here are some examples of safety razor blades to fit your any name and function device that uses safety razor blades..

    Mekur brand http://www.amazon.com/Merkur-Double-Safety-Blades- 3-Pack/dp/B0001XGNRK/sr=1-1/qid=1169789189/ref=sr_ 1_1/104-5655065-6533564?ie=UTF8&s=beauty [amazon.com]
    Auto Parts blades
    http://www.parts4cars.com.au/cart.php?target=produ ct&product_id=19167&category_id=439 [parts4cars.com.au]
    Feather brand
    http://www.classicshaving.com/catalog/item/522941/ 906451.htm [classicshaving.com]
    Excel brand
    http://www.dickblick.com/itemgroups-r/razorblades/ [dickblick.com]
    Wilkinson brand
    http://www.blademail.co.uk/acatalog/Classic_Twin_E dge.html [blademail.co.uk]
    Gem brand
    http://www.2spi.com/catalog/tools/smtol14.shtml [2spi.com]

    There are more not listed here.. You can't mix music and players like you can razors. MP3 format works fine, but everyone wants to be the defacto DRM single vendor instead.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:15AM (#17764848) Homepage Journal
    Not necessarily. For example, a company might collect used cartridges, pull the print heads off, and attach the heads to their own ink tanks.

    I suppose HP might play a few tricks to make it difficult for third parties to recycle cartridges, making it impossible to sell third party cartridges without infringing the patent; in that case I believe the patent should be suspended, partly to allow interoperability, but also as a punitive measure for abusing the patent system.
  • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:24AM (#17764912)
    Well, Norway isn't in the EU.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:35AM (#17765014)
    Vista's "SUPER DRM" doesn't lock you into any particular hardware. That DRM is required for HD-DVD and BR playback, but any HD-DVD and BR player as well as OSX Leopard also implement that same DRM and can therefore play those discs. So there's no hardware lockin, unlike with iTMS DRM'ed songs, which only play on Apple's hardware as far as portable players are concerned.

    (If you widen your view beyond portable players, then iTMS isn't *that* locked in since iTMS songs do play on regular Macs and Windows computers via the iTunes app).
  • Norway != EU (Score:5, Informative)

    by theolein (316044) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:58AM (#17765166) Journal
    Norway isn't in the European Union. I'm pretty sure Apple would lobby pretty strongly to get its way in the EU, but Norway, and the Norwegian market being pretty small, I don't think Apple thinks its worth it, and would rather lose that market.

    In essence, as a Mac and iPod user, I don't like this, but in principle it should apply to everybody, including Microsoft's Zune, which isn't even compatible with Microsoft's own Plays For Sure brand, and that name is terribly ironic.

    Still, I don't really care. If I can't listen to music because of DRM, then I'll make my own or go and watch a Bach recital or something (until Microsoft/Sony/RIAA or whatever make playing music in public illegal unless you pay them for it)
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Informative)

    by kripkenstein (913150) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:56AM (#17766006) Homepage
    You are right that the actual music labels are the issue, not the RIAA, of course (I was just saying RIAA for short - what I meant are the people holding the copyrights to the music). But the "Norway isn't America" issue is not relevant. While the RIAA (again, shorthand, meaning the people who hold the copyrights) may be based in the USA, they hold the copyrights to the music, and copyrights are valid worldwide by international agreements. So if the RIAA will only allow their music to be sold in Norway if it has DRM, then that is how it will be, because only they can authorize people to make copies of the music they hold the copyright to.

    So, it isn't Apple who are to blame for DRM being used in Norway, or anywhere else (even though, as I said before, they do profit from it).
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Friday January 26, 2007 @06:00AM (#17766022) Homepage Journal

    AAC has nothing to do with FairPlay, Apple, or anything else, for that matter. AAC is a completely open format that was meant to replace the MP3 (and should, but old habits die hard), Apple didn't want to use Vorbis because it requires a lot more battery power to encode... and people already bitch about battery life. FairPlay could theoretically be inserted into any number of file formats, it's just that Apple only uses AACs for music transfer.

    So, again, neither of the As in AAC stands for Apple, it's an MP4 compression container file, that Apple bought in to... and most of the other companies are too busy with WMA and MP3 that they haven't bought into it yet. It's like saying that HD-DVD is a Microsoft format... no, it's a Toshiba format, in which Microsoft now uses.

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @06:03AM (#17766034)
    Just to sort out a misunderstanding: "Norway Outlaws iTunes"

    The iPod is not banned here in Norway, it is available like any other player on the market. iTunes is also prefectly legal. However, the consumer-alliance has after negotiations with Apple, required that "the locks" will be open by the end of september. Apple have untill the first of march to come with their answer. If they refuse, Norway are "prepared to remove iTunes from the market".

    -kosmonaut
  • Re:Good! (Score:2, Informative)

    by blowdart (31458) on Friday January 26, 2007 @06:23AM (#17766132) Homepage
    Actually it may not just be the labels. Remember the labels only hold part of the copyright; they have rights to an individual recording; however the song writer(s) hold copyright over every recording and the recording artist also has "performing rights".

    Also you tend to find that US labels will not have rights to sell anything in Europe (independant labels not withstanding); it will be the local labels that have those rights. So for example EMI US probably won't have the rights to sell music in the UK, that is handled by EMI UK. (can you tell I've been through this mess before? *grin*) You can argue that it's usually the labels that are insisting on DRM, but I've also dealt with some artists that also wanted it.

  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Informative)

    by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@NOspAm.earthshod.co.uk> on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:58AM (#17766596)

    Jeez - I just bought an Xbox game in Norway - I want to play thos game on my Mac and my Wii I cannot. I DEMAND that Norway make ALL software run on all platforms.
    You might be onto something. What you'd be more likely to succeed with, though, is demanding that console manufacturers allow running of third-party software (since vendor lock-in is, by definition, anti-competitive). If, say, you want to write software to run on Wii machines that people own, well, that's absolutely none of Nintendo's business and anything Nintendo do to try to stop you is illegal. It's already been ruled in the EU that DVD region coding is anti-competitive, which is why any DVD player you buy on the Continent will be multi-region (and, thanks to it having RGB outputs, will work fine on any set anywhere in the world). However, there's the slight problem that video games are not presently the sort of activity enjoyed by stuffy old judges. Of course (and quite appropriately, given what section we're in), death will eventually take care of that.

    In the 1980s, the plethora of incompatible home computers, each unable to run software written for any of the others, was questioned. The consensus was that you should no more expect a cassette clearly labelled for the Commodore 64 to be usable with a Spectrum, than you should expect an 8-track cartridge to be playable on a turntable or a super 8 movie on a VHS recorder. In the end, The Market decided; a whole bunch of machines failed for want of software availability, and it was the Speccy, 64, Amstrad CPC and Beeb that won out, with a few Orics and Dragons hanging on around the fringes.

    Now, in some countries, "format shifting" is explicitly legal. In other words, if you own an album on CD or LP, you are allowed to make a copy of it on cassette or MP3. (In the UK, it's not actually legal, merely unprosecutable. Any court case relating to format-shifting would set a precedent, and neither outcome would be desirable.) Under such a doctrine, you probably would have a right to rewrite an Xbox game to run on another platform -- at your own expense, and for nobody's use but yours. (In the case of 8-bit home computers, such rewriting wouldn't have been altogether technically unfeasible for a programmer knowledgeable in both the source and target architectures. Anyone remember magazines with type-in listings, with the "conversion clues" sidebars? *sigh* They were great days.)

    You can get Corn Flakes anywhere. You can get Music Anywhere. There is no restriction.
    That's not strictly true. At the moment, music distributors have exclusive deals to represent performers. You can buy Kellogg's corn flakes, or you can buy corn flakes from other manufacturers. You can even flatten and toast your own maize kernels. But you can't buy Pink Floyd on any label except EMI. You can't buy Sheryl Crow on any label except A&M. You can't buy Shakira on any label except Sony. (I'd change all that: performers would mortgage the copyright in their songs to finance recording and distribution; the distributor would have lien over all copies of the first pressing, the size of which would be calculated to pay off the loan. Once the first pressing was all sold out and the initial loan paid off, the rights in the song revert to the performer, who then becomes free to pay the same company or any other company to distribute their music, and distributors would compete in the marketplace both for performers [effectively suppliers] and customers. If the rights in the song expire before the initial pressing is sold out, well, the distributor is up the same well-known waterway as anyone else who buys a large warehouse full of perishable goods and fails to punt them out in good time.)

    That's the essential difference: if you are concerned to listen to a particular song or a particular performer, then music is not a competitive market in the same way as other "commodities".
  • by liza_84 (1056062) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:46AM (#17766858)
    http://www.forbrukerombudet.no/index.gan?id=110370 79&subid=0 [forbrukerombudet.no]

    its a must read for everyone! it explains everything :)
  • Re:Good! (Score:2, Informative)

    by iangoldby (552781) on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:22AM (#17767162) Homepage
    Nonsense. Anyone can buy music on a CD, from any CD retailer. Push it into the CD drive and up pops iTunes. 15 minutes later all the tracks are safely copied to your iPod.
  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:02PM (#17774286)
    Oooh, yeah. So hard to find: http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/store/ipod/ [apple.com]

    The justification for not licensing FairPlay is simple: Apple wants to make money. They don't make money on Itunes. They make it on the hardware. Ergo, if people can play the music on any old thing they may not buy the Ipod, and ergo Apple doesn't make money. You can call it greed if you want, but most people call it "business". And when it's between consenting adults and both parties uphold their contractual agreements, it's both legal and moral.

    So the short of it is this is just another socialist EU(-ish) government who doesn't like that their businesses aren't getting a piece of the pie. No argument you make can possibly change this fact because your position is indefensible. Your point is like arguing that the $10 cell phone someone buys that's locked to a particular provider should be unlocked so you can use whatever provider you want. You got that cell phone because it's subsidized. Itunes is subsidized by the Ipod hardware. Apple should just make that explicit and tell anyone who bitches about it to toss off.

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