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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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  • And... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:41PM (#17762654) Homepage Journal

    When will they outlaw razor blades that only fit one razor?

    While I despise DRM, this is purest bullshit.

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:43PM (#17762672)
    Bah! If I want to play Wii games, I have to buy a Wii. Outlaw the Wii.

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flawedgeek (833708) <karldnorman@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:44PM (#17762680)
    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.
  • Wait a second... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lordmatthias215 (919632) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:47PM (#17762730)
    What about all those applications that you can only use on one chipset/operating system? I could've sued game developes years ago for not making a mac version of their games, therefore forcing me to spend my money on PC, because I like to game. And what about those proprietary file formats? I should be able to open whatever file I want with whatever program and have it work! Although I agree that I should have the ability to play my iTunes music on whatever I want, I'm not sure making it illegal to limit proprietary files to a certain proprietary device sets a good precedence.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:55PM (#17762816)
    But is Norway violating users rights by not letting them use DRM?

    "Not letting them use DRM" would be a Hell of a lot better than what Norway's actually doing, which is giving Microsoft's "PlaysForSure" DRM (which is just as proprietary!) preferential treatment.

  • Heads exploding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@beauTOKYO.org minus city> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:57PM (#17762836)
    Gaaa!

    Norway == socialists == doubleplus good

    DRM == doubleplus ungood

    iTunes == Apple == doubleplus good

    Norway outlaws iTunes? What is a good gay socialist Mac user going to do? What is the right side to be on?

    Ok, trolling is fun and all, but seriously.

    I think it's a load. People have the right to be stupid. Without that as Right 0 no other "Right" can be read as anything other than "You have the Right to ____ unless we, the anointed elite, think decide your exercise of it is dumb." It's why the 1st Amendment is safe so long as -both- Noam Chomsky and StormFront were free to rant and rave but didn't survive John McCain & Russ Feingold.

    I'd never buy from the iTunes store because I think the deal offered is one sided, shortsighted and stupid. But I'll defend Steve's Right to try to sell it and your Right to freely enter into a license agreement with him.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:58PM (#17762856)
    Isn't that a bit like how, if you want access to the music available on Compact Discs, you have to buy a CD player?

    Furthermore, music purchased from the iTunes store does not require an iPod - it only requires iTunes which is available for free on both Macs and Windows machines. iTunes allows you to burn your purchased music to a CD so you can listen on myriad other devices. The only thing it limits is the portable devices you can play the purchased music on in its native format.

    I think it wouldn't be hard at all for Apple to make a case and sue the Norwegian government for damages and lost revenue (if such a thing is allowed there).
  • by Watson Ladd (955755) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:00PM (#17762872)
    It's not preferential. Other companies can make products that interoperate with PlaysForSure. If other compainies could do that with Fairplay, Norway wouldn't have a problem according to the article. Just because some companies are in compliance with proposed new regulations and some aren't doesn't mean that making new regulations is "unfair".
  • Re:And... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DVega (211997) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:02PM (#17762900)
    Never, because anyone can make and sell compatible blades and razor blades on Norway. This isn't possible with iTunes

  • by Albanach (527650) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:04PM (#17762928) Homepage
    It's not so much that you need an iPod to enjoy your itunes purchases, but that you are locked into future hardware purchases from Apple

    If you buy many albums from the iTunes sture you can enjoy them and all is rosy. Then two years later the battery on your iPod has died, so you look at what's available. You think there are some nice offerings from creative or sandisk but, trouble is, you can't listen to any of your existing purchases. Your locked to Apple.

    It's well boyond time that other players were allowed to license Fairplay, and that other music providers be allowed to sell Fairplay encoded tracks.
  • Re:Good! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Watson Ladd (955755) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:04PM (#17762930)
    All of them are made by Apple, so only 1 company profits. That's what's so specific. It's like Shell gas only working in Ford cars. Yeah, you can pick a truck or a car, but it's still unfair.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:05PM (#17762934)
    How long before windows vista's SUPER DRM is banded?
  • by Encrypto (1054956) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:06PM (#17762940)
    There's a solid technical reason why Wii games only run on a Wii. Technical incompatibility of DRM-locked music, however, is a purely artificially imposed barrier to interoperability. It's gratuitous incompatibility.

    Imagine that every car manufacturer operated a chain of gas stations. All cars could run on the same fuel, but every brand of car had a bizarrely shaped fuel intake that would only accept the corresponding bizarrely shaped nozzle. You could only fill up a Toyota at a Toyota gas station, a Ford and a Ford station, etc.

    Further, if you dared to try to create adapter for universal fueling, you'd be thrown in jail and fined tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for violating the laws the big car companies paid politicians all around the world to pass, to protect there little lock-in schemes.

    You could either go along with such BS, and happily sing the tune the car companies want you to sing ("If you don't like it, you can don't have to buy a car! No one's forcing you! Just by a bicycle and shut up already!"), or you could cheer along the efforts to end protected for deliberately imposed incompatibility and improve things for consumers instead.
  • Re:Good! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LaughingCoder (914424) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:07PM (#17762970)
    What have they done wrong, except become popular?
    Ahh, the favorite tag line of every monopolist.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:10PM (#17762998)
    It's not preferential. Other companies can make products that interoperate with PlaysForSure.

    Really? Then show me where I can get a software player not made by Microsoft capable of playing PlaysForSure Media! In particular, show me where I can get one that works on operating systems other than Windows!

    Just because some companies are in compliance with proposed new regulations and some aren't doesn't mean that making new regulations is "unfair".

    The only "fair" regulations would be ones that outlaw DRM entirely. To do what they've actually done -- especially when done in the name of "protecting consumers" -- is a farce!

  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:16PM (#17763052) Homepage Journal
    "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?"
    Apple Inc. created the iTunes Store, put Fairplay on the trax it sells, and then offered exclusive trax. (Example of an exclusive iTunes track: U2/McCartney "Sgt. Pepper" on Live8.)
    Now, whether Apple Inc. is squeezing other corps. out of any markets it's in is hard to pinpoint. (I've heard that there aren't as many large non-iPod portable music players out now as there used to be.) It doesn't matter. Europe is simply angry about there being important songs that can be gotten only on iTunes with iTunes Fairplay on them, which can only be gotten with iTunes manager and only played without (further) compression damage on iPods. Europe wishes to stop this method of distribution, one way or another.
  • Re:Dumbass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:22PM (#17763102)

    And if I buy a song from Sony or Microsoft, it won't work on my Linux computer. That is textbook anti-competitive behavior too, so why aren't "PlaysForSure" and whatever Sony's DRM is called being outlawed as well?

  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:24PM (#17763122)

    The difference between fairplay and playsforsure is that fairplay *only* supports ipod, playsforsure is compatible with all sorts of hardware.

    not true at all. Playsforsure is only compatible with one kind of hardware - playforsure compatible hardware.

  • by Encrypto (1054956) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:25PM (#17763126)
    There's a big difference between forcing a software company to expend the enormous effort that would be required to make a piece of software run on multiple OSes, and telling a music distributor that they shouldn't gratuitously add artificially imposed incompatibility.
  • by AusIV (950840) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:25PM (#17763130)
    The argument could be made that if Nintendo would just license the right specifications, other companies could build consoles that play Wii games. My computer for instance would probably be capable of emulating the Wii architecture, but if someone created and distributed a Wii emulator, they would certainly get a DMCA takedown notice, and likely face a law suit. While I don't feel your argument of Wii games only running on Wiis is completely valid, I agree with the rest of your analogy.

    The thing that irritates me the most about DRM is that it's illegal to circumvent. I have no problem with companies choosing to use DRM, and I have no problem with companies pursuing pirates in court. But when the DRM limits legitimate uses of the media and customers are stripping the DRM solely so they can use it on another platform, I have a problem with legal action being taken against them. Granted, if the DMCA didn't protect DRM there would be commercial investments dedicated to fighting DRM and it wouldn't last long at all, but I still don't feel consumers ought to have to worry about using their media the way they want to.

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGavster (774657) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:29PM (#17763176) Homepage
    Norway isn't asking Apple to take extra steps to interoperate with competitors' hardware, they're asking them to take less steps to prevent interoperability. There is a difference between dictating that the music be offered in an arbitrary codec and dictating that the music be offered in a form usable by a player supporting the codec that is used.
  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:34PM (#17763232) Journal
    It's really simple to explain.

    See, they have this nation over there called Norway, bunch of Democratic Socialists, and the people that live there, they have all sorts of gadgets and music distribution networks and formats and whatnot, and they think that it sucks when all these different companies decide to screw the end user and try to make them pay over and over to listen to the same bunch of songs by the same bunch of retired or dead musicians, or force them to buy their hardware upgrade from the same company so they don't lose their music library.

    So they made it illegal to do that to people.

    You can talk all you want about the value of these business relationships and the investments and monopolies till you're blue in the face, but it's really kind of irrelevant. The Norwegians decided that these sorts of arrangements amount to unfair business practices, so unless Apple wants to play by their rules, it appears Apple is free to go peddle their shit somewhere else.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:35PM (#17763248)
    So the problem is that Apple won't let competitors to use the software they developed and paid for

    No, that's not the problem. Nobody is telling Apple to allow competitors to encrypt their songs using fairplay. What Norway is telling Apple is that songs that are encrypted with fairplay should be playable on devices other than the ipod.

    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?

    What does this have to do with anything?

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

    Yet another poor attempt at an analogy. Nobody is asking Apple to sell anybody else's merchandise, what the hell are you talking about?

    I hate analogies but here's one that's a little more apt: Remember when the discman was the defacto portable player? Now imagine that all CDs released by SONY were only playable on their discman as opposed to all audio players.

    What have they done wrong, except become popular?

    They are trying to lock iTunes consumers into their products, which screws both its music player competitors AND consumers.

    Why do some people think that Apple's shit doesn't stink?
  • Re:Dumbass (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DavidShor (928926) <(supergeek717) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:43PM (#17763322) Homepage
    Apple is the reason a song bought on Itunes wont work anywhere else, that is entirely Apples doing. Apple purposely shuts competitors from their Ipod, recall what happened when Real cracked fairplay.

    Music, unlike playstation games or panasonic parts, is a commodity. It is exactly the same whether it is bought from emusic or from itunes. Here is a better analogy:

    Imagine if you bought a car from a hypothetical shell car company(Which controls over 70% of the market, giving it huge monopsony power), and it only ran on shell gasoline. Worse, imagine your car used an elaborate and inefficient sensor to confirm that you bought your gas from shell. Worse, if you wanted to buy another car, it would not have a steering wheel or a gear stick, because Shell had patents on those.

  • by DogDude (805747) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:45PM (#17763338) Homepage
    Really? Then show me where I can get a software player not made by Microsoft capable of playing PlaysForSure Media! In particular, show me where I can get one that works on operating systems other than Windows!

    My Sansa connects to Winamp because of Playsforsure.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:47PM (#17763362)

    I don't see how Sony benefits from shutting Linux users out.

    I'm sure that, although Sony might want all operating systems to be able to play the media, it would only be interested in supporting Sony brand hardware players.

    See, here's the real problem: no matter what DRM system you might propose, you're never going to get around the fact that DRM is inherently designed to be excluding and restrictive! If it doesn't prevent anybody from playing the file it isn't really DRM, now is it?

    Therefore, I'll repeat yet again what I've always said: the only "good" DRM is no DRM at all.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:48PM (#17763376) Homepage Journal

    I don't see any real difference there. Do you?
    Yes I do. All music tracks bought on the iTunes Store can be burned to CD. With "PlayForSure", you never know since the DRM can vary from file to file.

    As for being "lock in Microsoft-approved vendors", you're also out of luck (ex: "PlaysForSure vs Zune").

  • by mblase (200735) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:49PM (#17763382)
    It's not so much that you need an iPod to enjoy your itunes purchases, but that you are locked into future hardware purchases from Apple

    Unless you listen to them on your computer instead. PC or Mac, iTunes supports them both.

    Or... here's a concept... burn them to an audio CD and enjoy them on your portable CD player! Wow, who knew!

    In fact, with any of a number of wireless-to-stereo devices, you can beam iTunes FairPlay music directly to your stereo, no hard media required.

    So there you go--three completely different ways to enjoy your iTunes purchases, at least one of which is completely portable, and none of which require purchasing an iPod.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:49PM (#17763386)

    they think that it sucks when all these different companies decide to screw the end user and try to make them pay over and over to listen to the same bunch of songs by the same bunch of retired or dead musicians

    If they really cared about that, they'd outlaw all DRM, not just Apple's.

  • by JonasH (183422) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:49PM (#17763388) Homepage
    This headline (and the one at PC World) is quite misleading. Norway has not outlawed ITMS. It has simply been found that ITMS is not following the law in Norway. This means that ITMS has always been illegal. You can blame Apple for not checking the law in the market they were entering (or checking, but deciding that the law doesn't apply to them).

    Consumer protection laws can sometimes be a big pill for corporations to swallow, but if Norway is anything like Denmark, which is quite likely, they usually end up having to follow the rules, rather than getting the rules changed to suit them.
  • by dangitman (862676) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:49PM (#17763392)
    One choice? There are plenty of choices - buy a CD, buy from a Playsforsure online store. Buy from eMusic. Buy a guitar. How is Apple stopping anyone from making these choices? They can hardly be considered a monopoly, because they don't have any power over other companies to stop them from competing.

    This is different to the situation with Microsoft, where if computer manufacturers did not ship all their machines with Windows, they would be punished, and Microsoft held the keys to these companies' business plan.

    On the contrary, if Apple were to license Fairplay to others, then it faces a much greater risk of becoming a monopoly, because other companies would be dependent on their products. Apple might be sued if they updated Fairplay in a way that was not compatible with the processor or firmware of some two-bit MP3 player. It would restrict the ability to compete and innovate.

  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:52PM (#17763414)

    But the tying-down aspect is more subtle with playsforsure than with Fairplay.

    So what? That tying-down aspect still exists, nevertheless. I guess the only relevant difference here is that the subtlety caused the Norwegian government to overlook it.

  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:52PM (#17763424)
    So what? Only one company licenses playsforsure. And it's not free to use. Essentially all the different hardware manufacturers are just feeding one master. So there's no essential difference between tying to one platform or another. It's like saying Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly because you can run it on different brands of PCs.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kalriath (849904) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:53PM (#17763436)
    They don't give a rats arse about how restrictive it is - they care that it removes the user's ability to choose to use a non-Apple device instead of an iPod. Microsoft does not do the same with ProbablyPlaysForSureButDontQuoteUsOnThat - that is supported on quite a wide number of platforms (and Microsoft will happily allow you to integrate it in your own device if you are a manufacturer, Apple outright refuses to).
  • Re:Good! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:01AM (#17763496)
    I just find in unbelievable how everyone is so #@$@#$% up in arms over Apples 80% share in digital music. I mean c'mon Microsoft get a pass for operating systems 90% for most cases in most countries, but oh, yeah iTunes needs to be illegal because Apple has a large market share.

    I really don't give a #$%#^ about all those whiners that think Apple's DRM is so damn unfair. Hello, thats what DRM is all about.

    If Norway wants to take a stand for digital music outlaw ALL DRM, don't just posture against Apple.

    It makes me wonder though, is the Zune store illegal in Norway too???

  • by EXMSFT (935404) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:03AM (#17763508)
    Umm... Until the ill-fated Zune (my, isn't THAT cynical of me), Microsoft never made their own music player. So I have no idea where you got you're info, but it's quite incorrect.

    It's not a farce. They're pushing to enforce consumer choice. Isn't that what the /. minions were crying about just a few years ago in US v. MSFT?
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:12AM (#17763602)
    The Norwegians decided that these sorts of arrangements amount to unfair business practices, so unless Apple wants to play by their rules, it appears Apple is free to go peddle their shit somewhere else.

    Then everyone else should face the same issues. Currently I have an iPod and an iMac. I can't use Napster, playsforsure doesn't work for me. I can't buy anything from the Zune store. Your rebuy your music comment I'm sure really resonates with playsforsure buyers who got a Zune. Apples never yet caused iTunes music to not play on any iPod they've ever sold.

    Apple is being setup. If the European union countries want to play tough with Apple on DRM they had sure as hell better play tough with everyone.

    Or they could take the really high road and reap the adoration of the rest of the world and ban DRM oughtright. They could even mandate watermarks that don't affect playback and create a workable system with that technology.

    Attacking only Apples DRM isn't really an attack on DRM, it actually becomes a battle to entrench more DRM that is even more draconian than fairplay.

    In order to not be a bunch of posturing hypocrites Norway should ban all DRM. In reality their doing more to serve the RIAA's agenda here than they are showing concern for consumers.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:13AM (#17763632) Homepage Journal
    My HP ink cartridge only works in my model of HP printer. Should that also be illegal?

    Or hitting closer to home on your exampe, the ECU in my Ford only works in a Ford Exporer. So it should be illegal for Ford to sell that ECU? That doesn't make sense.

    As for your example, lets imagine that ford is the only auto manufacturer. Shell starts making gas, but it only works properly in a Ford. NOW is it unfair? Now what will Chrysler do? Would it be smart to make an automobile that you know will not work with the available gas? If you are stupid enough to enter a market were the supply your product will require is incompatible with the product, why on earth do you feel justified in whining about it? Another example of someone doing something they should know is a bad idea, and then expecting the whole world to rally behind them when *surprise* it doesn't work out.

    It's not that the product only works with another product that makes Norway dislike it. It's more a case of where Apple is creating an (arguably) unnecessary technological limitation whose (arguably) primary purpose is to prevent competition. The reality of the situation is that the DRM is not there to prevent competition as its primary purpose. (though certainly Apple realizes this is helping prevent competition) but that the actual primary reason for the DRM is to satisfy the recording industry's conditions for playing ball with Apple. The RIAA is actually using the DMCA and is the one forcing Apple to use FairPlay, to help prevent competition and profit losses in their music market. But you don't see norway going after the RIAA, even though they have just as much (if not more) excuse to do so.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:16AM (#17763662) Homepage Journal
    What's good for the goose? Let's make it illegal to have closed Siemens and Nokia phones so that any phone will work with each carriers network. Seems reasonable.
  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HAKdragon (193605) <hakdragon@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:22AM (#17763744)
    It makes me wonder though, is the Zune store illegal in Norway too???

    While I wonder the same thing, the Zune store is currently only available in the US.
  • by Albanach (527650) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:24AM (#17763762) Homepage
    And if plays for sure had the market share that iTunes has, I'm sure they would be the target of this.

    The thing is they don't. Apple might not be used to being in a controlling or dominant position in a market, but they sure as heck better get used to it.

    Microsoft do license plays for sure and may indeed be forced to license their new codec as a result of legislation similar to this.

    For those that suggest you can reript to another lossy codec, or burn to CD - if microsoft had 90% of the downloaded music market and suggested you do that, you'd be up in arms. Just because it's apple doesn't mean they can do no wrong.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:24AM (#17763764)

    Microsoft never made their own music player. So I have no idea where you got you're info, but it's quite incorrect.

    Go re-read my post, and you'll see you missed the keyword: "software." I'm not complaining about the Zune, I'm complaining that I can't legally write myself an alternative to Windows Media Player that works on Linux and plays "PlaysForSure" media!

    It's not a farce. They're pushing to enforce consumer choice.

    The only way to actually do that effectively is to outlaw DRM entirely, because DRM is inherently antithetical to choice.

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by x2A (858210) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:39AM (#17763922)
    "Hello, thats what DRM is all about"

    Since when?! DRMed CDs, DVDs, HD-DVDs, BluRays... they play on a multitude of different devices, from different companies. Windows doesn't limit what hardware you can run it on, and all the other 3rd party software that only runs on Windows? Well that's the people who write the software's decision.

    Norway has outlawed iTunes because you don't have the choice of what hardware from what company to listen to it on. It's Apples' players only.

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fordiman (689627) <fordiman.gmail@com> on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:52AM (#17764042) Homepage Journal
    "I mean c'mon Microsoft get a pass for operating systems 90%"

    Really? Since when? Does 'Monopoly Suit' mean 'pass' in your world?

    Hell, most of the developing world is /avoiding/ MS completely, and a number of European and American city governments are in the process of migrating away from them.

    Meanwhile, Apple's 80% market share of iPod/iTunes zombies notwithstanding, it's the only DRM maker that doesn't license out its format. It's not the former that's got Norway up in arms, it's the latter.
  • by MojoStan (776183) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:08AM (#17764232)

    It's not preferential. Other companies can make products that interoperate with PlaysForSure.
    Really? Then show me where I can get a software player not made by Microsoft capable of playing PlaysForSure Media!

    In particular, show me where I can get one that works on operating systems other than Windows!
    I don't think one exists, but I don't know if software companies are prohibited from obtaining PlaysForSure licenses for software players on other operating systems. Nullsoft, MusicMatch, and Amazon could obtain PlaysForeSure licenses for their Windows software. I have seen no evidence that Flip4Mac has been prohibited from obtaining a PlaysForSure license for their Windows Media Components for QuickTime [flip4mac.com].

    In contrast, other software companies are prohibited from licensing FairPlay. Some companies want to license FairPlay so that their software can play iTunes Store media, but Apple refuses to license their DRM.

    That said, I'm not sure if I agree with Norway's decision to ban FairPlay. This might be excessive regulation.

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:29AM (#17764416)
    So does that mean that Zune and Sony's Atrak and WMA are also banned? All of those only play on one brand of machine or operating system.

    Well what about software that only runs on one operating system? After Ipods can run other operating system sso it's not the ipod that is doing the lock-in it's the operating system on the ipod.

    By that reasoning all windows software is windows only and must be banned.
  • Re:Hypicritical EU (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Linux Ate My Dog! (224079) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:32AM (#17764442) Homepage Journal
    Is this where someone points out that Norway is not in the EU?
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vought (160908) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:36AM (#17764480)
    Really? Since when? Does 'Monopoly Suit' mean 'pass' in your world?


    In the United States it does.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:40AM (#17764524)
    I don't care about the market leader. I don't want to trade one DRM digital music store for another.

    I want DRM out of the market entirely.

    Their hardball is only helping less successful DRM get a stronger foothold. That is usless to the consumer.

    My belief is that fairplay has the labels between a rock and a hard place. They know deep down that the only real way to win is to take DRM out of the game and sell their music directly to their customers as mp3s. But no matter how many billions of dollars they could make doing this , it is the very last thing they want to do. In fact, I think most of the RIAA members would rather shut down than offer mp3s. Oh well, on their current path they'll get what they want eventually.

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:50AM (#17764620) Homepage Journal

    My HP ink cartridge only works in my model of HP printer. Should that also be illegal?
    Yes, it probably should be illegal for HP to make their printers only work with ink cartridges from HP--or at least it should be legal for competing companies to make HP-compatible cartridges.

    Or hitting closer to home on your exampe, the ECU in my Ford only works in a Ford Exporer. So it should be illegal for Ford to sell that ECU? That doesn't make sense.
    No, it doesn't, but that's because you're missing the point.

    What's stopping a competing company from making aftermarket ECUs? Nothing, I suspect. Ford hasn't done anything to stop third parties from making parts that fit in a Ford, nor have they done anything to stop competing auto companies from making cars that accept Ford parts.

    Apple, OTOH, has done exactly that.

    The reality of the situation is that the DRM is not there to prevent competition as its primary purpose. [...] but that the actual primary reason for the DRM is to satisfy the recording industry's conditions for playing ball with Apple.
    If that were true, then Apple would license FairPlay to other music stores and hardware manufacturers, wouldn't they? That's what Microsoft did with PlaysForSure, but Apple has reacted quite fiercely when competitors have tried to get in on FairPlay.

    One purpose of FairPlay is to appease the record company. The other purpose, which is arguably more important, is to enforce lock-in between iPod and iTunes. This promotes the iPod by (1) tying the most popular, best-known music store to a single line of players, and (2) encouraging iPod users to build up a library of songs that will become practically useless if they switch brands, effectively threatening iPod owners to keep buying Apple (except those who get all their music by ripping CDs rather than from iTMS).
  • Re:Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:02AM (#17764732) Homepage Journal

    So what? That tying-down aspect still exists, nevertheless. I guess the only relevant difference here is that the subtlety caused the Norwegian government to overlook it.
    I'm sorry, this is ridiculous. "PlaysForSure compatible hardware" is not a single line of devices. You might as well complain that CDs are unfair because they only play in CD players.

    Everyone else here is capable of noticing the difference between "this song plays on any player from any company, as long as it incorporates technology XYZ (which anyone can license)" and "this song only plays on players from one specific company". If you can't make that distinction, you have my pity, and I hope you're still able to become a functioning member of society despite this handicap.
  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by x2A (858210) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:13AM (#17764824)
    "How hard would it be for a recording company to copyright all of the hash values for every common LAME/Nero/WinAMP encoding option set?"

    Impossible. Firstly - do you know how many combinations that is? Just with VBR files, you have each different value for the lower bitrate AND upper bitrate bounds, multiply by each of the quality bias values, multiply by stereo (joint vs seperate) options, multiply by frequency options (44100, 48000)... THEN you could just drop or raise the volume of the whole track by 1%, and get completely different codes for each of those combo's... then 2%... or increase the bass by 1%... in the end, you're probably talking about so many different values, that you'd get hash colisions with a file that isn't that copyrighted material, which would prove the whole system flawed.

    Secondly - you'd have to publish (in some form or another) all of those codes to show you created them.

    So no, it's not funny at all that they haven't tried it.

  • Re:Good! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:38AM (#17765038) Homepage
    Apple is being setup. If the European union countries want to play tough with Apple on DRM they had sure as hell better play tough with everyone.

    Your ignorance of Norway and the EU can be overlooked as your country hasn't been involved in any wars in this area lately, but your suggestion that Apple is being set up is just wrong.

    That is, unless you mean they are being set up as the first of many targets. The Consumer Council has specifically said they will go after other online music stores after the first case is done.
  • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:12AM (#17765256)
    Every windowsOS device that runs quicktime plays apple fairplay drm. for example an OQO is a pocket itunes playing device. What do they mean fairlplay only plays on ipods. Conversely you don't have to buy fairplay music to play it on your ipod. You can buy or load MP3s.

    So I don't get it. You can play itunes/fairplay on tonnes of devices not made by apple. and you don't have to buy itunes software.

    Moreover here's a hypothetical. Suppose the itunes software had two buttons on it. One button was marked "load my ipod with some music I bought at the itunes store" and the other button was marked "load my non-apple music player with some music I bought at the itunes music store".

    Would that satisfy the norweigans? well itunes already has those features, just the buttons are marked differently. The second button is marked "convert my itunes music to something my non-apple player can play".

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kripkenstein (913150) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:17AM (#17765292) Homepage

    Windows doesn't limit what hardware you can run it on, and all the other 3rd party software that only runs on Windows? Well that's the people who write the software's decision.

    Look at it this way: 3rd party software that only runs on Windows is exactly like DRMed music that only runs on iPods - it is the content manufacturer's decision to limit the platform. 3rd party developers could choose to use cross-platform tools; the RIAA could choose to sell music without DRM, that would work on any mp3 player (and actually the latter is much simpler).

    DRM is the RIAA's fault, not Apple's (even if Apple do benefit from it). To see why this is true, consider the case of Norway from TFA: if they require iTunes to 'interoperate' with all mp3 players, or Apple must not do business in Norway, then the simplest way to comply would be to... sell music without DRM. The reason Apple can't do that is the RIAA.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:24AM (#17765320)
    You'll get a software media player for Linux that can play PlaysForSure media just as soon as someone licenses PlaysForSure, develops and sells such a product. Absolutely nothing at all is preventing someone from doing this, however there are licensing costs and stipulations which would certainly prevent this "open source" thing you espouse so zealously. It would be just like a legal software DVD player for Linux.

    Of course, Apple doesn't license FairPlay to anyone, so while it is possible for a legal PlaysForSure player to be released for Linux, you're really SOL with FairPlay. Keep defending them, though. It doesn't really make you look like a complete and total prat.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GlassHeart (579618) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:46AM (#17765420) Journal
    A somewhat off-topic correction: Windows Vista is about to limit what hardware you can run it on. Specifically, at least one low-end version is not licensed for use on virtual hardware.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by McFadden (809368) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:11AM (#17765540)

    I really don't give a #$%#^ about all those whiners that think Apple's DRM is so damn unfair. Hello, thats what DRM is all about.
    So DRM is all about protecting a single company's virtual monopoly on hardware? I see - thanks for that insight. Obviously the last 1,000 articles I've read about it have all been wrong. Someone should tell the RIAA too, as they're clearly barking up the wrong tree.

    I mean c'mon Microsoft get a pass for operating systems 90% for most cases in most countries [...] don't just posture against Apple.
    No one is posturing against Apple. Microsoft has been fined to the tune of 100s of millions of dollars in Europe due to their anti-competitive practices. I've hesitated using the word 'fanboy' in this thread because I can't stand the term, but you certainly come across as having no objective opinion other than the mindless support of Jobs Inc.
  • Re:Good! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blowdart (31458) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:51AM (#17765740) Homepage
    That's all well and good, except for one little point. The last A in RIAA. Recording Industry Association of America. I didn't realise Norway was part of America. You can blame the RIAA for a lot of ills, but you can't blame them for putting DRM in stores where they do not operate, nor do they represent the labels.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:09AM (#17765814)
    According to the above posts, Norway is pissed that iTMS's DRM locks you into Apple hardware, and is therefore illegal (nevermind that iTMS songs do play on any Mac and Windows computer via the iTunes app).

    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?
  • "convert my itunes music to something my non-apple player can play".
    What button is this? I've never seen it active for music bought on the iTunes store.

    Unless you mean "burn to CD, and rip the CD"?
    Or "Use a 3rd party application to strip the DRM"?
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Weedlekin (836313) on Friday January 26, 2007 @06:11AM (#17766068)
    "they're telling Apple, *solely because their success*, how to conduct business with the competition in Norway"

    No, they're telling Apple *solely due to being a business* how to conduct business with the competition in Norway, just like the US, South Korea, Australia, etc. tell businesses how to conduct business with the competition in their countries.

    "The message is clear: Even if you follow all the rules and obey all the laws, if you get too big, we'll squash you."

    The message is actually "Norwegian law applies in Norway, not US law". Apple did not get squashed because they are big -- they got squashed because their iTunes store terms of service contravene Norwegian consumer protection laws. In contrast with the US, Nordic countries have a rather long tradition of giving humans more rights than companies, which is one of the reasons why they're rather good (although expensive) places to live.
  • by zootm (850416) on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:01AM (#17766306)

    So does that mean that Zune and Sony's Atrak and WMA are also banned?

    Zune hasn't been released outside of the US, but it seems pretty definite that it'd be affected by the same rule. ATRAC is an encoding format, not a DRM system; the difference being that it's not designed to stop other people reading it, it's just not used by other people. Also, ATRAC is implemented by other manufacturers; Sony did not say "no, you may not licence or use this because we want to be the only ones to use it".

    Well what about software that only runs on one operating system? After Ipods can run other operating system sso it's not the ipod that is doing the lock-in it's the operating system on the ipod.

    It's not the iPod which is in trouble, it's the store, and its policy of only being compatible with iPods (and the converse; iPods only playing music from one DRMed store). This is an artificial constraint, the only reason other companies can't run iTMS music on their players or provide DRMed music that plays on an iPod is that Apple won't let them. By contrast, operating systems only run one type of executable because executables are complicated and can be implemented in a variety of ways. It's not like there's anything stopping people writing software which allows someone to run programs from another operating system [wikipedia.org], or licencing things which cause compatibility problems [wikipedia.org] from their makers. By contrast, Apple have repeatedly sued those who have created systems allowing interoperability with iPods and iTMS.

    By that reasoning all windows software is windows only and must be banned.

    I'm afraid not.

  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:02AM (#17766610)

    My point is that DRM in itself is not evil. It's when DRM interferes with the user experience.
    Agreed. Also when it infringes on other rights like fair use.

    In a market economy such as the United States, a content owner has the right to distribute the content as they please as long as it's not ilegal, in the sense it becomes fraud, false advertising or some other crime.
    In a way.

    If DRM was truly a consumer nightmare, the demand would decrease to the point of bankrupting Apple.
    Most people don't know what's going on, so no. That wouldn't be the case. The problem is, Apple's DRM is evil, because it infringes on fair rights, lock-ins etc.

    Users would choose "open" sources of music. OK, I can see the point that "open" sources of music don't exist, since the RIAA owns most all content. However, you could choose "indie" music much like you choose Linux over Microsoft Windows. Most indie music is open because it's becoming established.
    Guess what? I haven't bought DRMed music or movies ever. Nor do I intend to either -- I have better things to worry about than if something will play on my system, media player or if someone may decide to revoke my rights to play something I bought.
  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:04AM (#17766622)

    You can always burn your iTunes to disc and then re-rip them on a new PC. That effectively bypasses DRM in iTunes.
    Once you encode something in a format like mp3, aac, wma, etc. It introduces numerous artifacts which cause the produced audio to be difficult to recompress -- At a similar bitrate, it would sound horrible (as you can hear the artifacts quite clearly).

    Oh yes, and how exactly do I rip movies downloaded off iTunes store again?
  • Re:Dumbass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mr_matticus (928346) on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:23AM (#17767174)
    You seem to have equated non-DRM with illegal, which is exactly what the RIAA wants in the minds of the public. But it's not true. I have an extensive, legal music collection which I have chosen to import into iTunes with AAC (I could have used MP3 or WMA or whatever else I wanted). I can use this music with any music player I want, hardware (iPod/whatever) or software (Foobar2000/whatever).

    I don't care whether or not other DRM formats play on my iPod. Show me a DRM store better than iTunes, and then maybe I'd be interested. Buying music with one DRM scheme and then not being able to play it on hardware for another DRM scheme is a problem. But the only solution to that which keeps DRM around is a universal DRM scheme, ensuring that all devices and all stores work together. As a hypothetical hardware vendor, I don't want to have to add support for every ridiculous new DRM method that Microsoft cooks up, and I don't want to pay licensing fees to do it. And I would be outraged if the government singled me out for not licensing.

    The difference between Microsoft and Apple's monopoly with iTunes or Adobe's monopoly with Photoshop is that the "just don't buy it" approach didn't work with Microsoft. They got in trouble for strongarming PC vendors into using Windows exclusively. If they hadn't done that, the bundling never would have been an issue.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@p10liWELTYnk.net minus author> on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:34AM (#17767322) Homepage
    Does 'Monopoly Suit' mean 'pass' in your world?
    monopoly suit that was dropped after a new administration took over sure does!

    MS hasn't been banned from selling thier stuff anywhere, hasn't payed thier fines imposed by the eu (iirc), was allowed to sell "reduced media edition" at the same price skirting arround the underlying issue and so on.

    I'd call that a pass.

    Sure they've had to pay some lawyers and make some minor concessions but thats a drop in the bucket compared to the real issue that MS has set themselves up in a position where for many uses there is little choice but to buy thier product (if i point out examples people will just fob them off as "specialist" but the fact is all but the bottom tier of user use something specialist whether its a market specific app or something in house or whatever) and with every release they can slowly crank up the price and the intrusive anti-piracy measures despite the rest of the components in a PC going down.
  • by kevinbr (689680) on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:40AM (#17767376)
    What I find amusing is this: Microsoft always bleat about innovation while sitting on a true monopoly. Apple came late the digital player market and actually did some real innovation. Now these ass hats want publicity and label Apple as the bad guy.

    The reality is this. This is a statement by an Ombudsmen who can refer the case to court. Apple will not cave on this I believe and they will go to court and I suspect they will will.

    Norwegian Prosecuter: This is bad - the consummer is harmed

    Apple lawyer shill: Judge here is a list of the global shops that also sell music that will play in iTunes. Here is an unlocked MP3 I burned on a CD - and watch now I am transferring this MUSIC file to any player that supports MP3. Here is a sample of the contract with the various labels where they demand we use DRM. Here is a report detailing the lack of standards in DRM. Here is a report detailing how Apple did not create this fucking mess in the licensing and protection of Music.

    Judge: Not Guilty. ( aside - what a complete fucking waste of time ....)

    I mean - how exactly is the consumer harmed? If he buys from iTunes he has the right to transfer the file to any system - JUST LIKE A CD. In both cases the consumer must be savvy enough to rip the files off the CDROM. No one is complaining a consumer is harmed because CDROMS do not actually ship encoded MP3's....( Shock horror.....the evil CD's can do to a consumer )
  • by zootm (850416) on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:50AM (#17767496)

    Apple: ... Here is a sample of the contract with the various labels where they demand we use DRM. Here is a report detailing the lack of standards in DRM. Here is a report detailing how Apple did not create this fucking mess in the licensing and protection of Music.

    Judge: Not Guilty. ( aside - what a complete fucking waste of time ....)

    Judge: Where in the contract does it say you cannot licence your DRM technology to competing music stores?

    Apple: Nowhere, but you see we need to make mon...

    Judge: Did it not occur to you that other music stores might have exactly the same restrictions placed upon them as regards providing content with DRM?

    Apple: But..

    Judge: So your position is that you, Apple, are being victimised by the music industry but no other online store is, so you alone need to be able to put DRM on the device?

    Apple: Oh. I suppose it is.

    Judge: Open your DRM tech so other companies can sell DRMed music for the device, or stop trading in our country. This is a ridiculous double-standard.

  • by stubear (130454) on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:11AM (#17767774)
    "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?
  • by chrwei (771689) on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:47AM (#17768288)
    up in arms over Apples 80% share in digital music. I mean c'mon Microsoft get a pass for operating systems 90% for most cases in most countries, but oh, yeah iTunes needs to be illegal because Apple has a large market share.

    you missed the point. it's not their market share, it's that the songs purchased can only be played on one kind of device. If Microsoft packaged other people's programs and attached DRM to them so that they only ran on the "Microsoft pcPod" then you'd have something here. lucky for us, MS does't sell other people's programs (unless you count the licenses they have/had for things like defrag and hyperterm) and they also don't attach DRM to the programs they do sell. This allows "windows compatable" systems like WINE and ReactOS to run Microsofts own software legaly and without buying a Windows license. But because of Apples DRM, no 3rd party can legaly make a player for the content sold via iTunes, this is the problem, not the market share.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:55AM (#17768448) Homepage Journal
    Actually there is no difference, philosphically. If I have to make my product available in every possible format just because I am the market leader, then it should applie to all things, not just music.

    and Apple iTunes will run on any Windows or Mac box.

    the question isn't Why can't Apple, the question is WHy must a company be forced to comply with how other companies choose to play music?

"Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -- Aesop

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