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Media (Apple) Media United States

Apple's Terms No Longer Allow ITMS Purchases Outside of US 319

JasonDT writes "I just accepted the new terms of service for iTunes and found that I will no longer be allowed to access US iTunes outside of the United States. This may seem like no big deal but, I am a US citizen living abroad and I regularly purchase and view TV and movies from AppleTV. Not to mention US citizens just traveling abroad. Does anyone know if this has been enforced or have themselves been affected by this?"
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Apple's Terms No Longer Allow ITMS Purchases Outside of US

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  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:10PM (#26710879)

    not where you were born. When I was an American living and working in Germany, I was subject to the laws of Germany. I couldn't download a browser with more than 40-bit encryption at the time due to export regulations. Yes I was an American citizen, but I wasn't in the united states.
    Now, if you are working on behalf of the US government at a diplomatic consulate/mission or in the military, then you may have a gripe, and I believe Apple should do something to work with you. Especially if your billing is to an APO address.

    Just because I'm american and we are allowed the freedom of speech inside the US doesn't mean I can have a copy of Mein Kampf in Germany.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:13PM (#26710941)

    Welcome to the dismantling of the internet. If you have the slightest knowledge of how media cartels work, not just American ones but World wide, then you know it was just a matter of time before market segmentation reared its ugly head onto the web. Google is not exempt either, they've been IP filtering their early days.

  • Deployed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by donaggie03 ( 769758 ) <> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:13PM (#26710949)
    As a deployed American soldier (Afghanistan) who has downloaded many songs from Itunes over the last year, I just have to say this change is ridiculous! That is all.
  • by paulthomas ( 685756 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:25PM (#26711175) Journal

    The last time I was presented with the "agreement" for the iTunes store, I pulled up a terminal and ran wc on it. It was 4,931 words long, not including referenced agreements. You can go buy a CD at a store with out signing a contract, much less one nearly 5,000 words long.

    It contained all manor of claims of how Apple could unilaterally change the terms for purchased music and required that you "agree to agree" to future terms.

    Having taken some contract law courses ( but IANAHPAADL - I am not a highly paid Apple attack dog lawyer), much of it seemed unconscionable. Specifically, consideration from Apple (ability to play already purchased songs, access the store, etc.) seems weak-to-non-existent in light of the fact that it can be arbitrarily revoked according to the terms.

    Also, I am generally an Apple fan, but this is one area where I think they are really out of control.

  • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:31PM (#26711309)

    I don't think the submitter is complaining that what iTunes is doing is illegal (or that he should be subject to US law while abroad). I think he is complaining that what iTunes is doing is stupid.

    He wants to be a customer. He wants to give them money. But they (iTunes, or whichever content providers require this rule) want to restrict things regionally. These regional restrictions are inconvenient, arbitrary, and illogical in an age of ubiquitous global network connectivity, and easy trans-national travel. Someone abroad can circumvent the restrictions easily with a proxy. Conversely a US citizen on a trip abroad is denied access (whereas it would have been fine if they had downloaded it while in the US and carried it on their computer on the plane). Thus it doesn't seem that the rule accomplishes its nominal goal. Actually for the most part the nominal goal isn't even clear. In short, the restrictions are silly.

    Of course it is within iTune's ability (technical and legal) to impose such restrictions. But it just seems illogical, since anywhere that the content is not available through a legitimate source (or available but only after a substantial delay) will simply increase the amount of circumvention (proxy, file sharing, etc.). So why don't these companies want the money being offered to them?

  • Re:HA HA HA HA (Score:1, Insightful)

    by conares ( 1045290 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:38PM (#26711497)

    I am sure Apple did it only to make someone else happy (labels, investors, foreign governments, us government, etc...) however, it's ridiculous to suggest that this will do anything but increase piracy.

    Wow do you think pirates are that sensitive? That they would hijack more boats and kill more ppl? And just because Apple doesnt want to sell them music? They must get really lonely at sea... those poor pirates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:58PM (#26711985)

    So why don't these companies want the money being offered to them?

    Because regionalizing of content allows you to extract the maximum price at the market will bear in each region. At least that's what the bean counters and lawyers that come up with these schemes tell themselves.

    If a company regionalizes any service or product for any reason other than language or obvious logistics concerns, you can be pretty sure they're just trying to extract more money from the places that will pay it. Yes, they're assholes. No, I don't like it. No, it won't work that well in the long run. As we've seen time and time again though, a lot of upper management in most companies just doesn't "get" the Information Age yet.

  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @01:36PM (#26712911)

    Gotta love it when the recording industries refuse to let you give them money for their product.

    Ya, those regional restrictions are really helping to promote piracy, err, I mean combat piracy. 'Cause if someone can't legally get access to something they want for non-exorbitant prices (or if at all) they'll just totally stop wanting it...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @01:41PM (#26713023)

    Yeah, the grandparent sorta jumped tracks there.

    The issue is that Apple doesn't have a license to distribute in Germany. It's not German law, it's international law (copyrights via the Berne Convention.)

    The short of it is that distribution is a right which is automatically reserved by default to the copyright holder. The copyright holder, then, can authorize another party to distribute--and they can put terms on it. Generally, the terms include regions where they can distribute the material. Again, it's not a matter of to whom they're distributing--it's a matter of where they're distributing. If Apple hasn't paid for the right to sell music in Germany, then they aren't allowed to sell music to people in Germany (regardless of citizenship.)

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @02:31PM (#26714121)

    He wants to be a customer. He wants to give them money. But they (iTunes, or whichever content providers require this rule) want to restrict things regionally.

    In some cases yes, in many cases its not that they WANT to restrict things, its that they HAVE to.

    If Warner owns song X in the US, and Sony owns it Brazil, then no matter how much Warner wants to sell you the song in Brazil they CAN'T. And if Sony owns it but doesn't want to sell it, or wants to sell it but charge more than Warner, that's life. Warner can't do squat about it except say, hey, come to the US and buy a copy while you are actually here.

    In the case I describe Warner isn't trying to restrict things regionally, but don't own the rights to distribute the song in Brazil, and someone else does, so they just can't.

  • Re:HA HA HA HA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by yankeessuck ( 644423 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:29PM (#26715203)

    How a post loaded with such baseless vitriol could be modded as insightful instead of flamebait is beyond my comprehension. Let's all just go ahead and continue to believe in old and tired dogmas despite credible evidence that the Steve Jobs you hate so much successfully pushed the labels to remove DRM from iTunes music on Christmas Eve. [] Who needs to STFU now?

  • Re:HA HA HA HA (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:43PM (#26715453)

    Oh, please. Apple is not Wall-Mart (Wal-Mart? sp?). Their influence & power only goes so far. If they were so powerful, they would have managed to get the labels to drop the DRM requirement a long time ago. And they would have managed to resist the multi-level pricing scheme (sorry if this is not the right expression, english is not my native language).

    Whilst Apple is not completely powerless against the labels, it cannot simply ignore what the labels want. Nor can it ignore the licensing nightmare that prevents song A to be sold in country X, but permits its sale in country Y. (One example: try to get FNAC to sell music from Saint-Preux to you if you live outside of France. Not CDs, but WMA music files. Oh, and don't get me started on this "partial album" idiocy.)

    We all know Apple is ultimately in it to make money. But it had the most reasonable DRM scheme out there, the lesser evil compared to what Redmond & the labels was pushing for. Apple is not perfect, but IMO, they were closer to the consumers than other companies. Even though they were/are not perfect.


  • by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:12PM (#26716019) Homepage

    he apple apologists need to seriously STFU with this "it isn't apple's fault!" nonsense. They're partners. Apple is not some holy child that hath cometh down from the mountain to bestow upon the unwashed masses all that is holy and good.

    I'd tell you to a heaping spoonful of STFU yourself, but I think you've done Apple enthusiasts everywhere a service by serving as a quintessential example of knee-jerk Apple Critic. You certainly don't know what you're talking about with regards to how the DRM works, you seem to be ignorant of Apple's actions and stated intentions with regard to said DRM, you seem to have reflexively confused licensing issues with DRM issues, and you seem generally confused about the value and state of other players in the marketplace.

    Exhibit A:

    "Bought that song on your computer at work? Want to listen to it on your computer at home? Well guess what, charlie, unless you find some obscure bullshit setting in some hidden window in some far off corner of some far off menu in iTunes, $1 more shall go to the Steve."

    Anyone who's ever used iTunes on more than a single computer knows there's a simple solution to this problem. It doesn't involve an obscure menu, in fact, iTunes will *prompt* you for the necessary information as soon as you try to play the song.

    Exhibit B:

    A moments of thought would reveal that the geographic restrictions on purchases have little to do with DRM and everything to do with licensing, since DRM (on music anyway) isn't tied to a region, and isn't the technology used in restricting the purchase at any rate.

    Exhibit C:

    "Why do you think people don't use amazon?"

    They do, actually. Their MP3 store launched a year and a half ago and sell about 10% of what iTunes does. Some estimates place them as the #2 digital retailer: []

    Furthermore, that figure almost certainly represents sales mostly taken from iTunes. Almost every iPod/iTunes user I know has switched.

    Exhibit D:

    "Or why microsoft's VASTLY superior subscription model is ignored?"

    I can see value in a subscription model, I've participated in Rhapsody and Satellite Radio before. But at the end of the day, many people -- apparently more people -- happily choose ownership of their selection of media rather than ongoing rent to access to a broader selection, so it's not particularly clear that it's a vastly superior model.

    Overall, it appears that the purpose of your post is really to express some ill-defined anger at Apple as a company or to project a straw-man image of people who buy and enjoy their products.

    It certainly isn't to express well-considered criticism of some of the company's practices.

  • by kklein ( 900361 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:44PM (#26719549)

    Actually, I got the message that iTMS was not to be used from outside of the US months ago (I live in Japan). They said they might check. Thus far, they haven't. I wouldn't worry about it.

    Also, Amazon MP3 won't sell to me anymore, although they do for my friends. I had to buy a book for work from the US site and registered my Japanese credit card (my work can only reimburse expenditures made in yen), and then, like magic, Amazon MP3 stopped working. I've even tried making a new account with a different US credit card, and yet Amazon now knows I'm in Japan, but doesn't know that my buddy down the street, who has only ever used his US credit card with the US site, is as well.

    I absolutely hate pirating music. I reject it on ethical grounds, and I hate tracks being mis-labeled (I have never entered track names by myself--who are these people who can't spell who are entering ID3 tags on pirated songs???) and having no control over the bitrate I get, and the album art requiring looking and futzing... It's just a shitty way to get music for all involved.

    But when I'm not even allowed to buy it online (except for on CD--which I still do for music I really, really like, so I can rip it lossless), what's a boy to do?

    The world was looking so pretty, without all those borders... Why do companies and governments need to redraw them through technological means? The promise of the internet is being quashed everywhere you look...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @10:43PM (#26720429)

    And this is why I dread the end of CDs. Internet-only music distribution is a nightmare for a completist music fan who happens to live in the "wrong" country.

    I live in Brazil and there's no iTunes store here, so there's simply no legal way for me to get "iTunes exclusives" from artists I like (or exclusives from any other internet store, for that matter). I did buy an iTunes gift card and am using it sparingly, just on those songs I absolutely can't get any other way. I fear the day they start enforcing the regional restrictions.

    There's an obscure Finnish band I happen to like, but it's almost completely unknown outside of Finland. It is difficult but possible to buy a CD through the internet, but if a foreign fan wants to buy their songs via the internet, they simply can't, even if the songs are available in the Finnish iTunes store (they're not in any international or US store, and I'm almost certain no foreign distributor is interested in them). When CDs are completely replaced, even though you'll be able to discover awesome bands via the internet, you simply won't be able to get their releases and support them if these regional restrictions are still in place.

    (And please don't tell me I should choose artists who will take my business and ignore the others; if I like a piece of music, I want to be able to buy it, even if it's owned by an evil corporation.)

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