The Consumer Ombudsman submits iTunes case to the Market Council

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The Consumer Ombudsman submits iTunes case to the Market Council

29.09.2008
A large part of the music on iTunes Store is still only available for iPod users. iTunes has not met the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman’s demands they change their DRM technology to make the music available for all music players, and the CO will now submit the case to the Norwegian Market Council.

Two years ago, the Consumer Ombudsman first criticized iTunes for the use of unfair contract terms in breach of the Norwegian Marketing Control Act.

One of the terms the Consumer Ombudsman found to be unfair, was the fact that most of the music bought on iTunes Store is only possible to play on Apples’ own portable music player, iPod.

The Ombudsman demands that the consumers themselves should be able to choose what music device they would like to use to listen to music bought from the iTunes Store.

- It’s a consumer’s right to transfer and play digital content bought and downloaded from the Internet to the music device he himself chooses to use. iTunes makes this impossible or at least difficult, and hence, they act in breach of Norwegian law, says Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon.

Enough time
iTunes has been given enough time to present a satisfying solution to make their music available for all portable music devices. They have made some adjustments in their contract terms regarding how to convert the music files to make them play on other music players. But this is not enough, says Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon.

- Even with these adjustments, the ties between iTunes and iPod by use of non-interoperable DRM technology is in breach of the law. Therefore, I have told iTunes that I will now submit the matter to the Norwegian Market Council, says Thon.

A principal matter
In February 2008, the Consumer Ombudsman met with iTunes in Berlin. Here, iTunes underlined that they wanted to sell music without DRM-technology, and that they shared the Consumer Ombudsman’s aim of full interoperability in the online music market.

- iTunes has now had two years to meet our demands regarding interoperability. No progress has been reported by iTunes since our meeting in February 08. The consumer’s freedom of choice in the online music market is an important right. This is a matter of great principal importance, says Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon.

iTunes must submit their comments to the CO’s decision to bring the case before the Market Council before November 3rd 2008.

For further information, please contact:
Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon (Tlf: + 47 99 00 50 90)

Forbrukerombudet, Sandakerveien 138, 0484 Oslo | Tlf 23 400 600 | Faks 23 400 601 | Nettredaktør: Trine Aaen