Feeds

France rules Apple's DRM denial not anti-competition

But it puts consumers at a disadvantage

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A French retailers attempt to force Apple to license its DRM technology has failed.

The French government's competition watchdog this week dismissed a complaint brought by VirginMega, which alleged Apple's refusal to license FairPlay ran contrary to French anti-trust law.

The retailers complaint was ruled to be short on convincing evidence, the watchdog ruled. In any case, it said, Apple's refusal to license FairPlay was on no way hampering the expansion of the digital music download market - growth indicated by the huge number of rivals popping up to compete with the iTunes Music Store.

VirginMega - a joint venture between Virgin France and local media company Lagardère - filed its complaint last August, around the time Real Networks launched Harmony, a DRM conversion system that generates FairPlay-compatible code. Apple muttered dark mumblings at the time, and waved the possibility of legal action in Real's face, but has since said or done little about it.

VirginMega uses Windows' own audio and DRM technology - it's online music service is supplied by Loudeye's European subsidiary, OD2 - which isn't supported by the iPod. Since Apple won't build WMA compatibility into the iPod, Virgin wants Apple to license FairPlay so it can incorporate the technology into the tracks it sells, making them iPod-compatible.

It wants to do so because the iPod has such a large share of the French portable music player market. By refusing to license FairPlay, VirginMega said, Apple was unfairly restricting access to that market. However, the French competition comission noted that there are plenty of WMA-compatible devices out there for VirginMega to sell to.

The watchdog admitted, however, that the lack of compatibility between rival music services and players did put consumers at a "disadvantage", but that fact was beyond the scope of its enquiry. ®

Related stories

Virgin demands Apple license iTunes DRM
Real anti-Apple poll swamped by pro-Apple posters
Real fires back at Apple in DRM dogfight
Apple blasts Real DRM translator
Real to 'free' iPod from iTunes Music Store
Apple opens Euro iTunes stores
OFT urged to investigate 'rip-off' iTunes
iTunes Japan hits 'inadequate DRM' hurdle

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.