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Apple rejects Norway's 'unfair iTunes' charge

But admits it could make the iPod-only limitation more obvious

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Apple has admitted it needs to make clear in iTunes Music Store promotional material destined for the Nordic nations that downloaded songs will only play on a Mac or PC running iTunes and on iPods. However, it rejected claims that such a limitation is unfair.

The company's comments come from a response sent to the Norwegian Consumer Council, which is challenging Apple's approach. The NCC formally complained to the country's consumer affairs Ombudsman in January. In June, the Ombudsman ruled that the iTunes Ts&Cs were unlawful, but gave Apple until 21 June - a deadline later delayed - to respond to the charge.

Apple did so this week, initially demanding that its response be kept away from the public gaze. A version of the letter was subsequently released, albeit with many portions blanked out, ostensibly to protect Apple business secrets.

Whatever the complete letter contains, it's for the Ombudsman to consider what action it should force Apple to take. The NCC wants the company to be forced to allow downloaded tracks to be playable on any digital music device. The Ombudsman may also order the local iTunes Music Store to be closed and impose a fine on Apple.

For its part, Apple seems most likely to shut Norway's iTunes Music Store down. It has certainly suggested in the past that that's the move it would make in France if French legislators ever forced it to open its DRM technology to others. ®

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