Feeds

Apple targeted in DRM monopoly suit (again)

'I want WMA on my iPod', squeals Hogmanay bellyacher

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Steve Jobs has received a New Year nastygram from a woman who is upset that iPods won't play Microsoft DRM-crippled songs as well as Apple DRM-crippled songs.

Lawyers representing Stacie Somers filed a federal anti-trust complaint in Northern California District Court in San Jose on New Year's eve.

The suit alleges that: "Apple has engaged in tying and monopolising behaviour, placing unneeded and unjustifiable technological restrictions on its most popular products in an effort to restrict consumer choice, and to restrain what little remains of its competition in the digital music markets."

Somers' legal beagles point to Apple's use of PortalPlayer media chips in iPods. They're commodity parts that decode MP3s and WMA files. Apple disables the WMA capability because it does not pay Microsoft's Windows Media licensing fees.

According to the complaint, this means "Apple's crippleware operating system software prevents the iPod Shuffle from playing WMA files".

"Apple's iPod is alone among mass-market Digital Music Players in not supporting the WMA format," it continues.

Apple is abusing its huge share of the music player market by supporting only its inhouse Fairplay DRM, they reckon. Somers isn't the first to make the claim by a long chalk.

This time, the claims are predicated on the increasingly outmoded view that rights owners "are generally unwilling to license their music for online sale except in protected formats". Amazon now carries unlocked MP3s from three of the four major labels, along with hundreds of independents.

It's worth highlighting the irony of attacking one alleged monopolists' media lock-in system by complaining that it doesn't support another, convicted monopolists' media lock-in.

Somers' lawyers call on European investigations of iTunes to back up their anti-trust allegations. The links seem weak, however: the EU is investigating how Apple forces consumers to use the iTunes store for their own country, not probing anti-trust concerns.

Norway, meanwhile, has taken a pop at Apple's own Fairplay DRM system, not its lack of WMA support.

El Jobso himself has called for DRM to be dropped across the board by record labels.

For what it's worth, Somers' court filing is here.

Apple told Information Week it doesn't comment on pending litigation. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.