Feeds

Apple targeted in DRM monopoly suit (again)

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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.