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Norwegians swallow iTunes threat

Snowed by DRM turnabout

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The Norwegian government has dropped its legal action against Apple's iTunes Store.

Last November, Bjoern Erik Thon, a Norwegian consumer mediator, said that he would take Apple before that country's Market Council for limiting use of the iTunes Store to iPods and the iPhone. Had the Council ruled against Apple, it could have imposed a fine or ordered Apple to open up its protection.

Yesterday, however, Thon said that Apple's move to allow DRM-free music downloads from the Store means that "We have no reason to pursue them anymore," the AP reports.

The reason for his turnabout is that on January 6, Apple announced it was removing DRM protection from songs published by EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and "thousands" of independent labels.

But Thon made no reference to the fact that the Store's movie and TV offerings remain DRM-protected, nor did he mention the other areas in which Apple restricts the use of its music players and computers, such as the DisplayPort Content Protection (DPCP) built into the display-connecting ports of its latest line of MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air laptops.

Perhaps Thon may reinstate his complaint after one of Norway's 4.7 million consumers remind him of those remaining anti-competitive restrictions. ®

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