Should Europeans Break Open iTunes?

Jan 22nd, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players

According to reports in Forbes and elsewhere, German and French consumer groups have joined a Nordic-led drive to force Apple to make its iTunes online store compatible with digital music players made by rival companies.

Currently, song purchased and downloaded through iTunes will only work with iPods and iTunes. Likewise, iPods generally can’t play copy-protected music sold through non-Apple stores.

Last June, consumer agencies in Norway, Denmark and Sweden claimed that Apple was violating contract and copyright laws in their countries. Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjoern Erik Thon said French consumer lobby UFC-Que Choisir and its German counterpart, Ferbraucherzentralen, joined the effort late last year, and other European countries are considering it. Finland’s Kuluttajavirasto consumer group is also part of the effort.

“This is important because Germany and France are European giants,” Thon said. “Germany, in particular, is a big market for digital music.”

In a written response to earlier meetings, Apple said it “is working to address the concerns we’ve heard from several agencies in Europe, and we hope to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.”

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