Thursday, September 14, 2006

US State Dept to Europe: Apple's DRM is off-limits

A spokesman for the US Department of Justice has counseled European governments to stop investigating the anti-competitive, anti-consumer aspects of Apple's iTunes DRM. Apple imposes their DRM even when musicians ask not to have it applied to their music, and they have used legal threats to stop competitors from making players that can play Apple's music. Apple's DRM has been updated several times to remove the rights that iTunes Music Store customers bought when they bought their music -- all of this seems to make iTunes DRM a valid subject for investigation by competition and fair trading bureaus. Right now, Sweden, Norway, France, Britain and other European nations are investigating the fairness of Apple's technology.

Speaking in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general at the DOJ’s antitrust division, warned that forcing companies to reveal their intellectual property stifles innovation. He used Apple as an example, in a nod to growing discontent in Europe regarding the way that music purchased from iTunes is tied to the iPod.


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