iTunes to be Sued

Is Apple about to choke on its own feculent, albeit, extremely well designed, fruits? A new threat to iTunes should have C.E.O. Steve Jobs
dome crackling like a Jacobs Laddder.

A judge in Northern California green lighted plaintiff Thomas Slattery
s efforts to pursue a class-action suit against Apple. At stake is DRM-tunes 80% market share, thanks mainly to its anti-competitive tying of the iTunes store and the iTunes player.

The question is, with Apple
s huge cult-base, who
s going to join? Oh wait, people stuck in dull little boxes performing dull little tasks. Like making money.

Comments

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  1. Now I could be wrong here – I’m in Musical Theatre and not Anti-Trust Law. But I thought that having a monopoly was not in and of itself illegal? Apple *also* has a monopoly on computers that run OSX (and they don’t allow OSX on anything else) but that doesn’t get them sued. They have every right to limit the ways in which the things they sell can be played. If you don’t like it then you don’t have to buy from iTunes. (I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if playing or attempting to play your iTunes purchases on other systems was illegal itself, much in the same way that running OSX on another system would be illegal due to breach of contract. Check the license agreements.)
    Gander

  2. mrscolex says:

    that picture is disgusting!!!

  3. superconnected says:

    Having a monopoly is not illegal.

    Besides, saying that it’s unfair that Apple “tied” the music store to the itunes player is like saying that it’s unfair that only walmart can sell goods inside of their walmart store. It’s absurd.

    On top of that, having strong control over the DRM used in songs sold through the iTunes music store was the only way they were able to get the record company’s to agree to sell music online in the first place.

  4. Ben Popken says:

    See Wikepdia, “tying”: the practice of making the sale of one good…conditional on the purchase of a second distinctive good…it was first made potentially illegal…by the Sherman Antitrust Act.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tying

    The Sherman Antitrust act is what Mr. Slattery is suing under.

  5. Ben –

    I fail to see how Apple is “tying” anything. You don’t need an iPod to buy songs from the iTunes Music Store. Nor do you need to buy songs from the iTunes Music Store to use an iPod.

    Gander

  6. Timbojones says:

    Doesn’t seem to me that Sherman applies here. The iTunes music player is free. Hence the sale of songs from the store is not conditional on the purchase of the player, because it’s impossible to purchase the player.

  7. Ben Popken says:

    it.goes.there: Take it up with Judge Ware. Tying isn’t my opinion, it’s a claim Slattery is sucessfully pursuing. From the article, “The plaintiff has met all the requirements for asserting a tying claim, the judge said.” Furthermore, “the judge allowed Slattery to proceed with his monopolization claim under the federal Sherman Antitrust Act and his claims for violation of California’s antitrust and unfair-competition laws.”

  8. Brian Gee says:

    Even if you have 6 inches of Jobs in your mouth, you have to admit that things would be better (for the consumer) if you could use the music you buy from the iTunes Store on any music player, and if you could play any purchased tunes on an ipod.

    (Supposedly you can use such high-tech means as burning then ripping to convert any store’s burnable (oooh more drm woes!) music into an uncrippled mp3 or ogg format, but that task is as trivial as it is illegal under the DMCA. but I digress…)

    If we could get past these player/store lockins, people could comparison shop and get the best player hardware, and then purchase music where they find the best value. Maybe the other stores are cool, but I never look at them , since their music doesn’t work on anything I own. That includes 3 of the worlds most popular music players: an iPod, an iPod Nano, and an iPod mini. Surely Real and Napster and Sprint (hahahah) and so on want a piece of this action…

    Of course I don’t use the iTunes store either, since the music I “buy” there doesn’t work but in maybe 1/3 of the places in my house I’d want to hear music.

    Its all streaming 8-tracks for me, baby…

  9. RowdyRoddyPiper says:

    The above comment about the musice not working in more than 1/3rd of the places you’d want to listen to music sums up the whole DRM issue nicely for me.

    Attention dipshit music execs, resellers and MPAA monkeys, I am not paying you for the CD, MP3, DRMED into uselessness file, I am paying you for the CREATIVE CONTENT contained therein. To the extent that you provide us with crippled and useless formats that may or may not work depending on the equipment, we will circumvent you. Not to say that we will steal the content, but we will liberate the music we pay for from your illconcieved and poorly fitting shackles.

  10. ValkRaider says:

    1. I hate “dull little machines” (Windows PCs) and I have been using Macs and making money for a long time. So the lame dig at Mac users is unnecessary by the Consumerist. Most Windows PCs *are* dull. Why do you think almost every brand now makes models that look very similar to Apple? Because the Apple models are *nice*. Imitatation is the most sincere form of flattery.

    2. This lawsuit is rediculus. And just because it is allowed does not mean it would win…

    3.According to the linked article: “the judge said Slattery was claiming Apple forces people who own iPods to buy music online only from iTunes and also forces iTunes customers to buy iPods to play the music they purchase.”

    I have owned an iPod in the past (not currently, but probably will again sometime) and I purchased plenty of music online from other sources than iTunes, and they play just fine on the iPod. Any MP3 or MP4 music file – will play fine on the iPod.

    And as far as requiring iTunes customers to buy iPods. Well, you only need an iPod if you want to play iTunes Music Store purchased songs on a portable device – other than a laptop of course.

    FIRST – this refers to the iTunes ONLINE MUSIC STORE ONLY. Not iTunes the program… But you HAVE to have iTunes the application to use the iTunes music store. And the files you purchase using the iTunes application, purchased from the iTunes music store – will play in iTunes running on a Macintosh or Windows PC.

    However the iPod does not support other DRM schemes, like Windows Media versions of DRM. And there are no third party portables that support iTunes Music Store versions of DRM.

    How is that a monopoly, or anti-trust, or tying?

    If my Canon ink cartridges don’t work in an Epson printer is that illegal? How about if I can’t use my Kenmore fridge water filters on a Maytag fridge? I have a Nintendo DS that won’t play PSP games…

    How is the iPod / iTunes / iTunes Music Store any different?

    But alas – I am not a laywer. I only play one on the internet. :)