Things just keep getting better for Apple on the legal front…
According to the Associated Press Apple is facing a lawsuit that claims they have built an illegal monopoly due to the copy-protection system that generally prevents iTunes music and video from playing on rival players…Likewise, songs purchased elsewhere aren’t easily playable on iPods. The plaintiff is seeking unspecified damages and other relief. On the 20th of December, the court denied Apple’s motion to dismiss the complaint. The case was originally filed on July 21.
Does this case have merit?
I don’t know. I’m not a legal expert. Obviously the court feels there is some justification in the suit, but I’m not convinced that Apple has created an illegal monopoly here. Most iPods are not filled with iTunes purchased music. According to the New York Times, there are only 22 iTunes downloaded songs per iPod sold. That’s hardly a monopoly on the digital music revolution.
Plus, a key factor in the case seems to be that “songs purchased elsewhere aren’t easily playable on iPods”…that’s because of DRM, not Apple. Any songs purchased on CD and ripped are easily playable on an iPod, and DRM free services like eMusic.com are also as easy to play on iPods as anything downloaded from iTunes.
Is it Apple’s fault that other companies DRM their music so it can’t easily be played on iPods? Of course not.
Is it Apple’s fault that iTunes content can only be played on iPods? Sure…and if Apple ever has to change that policy as a result of this (or any other lawsuit) will that affect iPod sales? No. Will it affect iTunes sales? Somehow I doubt it.
If companies want their content played on iPods, all they have to do is get rid of the DRM. There is no monopoly here…as far as I can see.
Do you have a different opinion? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.
Update:Â For the record, a monopoly is defined as “Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service”.Â Apple does not have exclusive control over the music played on iPods.Â They do not have exclusive control over the mp3 player market.
The only thing Apple has “exclusive” control over is the fact that iTunes purchased content can only be played on iTunes compatible devices such as Windows PCs, Macs, iPods, and certain portable phones.
The question is…is that illegal?