Only a few weeks ago France was considering legislation which could have required Apple to provide a way for content sold via the iTunes Music Store to interoperate with non-Apple media players. Although that initiative has since been neutered, now Norway’s Consumer Ombudsmen and Market Council has apparently taken issue with Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management system. According to reports, the Ombudsmen has sided with complaints from Norway’s Consumer Council which argued the Norwegian version of Apple’s iTunes Music Store infinges upon consumer’s rights by tying content purchased there to iPods and Apple’s iTunes software and by failing to offer a “cooling off” period during which a consumer can back out of a transaction for a full refund. It also found Apple’s pricing policies were discriminatory and the terms and conditions of the iTunes EULA were too restrictive.
The Ombudsmen has given Apple until June 21, 2006, to alter the terms of service for the Norwegian version of its iTunes Music Store, or Apple may face fines or even be barred from the Norwegian market. Ombudsmen in other Scandinavian nations (including Denmark and Sweden) are reportedly watching the case carefully, as they are already processing similar complaints made under their own laws.
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