Consumer Claims iTunes Is Monopolistic
January 5, 2007 at 5:52 AM (PT)
BUSINESSWEEK reports that when it comes to legal action over downloaded music, the defendants are often individuals: The lone user downloads one too many copyrighted files, and big media goes on the offensive. But now, the little guy is turning the tables.
A fresh crop of lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals argue that it's the big companies that are ripping off the consumer.
MELANIE TUCKER, a SAN DIEGO resident, says APPLE COMPUTER unfairly restricts how its iTUNES STORE customers can use legally purchased music. APPLE uses its so-called Digital Rights Management, or DRM, software to prevent iTUNES songs from easily running on media players that compete with its iPODS. APPLE's brand of DRM software, called FAIRPLAY, also prevents music purchased through services other than iTUNES from playing on the iPOD.
TUCKER maintains that the company, which controls between 70% to more than 85% of the legal music download market and perhaps a 90% share of the digital music player market, is behaving like an overly aggressive monopoly, stifling competition in violation of antitrust legislation. "APPLE has monopoly power in both markets through iTUNES and iPOD, and they have made a conscious decision to disable people from freely using other formats on their iPOD and vice versa," says ANDREW S. FRIEDMAN, one of TUCKER's attorneys. FRIEDMAN is seeking class-action status for the suit.