Apple may have recently retired its classic iPod, but the legal implications of the digital rights management it used to use roll on. US district judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers has agreed that an antitrust case against Apple over its FairPlay DRM system can proceed to trial. The origins of the case go back to 2004, when RealNetworks launched a new version of its digital music software that could transfer songs to iPods, before Apple updated its iTunes software to block the feature. The subsequent class action isn’t just about RealNetworks though: it’s being pursued on behalf of what its attorneys say are thousands of complaints from users who couldn’t transfer songs bought on non-iTunes stores to their iPods. Apple and RealNetworks playing whack-a-DRM-mole in 2004 doesn’t have much relevance to the way digital music is consumed a decade later, but besides potentially landing Apple with a large bill, it’ll serve as a reminder of the dark old days of digital music, when competition between vendors took priority over usability for music fans.

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1 Comment

  1. DRM is the deal killer here. Heard it on the radio and thohgut it was too good to be true. If not for the DRM, this is something I’d personally go for. In fact, if the music came DRM free, I’d be more than happy to get it for a reasonable amount of limited downloads.

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