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iPod owners notified of class-action antitrust suit against Apple's iTunes

post #1 of 70
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Some customers who purchase an iPod between 2006 and 2009 began receiving notice this week that they are members of a pending class-action lawsuit accusing Apple of creating a monopoly with the iTunes Music Store.

Members of the class include customers who bought iPod classic, iPod shuffle, iPod touch and iPod nano models between Sept. 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009. No ruling has been made on the case and a settlement has not been reached, but e-mails began going out this week to inform iPod owners of the ongoing dispute, and refer them to ipodlawsuit.com for more information.

The complaint dates back to July 2004, when RealNetworks released a work-around dubbed "Harmony" that allowed songs purchased from its music store to be transferred onto the iPod. Apple released a statement accusing RealNetworks of adopting "the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break the iPod," and warning customers it was "highly likely" that Real's Harmony technology would not work with future version of the iPod software.

Later that year, Apple issued an update to its iPod software that disabled Harmony and prevented users from transferring songs from the service. RealNetworks admitted to investors in 2005 that the Harmony technology had put the company at risk to a lawsuit from Apple.

Then, in early 2005, Thomas Slattery filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the company had violated federal antitrust laws and california's unfair competition law by requiring that customers use an iPod to listen to music purchased via the iTunes Music Store.

Lawsuit


The complaint has dragged on for more than 7 years now, and last year Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd in San Jose, Calif., even authorized limited questioning of Apple's then-chief-executive Steve Jobs. In the 7 years since the suit was filed, Apple has negotiated with music labels for a more open iTunes Music Store, and songs sold there are now provided without digital rights management software, which restricts how files can be used.

Early this month, a pair of settlement conferences were held in the class-action suit, known as "The Apple iPod iTunes Anti-Trust Litigation." However, no settlement could be reached during those discussions.

The court then held a case management conference on May 2, in which the case and any disputes until Aug. 31, 2012, are referred to Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero.

Judge James Ware also declared that Apple has a right to file a motion for summary judgment to address issues which have not yet been raised before the court. Both Apple and the plaintiff have admitted to the court that an "outstanding expert" report has not yet been served by the plaintiffs.

"in light of this, the Court finds no reason to deny the Defendant the ability to challenge that expert report once it becomes available, and to file any appropriate motion for summary judgment resulting from disclosures made in that expert report," Judge Ware wrote. "Accordingly, on or before May 20, 2012, the parties shall meet and confer and stipulate to a suitable schedule with respect to any further disruptive motions that any party may seek to file."

As for those who have been notified that they are a class member, customers have the right to do nothing and remain a part of the class, or they can ask to be excluded to get out of the lawsuit and receive no benefits from it. Those who wish to be excluded must send an "Exclusion Request," as detailed on the lawsuit's official website.
post #2 of 70

Is it just me thinking it's a bit retarded?

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post #3 of 70

Awesome? What exactly do they hope to win here?

post #4 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techboy View Post

Awesome? What exactly do they hope to win here?

 

Very good question...what is the point of this?

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post #5 of 70

I thought nothing could be dumber than the fiasco of patent lawsuits...I was wrong.

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post #6 of 70
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Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

Very good question...what is the point of this?

Nothing more than lawyers being lawyers. Since unemployment is so high I bet worker's comp claims are also down. Gotta collect a paycheck for something...
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post #7 of 70

what a stupid lawsuit.  its more than retarded its a waste of the courts time.

post #8 of 70

If I receive this email, I'll opt out.  I think iTunes did good things for the music industry.

post #9 of 70
The complaint alleges that you can not play songs that weren't bought on iTunes. That is total nonsense. You can play songs that you buy just about anywhere. In a few cases, you might have an extra step or two, but I don't know of any songs that you can buy that can't be played on an iPod.

Ridiculous lawsuit. I hope Apple sues them to recover their legal expenses.
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post #10 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The complaint alleges that you can not play songs that weren't bought on iTunes. That is total nonsense. You can play songs that you buy just about anywhere. In a few cases, you might have an extra step or two, but I don't know of any songs that you can buy that can't be played on an iPod.
Ridiculous lawsuit. I hope Apple sues them to recover their legal expenses.

If you can get your music into iTunes you can play it there as well as sync it with your iPod. It doesn't matter if its a CD, extracted off Youtube, or stolen from someplace. Of course Apple wouldn't make you only purchase from the iTunes Music Store. Then they may have some kind of case if Apple did in fact do that, but we all know they haven't. 

 

I wish Apple would fight back on these stupid lawsuits and maybe, just maybe greedy lawyers would go elsewhere. When it starts costing the lawyers more money than they're taking in it will no longer be worth it to them and they'll take their ball and go play somewhere's else. 

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post #11 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

If I receive this email, I'll opt out.  I think iTunes did good things for the music industry.

 

I got my email a few days ago. Unfortunately, I suspect that opting out doesn't mean much, only that the lawyers will get to hang on to your settlement portion. If that's the case, I'd rather get the payout - it'll probably amount to just enough for me to buy a couple of tracks from the iTunes store. That way at least some of that money goes back to where it belongs.

post #12 of 70

You have to do nothing to stay in the class but if you want to opt out you have to send a letter. I think that should be illegal. You should have to request to be in the class. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

If I receive this email, I'll opt out.  I think iTunes did good things for the music industry.

post #13 of 70

I bought an iPod classic in that time period. I had no idea I had been wronged until the tasseled loafers of justice told me. Gimme money Apple! Gimme, gimme, gimme!

post #14 of 70

This should have been thrown out as Apple only applies its DRM when requested to by the record labels themselves.

 

Apple is not the one that decides on the level of DRM lock-in.

 

DRM is at fault here, not Apple.

 

You can play an MP3 regardless of its origin.

 

I imagine it wasn't thrown out because there is a class of lawyers who are facing unemployment due to the increase in the speed of ambulances.

post #15 of 70
This is a stupid lawsuit. The only limitation for others was what type of file format. The iTunes application was a default launch to organize the data, but if you wanted to purchase songs elsewhere, there were no limitations. the iTunes application was developed to be able to organize and manage the device, but the iTunes Music Store was thrown in to allow for an easy way to buy content if the user wants to buy content, but it wasn't mandatory that they HAVE to buy content from the iTunes Music Store.

If the judge doesn't throw this case out, then there is a crooked judge. This TOTALLY frivolous. Who is behind this lawsuit anyway?
post #16 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by msbpodcast View Post

This should have been thrown out as Apple only applies its DRM when requested to by the record labels themselves.

Apple is not the one that decides on the level of DRM lock-in.

DRM is at fault here, not Apple.

You can play an MP3 regardless of its origin.

I imagine it wasn't thrown out because there is a class of lawyers who are facing unemployment due to the increase in the speed of ambulances.
Even if it was Apple who decided on DRM for the iTS it still doesn't make sense because 1) there is nothing illegal about protecting content, and 2) DRM on the iTS has nothing to do with the iTunes app or iPod as each can take a great many DRM-free content using various codecs and containers. On top of that Apple has no monopoly in the music distribution business and even if you only counted the online segment of music distribution it's not illegal to have a monopoly, it's only illegal to abuse one.

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post #17 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techboy View Post

Awesome? What exactly do they hope to win here?


The plaintiffs will get $1 itunes gift cards while the lawyers will get $100,000K.

post #18 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


The plaintiffs will get $1 itunes gift cards while the lawyers will get $100,000K.

If the plaintiffs lawyers win they are going to collect a lot more than $100,000 each, probably in the millions. If they lose they just wasted 7 yrs. When the suit was originally filed there was some merit to it as Apple was restricting what could be played on a iPod and how iTunes songs could be played on third party devices. There were work arounds at the time such as burning to disk and re-importing but it did makes things more complex. 

 

The reason to drop out of the suit is not because you think Apple is right but to reserve your right to file a separate law suit. Might as well stay in and get your free iTunes song if they win.

post #19 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

I got my email a few days ago. Unfortunately, I suspect that opting out doesn't mean much, only that the lawyers will get to hang on to your settlement portion. If that's the case, I'd rather get the payout - it'll probably amount to just enough for me to buy a couple of tracks from the iTunes store. That way at least some of that money goes back to where it belongs.

It might be worth the effort to send the judge a certified letter letting him know that you are qualified to participate and therefor you are letting him know that you are against any kind of settlement and that this is a ridiculous and frivolous lawsuit.
post #20 of 70

If I can get free iTunes music from this, sounds good to me.  

post #21 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by kozchris View Post

You have to do nothing to stay in the class but if you want to opt out you have to send a letter. I think that should be illegal. You should have to request to be in the class. 

 

 

it's not a matter of legality.. it's the DEFINITION of class action.

 

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

In law, a class action, a class suit, or a representative action is a form of lawsuit in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or in which a class of defendants is being sued.


it's NOT class action, again, by DEFINITION, if you don't have a group.

post #22 of 70

How is this relevant? In the history of the iTunes and the iPod, I have never had an issue putting any file from any place I have purchased it onto my device/s. You can use iTunes or other file utilities to put supported file formats on iPod. This lawsuit has no merit.

post #23 of 70
Let's see if I have this right. A few morons bought music from Real in a DRMd format and then got upset when they discovered their idiocy was compounded by the fact that Apple would not garauntee they coud play it in iTunes. It seems to me the appropriate response to these people would be "caveat emptor". I have had absolutely no problems palying music from other than the itunes store. In fact I would say about 90% of my music is not from iTunes.
post #24 of 70

Ridiculous.  1. iTunes does not have a large enough share to be considered a monopoly. 2. The only people who win here are the lawyers.

post #25 of 70

We'll have to see if this goes through. The judge worked for years in both Palo Alto and Santa Clara (practically Apple's backyard). My letter was dated March 29 yet I didn't receive it until May 8. Clearly the wheels of justice are turning at a snail's pace. The judge is retiring in August, and at the rate things are moving, the lawsuit won't be settled by then.

post #26 of 70

The complaint is apparently that Apple blocked 3rd parties from using tactics which would have allowed media that was already encrypted using one form of DRM (Real's Helix DRM) and transparently replace it with a different form of DRM (Apple's Failplay DRM) so that the songs could retain their encrypted status, and yet still be playable on competing portable media players.

 

In other words, Real wanted to have its cake (maintaining end-to-end DRM-protection of their songs) and eat it too (add iPod compatibility).

 

If Real had been willing to release the songs in a non-encrypted format, then those songs would have been perfectly playable on the iPod.  But as long as they wanted to maintain DRM encryption, the iPod remained out of reach.

 

From the customer's point of view, the compaint is worthy of at least some level of scrutiny before dismissing it offhand.  After all, the songs the customer had legally purchased were, indeed, incapable of being played on the portable music player of their choice.  The vendor of the music made an attempt to deal with the situation in a way that allowed them to preserve their business model (including the use of DRM encryption) whilst providing customers with the ability to use the PMP of their choice (eg. iPod), and Apple stepped in to prevent the customers from being able to do so.

 

Was Apple wrong to have acted they way it did?  I guess we'll find out soon enough.

post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexmit View Post

How is this relevant? In the history of the iTunes and the iPod, I have never had an issue putting any file from any place I have purchased it onto my device/s. You can use iTunes or other file utilities to put supported file formats on iPod. This lawsuit has no merit.

 

Ditto. Frankly if this lawsuit goes through and Real is not implicated as a defendant then I call BS. I mean I purchased music from Rhapsody back in the day and I can't play it on my iPod without going through the same conversion process one would have to go through to get a DRM'd iTunes file onto their deprecated devices. Better bring in Microsoft and all that "Plays For Sure" content that surely won't play on my iPod either. Anyone remember Liquid Audio? I bought content from them some time ago and I can't play those tracks on my iPod either, nor could Real's devices play them. Better bring their team back together and haul their asses back into court too.

post #28 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Even if it was Apple who decided on DRM for the iTS it still doesn't make sense because 1) there is nothing illegal about protecting content, and 2) DRM on the iTS has nothing to do with the iTunes app or iPod as each can take a great many DRM-free content using various codecs and containers. On top of that Apple has no monopoly in the music distribution business and even if you only counted the online segment of music distribution it's not illegal to have a monopoly, it's only illegal to abuse one.

The monopoly part is related to iTunes, the app, not the iTunes the store. The complaint stems from the fact that the iPod 'needs' iTunes in order to load the songs onto the device, and no other application is allowed to interact with the iPod, hence monopoly. In previous versions of iPod I believe you could copy any file onto it just like a USB memory stick. After 2004 Apple's new iPods did not allow that.

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post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The complaint alleges that you can not play songs that weren't bought on iTunes. That is total nonsense. You can play songs that you buy just about anywhere. In a few cases, you might have an extra step or two, but I don't know of any songs that you can buy that can't be played on an iPod.
Ridiculous lawsuit. I hope Apple sues them to recover their legal expenses.

This is all from the time of Apple's Fairplay DRM. One side of the complaint is that you couldn't play iTunes songs (with DRM) on other digital music players. What it comes down to is that when hackers came up with ways to strip the DRM from the songs, Apple put out a software update that stopped the hacks and secured the DRM. The complaint says this is Apple using its "monopoly" unfairly, sot that people could play iTunes songs only on iPods (not mentioning that you could strip the DRM yourself by burning a CD).

 

The other part of the complaint is that they say iPods would only play songs from iTunes, and couldn't play music from other digital music services with its own DRM. While true, they don't mention ripped CDs and other sources of music that can be played on iPods. Again they claim this is Apple propping up its "monopoly".

 

I got my notice today, and I'm opting out. Dumb lawsuit.

post #30 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The monopoly part is related to iTunes, the app, not the iTunes the store. The complaint stems from the fact that the iPod 'needs' iTunes in order to load the songs onto the device, and no other application is allowed to interact with the iPod, hence monopoly. In previous versions of iPod I believe you could copy any file onto it just like a USB memory stick. After 2004 Apple's new iPods did not allow that.

You are wrong about no other app being able to interact with the iPod.

First, Finder or Windows Explorer will interact with the iPod. You can simply mount the drive onto your computer and drag the files to the iPod - even on the current versions.
Second, several apps are available which DO interact with the iPod. However, they use Apple's public APIs to do so. Harmony was using APIs that they were not licensed to use - which is why Apple shut them down.
Finally, since iTunes is a free app, it's hard to make a claim of damages if you're forced to use iTunes, anyway.
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post #31 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmage View Post

 

it's not a matter of legality.. it's the DEFINITION of class action.

 

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

In law, a class action, a class suit, or a representative action is a form of lawsuit in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or in which a class of defendants is being sued.


it's NOT class action, again, by DEFINITION, if you don't have a group.

If they can notify you by email that you are in the class, you should be able to opt out by email, and not have to write a letter.

post #32 of 70
Quote:

Wow you Apple-loving retards are stupid and blind.

 

 

Welcome to the boards.  Good-bye.
 

post #33 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by JsongPovision View Post

Wow you Apple-loving retards are stupid and blind. I find it absolutely astounding that not a one of you recognizes 1) What the lawsuit is about and 2) its legitimacy. Apple are being sued for not allowing the iTunes music to be played on anything but an iPod (which they did) creating a monopoly on the mp3 market (which was illegal) by forcing people to buy iPods to play iTunes music. Not only that, but this is from 2006-2009. During this time iTunes was extremely restricted on how you could enjoy their service, so all of the morons talking about how you can do this and that with iTunes and how the lawsuit is ridiculous need to learn how to read.

The funny thing is that you are calling others 'retards' and 'stupid' and 'blind', yet you're almost entirely wrong.

- The lawsuit is about people who bought the iPod and claim that they can't use anything but iTunes to load it.
- That premise is wrong. You can load your iPod from the Finder.
- Even if one uses your claim (that you can't use iTunes music on anything but an iPod), you're still wrong. You can burn a CD from any iTunes music and play it on any CD player. Or, you can then reimport that CD onto your favorite music player. You most certainly never had to buy an iPod to play iTunes music.
- At one time, iTunes was restricted, but that was the DRM restrictions imposed by the music owners, not Apple.
- And since iTunes is free and cross-platform, there aren't any damages to being forced to use iTunes, even if that were true.
- Apple never had a monopoly on the MP3 market. You might argue that they had a monopoly position on the MP3 PLAYER market, but that's a different thing
- Having a monopoly is not, and never has been, illegal

I'm having trouble finding a single thing that's correct in your post.
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post #34 of 70

I'll make this real simple, it is like suing Pez because you can only use their candy in their Pez dispensers or the fact that you can not dispense M&M's from a Pez dispenser.

 

These people are arguing that Apple preclude you and everyone else from putting items which you might have bought elsewhere on their products. Pez is doing the exact same thing why are they being sued to help the public get Pez knocks to work with your Pez Dispenser. There are so many example of this I never understood why they are not going after ever case of this or dismiss these cases out right.

post #35 of 70

READ THE TIME FRAME YOU ARE MISSING THIS CONCEPT IN EVERY POST YOU MAKE!
 

post #36 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by JsongPovision View Post

Wow you Apple-loving retards are stupid and blind. I find it absolutely astounding that not a one of you recognizes 1) What the lawsuit is about and 2) its legitimacy. Apple are being sued for not allowing the iTunes music to be played on anything but an iPod (which they did) creating a monopoly on the mp3 market (which was illegal) by forcing people to buy iPods to play iTunes music. Not only that, but this is from 2006-2009. During this time iTunes was extremely restricted on how you could enjoy their service, so all of the morons talking about how you can do this and that with iTunes and how the lawsuit is ridiculous need to learn how to read.

 

I think we all recognize what the lawsuit is about. It's about a company that failed to hold its marketshare and is using a lawsuit to extract money. Apple was forced to use DRM by the record companies. Real found a way around their DRM by reverse-engineering it (which was illegal) and Apple was no doubt compelled to lock this workaround out in order to ensure their continued licensing agreements with the record companies. Real used its own DRM, as did Microsoft, as did the handful of other players out there at the time. I didn't see Microsoft ensuring Windows Media Player would allow me to manage the music on my iPod, nor any of the other companies ensuring their DRM would work with the iPod. Again, bring Microsoft into this - I don't think I can shop the Zune Marketplace for music that will play on my iPod, and I certainly can't use a ZunePass with my iPhone.

post #37 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


The funny thing is that you are calling others 'retards' and 'stupid' and 'blind', yet you're almost entirely wrong.
- The lawsuit is about people who bought the iPod and claim that they can't use anything but iTunes to load it.
- That premise is wrong. You can load your iPod from the Finder.
- Even if one uses your claim (that you can't use iTunes music on anything but an iPod), you're still wrong. You can burn a CD from any iTunes music and play it on any CD player. Or, you can then reimport that CD onto your favorite music player. You most certainly never had to buy an iPod to play iTunes music.
- At one time, iTunes was restricted, but that was the DRM restrictions imposed by the music owners, not Apple.
- And since iTunes is free and cross-platform, there aren't any damages to being forced to use iTunes, even if that were true.
- Apple never had a monopoly on the MP3 market. You might argue that they had a monopoly position on the MP3 PLAYER market, but that's a different thing
- Having a monopoly is not, and never has been, illegal
I'm having trouble finding a single thing that's correct in your post.


How are you finding this difficult? You are, AGAIN, failing to recognize the lawsuit for what it is. Read about the lawsuit. You can't find a single thing correct because you are talking about this in the present tense and not understanding what is going on here in the first place. Your arguments are unrelated to the topic at hand. That is why you see no one arguing with you about them, your right about all that junk you just listed but its irrelevant.

post #38 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


You are wrong about no other app being able to interact with the iPod.
First, Finder or Windows Explorer will interact with the iPod. You can simply mount the drive onto your computer and drag the files to the iPod - even on the current versions.

I was not aware that was still possible. I have heard of third party applications though which you could copy files directly but no just the Finder. Can you explain how to get the iPod into Disk Mode? Does it work with iPod Touch or iPhone?

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post #39 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

 

I think we all recognize what the lawsuit is about. It's about a company that failed to hold its marketshare and is using a lawsuit to extract money. Apple was forced to use DRM by the record companies. Real found a way around their DRM by reverse-engineering it (which was illegal) and Apple was no doubt compelled to lock this workaround out in order to ensure their continued licensing agreements with the record companies. Real used its own DRM, as did Microsoft, as did the handful of other players out there at the time. I didn't see Microsoft ensuring Windows Media Player would allow me to manage the music on my iPod, nor any of the other companies ensuring their DRM would work with the iPod. Again, bring Microsoft into this - I don't think I can shop the Zune Marketplace for music that will play on my iPod, and I certainly can't use a ZunePass with my iPhone.

 

Again, please understand this concept, At the time, Apple was the one restricting this content, wanting it to not be an open source for files. This is something that I'm sure they had no intentions of doing maliciously, they just want to be able to ensure their devices work well. In recent years that has been opened up in terms of music but, again, this is Apple restricting the files going to and from it's players not the Microsoft or anyone else. DRM is another matter entirely. You can buy Music from Zune Marketplace and put in on your iPod if you wanted to as long as you download it in MP3 format. That option is not available in iTunes circa 2006, hence the lawsuit.

post #40 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by JsongPovision View Post

 

Again, please understand this concept, At the time, Apple was the one restricting this content, wanting it to not be an open source for files. This is something that I'm sure they had no intentions of doing maliciously, they just want to be able to ensure their devices work well. In recent years that has been opened up in terms of music but, again, this is Apple restricting the files going to and from it's players not the Microsoft or anyone else. DRM is another matter entirely. You can buy Music from Zune Marketplace and put in on your iPod if you wanted to as long as you download it in MP3 format. That option is not available in iTunes circa 2006, hence the lawsuit.

 

But again - why are they singling out Apple when Microsoft, Liquid Audio, Yahoo, and others were all doing the exact same thing? In fact, they were doing the exact same thing at the same timeframe as music purchased via Rhapsody was DRMed and would not play on unlicensed devices (including the iPod). So if they're going to sue Apple, they need to also sue Microsoft, and they need to sue themselves. Otherwise, they're nothing but hypocrites looking for a buck.

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