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Norwegian consumer group opposes iTunes TOS

post #1 of 70
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A consumer advocate group has won a preliminary ruling that may force Apple Computer to change its iTunes terms of service (TOS) in Norway, according to reports.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Council of Norway lodged a complaint with the Consumer Ombudsman, a government representative, over iTunes Music Store in Norway.

The group argued that Apple iTunes terms of service is in violation of Section 9a of the country's Marketing Control Act and also said that iTunes' digital right management violated consumer protection laws.

While no decision has been made in regards to iTunes' closed digital rights management (DRM) system and a few other issues, the group claimed victory on several points and said that the ruling would also apply to other digital music services, perhaps signaling a movement toward greater consumer rights.

"This is a great victory for the digital rights of Norwegian consumers," the group said. "The decision clearly states that the terms of agreement demanded by iTunes are unreasonable with respect to the country's consumer protection laws."

Amongst its complaints, the Consumer Council argued that Apple must be held liable for security holes and other bugs that could be exploited by hackers or computer viruses.

"Consumers are barred from lodging compensation claims if iTunes' software creates security holes that can be exploited by computer viruses," a group representative said. "This is a very real issue, which was most recently highlighted by the case of Sony BMG's latest DRM, XCP," referencing the recent security hole introduced by Sony on some copy-protected CDs.

Specifically, the group said users can not be forced to give consent to be governed by English Law when running iTunes software in Norway and Apple cannot disclaim responsibility for any damage caused by its software. In addition, the decision also found that Apple could not alter the terms of service at anytime, a disclaimer the company includes in its standard terms of service before running iTunes software.

However, the ruling will force Apple to adjust the terms and conditions of the iTunes agreement to comply with Norwegian law by the 21st of June.

"We are very satisfied with the decision. There is a general tendency for consumers to meet grossly unreasonable agreements when they download files with cultural content. It is therefore positive that the Ombudsman gets a grip on this so that consumer interests are also protected when such material is downloaded," senior advisor Torgeir Waterhouse says.

Still undetermined is whether Apple must include a "cooling-off" period when purchasing from iTunes and whether Apple's geographic limitations are reasonable under the country's laws. Apple currently states that all sales are final.

Consumer Council is also pushing for a ruling on iTunes' DRM, which has faced a backlash in other European countries such as France. Earlier this year the country pushed for a law that would force Apple to open up its iTunes FairPlay DRM to competitors, a move that industry analysts say would likely result in Apple closing its French iTunes Music Store.
post #2 of 70
All of these things are disclaimers that I have read in dozens of different agreements from all sorts of companies. These things are pretty common as far as I have seen.

Why did they choose to single out iTunes? Who knows. It's popular.
post #3 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Zweben

Why did they choose to single out iTunes? Who knows. It's popular.

because iTunes is changing the way music is bought and how we listen to it. Hence the concern, if a company controls those ways.
post #4 of 70
I (a bloodthirsty norwegian viking) am willing to settle with DRM if we can get TV Shows
post #5 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by progmac
because iTunes is changing the way music is bought and how we listen to it. Hence the concern, if a company controls those ways.

Herring, subclass Red.

Look at the items they scored points on: those are standard EULA items in any software package. Look at what they are complaining about: iTunes, the software package.

This is a frontal assault on the entire concept of the EULA, for good, or for bad.
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post #6 of 70
Sounds like Norway is pretty unfriendly to legit businesses.

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post #7 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
Sounds like Norway is pretty unfriendly to legit businesses.

And everywhere else is unfriendly to legit consumer interests?

If it takes an act of law to require a software maker to own up to damages caused by insecure software, then I have no problem with that, though I wonder if Microsoft has had to pay any damages for its software.
post #8 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
And everywhere else is unfriendly to legit consumer interests?

The most likely outcome is for Apple to take down the store altogether in Norway, because Apple doesn't have the capacity or ability to actually change their ToS, because their suppliers (mainly, the music industry) would never accept that.

How, exactly, is that in the consumer's interest?
post #9 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
The most likely outcome is for Apple to take down the store altogether in Norway, because Apple doesn't have the capacity or ability to actually change their ToS, because their suppliers (mainly, the music industry) would never accept that.

How, exactly, is that in the consumer's interest?

Well if other countries were brave enough to follow Norway's lead, the record companies would have to pull out of them, too. Pull out of enough countries, and you have no sales.

Hmmm... maybe the record companies would have to change their expections? ...rather than consumers always having to change theirs (and get screwed in the process)
post #10 of 70
Silly boy, record companies don't change expectations, they change *laws*.
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post #11 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by bikertwin
Well if other countries were brave enough to follow Norway's lead, the record companies would have to pull out of them, too. Pull out of enough countries, and you have no sales.

Hmmm... maybe the record companies would have to change their expections? ...rather than consumers always having to change theirs (and get screwed in the process)

Yes, in many a man's pipe dream world, that might be possible.

The reality, sadly, is different. The solution is not, as you seem to be believe, to try and convince (or force) existing industries into thinking in new ways, but to avoid those industries altogether, either forming new ones, or realizing their non-necessity.

Creative Commons is a good example of that. Have artists publish their works in a consumer-friendly way, and (almost: not the old industries, of course) everyone wins.
post #12 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
Yes, in many a man's pipe dream world, that might be possible.

Creative Commons...

Who's in a pipe dream world, here?
post #13 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
The most likely outcome is for Apple to take down the store altogether in Norway, because Apple doesn't have the capacity or ability to actually change their ToS, because their suppliers (mainly, the music industry) would never accept that.

How, exactly, is that in the consumer's interest?

I saw two main complaints, the store's use of a proprietary encryption so only Apple products can use the files, and the second part is unwillingness to indemnify damages should a flaw in the local software be exploited.

That said, I really don't think that consumer interests are served by the iTMS as it is. It basically means you are either stuck with the iPod or you crush sound quality to use some other device, or use some shady cracking software. Then there are the videos, there is no way to use it without the iTunes software or an Apple device.
post #14 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Silly boy, record companies don't change expectations, they change *laws*.

Silly boy, consumers/voters who lie down and play dead are the ones who get, well, you know.

I'm dumbfounded by the number of Apple fanboys who think what France and Norway are doing is bad.

You've been totally brainwashed by our consumerist society, Dude. \
post #15 of 70
I don't think that DRM serves customer interests.

I don't think that law-enforced lack of DRM serves business interests, including those of the creative artist.

The thing is... you need *BOTH* to have a market. As a customer, I would love to see DRM-free be the wave of the day. Music companies are greedy bastards. As someone who creates copyrighted works for pay, I would seethe if I had to give it away for free by law... which is essentially what DRM-free legislation would lead to, because most people are also greedy bastards. I'd simply not release it, period. It would be a hobby, at most, and everyone loses.

What's the proper balance? You got me. But neither end of the spectrum is the answer.
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post #16 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by bikertwin
Silly boy, consumers/voters who lie down and play dead are the ones who get, well, you know.

Sarcasm. Look it up.

Short version: I agree with you.

Quote:
I'm dumbfounded by the number of Apple fanboys who think what France and Norway are doing is bad.

You've been totally brainwashed by our consumerist society, Dude. \

Er, no.
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post #17 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by bikertwin
Who's in a pipe dream world, here?

What part of my post could you not comprehend?

It's unlikely that this situation will improve, but what you can do right now, today, no catches, is to buy from artists that aren't associated with messed-up organizations (e.g., RIAA) to begin with. To do so, look at CC-associated sites or similar. Stuff like ourmedia, ccmixter, etc.

Quote:
Originally posted by bikertwin
Silly boy, consumers/voters who lie down and play dead are the ones who get, well, you know.

I'm dumbfounded by the number of Apple fanboys who think what France and Norway are doing is bad.

You still have yet to answer how a consumer benefits from these laws, and why, on the other end, the consumer would want to swallow down the huge disadvantage these laws pose.
post #18 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
I don't think that DRM serves customer interests.

I don't think anyone in here does.

Quote:
I don't think that law-enforced lack of DRM serves business interests, including those of the creative artist.

In the long run, yes, I believe it does. There is no discernible (to me) and proven benefit for an artist to release a piece of work encumbered with copy protection, DRM or similar means. There is a perceived short-term benefit for businesses, but I have yet to see any proof this is a true advantage for anyone. It keeps some people from buying stuff, and more importantly, it doesn't keep people at all from pirating stuff.

DRM is not effective. Copy protection is not effective. No fucking method of piracy protection is ever going to be effective, short of changing laws, which is precisely what industries are pushing for, and that, THAT is what consumers need to fight against.
post #19 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
In the long run, yes, I believe it does.

Only for the consumer, not the producer. And like I said, you need both to have a market.

Quote:
There is no discernible (to me) and proven benefit for an artist to release a piece of work encumbered with copy protection, DRM or similar means. There is a perceived short-term benefit for businesses, but I have yet to see any proof this is a true advantage for anyone. It keeps some people from buying stuff, and more importantly, it doesn't keep people at all from pirating stuff.

Flip it around, since the burden of proof would be on you in this case...

What benefit is there to the artist to *have* to release a piece of work unencumbered and unprotected?

Quote:
DRM is not effective. Copy protection is not effective. No fucking method of piracy protection is ever going to be effective, short of changing laws, which is precisely what industries are pushing for, and that, THAT is what consumers need to fight against.

And what would you replace these technical mechanisms with? You're concerned with consumer's rights, but not creator's. Lopsided.
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post #20 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Only for the consumer, not the producer.

No, I honestly believe that the producer, too, benefits from leaving DRM out. Of course, that's a hypothetical statement. I cannot prove it.

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Flip it around, since the burden of proof would be on you in this case...

I'd love to, but alas, that's impossible.

Quote:
What benefit is there to the artist to *have* to release a piece of work unencumbered and unprotected?

The artist enables more consumers to access content (e.g., in the case of iTunes, consumers that don't or cannot use iTunes, because, say, they use a different OS).

The artist also enables already-possible consumers (e.g., iTunes users) to use content in more ways (e.g., converting to different formats, sharing with more people*, etc.).

*) Which creates a wholly different impossible-to-answer question of whether such sharing actually entices more and more people to buy, or whether it rather makes them pirate.

Because of the two above things, the artist generally makes existing and additional consumers happier than currently possible.

Because of that, existing consumers are enticed to buy more from the same artist.

And there's the benefit: more money for the artist.

Like I said, hypothetical. It cannot be proven. It is, however, my firm belief, both as a consumer and as a publisher. (Though I've never released any of my music for sale, mind you.)

Clearly Apple agrees, at least in the context in software, since with very few exceptions, they don't use DRM or copy protection. They use a DRM-like measure in OS X for Intel to prevent usage on non-Apple machines, which doesn't really make a difference for legit users (you can still copy OS X and "share" it, assuming the other person has a Mac as well), and they use serial numbers in some of their products, which don't matter either.

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You're concerned with consumer's rights, but not creator's.

I wouldn't say so.
post #21 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
No, I honestly believe that the producer, too, benefits from leaving DRM out. Of course, that's a hypothetical statement. I cannot prove it.

I'd love to, but alas, that's impossible.[/b]

Alright, as long as you admit it.

Quote:
The artist enables more consumers to access content (e.g., in the case of iTunes, consumers that don't or cannot use iTunes, because, say, they use a different OS).

The artist also enables already-possible consumers (e.g., iTunes users) to use content in more ways (e.g., converting to different formats, sharing with more people*, etc.).

*) Which creates a wholly different impossible-to-answer question of whether such sharing actually entices more and more people to buy, or whether it rather makes them pirate.

But why do they buy *AT ALL*? A: Because they get something more out of it. A *good* quality copy, instead of a questionable one... A faster download time, instead of searching P2P sites... A physical medium, in the case of a CD, for built-in backup...

Now, if there were *no* copy protection, then P2P wouldn't be underground, but in the open - no benefit there. In the open -> more reliable servers and connections -> less need to make a tightly compacted file -> better quality. Toss in that anyone could sell a perfect CD from those files, and charge for the backup copy, and... exactly what benefit would be left to entice the consumer to pay for *anything* that gets to the artist?

Their warm and fuzzy humanity? :P

Miniscule.

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Because of the two above things, the artist generally makes existing and additional consumers happier than currently possible.

And themselves... ?

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Because of that, existing consumers are enticed to buy more from the same artist.

I disagree that much of anything would be bought.

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And there's the benefit: more money for the artist.

I just don't see it. People only pay money when there is a *benefit* to them. You have to make it *worth* it for them to plunk down cash, or they won't. Feelings of good will are not the basis for a market system.

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Like I said, hypothetical. It cannot be proven. It is, however, my firm belief, both as a consumer and as a publisher. (Though I've never released any of my music for sale, mind you.)

I still disagree.

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Clearly Apple agrees, at least in the context in software, since with very few exceptions, they don't use DRM or copy protection. They use a DRM-like measure in OS X for Intel to prevent usage on non-Apple machines, which doesn't really make a difference for legit users (you can still copy OS X and "share" it, assuming the other person has a Mac as well), and they use serial numbers in some of their products, which don't matter either.

Ah, but as a customer who bought a copy you get support from Apple if anything goes wrong. Added value over just copying it, no? May not be worth it to some folks, but to many, it is. The transaction relationship doesn't stop when the software is handed over, but with music it does.

The point is that you have to have a carrot to entice consumers to pay. In most markets, that is the product itself. With digital media and distribution, you have to offer something more, such as convenience, quality, and support.
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post #22 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Flip it around, since the burden of proof would be on you in this case...

What benefit is there to the artist to *have* to release a piece of work unencumbered and unprotected?

I am not convinced does anything but help shady individuals. As soon as someone unlocks it, the file can be freely traded. There is no DRM in common use that isn't easily broken, it basically restricts the more honest uses.

This suit isn't necessarily about unencumberment either but interoperability. Apple wants to be the sole user of what they call "Fairplay" when it is pretty unfair as it is a lock-in ploy as well. If it wasn't a lock-in ploy, they would licence it.
post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
I just don't see it. People only pay money when there is a *benefit* to them. You have to make it *worth* it for them to plunk down cash, or they won't. Feelings of good will are not the basis for a market system.

In that case (and I'm not contesting whether your negative consumer view is right or wrong), selling intellectual creations simply will never work right. End of story.
post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
In that case (and I'm not contesting whether your negative consumer view is right or wrong), selling intellectual creations simply will never work right. End of story.

Huh? While there are occasional abuses, it generally seems to work OK.
post #25 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
Huh? While there are occasional abuses, it generally seems to work OK.

Where, exactly?

In software? No. There's an endless battle between software producers and software pirates, with asinine "technologies" such as serial numbers and software activation.

In music and movies? No, see this very thread.

Where?
post #26 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
There is no DRM in common use that isn't easily broken, it basically restricts the more honest uses.

Actually, iTunes 6's DRM still hasn't been cracked, to my knowledge. Of course, it's going to happen eventually.
post #27 of 70
never mind
post #28 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
In that case (and I'm not contesting whether your negative consumer view is right or wrong), selling intellectual creations simply will never work right. End of story.

I'm with JeffDM in this case... it *has* worked, until easy, bit-perfect, digital copies showed up. Copyright is a limited-time monopoly on the absolute right to copy a work, and dictate who else may copy it in what fashion. It's like a patent - monopoly as enticement for the artist/inventor, limited-time as enticement for putting it in the marketplace at a fair value. The product *itself* should be the enticement for the consumer.

The law doesn't need changing, the enforcement does... and that's what DRM does - it *precisely* stops the same people that a lock on your house does: the casual thieves. The pros are small in number, and you're absolutely right, nothing is going to stop them... but they're easier to track, prosecute, and stop, than the little guys.

So you make it not worth their while for the little guys by throwing up simple roadblocks that y'know, just aren't worth saving $0.99 over.

It's not a legal enforcement, as in the executive branch, that's just a scary precedent (and one the MPAA and RIAA are trying... :P), but a technical 'enforcement' that everyone knows isn't crack-proof, but just crack-tedious for the casual user.

Look at FairPlay vs. other DRMs... it is *very* flexible to the end user in comparison, and meets *most* people's needs well. OTOH, it is *just* a pain enough to get around that most people will just toss $1 at the song instead.

I seriously think this is an example of letting personal desires as the consumer get in the way of clear thought on the overall market structure. :/
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post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
I'm with JeffDM in this case... it *has* worked, until easy, bit-perfect, digital copies showed up.

Oh, that's what we're talking about.

Well, yes. But Easy, bit-perfect, digital copies are now there. And they're here to stay. What's to do about that?

Quote:
It's like a patent - monopoly as enticement for the artist/inventor, limited-time as enticement for putting it in the marketplace at a fair value.

Ah, see, I consider the concept of patents outdated, at least with their current life spans.

In any case, I'm too tired right now to continue blabbering, nor do I think there really is much of a point.

As usual , there isn't any fundamental issue you and I actually disagree upon, so why bother.
post #30 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by bikertwin
Pull out of enough countries, and you have no sales.

No, you would create a black market.
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post #31 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
Oh, that's what we're talking about.

Well, yes. But Easy, bit-perfect, digital copies are now there. And they're here to stay. What's to do about that?

Ah, see, I consider the concept of patents outdated, at least with their current life spans.

Somewhat agreed. I think that the time-to-market needs to be taken into account for different industries, but I don't think that the whole concept of patents is wrong by any means.

It just needs tweaking.

Quote:
In any case, I'm too tired right now to continue blabbering, nor do I think there really is much of a point.

As usual , there isn't any fundamental issue you and I actually disagree upon, so why bother.

But these are the fun bits!
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post #32 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Look at FairPlay vs. other DRMs... it is *very* flexible to the end user in comparison, and meets *most* people's needs well. OTOH, it is *just* a pain enough to get around that most people will just toss $1 at the song instead.

The problem with DRM is the roadblocks put up for the people who do spend the $1. Those who follow the rules and are honest have less flexibility with how they use the music they supposedly own than do those who steal music, or those who do buy the music, but who say "Screw DRM!".

Copyright laws are already horribly inbalanced in favor of media companies, no matter how much wailing they do about the sad, sad state of affairs in which piracy is hurting them oh-so-much. Media companies have the best legislation in their favor that lobbyists and money can buy, and it just keeps getting worse.

Apple's DRM might be among the least offensive DRM out there in some ways, but it's still part of a system which denies traditionally recognized "fair use" rights, and does so in a which that penalizes honest, EULA-abiding users more than anyone else.

DRM also goes beyond it's alleged purpose of protecting intellectual property, having even more power to protect business models from competition, creating barriers both to consumer choice and to healthy competition.
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post #33 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Somewhat agreed. I think that the time-to-market needs to be taken into account for different industries, but I don't think that the whole concept of patents is wrong by any means.

It just needs tweaking.

I agree with protecting ideas and inventions. I also, however, agree with the greater good. Far too often, patents are abused to hinder such greater good, and to hinder healthy competition. Heck, look at Creative suing Apple on a nonsense patent and Apple suing them back on first one, now four(?) different patents which, while I didn't look at them extensively, are probably just as trivial/unimaginative. I don't care for Creative's mediocre players, nor do I like their business tactics, but Apple is being just as "evil" in this as they are, sadly.

Quote:
But these are the fun bits!

When you and I are both on a coffee high, yes.
post #34 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Sarcasm. Look it up.

Short version: I agree with you.

Gotcha. My bad.
post #35 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
I don't care for Creative's mediocre players, nor do I like their business tactics, but Apple is being just as "evil" in this as they are, sadly.

It's just a negotiating tactic to get Creative to come to a mediated solution. I don't think Apple expects to win--even if they did, it would cost a lot of money.

A negotiated settlement is in everyone's best interest, it seems.
post #36 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by aplnub
No, you would create a black market.

And that means no sales for the record companies.
post #37 of 70
Which means no new songs for you.
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post #38 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
I agree with protecting ideas and inventions. I also, however, agree with the greater good. Far too often, patents are abused to hinder such greater good, and to hinder healthy competition. Heck, look at Creative suing Apple on a nonsense

Full stop.

That's the problem... the patent determination process is overloaded, and crappy patents are getting through.

Does that mean the entire *concept* of a patent is bad? No. I'd say it is a critical component of driving innovation.

The problems with the current system, as I see it, are in determining appropriateness of award, and determining length of patent viability.
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post #39 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Full stop.

<insert British English comment here>

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That's the problem... the patent determination process is overloaded, and crappy patents are getting through.

Agreed.

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Does that mean the entire *concept* of a patent is bad? No. I'd say it is a critical component of driving innovation.

Agreed.

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The problems with the current system, as I see it, are in determining appropriateness of award, and determining length of patent viability.

But while the latter can perhaps be somewhat easily agreed upon, what about the former? Who's to judge whether a patent is "trivial"? The bottom line is, you cannot objectively neutrally say so. That problem will always haunt patents, no matter what. Too-trivial patents will get permitted, and not-trivial-at-all patents will get rejected.

At the patent office's desk, PEBKAC. As always.
post #40 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Which means no new songs for you.

Exactly. "Well, if the people won't provide songs in the ways I'd like them to, I'll just pirate them! HAH!" isn't a solution. Neither is forming a pirate party (wtf?).
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