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December 16, 2014

US jury to decide on Apple’s $1bn DRM lawsuit

Plaintiffs claim that the iPhone maker implemented excessive control over the consumer experience.

By CBR Staff Writer

A bench of eight US judges will now decide whether Apple needs to pay over $1bn over modifications made to iTunes and iPod software almost a decade ago.

An official complaint originally filed in 2005, argues that Apple restricted access to its products to keep competitors out, and harmed consumers in the process.

Plaintiffs claimed that the iPhone maker had excessive control over the consumer experience and potentially operated anti-competitively in the process.

CNET cited plaintiffs’ attorney Patrick Coughlin as saying: "They [Apple] don’t believe that you own that iPod."

"They believe that they still have the right to choose for you what third-party player can play on a device that you bought and you own."

Countering those claims, an Apple lawyer noted that it worked to offer the better user experience with its significant hardware and software.

In addition, the plaintiffs noted that Apple’s iTunes 7.0, launched in September 2006, integrated a security feature that authenticated users’ iTunes library with Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management (DRM), according to the Verge.

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When installed on an iPod, the update modified several things, ranging from maintaining iPods from playing songs with DRM that had been tampered with, to keeping third parties from modifying the catalogue of songs with jukebox software applications.

Coughlin reasserted claims that a software error reportedly erased an iPod’s library after it detects songs not bought or imported through iTunes.

Coughlin added: "I liken it to blowing up your iPod. "It’s worse than a paperweight. You could lose everything."

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