Utterly, utterly lame

I just saw this news story on the BBC site: ITunes user sues Apple over iPod. Thomas Slattery — a litigous tit by the sounds of it — is suing Apple:

Mr Slattery called himself an iTunes customer who “was also forced to purchase an Apple iPod” if he wanted to take his music with him to listen to.

It never ceases to amaze me when suits like this are presented to the courts.


  1. Personally, I think the bloke has a point to some extent. Being forced to use an iPod is pretty poor, unless Apply are committed to supporting the format indefinitely; I can still buy a record player for my vinyl for example.

    If the guy wishes to move to another (read better) portable music player in the future, he's forced to repurchase all of his music…that sucks. OK, we were all kinda forced to buy CD's when moving from tape walkmans to portable-cd's…but we could burn our tapes to CD if we wanted. We also weren't stuck with a particular brand of player.

    I still fail to see the fuss about the iPod, it's just like a cd-walkman only less convenient to people who actually have a catalog of CD's they've paid good money for.Ben Rose#
  2. There's a big hole in his argument. He's not being forced to buy an iPod as he's not being forced to use iTMS. Music available on iTMS is available on CD from his local CD shop. He can then put that music on to a MP3 player of his choice.

    I don't think this will go the course. Steve Thompson#
  3. But Ben, this is the point, no-one’s being “forced”. OK, the iTunes music store gives you music in a DRM format which only the iPod can handle, but that’s easily gotten around if you really want to. I fail to see how Apple can keep the record companies sweet without some kind of DRM, however bloody annoying that is.

    However, when we talk about iTunes itself, there’s no such restriction: you can encode your music how you like, including in bog-standard MP3 format (“AAC”, the default format in iTunes, is standard MP4).Ben Poole#
  4. I've not got an iPod or ever used iTunes, so this is hard for me to understand, but I just think it's unfair to have a format which you cannot port to another platform in the future. Things like MiniDisc were always a bit proprietary to Sony, but you can buy MiniDisc on other platforms like Technics allowing you to take your music with you to another hardware provider.

    Question: If I buy and iPod and then purchase and download a track to it from ITunes…can I then copy that to another platform without breaking any licensing agreements?

    If not, then it's anti-competitive of Apple.Ben Rose#
  5. Yes you can copy a tune purchased in the iTMS to another platform. Will you need to change the file format to play it on something other than an iPod? Yes.

    Why? Because no-one else produces a music player that can cope with Fairplay, the DRM system Apple use.

    Who imposes this? Apple, as part of their agreement with the record labels.

    Is this approach out of line? Yes. Can you work around it? Yes. And when it comes to music I’ve legitimately purchased, I could care less about licensing. (I don’t own an iPod either).Ben Poole#
  6. So we're saying that it's techically against the licensing terms to change the file format so it will play on another competing player? In the case I'm with the claimant…it's anti-competitive.
    If your iPod breaks and you need to purchase a new player (maybe you'd like a player in which you can change the battery without invalidating the warranty) then you should have a freedom of choice about which player you purchase.Ben Rose#
  7. No idea whether it’s technically against Apple’s licensing policy — probably!

    But that’s a tangent to the case (and digital rights re music you’ve purchased is another big area for discussion); Slattery’s actual claim is this:
    Apple has turned an open and interactive standard into an artifice that prevents consumers from using the portable hard drive digital music player of their choice…
    To succeed, he has to prove that the Apple service has taken something like the MP3 standard, and twisted it to their own ends, denying people freedom of choice. I don’t see how the claim can succeed n that basis.

    Like I said before, who’s forcing anyone to do use iTunes, buy an iPod, or buy music from the iTMS? If you don’t like the way Apple operates this business (’cause that’s what it is), then don’t use iTunes; to sue over this is a joke.Ben Poole#
  8. It always amazes me when people want to raise lawsuits at the drop of a hat when a product or service can't be used with almost no brain activity or doesn't come with step by step, baby style instructions.

    I guess Mr. Slattery (darwin award candidate) feels it's easier to take Apple to court than to select a downloaded track from iTMS and click "Convert To MP3".

    It's got nothing to do with the easy million or two he hopes to make out of Apple. "Honest guv!"Alex#
  9. He is actually forced. When you buy your DRMed music from Apple, Apple says to you that as a digital driver, you have only one option. This lawsuit have a lot of merit actually, but it is quite funny when I see people like you who try to make fun of this guy just to defend Apple. I think it is just one more good reason not to buy anything from Apple in the first place. Not only you can't challenge Apple's propiteary decisions, but you are also asked to ben over Apple and do and pay whatever Apple wants. If you want to do that, it is good for you, but obviously not everyone likes that and that's like 97% of the population today.

    Show some respect for customers. This time it is not Apple who is suing you, so you are probably uncomfortable with that.Jing#
  10. For the last time: Slattery is not being forced.

    (1) he doesn’t have to use Apple’s service in any way
    (2) I use iTunes, I don’t feel compelled to buy an iPod: why does he?
    (3) If you want your music without DRM then buy a CD and burn it, or;
    (4) Remove the DRM. It’s pretty straightforward (see point 5)
    (5) You can convert all music in your iTunes library to MP3 format if you want to. It takes one right-click.

    Finally jing, I don’t need to defend Apple. They’re big enough and ugly enough to do that themselves. But if you can’t understand why they impose DRM on the music they sell (regardless of the inherent wrongs in DRM) then you must be incredibly naive or stupid.Ben Poole#
  11. It's always interesting to see how much time and energy we waste in trying to convince other people of our points of view…

    Having said that, Ben you are wrong.

    It takes a few more clicks to convert AAC's into mp3, unless you have a script or your music files are not DMR protected.

    And yes, I use iTunes (have over 2000 files) and don't own a iPod.
    :-)Pieterjan Lansbergen#
  12. Ah you got me Pieterjan! Here's the link: Poole#

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