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iPod Lawsuit Against Apple Given Class-Action Status

Apple customers who purchased an iPod between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009 are being informed via email that they are being included in a class-action lawsuit filed against Apple in 2004. The lawsuit was granted class-action status by the courts last year and includes millions of customers who purchased any of a broad number of iPod music players. Notices are being distributed to customers covered by the class, directing them to the lawsuit's webpage.


The class-action suit was filed in January 2005 by a customer complaining about the exclusive nature of Apple's digital music offerings encoded with FairPlay, preventing users from playing music purchased from the iTunes Store on other companies' music players and other music stores' digital offerings from being played on iPods. In particular, Apple's efforts to thwart RealNetworks' reverse engineering of FairPlay with its own "Harmony" technology served as the impetus for the lawsuit.

In 2011, then Apple CEO Steve Jobs was instructed to provide a deposition in the case. Apple of course no longer sells DRM-encoded music through the iTunes Store, but the lawsuit argues that Apple sought to build monopolies in the digital music and portable music player markets by integrating its products and services while preventing interoperability with competitors' products.
Three individuals who bought iPods have sued Apple seeking to recover money for themselves and other people who bought iPods. The lawsuit claims that Apple violated federal and state laws by issuing software updates in 2006 for its iPod that prevented iPods from playing songs not purchased on iTunes. The lawsuit claims that the software updates caused iPod prices to be higher than they otherwise would have been.

The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and the case is known as In re Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, C-05-00037-JW.
The list of affected iPods is extensive, including all 5th generation iPods; the iPod Classic; the U2 Special Edition iPod; first, second and third generation iPod Shuffle models; first and second generation iPod Touch models; and, first, second, third and fourth generation iPod Nano models.

Customers who wish to be excluded from the class must inform the court by July 30, 2012. Members of the class who wish register with the court can sign up on the lawsuit's website.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

30 months ago
I rather lose out on 5 dollars, and be done with it. Plus, we know who's getting rich out of this lawsuit, and it ain't you or me!
Rating: 38 Votes
30 months ago
This suit is crap.
There was never any limitation that you could not play other music on your iPod. An iPod just didn't support other DRM. You could always rip your music and play DRM free music.

You could always play your music on other players by, burning a CD them re-ripping to MP3. The argument in specious because other players didn't support AAC encoded music at the time.

Plain bull.
Rating: 28 Votes
30 months ago
Can't wait to fill out 30lbs of paperwork to collect my $2.47
Rating: 23 Votes
30 months ago
I always assumed DRM on iTunes music was imposed by the recording industry, and not what Apple would have preferred. If that's the truth, it seems like this lawsuit shouldn't go much of anywhere.

Source: I used to watch Law and Order as a kid.
Rating: 18 Votes
30 months ago
Wow, what a waste of time, money, and effort.
Rating: 17 Votes
30 months ago
In other news, a new class action lawsuit has been filed charging Sony with not letting Xbox users play Xbox games on their PlayStation systems.
Rating: 14 Votes
30 months ago
Sounds a little too opportunistic to me.. I don't agree with the DRM practice, but it's gone now.. No need to cash in a couple of dollars..

Pharmaceuticals have exclusivity to their drugs for a few years after they've hit the market.. Price of innovating products..
Rating: 12 Votes
30 months ago
I'm getting free money?
Rating: 11 Votes
30 months ago
Here's what I sent:

Notice Administrator
Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation
c/o Rust Consulting, Inc.
P.O. Box 8038,
Faribault, MN 55021-9438

Subject: Exclusion Request

Per your extremely irritating rules, I am spending my time and postage to exclude myself from this class action suit. It is a suit for which I never asked to be included and I am irritated that I have to expend any effort at all to exclude myself. (Insult to injury: You were you able to include me via an email but I have to opt out via snail mail?)

I’d suggest a lawsuit to sue for my wasted time and postage, but I am sure you would be all too happy to chase that ambulance too.

I most absolutely want my name disassociated with this absurd action and from the whiners responsible.
Rating: 10 Votes
30 months ago
Two problems with the lawsuit, if their goal is to make Apple change:
[LIST=1]
[*]iPods play MP3 and AAC audio files (and a few other formats)
[*]Music sold on the iTunes Store no longer has any DRM
[*]Music sold on the iTunes Store can play on any device that supports AAC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding#Hardware)
[/LIST]

There's no monopoly or lock-in in any of those three points. Apple will also probably point to the music industry as the reason why there was DRM in the first place.
Rating: 10 Votes

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