Jury Says Apple DRM Not An Antitrust Violation

from the which-is-probably-right dept

We’ve written a few times about the long-standing class action lawsuit against Apple over whether its DRM efforts, designed to block out RealNetworks’ attempt to reverse engineer a way into the iPod, violated antitrust law. As we noted recently, despite the case going on for years, the class action lawyers who brought the lawsuit ran into a bit of a stumbling block recently when it came out that none of the named plaintiffs were actually in the class, having purchased iPods outside the window which the class covered. The judge let the lawyers find a new plaintiff just a few days ago, but it certainly looks like the rotating plaintiffs issue may have helped Apple. The jury wasted little time in siding with Apple and saying that there was no antitrust violation. Apple’s lawyers played up the plaintiff problem:

?There?s not one piece of evidence of a single individual who lost a single song, not even a complaint about it,? said William Isaacson, Apple?s lead lawyer in the case. ?This is all made up at this point.?

There was a lot of interesting side notes to this case, but the failure of the class action lawyers to have an actual plaintiff was a pretty big deal — and basically made it clear that these lawyers were just in this for the money, rather than to right some sort of wrong.

And, while I’m generally interested in the idea that DRM could potentially be seen as anti-competitive, the fact that this case was about iTunes and RealNetworks kind of highlights how infrequently antitrust law makes sense in the tech industry. The entire digital music ecosystem has changed dramatically since the case began. While iTunes is certainly still a big player, it’s facing serious competition on a variety of different fronts including from streaming services like Spotify (one reason why Apple purchased Beats Music). Competition comes in all different ways, and even if you’re dominant today, it doesn’t mean you’ll be dominant very long.

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: apple

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Jury Says Apple DRM Not An Antitrust Violation”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment

Fairly disappointed

Given how often Techdirt talks about “chilling effects”, I’m pretty disappointed that you haven’t made more of the fact that Apple’s DRM made using anything except iTunes a very risky prospect.
Sure, nobody got harmed directly by this case, but only because using a non-iTunes service to try and invade Apple’s walled garden was a mug’s game in the first place. It still is, for the most part.


Re: Fairly disappointed

Those other portable music players suffered from the same vendor lock problem that still plagues a Macintosh. The bulk of the available content is/was tied to the market leader and unusable on any other device. For awhile there it did in fact look like Apple had a genuine monopoly on “digital music” sales.

The only thing that really stopped it is the fact that the MPAA realized that they were having an IBM moment an they need to kill off their version of Microsoft.

The upstream content cartel reacted so badly to the idea of a downstream distribution monopoly that they got rid of DRM entirely.

This case is only obsolete because another entrenched interest decided things needed to change.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it