02 February 2006

Consumer Council of Norway Complains about iTunes

So the Consumer Council of Norway complained about iTunes to the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman, alleging that they violated (what I gather is the Norwegian) Marketing Control Act. They say that first, the contract can be changed by Apple after you have downloaded the music, which they say violates a basic principle of contract law. This is true for the United States terms as well. See paragraph 9(c) which says that "Apple reserves the right to modify the Usage Rules at any time." The Usage Rules include things like how many computers can be authorized to play a song, how many times you can burn a cd, etc.
Next, they make a Conflicts of Law argument saying that they cannot use English law because the iTunes song uses the Norwegian currency and you have to be from Norway to use it. Therefore, one cannot apply English law.
I had actually noticed the ability of Apple to change the terms whenever they want to, but I didn't care about it, because I decided to risk it and assume that Apple would not change the terms. So far, it looks like I have been right.
Disclaimer: My interpretation of Apple's contract is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for legal advice. You do not form an attorney-client relationship with me by reading this information on my blog or if I respond to your comment on my blog.


G said...

Credit card companies change their policies all the time. I think that the worst that would ever happen would be that you are restricted to your ipod and computer to play the music. I have not read the agreement, but I imagine that if they denied you access to the music that you had bought, they would have to compensate you for it.

Douglas said...

Yes, credit card companies do change their policies a lot. However, if you read the fine print carefully, they will usually (and I think almost always) allow you to opt out of the changes and keep your card (with the current terms) through your card's expiration date. One reason (before I had an iPod) that I used iTunes to buy music was because Apple had one of the less restrictive policies regarding turning the files you download into audio CDs. If Apple changed that policy so I could only listen to music on my iPod, I would not be pleased, and I imagine, neither would many other consumers.