Apple FairPlay did not violate antitrust laws, court rules

Sep 4, 2013
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Amidst its legal battle over ebook price fixing accusations, Apple has received a ruling in its favor on another lawsuit. Back when iTunes still used the FairPlay DRM, Apple was hit with a class action lawsuit claiming that the protection system violated anti-trust laws. Though FairPlay was dropped from the service back in 2009, the lawsuit has only now come to a close.

The ruling came from an appeals court in California, with it being ruled that Apple did not have a monopoly by using the FairPlay DRM, which had limited music purchased from iTunes to playback only on iPod music players. Part of the issue was the spike in market share that arose when the DRM was put into place.

Part of the court's decision -- despite the sharp rise in market share that Apple garnered when the DRM was imposed -- was based on the fact that Apple didn't change its $0.99 pricing structure after FairPlay was initiated, the same price it had before the DRM. Furthermore, Apple continued with that price point despite Amazon's launch at the same rate sans DRM.

Other claims that worked their way into the lawsuit centered on things like Apple purposely altering its software to keep competing companies' music from playing on the iPods. And so, after many years, the case can finally be put to rest, and Apple can concentrate its efforts on its latest legal spat.

SOURCE: GigaOm


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