Norway stepped up its battle with Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes on Thursday when its consumer ombudsman said the software giant must open access to its music download system by October 1 or face legal action.
Last June, Norway’s powerful ombudsman said iTunes violated Norwegian law by forcing consumers to play their downloaded music on Apple’s iPod music player — a landmark decision which prompted other European countries to review the situation.
Free-marketeers should keep their hats on. This is all about digital rights management, of course, and that means copyright. Copyright protects innovation and is a way of protecting reasonable interests and expectations in the free market, of course, but it is, after all, a state construct. Within some degree of reason the state axiomatically sets the parameters of the protection it will afford under copyright. Guess what: Here’s a parameter. Looks like the RIAA and Hollywood haven’t gotten to the hardy Norsemen yet.