p2p news / p2pnet: Norway’s consumer watchdog says it’s rung up a major victory against Apple’s iTunes.
The Consumer Council of Norway says it’s on track to win case against Apple, claiming iTunes breaches of fundamental consumer rights.
And it now wants CDON.com, prefueled.com and MSN.no brought into the picture.
Now, “The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman has ruled that the Apple iTunes service breaks the law, and has given the company two weeks to fix the problem,” says The Register, going on:
“According to the ruling, iTunes breaks section 9a of the Norwegian Marketing Control Act. The regulator said it was not reasonable that the consumer must sign up to a contract regulated by English law, rather than Norwegian law. It also said iTunes must accept responsibility for damage its software may do, and said it is unreasonable to alter terms and conditions after a song has been sold.”
States the council:
In order to start using iTunes, consumers must agree to a number of terms and conditions. When the Consumer Council investigated these terms and conditions, it found a number of questionable clauses.
“iTunes` terms and conditions are unreasonable. We are now therefore asking the Consumer Ombudsman to use Section 9a of the Marketing Control Act to have the terms changed,” says Senior Adviser Torgeir Waterhouse.
“iTunes is able to alter your rights to music that you have already bought. This is breach of fundamental principles of contract law. iTunes also blocks consumers from breaking the copy protection, or DRM, if they want to use other MP3 players than Apple`s iPod. This is a clear breach of the Copyright Act,” says Waterhouse.
iTunes is also breaking the Cooling-off Period Act by failing to provide information that consumers are entitled to when shopping on the Internet. On account of this, consumers are entitled to a cooling-off period when they download files from iTunes.
The Consumer Council feels that in general the terms and conditions are unbalanced and one-sided.
“Consumers are given few or no rights, whilst the vendor, iTunes, reserves a number of rights, some of which are unreasonable,” says Waterhouse.
iTunes Europe is located in Luxembourg and is, according to the terms and conditions, subject to English law, says the Norwegian consumer watchdog, declaring it’s in complete disagreement with this.
“iTunes.no can only be used by Norwegian consumers,” it observes. “The domain name and language are Norwegian, and prices are stated in Norwegian kroner.
“All of these factors indicate that iTunes may be subject to Norwegian consumer protection legislation, and that the service may be governed by the Norwegian Marketing Control Act,” says Waterhouse.
iTunes` terms also restrict consumers` entitlement to compensation, the council says, going on that the Terms of Service state:
Apple does not represent or guarantee that the service will be free from loss, corruption, attack, viruses, interference, hacking, or other security intrusion, and apple disclaims any liability relating thereto. You shall be responsible for backing up your own system.
Thus, “Consumers are barred from lodging compensation claims if iTunes’ software creates security holes that can be exploited by computer viruses,” says the council, referring to the infamous Sony BMG DRM spyware scandal as a case in point and, “This kind of limitation on iTunes` liability for compensation is in breach of the general principles of contract law, and the Consumer Council of Norway believes that it is unreasonable.”
But iTunes isn’t the only problem, the council says. Other music download services have similar terms and conditions.
“CDON.com, prefueled.com and MSN.no are examples of other affected services,” declares Waterhouse. “We are therefore asking the Consumer Ombudsman to investigate the terms and conditions of these download services.”
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