Apple violating european law with iTunes Music Store

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by mosiejczuk, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. mosiejczuk macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #1
    Many of you might not know this: iTunes Music Store is still unavailable in many Central/Eastern European countries, members of the European Union. According to the EU law a company cannot discriminate buyers on the basis of their country of residence. Thus, Apple is obliged to either open pan-european Music Store or open local stores in all 27 countries of EU. In spite of many complaints to european commision Apple is still acting AGAINST THE LAW discriminating people from other eu countries. There was a process in european commision against Apple about two years ago where Apple promised to look for a solution to this situation. Unfortunately, so far they did nothing in this case.

    It's really difficult to fight piracy if big companies like Apple don't care about law.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    To be honest, Apple is just one of them. Finland's government broke law FOR YEARS, and didn't change it before EU started warned about fees. The law was about car tax as before we had to pay car tax + VAT of car tax so if car tax was 1000€, we had to pay 220€ of VAT (our VAT is 22%). That was ridiculous and out car tax is very high too.

    It took YEARS before it was changed, even though EU set the law ages ago but before conviction, our gov did nothing

    This is just an example and there are thousands of other companies breaking laws too, even states.
     
  3. mosiejczuk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #3
    I don't really feel better after learning this ;)

    But still, knowing that Apple is not very different from Microsoft in terms of conflicts with law makes me look at this company in a different way.
     
  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #4
    I wonder how much of the problem is not Apple but the music companies? I thought Apple had to negotiate with the different music companies in each country? I doubt it's really Apple's fault.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    I agree, Apple would like to expand it but there are some obstacles on the way. Each country has its local artists which are pretty popular in there so Apple would have to negotiate with their music companies (usually local) in order to build wide iTunes store.

    Getting EU laws in action aren't easy task, it takes time and effort and there are always loopholes. I'm sure this applies to movie store too, which e.g. we don't have
     
  6. mosiejczuk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #6
    And it seems that they didn't. That's why I am so angry with them being obviously against the law. Still.
     
  7. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #7
    And why does it matter whether Apple opens an iTunes store or not? What is the big attraction of audio at 256kbps when pretty much every other store is offering 320kbps at similar or lower prices or compressed movie rips that cost more than DVDs in your local store?

    It is not as if there is a lack of competition in this market.
     
  8. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Kenya
    #8
    Hang on... so if I open a business in Europe (presumably online or bricks-and-mortar) - I have to, by law, provide facilities for anyone anywhere in Europe to buy from me, and ship my goods to him or her?

    I'd be surprised if that were true (but then European laws do tend to be surprising) ... I'm sure there are lots of UK businesses who won't ship to random Romanian villages (just picking a random example).

    And what about websites that provide a "collect in store only" option for ordering? That sounds to me equally discriminatory - or not - (if chap from Bulgaria can turn up in the UK to collect his new bicycle, he presumably can do the same to 'collect' his music download.....?)
     
  9. mosiejczuk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #9
    I think so. It's him who pays the shipping costs - vide: Amazon.


    If he turns up you don't say: "I won't sell it to you cause you are Bulgarian". I think we all should switch to thinking that EU is in fact one big market and any kind of segmentation should be avoided.
     
  10. mosiejczuk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #10
    You mean, like what?

    Amazon.com - another country-limited service.
    Nokia Music Store - unavailable in some european countries, Microsoft DRM
    emusic.com - good quality, but very poor catalogue
    Zune - US only
    7digital - the best of the rest, their catalogue is worse than iTMS but still I have to lie about me living in UK.

    Am I missing something here?
     
  11. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #11
    Actually they do. You would think Apple would want to open a pan European store. It's the cheapest option available to them, and opens up a huge market that they can sell to. It's exactly what they would want to do, without a doubt.

    Something is stopping them. My guess is the record companies.
     
  12. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Kenya
    #12
    Does anyone have the actual law to hand? A skim-read through the PDFs I found on a Google search for "European law sales" doesn't seem to bring up anything about having to sell throughout all the EU if you want to sell in one country.

    There was an anti-trust case against Apple (settled in 2008) about selling the same downloads at different prices in different countries, but I think that's a completely different issue to not opening a store in other countries.

    But I have zero legal training or background, and perhaps I'm searching for the wrong thing.
     
  13. Xenophon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    #13
    The issue here is that, in Europe, you can only buy in the iTunes store of your country of residence (and they check). If you live in Belgium and pay with a belgian credit card, they'll only let you buy in the Belgian iTunes store, not in the UK iTunes store. Pricing and -especially- offer are sometimes radically different. E.g., in the BE iTunes store you can't rent videos etc. European legislation (art 81 of the EC treaty prohibiting restrictive business practices) prohibits this type of restriction.

    The root of the problem are the record companies who strike different deals in different countries and sell distribution monopolies. This will have to change, and soon, if e-content is to take off. Once it does the entire iTunes gift card scam (buying US iTunes gift cards on the net so that you can change your location to the US store and purchase content there) will cease to exist, as well as all kinds of stuff that makes you lose time such as going through a US-based proxy to circumvent the geo ip-check. All BS but what can you do?
     
  14. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #14
    The record companies and movie companies are only hurting themselves in the long run. It's similar to the situation with region code on DVDs; they want to maximize profits but actually they drive people to go to torrents to get the movies.
     
  15. TJRiver macrumors 6502

    TJRiver

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    #15
    What, they don't sell DVDs or tapes in these countries? The ONLY solution for movie lovers is theft of intellectual property? Wow, things really are different in Europe.....:rolleyes:
     
  16. Xenophon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    #16
    Yes they are: we're being plucked clean by the entertainment companies. Or how do you explain that -taking a dvd series- the prices are sometimes double of what you'd pay in the US? It's not just taxes, you know. Previously there also were extremely wide intra-EU differences but luckily the unified market has driven those down, at least for internet sales.

    Then there's guys like me living abroad, wanting to buy western TV series (unobtainable here) and when I place the order on amazon a nice box pops up saying that 'this product is not for sale in your region'. The industry is literally PUSHING consumers who want to give them their cash towards illegality.
     
  17. mosiejczuk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #17
    While this is true not only for Europe, but for all countries granted (sic) with an iTunes Music Store, it is only in European Union that there is a law restricting this kind of Internet discrimination. What Apple has yet to realize is that EU works a bit like USA — especially with recent treaties pushing it towards federal system. Not to mention open borders and free internal market. Yes, Apple. Free internal market. I'm thinking of putting an official complaint to the EU comission. Just to remind Apple that they totally don't understand modern Europe.
     
  18. Cabbit macrumors 68020

    Cabbit

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #18
    Instead of complaining about it on a forum go and take criminal or civil proceedings against the record companies for failing to allow Apple to create one unified European iTunes store.

    If they had the choice they(Apple) would most likely prefer to run one store for Europe instead of multiple smaller stores.
     
  19. mosiejczuk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #19
    I think I will! But still my complaint would concern Apple which is the service provider. I hope however that such complaints would help raise a discussion about it and hopefully lead to a unification of copyright law in Europe, thus making a pan-european iTMS easier to organize. Let's not forget that negociating with national copyright holders is more difficult, but not impossible.

    Maybe - but that would require a shift in their current policy. And I have a feeling that they don't really want to do anything in this matter untill somebody will make them pay a lot of money or change the law to please them. This brings me to a conclusion that they don't care about european law.
     
  20. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #20
    they do sell the DVDs; it's just that the region codes drive people to piracy. If you have a DVD from U.S., it is a different region code from European DVDs, so you can't simply go back and forth with different region codes. Movie lovers have to buy in the region where they live for practical purposes.
     
  21. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #21
    Apple can't make universal EU store as there are different currencies used and the same law demands prices to be equal, meaning that Apple has to update their store every hour.
     
  22. mosiejczuk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #22
    Of course there is no problem here! I use my polish credit card all the time to:
    * buy Kindle books in USD
    * Blu-ray films on Amazon.co.uk in GBP
    * iPhone apps (in polish Appstore) in EUR
    * food in Carrefour in Bucharest in LEI
    * everything else at home in PLN

    My bank handles the currency, it's really none of the Apple's problems. My point is: Apple can just make all the prices in EUR. I think even the British would accept that :)
     
  23. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #23
    DANG! Forgot that you have to use CC :p It's anyway a big process to make a store like that
     
  24. mosiejczuk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #24
    I agree in 100% — but recent Apple's decissions (opening vid stores for France and Ireland) while certainly good for the countries concerned, seem to be going in a totally opposite direction. Making these "small steps" in each of 27 EU countries would require 20 years to achieve similar level everywhere ;d Before writing to European Comission I think I'll write to Steve about what we discussed here. While the chances of him answering are very low, I'll be able to move forward relatively soon (let's give him a week). EC path will probably take a year ;)
     
  25. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #25
    EC path will easily take over year and there is no guarantee that someone will even look at it. There are still many countries lacking video store, including Finland, but due laws, they have to provide subtitles too, which is another issue
     

Share This Page