Internet, recorded music
Judge Howard R. Lloyd has authorized limited questioning of Apple CEO Steve Jobs in San Jose, California by lawyers representing consumers in a complaint against Apple that its iPlayer/iTunes model breached federal antitrust laws and California’s unfair competition law by requiring that customers use an iPod to listen to music purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Lawyers will be allowed two hours for questions limited to the sole topic of changes Apple made to iPod software in October 2004 that disrupted RealNetworks’ Harmony software, which enabled songs purchased from the company’s music store to be transferred onto the iPod. When RealNetworks released Harmony in 2004 Apple released a statement accusing the company of adopting “the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod” and warning customers that it was “highly likely” that Real’s Harmony technology would not work with future versions of the iPod software. As self-predicted, Apple disabled Harmony in a subsequent update to its iPod software later that year. Since the lawsuit was originally filed in 2005 Apple has negotiated with music labels for a more open iTunes Music Store. A footnote in a court document notes that, by March 2009, iTunes music tracks are now offered without digital rights management (DRM).