As we await the implementation of the OzDMCA, it’s been interesting to follow the debates, over in Europe and elsewhere, about Apple’s iTunes/iPod link. The basic issue here is that iTunes-purchased music can only be played on Apple iPod players – unless, of course, you hack the Apple FairPlay encryption (which can be done using various well-known methods).

The issue, of course, is that if someone buys a whole bunch of iPod music, then you get lock in – they’ll be more reluctant to move to another player. The technological protection, in other words, might serve to raise barriers to entry in the music player market. It’s attracted a bunch of attention recently. Here’s the brief summary:

  1. A few people got very excited when Microsoft announced it would be coming out with a new player/music service, so far named Zune, and that, to get out of this lock-in system, Microsoft would be looking to replace, for new users, any music they’d bought on iTunes. Have a look at the debate over on Freedom-to-Tinker (Post 1 and Post 2);
  2. In France, we had the DADVSI law – originally seen as potentially ‘forcing’ FairPlay open, the final form of the law has, according to reports, seen the provisions on interoperability eviscerated (see the Wikipedia entry on DADVSI here)
  3. Now, in Scandinavia, we have news today that Apple Computer Inc. met a Tuesday deadline with a 50 page response to Scandinavian regulatory claims that Apple is violating their laws by making its market-leading iPod the only compatible portable player for iTunes downloads. So far, the response is confidential.

What’s that phrase? Stay tuned? And perhaps watch for what the effect of any Australian law will be on all this…