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Billion-Dollar iPod Lawsuit


According to an article in the Daily Telegraph, attorneys for consumers and electronics retailers will claim in a California federal court that Apple used software in its iTunes store that forced would-be song buyers to use iPods instead of cheaper music players made by rivals.

The software is no longer used, but the plaintiffs argue that it inflated the prices of millions of iPods sold between 2006 and 2009 - to the tune of $350m (£222m).

Under federal antitrust law, the tech giant could be ordered to pay three times that amount if the jury agrees with the estimate and finds the damages resulted from anti-competitive behaviour.

The case was originally filed in January 2005, and one of the key witnesses will be Mr Jobs, who died in 2011 but will be heard in a videotaped deposition. Attorneys took his deposition on April 12, 2011, six months before his death.

The fact that this case is still going 10 years later is a sign that technology often outpaces law," said Mark Lemley, a Stanford law professor.
The case harks back to the early days of digital music and portable devices, when Apple quickly became the world's biggest legal seller of downloaded songs after launching its iTunes store in 2003. By agreement with major record companies, which were wary of unauthorised copying and file-sharing services like Napster and Kazaa, Apple encoded the songs sold through iTunes with "digital rights management" software that prevented unauthorised copying. The same software, known as FairPlay, was also built into iPods

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