Norway’s Consumer Council has delivered a formal complaint to the Consumer Ombudsman against Apple, claiming that the terms of service offered by iTunes violate basic contract law.
It criticises the service because its terms allow the company to change a consumer’s usage rights for music they have acquired after the purchase takes place.
The consumer group also argues that as iTunes Norway runs through a Norwegian domain in local currency, the company should be subject to Norwegian law. (In its terms of service, iTunes claims it runs under the aegis of UK law in Europe).
The allegations also criticise Apple’s digital rights management system, FairPlay, because tracks acquired cannot be played on anything other than iPods. This acts against “legitimate fair use”, according to Norway’s consumer champions.
The Consumer Council also wants other online music services reviewed to ensure they are not hindering consumer rights.
“It's important that the terms of service cater to the needs of the consumers as well as the content providers,” said senior advisor Torgeir Waterhouse. “It's equally important for us to put work for increasing use of open standards in consumer electronics and content services.”
In the UK, the National Consumer Council is campaigning for new laws to ensure and define basic consumer rights in the digital economy.