Scandinavian groups, Apple to discuss iTunes

Sweden's consumer rights agency and other rights groups in Scandinavia will meet Apple to discuss their complaint that the US company's popular iTunes service breaches consumer laws, a Reuters report said.

The report said the consumer agencies of Sweden, Denmark and Norway jointly wrote to Apple in June alleging that customers had to waive fundamental rights, such as the free use of legally bought products, to download music from iTunes.

Apple had responded in writing, but wanted a face-to-face discussion as well, Marianne Abyhammar, Sweden's acting consumer ombudsman, told Reuters.

"They (Apple) have asked to meet the authorities and explain their position," she said. "The ambition is to arrange for a meeting at the beginning of September, but no date has been set yet."

Norway's consumer rights agency had said one of its main concerns was that iTunes limited customers' right to freely use legally acquired products by implementing software to protect downloaded files from illegal copying and distribution, the report said.

The technology, known as Digital Rights Management (DRM), meant no portable players other than Apple's own iPods could play files downloaded from iTunes, the report said.

In June, the French parliament pulled back from legislation that would have forced stores like iTunes to share their DRM code, effectively removing barriers that kept songs from being played on other companies' devices, the report further said.