|Title:||DRM and Contract Terms|
|Citation:||Grøndal, L. (2006) DRM and contract terms. Available at http://www.indicare.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=177 (last accessed 19/01/2018)|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study comprises of an analysis of the iTunes Terms of Service in relation to community and national law, and terms which pertain to DRM limitations.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||Yes|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
In every day life consumers are frequently accepting standardised contractual and technological terms that they have little or no understanding of. Some of these terms are generally unfair and do not stand up to legal scrutiny. In this article iTunes Music Store’s Terms of Service is used as an example of a standard contract containing unfair terms.
Main Results of the Study
The study analyses three terms in the iTunes Terms of Service which are considered particularly relevant to DRM:
• Firstly, the unilateral right to change terms and conditions. In 2005, updates to the terms resulted in users having stricter limits on streaming and burning music (in particular being prevented from streaming music over the internet). This change was unilateral on Apple’s part, and sole responsibility to check and comply with the changes fell on the user (under penalty of termination of account).
• Secondly, limitations of liability. Even in the case of security flaws in the software, Apple assumes no liability for any security intrusion (albeit this may be limited by the Unfair Terms Directive).
• Lastly, interoperability restrictions. Through Apples “Fairplay” system, compatibility is only possible with Apple hardware devices, resulting in anticompetitive hardware tie-in. From a Norwegian perspective, the author notes how these limitations could be circumvented simply by burning a playlist to a CD.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The author concludes that, whilst it is possible to challenge unfair DRMs under current legislation, this is hampered by two factors:
• Policymakers do not take into account the unique features of digital goods, and;
• Business focussed policy has resulted in the absence of consumer considerations.
The aim of the study is to contribute to a campaign for consumers’ digital rights, in tandem with promoting a better legal framework for consumers.