Could this be a taste of things to come?

Apple has received widespread criticism for not licensing its proprietary technology to makers of competing personal players. Currently, the only player capable of playing songs purchased from iTunes is Apple’s iPod. What’s more, the only proprietary file format that plays on iPods is Apple’s format. It’s an iPod / iTunes world as far as Apple is concerned. End of story.

     But that hasn’t sat very well with various European countries. Last June, consumer agencies in Norway, Denmark and Sweden claimed Apple’s user restrictions are illegal. The Scandinavians were even considering taking Apple to court and blocking iTunes from their individual countries.
     Apple has responded by submitting a 50-page response to Norway’s consumer agency. And the computer company was pretty explicit, saying it will not make iTunes downloads compatible with other players.
     In its response, Apple said the Scandinavian consumer agencies were operating outside their authority by demanding the company change its business plan. Furthermore, the company also claimed it is reasonable to "prevent users from downloading music acquired from Apple Music Store to other digital players." It is Apple’s contention that this "feature" keeps consumers in line with copyright laws.
     Apple also said Norway’s law calling for users to "acquire legally obtained works on what the general opinion regards as relevant playing equipment" specifically applies to "copying music from protected CDs to MP3 players" but does not apply to "electronic files via Internet."
     Apple also said customers "have the freedom of choice and the mechanism does not violate competition laws."
     So far, the Norwegian consumer agency pressing Apple to change its tune regarding iTunes compatibility hasn’t been impressed with the company’s response, but indicated that there’s still room for negotiating.
     "This is not good enough," Norway consumer ombudsman Bente Oeverli said. However, Oeverli also said his agency and Apple "may reach an understanding on some points."
     Meanwhile, Apple’s iTunes proprietary file format is also facing a challenge in France, where a new law recently went into effect calling for Apple to make its music inventory compatible with other players.
     The new law is part of France’s latest Internet copyright legislation which passed the country’s parliament June 30th. Although France’s Constitutional Council threw out several measures of the bill on the grounds that the measures violated constitutional property protections, the parts pertaining to Apple were left pretty much intact. French President Jacques Chirac signed off on the final version of the legislation during the first week of August.
     So far, Apple has not commented on the new French law, however, the company described an earlier version of the law as "state-sponsored piracy."