Apple defeats US$1bn antitrust lawsuit over iPod music

17 Dec 2014

Apple and a posthumous appearance from its former CEO Steve Jobs has seemingly helped the consumer tech giant win the legal case brought against it by makers of MP3 players.

The lawsuit that had been rumbling on for nearly a decade had arisen after a group of companies that produced MP3 players claimed Apple subverted the music-player industry by forcing users of the iTunes program, with its copyright software FairPlay, to only allow music to be listened through an Apple iPod.

By including the FairPlay software, Apple restricted users from sharing music they had purchased through iTunes with other MP3 players between 2006 and 2009 over fears it could encourage music piracy.

However, the case against Apple began to look like it was on its last legs last week, after US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers struck out all of the plaintiffs for lack of evidence and calling on new plaintiffs to step forward.

Now, according to 9to5Mac, it seems the jury has had enough and has unanimously ruled in favour of Apple, saving the company as much as US$1bn in fines.

Earlier this month, the case gained considerable attention following news that Jobs was to posthumously appear to offer testimony in favour of the company, having recorded it prior to his death in 2011.

Speaking to The New York Times, Michael A Carrier, a professor at the Rutgers School of Law in the US, said the ruling was inevitable given the “flabbergasting” oversight by the plaintiffs who appeared in court with iPods that did not contain the FairPlay software they were suing Apple for.

“Frankly, I find that flabbergasting, that in a universe of 8m potential plaintiffs, the two that were selected were disqualified. That really tells you a lot about this trial,” he said.

Gavel image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic