Representatives from four Scandinavian countries have been meeting with Apple over what is claimed to be iTunes’ violation of customer protection laws. Officials from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland’s government bodies have threatened to fine Apple because tracks bought on iTunes can’t be played on rival music players. A full settlement would mean radical changes to the entire iTunes service, but despite that officials said yesterday that the meeting was constructive. Other issues discussed include any damage that iTunes does to a computer – something Apple will not accept liability for – and the right to change contract terms after a song has been downloaded. The discussions are led by Norway’s consumer ombudsman’s office; director Bjorn Thon said fines were still a possibility if the case ends up at Norway’s market council.
— Meanwhile, Google is dealing with European legal issues of its own. : Google was ordered to remove results from Belgian newspapers in its Google News searches or face fines of $1.27 million per day, as we reported. Google complied; Web Pro News reports that the ruling was accepted well enough but that Google was “seething” about having to publish the details of the decision on its Belgian home page for five days – and when you see it (be quick) you won’t be surprised. It does seem to indicate a certain lack of visual sophistication…
Rachel Whetstone, Google’s European director of communications and public affairs, blogged in some detail that the case could have been avoided if publishers had placed the industry standard robots.txt files on their sites which would prevent their content being indexed. But then they wouldn’t have been able to shoot themselves in the foot quite so publicly, of course.
Related: France Approves iTunes Law
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This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.