Apple will now face a jury over iPod DRM in $350 million lawsuit

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers denied Apple's request for summary judgment and now the lawsuit filed by RealNetworks over Apple's use of DRM on iPod devices will be sent to trial. At stake is $350 million with accusations by RealNetworks that Apple had stifled competition by locking customers into its iPod and iTunes ecosystem when it used FairPlay and repeatedly updated software to prevent RealNetworks' Harmony DRM content from being played on the iPod.

Ars Technica reported that RealNetworks claims that this locked customers in and prevented customers from switching.

In this lawsuit, plaintiffs are claiming the anti-Harmony measures in iTunes 7.0 broke antitrust laws, because it had the effect of illegally raising the price of iPods. Users were continually forced to either stop playing any songs they had bought from the Real store, or convert them to a non-DRM format, for example by burning the music to CD and then ripping the CD to their computer.

Part of the $350 million will go to iPod customers if the suit is won.

After nearly a decade of fighting, the case will now be sent to a jury trial with the trial date set for November 17 in Oakland, California.

Were you affected by Apple's decision to limit iPod music players at the time to just iTunes-purchased music through DRM?

Source: Ars Technica