Apple Moves to Dismiss FairPlay Antitrust Lawsuit

Apple wants RealPlayer antitrust lawsuit dumpedApple has asked a Federal Court judge to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit that claims the company manipulated the FairPlay copy protection in iTunes Store music to intentionally block RealNetworks from loading music onto iPods. The lawsuit was filed in 2005, and just last month Apple CEO Steve Jobs was ordered to provide a deposition in the case.

The consumer-initiated lawsuit followed a change in Apple’s software that came only days after RealNetworks introduced its Harmony application that could load music that was purchased from its own service onto an iPod, bypassing the iTunes Store. At the time, music purchased from Apple included FairPlay digital rights management copy protection that was supported only by the iPod.

When Apple updated its FairPlay DRM, Harmony couldn’t load music onto iPods.

Now that Mr. Jobs’s deposition is complete, Apple’s legal team is asking the court to dismiss the case, according to Bloomberg. The company claims it made the change to its software to ensure that customers received the best possible user experience.

“Apple’s view is that iPods work better when consumers use the iTunes jukebox rather than third party software that can cause corruption or other problems,” Apple attorney Robert Mittelstaedt told the court.

The decision to change the software followed 58 complaints Apple received from customers having issues downloading music from other services.

U.S. District Court Judge James Ware, who is hearing the case, said he will issue a ruling on Apples motion to dismiss in May. Apple hasn’t commented on the lawsuit.