If you’re an iPod owner, you may be suing Apple without you knowing.
Numerous iPod owners are finding out that they have been included in a class-action lawsuit against Apple.
Those included in the lawsuit are customers who bought an iPod in the U.S. from September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009 so the affected model range is extensive.
This list includes the iPod classic, fifth-generation iPod models, special edition U2 iPod models, first- through third-generation iPod shuffle models, first- and second-generation iPod Touch models, and first- through fourth-generation iPod Nano models.
The lawsuit was filed by an iPod owner back in 2005 by three unnamed people but only last year was the lawsuit given class-action status by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Now, iPod owners who bought their devices within the specified time are being notified that they are being included in the lawsuit.
The class-action suit sprang from Apple’s use of DRM for iTunes. Apple has updated the firmware of devices they sold to block music bought and downloaded from other music services from being played on an iPod. Only songs purchased through iTunes could be played on the iPod.
Conversely, music purchased on iTunes and are encoded with FairPlay DRM could not be played on other music players. According to reports, the lawsuit gathered steam because Apple tried to stop RealNetworks from decoding FairPlay with the Harmony technology.
According to the people who filed the lawsuit, Apple was violating federal and state laws by this practice. It is also alleged that this practice by Apple thwarted competitors unfairly.
The lawsuit alleges that because of the update in software that implemented the limits on music on the iPod and music bought through iTunes, iPod prices became higher.
“The lawsuit claims that Apple violated federal and state laws by issuing software updates in 2006 for its iPod that prevented iPods from playing songs not purchased on iTunes. The lawsuit claims that the software updates caused iPod prices to be higher than they otherwise would have been.”
“Plaintiffs are seeking to recover money for themselves and the Class based on Plaintiffs’ claim that Apple’s software updates violated federal and state antitrust laws and caused iPod prices to be higher than they otherwise would have been.”
The case is officially known as In re Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation (C-05-00037-JW) and is being handled by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
For its part, Apple has said that the updates improved products, benefited consumers, and did not increase the price of iPods.
The case still has not gotten to the point where money is involved by the suit is asking for remuneration. Being a class-action suit, users who bought iPods in the “Class Period” as defined by the suit are automatically included. This means that if they do not opt out, they are relinquishing their right to sue Apple separately.
However, should the suit win against the Cupertino, California-based maker of iPods and Apple is made to pay damages, those involved in the suit will collect money.
Nonetheless, those who do not want to be included in the suit can opt out. Should the suit win against Apple and damages are awarded, they will not have a share. However, the suit’s site stresses that “There is no guarantee that any money will ever be available.”
To opt out, people must:
“Send an ‘Exclusion Request’ in the form of a letter sent by mail to Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, c/o Rust Consulting, Inc., P.O. Box 8038, Faribault, MN 55021-9438, stating that you want to be excluded from In re Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation. Your ‘Exclusion Request’ must include your name and address. To be valid, your letter asking to be excluded from the Class must be signed and postmarked no later than July 30, 2012.”
To get more information, open this PDF in a new tab or window.
Meanwhile, here’s a list of all the iPods involved in the class-action lawsuit.
iPod Standard, Classic, Special Models
iPod (5th generation) 30 GB
iPod (5th generation) 80 GB
iPod U2 Special Edition 30 GB
iPod Classic 120 GB
iPod Classic 80 GB
iPod Classic 160 GB
iPod (5th generation) 60 GB
iPod shuffle Models
iPod shuffle (2nd generation) 1 GB
iPod shuffle (2nd generation) 2 GB
iPod shuffle (3rd generation) 4 GB
iPod shuffle (1st generation) 1 GB
iPod shuffle 512 MB iPod touch Models
iPod touch 8 GB
iPod touch 16 GB
iPod touch 32 GB
iPod touch (2nd generation) 8 GB
iPod touch (2nd generation) 16 GB
iPod touch (2nd generation) 32 GB
iPod nano Models
iPod nano (2nd generation) 2 GB
iPod nano (2nd generation) 4 GB
iPod nano (2nd generation) 8 GB
iPod nano (3rd generation) 4 GB
iPod nano (3rd generation) 8 GB
iPod nano (4th generation) 4 GB
iPod nano (4th generation) 8 GB
iPod nano (4th generation) 16 GB
iPod nano (1st generation) 1 GB
iPod nano (1st generation) 2 GB
iPod nano (1st generation) 4 GB