Apple Settles EU Online Music Patent

E-Data and Apple have settled a patent case over selling music online in Europe. E-Data’s “Freeny” patent was established in 1985 and covers the transmission of information to a remote point-of-sale location, where the information is then transferred to a physical object. Basically, if you have a music service that allows tunes to be dropped onto any physical medium – CD, iPod, robot dog – then you’ll be hearing from E-Data.

You can bet that the person who thought the patent up back when Phil Collins was in the charts with Sussidoo was probably only dimly aware of ARPANET, if at all. Since MP3 didn’t exist then either, no doubt they dreamed of the 150 hour wait it would take for one of these new, exciting “CD” things to come down a high-technology 14k modem line.

E-Data have also settled with Microsoft in the past and, buoyed by these successes have launched no less than 14 more infringement suits against companies including Amazon and the New York Times. E-Data don’t actually make a product or operate their own music service.

E-Data Chairman Bert Brodsky said: “This settlement with Apple marks another important milestone, as we aggressively pursue companies that are infringing upon our intellectual property. We have identified additional companies that are infringing upon our intellectual property, both in the U.S. and abroad, and will seek the necessary legal actions to ensure that our rights are enforced worldwide.”

Tantalisingly, none of the financial details of E-Data’s settlement deals have been made public – we’d like to know how much they’re charging.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?