Report: Apple seeks dismissal of FairPlay lawsuit

Antitrust suit filed in 2005 accuses Apple of using DRM software to maintain a monopoly over both digital audio players and music downloads.

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Apple asked a federal judge today to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit filed against the company over the FairPlay digital rights management software it formerly employed in its iTunes music store.

FairPlay's encoding of digital music files ensured that songs bought through iTunes would play only on iPods and not other music players and that songs bought through other digital music stores would not play on an iPod.

In July 2004, RealNetworks challenged Apple with the release of software called Harmony that was designed to crack through FairPlay's DRM and allow its own digital music files to play on the iPod. Apple responded by updating the iPod in October and rendering RealNetworks' content unplayable.

Apple eventually dumped FairPlay in 2009, but a group of iPod and music buyers sued in 2005, claiming that the company's use of FairPlay allowed it to maintain a monopoly over both digital audio players and music downloads.

The blocking of downloads that used competitors' software was designed to improve iTunes customers' experience, Robert Mittelstaedt, an attorney for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said at a hearing today in San Jose, Calif., according to a Bloomberg report.

"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," Mittelstaedt reportedly told U.S. District Judge James Ware.

The request for dismissal comes nearly a month after a federal judge ordered Apple CEO Steve Jobs to answer questions in a deposition related to the suit. Attorneys for Apple had argued that his testimony in this case would be repetitive of what has already been offered, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd ruled that was not sufficient to preclude Jobs from testifying.

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.