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Apple Consumers Sing Antitrust Blues

Music consumers lost legal efforts to force Apple Inc. to face antitrust claims that it held a monopoly over music downloading through its iTunes stores.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Tuesday that plaintiff waived review of the district court’s denial of class certification for consumer purchases of the iPod because she abandoned her Sherman Antitrust Act claim for allegedly inflated iPod prices.

Plaintiff Stacie Somers failed to state a monopolization claim for damages based on overcharged music downloads because she failed to show sufficient facts to create a claim of antitrust injury, according to the court.

Somers sought to represent a class of consumers who bought iPod, Apple’s digital media player and a class of buyers of music downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Music Stores.

She claimed that Apple attempted to stifle competition and charge more by blocking users from playing some iTunes music on non-Apple devices.

“Somers’ alleged inability to play her music freely is not an ‘antitrust injury’ that affects competition, and thus cannot serve as a basis for injunctive relief,” wrote Judge Milan Smith, Jr.  Judges Dorothy Nelson and Stephen Reinhardt joined Smith.

Case:  Somers v. Apple Inc. No. 11-16896


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