Apple calls for EU-wide iTunes pricing

Apple has called for the EU to change its laws so that services such as iTunes can charge a standard European rate.

Apple calls for EU-wide iTunes pricing

The position was outlined by Steve Jobs at a round table discussion between EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes and companies including EMI and Apple.

Under the current licensing scheme, prices for music and movies are set on a country-by-country basis, meaning that even within the EU prices vary wildly. As it stands a 99 pence track in the UK costs around 86 pence in Germany and £1.13 in France when bought through iTunes.

In documents released today, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs argues that this system means there are certain Eastern European countries it will never operate in, simply because the potential profits aren’t worth the initial time and expense of negotiating the rights.

He also claims the complicated nature of negotiating each individual territory could act as a barrier to smaller start-ups.

He proposes a “one-stop shop” where companies can negotiate rights across the entire European Economic Area, allowing online shops to charge all customers the same price wherever they are in Europe.

However, while the panel seems to agree with the stance, the report does appear to pass the buck at the end. “All participants recognise the need for EEA wide licensing in the online environment. It is the responsibility of the industry involved to develop workable licensing solutions.”

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