If you own an iPod purchased between September 2006 and March 2009, you may be suing Apple without realizing it.
RealNetworks (News - Alert), a company that has convened antitrust litigation against Apple, has extended their class action suit to include iPod owners. If you’re part of the suit, you may receive notification as early as this week.
RealNetworks has seen better days. Most of us remember the RealPlayer and have a faint memory of the Rhapsody music service, although few of us still use those offerings for our media consumption. Since its heyday, the company has instituted several rounds of layoffs starting in 2008 and has recently appointed a new CEO after dismissing the old one just one year into his tenure.
Eight years ago, RealNetworks created a service called Harmony, which allowed people who had downloaded music through RealPlayer to play their music on their iPod. Apple (News - Alert) responded by creating an iPod firmware update that only allowed music uploaded onto iTunes to be played on the iPod. RealNetworks responded by filing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple.
After languishing for eight years, the antitrust suit has since gained momentum. Last November, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California made RealNetworks lawsuit into a class action lawsuit.
“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,” said ipodlawsuit.com, the official Website for the litigation. “The lawsuit claims that the software updates caused iPod prices to be higher than they otherwise would have been. Apple denies that it did anything wrong and asserts that the software updates challenged by Plaintiffs improved its products, were good for consumers and had no effect on iPod prices.”
The U.S. District Court has not yet decided the outcome of the case or whether it will award financial damages to class action plaintiffs. However, if you are one of the people who purchased an iPod during the given period, you may eventually be eligible to recover financial compensation.
If you are part of the lawsuit, then you will receive notification from RealNetworks. At that point, you can either excuse yourself from the lawsuit or stay in the hunt. Apple is always sitting on top of a massive cash stockpile. With this lawsuit, you just might be able to get a piece of it.
Edited by Braden Becker