Digital Media Project
A research initiative of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School
iTunes Case Study


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Since its U.S. launch in 2003, iTunes, Apple's Online Music Store, has become the pacesetter in the digital media marketplace.  In light of the recent launch of iTunes in Europe, the Digital Media Project has released its newly updated iTunes Case Study to provide an in-depth look at this service from the perspective of comparative law.  The report examines different legal and regulatory regimes from a range of countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific and considers how iTunes and services like it are likely to fare under different sets of legal and cultural norms.



The recent international expansion of online music services such as iTunes has raised a number of questions about the legal foundation of these services.  The newly updated iTunes Case Study (6/15/04) argues that online music services can maintain the same business model from country to country due to the harmonization of international copyright law.  Nonetheless, expanding digital media services must consider remaining differences in copyright and contract laws as well as issues like regional licensing and business practices.  The Case Study highlights these international questions by focusing on four regulatory issues:

  • Interaction between Copyright and Contract Law
  • Digital Rights Management
  • Digital First Sale Doctrine
  • Fair Use Doctrine

Read a Summary of Conclusions (pdf) of the Case Study and find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the research.

Researchers and Authors

Urs Gasser -- ugasser AT
Derek Bambauer -- dbambaue AT
Andrew Bragin -- abragin AT
Jacqueline Harlow -- jharlow AT
Charles Hoffmann -- choffman AT
Renny Hwang -- rhwang AT
Joseph Jackson -- jjackson AT
Georg Krog -- gekrog AT
Ned Locke -- elocke AT
Stephen Mohr -- smohr AT
Ivan Reidel -- ireidel AT
Derek Slater -- slater AT
C. Lee Wilson -- cwilson AT
John Palfrey -- jpalfrey AT

Communications Director
Mary Bridges -- mbridges AT

Digital Media Project Principal Investigator
William W. Fisher, III

The Digital Media Project Team welcomes comments on the White Paper.  Please email digital-media AT

Previous Editions

In April 2004, the Digital Media Project team released an earlier version of the iTunes Case Study as a Green Paper to solicit comments and feedback.  This document is still available for download below.