infoTECH Feature

August 25, 2008

China Playing Unfair with iTunes, Say Users

Apple (News - Alert) iTunes customers in China have reportedly complained that they have been denied access to iTunes store and received error messages while trying to connect to the Web site.
According to a report, the news of possible denial of access to iTunes came after a controversy broke out last week over a pro-Tibet album available on iTunes Web site.
According to an Apple official quoted in the report, iTunes does not give access to its U.S. store from outside the country, but many users argue that they were able to access the digital music store from many locations in China prior to this controversy.
According to a message published in, government's official Internet Information Center, Chinese citizens find the album titled “Songs of Tibet” offensive, and they have called for a boycott of all Apple products, including iPhone (News - Alert).
The Web site post also said that Chinese Internet users want the album’s singers —  including Sting, John Mayer, and Dave Matthews — be barred from entering China. is an official government Internet portal. It publishes government position papers and approved news.
Opinions poured in on Apple’s discussion boards about the possible reasons behind the outage. Initially it was assumed that the blockage was due to technical problem stemming from equipment or network-related issues. The discussions now point at a deliberate blocking of iTunes Web site to censor the anti-communist music from the store.

“Songs of Tibet” features western artists promoting Tibetan independence, which according to the report, is an anathema for pro-communists.
According to a response published on Apple’s discussion boards, a user said she got heard back from an iTunes support representative named Bryan, saying that Apple did not block iTunes access in China, but the official admitted that iTunes Store is restricted in some parts of China. 
Bryan advised iTunes users to contact their Internet service providers to find out the details. "Please note though that accessing the U.S. iTunes store outside of the geographic region of the United States is not supported, and attempting to access it while in China is at your own risk," continued the message.

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Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Mae Kowalke

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