Nordic consumer regulators will meet in Iceland this month to discuss possible legal action against iPod-maker Apple Computer Inc. if the company does not ease restrictions that prevent songs bought a

Nordic consumer regulators will meet in Iceland this month to discuss possible legal action against iPod-maker Apple Computer Inc. if the company does not ease restrictions that prevent songs bought at its online store from being played on rival music players.

The meeting, to take place in Reykjavik on Aug. 24-25, will discuss whether the countries will seek to file a lawsuit against the company, and "whether we will address the Apple case individually or jointly," Bjoern Erik Thon, the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman, said Tuesday.

In June, consumer agencies in Norway, Denmark and Sweden claimed that Apple was violating contract and copyright laws in their countries by making its iPod the only portable music player compatible with songs purchased from the company's iTunes Music Store.

In a reply, Apple staunchly defended its restrictions and indicated it was not willing to change its business model by opening iTunes purchases to rival devices that cannot play music protected by its digital rights management technology.

Thon said the meeting would discuss "possible legal steps," toward the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, but a final decision on a lawsuit would not be made until Nordic regulators talked with Apple representatives in September.

Apple Norway's country manager, Arne Odden, declined to comment on the Reykjavik meeting.

A French law that allows regulators to force Apple to make its iPod player and iTunes online store compatible with rival offerings went into effect earlier this month.

But the law was expected to have little immediate effect. A new government regulatory authority assigned to monitor the law is not expected to be in place until this fall. Much will depend on the law's interpretation by the French courts, as well as the stance taken by recording companies.

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