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Jobs ordered to speak in deposition 

Steve Jobs was ordered by a judge yesterday to answer questions in a deposition related to an antitrust suit filed against the company in 2005 over its FairPlay DRM software.
Attorneys for Apple have said that Jobs' testimony in this case would be repetitive of what has already been offered as part of the ongoing lawsuit, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd ruled yesterday that this alone was not sufficient to stop Jobs from testifying.
The case, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, revolves around Apple's past use of FairPlay to encode its digital music files. FairPlay encoding ensured that songs bought through iTunes would play only on iPods and not other music and claiming it was the music companies that wanted the digital rights management, Jobs eventually got rid of FairPlay in early 2009, paving the way for DRM-free music through iTunes, but with the use of the software, Apple became the target of a lawsuit launched in 2005 from a group of iPod and music buyers who claimed that the company's use of FairPlay allowed it to maintain a monopoly over both digital audio players and music downloads.
As one example, RealNetworks had challenged Apple in July 2004 by releasing software called Harmony, which was designed to crack through the DRM and allow its own digital music files to play on the iPod.
In its strong response a few days later, Apple threatened to block access to RealNetworks' digital music files the next time the iPod software was updated. Apple eventually followed through on that threat by updating the iPod in October and rendering RealNetworks' content unplayable.
Though Judge Lloyd has ordered Jobs to testify in the deposition, he did find in favor of Apple on certain motions. The plaintiffs argued that Jobs should be required to answer questions about Apple's initial decision to implement FairPlay and its refusal to license FairPlay to other companies. But the judge rejected both of those arguments.
As a result, Jobs' deposition will be limited to two hours, during which time he'll be asked questions only related to RealNetworks' launch of Harmony in 2004, Apple's response to Harmony, and Apple's iPod update later that year.
As reported by CNET, an Apple spokeswoman said the company would decline any response to the lawsuit and Jobs' testimony while the litigation is still pending.
In another matter related to Jobs, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that an investment advisory firm has raised questions over whether the Apple CEO should continue to serve on the board of directors for Walt Disney.
Citing his absences from board meetings the past few years, Institutional Shareholder Services acknowledged that Jobs' ongoing medical condition could certainly excuse him from frequent participation. But the group felt that shareholders are entitled to greater disclosure and a full explanation were he to be re-nominated to the board. Disclosure of Jobs' medical ailments has also been an issue that has dogged Apple over recent years.
The AFL-CIO, which owns about 3.8 million shares of Disney, already voted against Jobs returning to Disney's board, as reported by the L.A. Times.

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