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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Volume control responsibility of user, not Apple

Personal responsibility is dying in America. First, there were the lawsuits claiming that fast food restaurants made customers obese. Now, it’s the music electronic entertainment industry’s turn to face the nation’s brainless consumer population. In January, a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple Computer, Inc., claiming that its iPod can cause permanent hearing loss and that the company knowingly markets the product without informing consumers. Apple responded by creating a volume limit setting for the iPod, further encouraging those who believe corporations should be held liable for individual decisions.
The volume limit setting is a free software upgrade that allows users to set their own personal maximum volume limit for their iPod and lock it with a combination code. This new element works with any headphone or accessory plugged into the iPod headphone jack as well as the iPod Radio Remote. Apple explained the introduction of the new feature in a press release on its Web site .”With the increased attention in this area, we want to offer customers an easy to use option to set their own personal volume limit,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing.
This “increased attention” refers to the lawsuit filed by John Patterson in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, stating that the iPod is defectively designed and should be repaired. In addition to an unspecified amount of cash, Patterson seeks to force the company to limit the iPod’s sound output to 100 decibels, which France did in 2002. Currently, the iPods sold in the United States are capable of producing music with decibel levels between 115 and 130, which is about the sound level of an air raid siren. Even though Apple does include a warning about hearing loss with every iPod, Patterson, who does not claim to have suffered hearing loss, believes that the label is insufficient. He also states that the white ear buds included with the music player increase the risk of hearing loss because of the close proximity to the ear canal.
Allegations such as these are ridiculous. Why should Apple be held responsible for a consumer’s potential misuse of a product? Patterson’s complaint is simply insulting to the reasonable person. It does not take a “digital meter that advises the listener of the decibel listening level,” which the lawsuit suggests, to figure out when the music is too loud for comfort. It is also unnecessary for users to be provided with headphones that can “successfully prevent hearing loss.” In short, Patterson is asking for a technological miracle to compensate for the general public’s inability to properly use a music player.
Patterson’s claims against Apple clearly demonstrate that the line between an individual’s personal responsibility to themselves and society’s duty to protect its citizens is in danger of eroding. It is a shame that money-hungry clients and their lawyers can enter frivolous lawsuits into the nation’s legal system, wasting the time and energy of all involved. How long will it be before individuals cease to think for themselves and rely instead on large corporations and the government for direction? The idea is frightening, but lawsuits such as this show that the possibility is all too real.

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