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The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an iPod during an event in San Jose, Calif. on Oct. 12, 2005.
Paul Sakuma—AP

Apple deleted music downloaded from rival services from customers’ iPods several years ago, lawyers representing a group of iPod users suing Apple on antitrust grounds claimed Wednesday.

When users with music from competing services synced their iPods to iTunes between 2007 and 2009, an error message appeared that prompted users to restore their settings. That would then delete the rival music stores’ songs from customers’ devices, attorney Patrick Coughlin said in the case’s opening arguments, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Coughlin is a part of a legal team representing a group of iPod owners who say Apple forced them to pay more to use their devices to play their music. The lawsuit, which began Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., seeks $350 million in damages.

Apple security director Augustin Farrugia said that the actions were legitimate security measures. Apple also contends iTunes deleted rival music services’ songs to prevent piracy.

The suit, filed in 2005, will include a never-before-seen video testimony recorded by late Apple CEO Steve Jobs before his death in 2011. While Jobs will defend Apple, attorneys representing the plaintiffs will cite Jobs’ e-mails to show he was attempting to block competing services.

Statements made by Jobs before his death have been used against Apple in other antitrust lawsuits, including a 2012 e-book price-fixing suit in which a court ruled Apple violated federal antitrust law. Apple is appealing that case.

The iPod trial is expected to last about two weeks.

[Wall Street Journal]

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