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Will People Really Boycott Apple Over DRM?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the for-tuppence-and-a-pretty-interface dept.

Music 664

Ian Lamont writes "DefectiveByDesign.org is waging a battle against DRM with a 35-day campaign targeting various hardware and software products from Microsoft, Nintendo, and others. On day 11 it blasted iTunes for continuing to use DRM-encumbered music, games, TV shows, movies, audiobooks, and apps with DRM, while competitors are selling music without restrictions. DefectiveByDesign calls on readers to include 'iTunes gift cards and purchases in your boycott of all Apple products' to 'help drive change.' However, there's a big problem with this call to arms: most people simply don't care about iTunes DRM. Quoting: 'The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use, and marketing. ... Apple regularly features exclusive live sets from popular artists, while Amazon treats its digital media sales as one more commodity being sold.' What's your take on the DRM schemes used by Apple and other companies? Is a boycott called for, and can it be effective?"

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664 comments

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Sorry... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199153)

It will never be effective. The average Joe coulden't tell you what DRM stood for let alone boycott it.

Re:Sorry... (4, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199445)

It will never be effective. The average Joe coulden't tell you what DRM stood for let alone boycott it.

The average Joe must not know what DRM means to experience the implications of it. I hate car analogies, but you don't have to be a greasemonkey to understand that something is wrong with your car.

The average Joe will run into DRM restrictions, and;

..ask a friend about it (or)
..google it (or)
..curse and never use the service again

Re:Sorry... (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199523)

Hopefully, having to re-buy any video related iPod accessories every few years will give Joe something to consider...

Re:Sorry... (1)

gevreet (1295795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199667)

I think most people don't care about DRM when purchasing their digital media ; ignorance being bliss and all - they'll only sit up and take notice when they run up against their media telling them what to do and what hardware to purchase. It'll take a little time but eventually they'll get it and become a little more discerning. That said the likes of apple will push it for as long as people will swallow it.

Re:Sorry... (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199689)

People are dumb, enlightened self interest only works where people are actually enlightened, news at 11 etc.

Companies with a decent marketing department can get away with anything.

No (4, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199159)

No

Re:No (4, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199243)

No

You got that right. Apple, being the marketing gods that they are, will get by this easily. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple actually charges extra for the DRM, selling it as service and feature.

I can just hear it now from the Apple Fans, "Apple has DRM! Do the other services? Nooooo! That's why I buy Apple for these extra value added services! That's why they charge more!"

Currently, I wondering if I should really take the Karma hit. Is there a way my Karma hit can go to starving orphans or something? Starving orphans that need Apple products?

Yep, I'm going to Slashdot Hell for this. Windows 3.1 as my OS on a 386, Balmer as my boss, and no stock options to compensate...

Re:No (1)

rmav (1149097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199279)

I can just hear it now from the Apple Fans, "Apple has DRM! Do the other services? Nooooo! That's why I buy Apple for these extra value added services! That's why they charge more!"

Well, I am a "faithful" Apple user, and I find that DRM sucks.So I buy Apple HW but I do not buy from the iTMS. I grab from my own CDs. So there's your counterexample.
Roberto

Re:No (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199317)

It requires no marketing on Apple's part, because most people do not care about DRM. In terms of the restrictions DRM imposes, Apple and other DRM makers have done their research on how people use their music, and have tried to craft their DRM to have minimal interference with those use cases. Apple has a trust factor going -- people assume that Apple will "do the right thing," so it is hard to convince people that there is any risk of Apple disabling their music later on. Worst of all, many people I speak with seem to think that they deserve DRM, because of all the peer-to-peer copying.

So yes, this boycott will fail, and Apple will be able to simply ignore it.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

cabjf (710106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199509)

Not only that, but a boycott of Apple would play right into the record companies. They demanded DRM in the music store to begin with, so Apple came up with a solution. But then, as the iTunes store grew, the record companies realized that Apple was in control because of the very thing they demanded was in place. Why do you think Amazon can sell DRM-free tracks? The record companies are trying to break Apple's stranglehold on the downloadable music market. Although, given that iTunes does have some DRM free tracks from one record company, I am willing to bet Apple would rather just sell them without the DRM as well.

Re:No (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199385)

If you think that's something Apple would do, I don't think you've ever had anything to do with Apple.

Right now they're talking to the labels to get more DRM-free music in the iTMS.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199651)

No

You got that right. Apple, being the marketing gods that they are, will get by this easily.

Marketing has nothing to do with it. Most folks don't even know what DRM is, and even if they're aware of DRM they seldom care.

Folks buy a song on the iTunes Music Store and try to play it...it works. They put it on their iPod...it works. They burn it to a CD...it works. As far as they're concerned the music works just fine.

Re:No (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199281)

RDF > DRM. It's a scientific fact.

This is pretty easy! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199161)

No.

Their fault? (3, Insightful)

JickL (1398643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199163)

Is it their fault that the music companies are willing to let Amazon sell DRM-free music to have a bargaining chip against Apple when discussing pricing?

Re:Their fault? (5, Informative)

chrish (4714) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199483)

If only Amazon would sell MP3s to people who don't live in the US. Are the Canadian arms of the American music companies really that different?

I buy my music online from the likes of Magnatune [magnatune.com] and the "iTunes Plus" store (DRM-free, and higher-quality files than the regular iTunes store). When I can, I buy directly from the artists online.

Sure Apple is enabling idiotic behaviour from the music companies, but I'm not sure we should blame them; would the music companies have even allowed them to sell music without the DRM? You could show your "appreciation" for the DRM'd music by buying something from the iTunes Plus store...

It's optional! (4, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199165)

What about the huge numbers happily using iTunes and an iPod to playback their MP3 collection? You don't have to buy your media from the ITMS...

Re:It's optional! (5, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199183)

You don't have to buy your media from the ITMS...

Even if you do, you can buy the DRM-free tracks. Apple's ready to sell anything that the labels will let them sell.

-jcr

Re:It's optional! (5, Informative)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199231)

Exactly. When I want a song I first check if ITMS has it DRM free. If it does I usually buy it there. If not, I head to Amazon. The good thing about Amazon is that they also offer a lot of tracks at 89c and frequently offer specials for $5 song sets.

For me ease of use is a tie since the Amazon downloader takes the song and loads it into itunes just fine. Some people complain about Amazons search function, but I find it works just like it should and the service is often faster when it comes to previewing songs.

Re:It's optional! (1)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199421)

You don't have to buy your media from the ITMS...

Even if you do, you can buy the DRM-free tracks. Apple's ready to sell anything that the labels will let them sell.

Unfortunately, that's not that much. Only one of the big labels (EMI) offers DRM-free music via iTunes.

There were rumors Apple was going to offer all tracks publiced by Sony, Universal and Warner DRM-free beginning on December 9th, but that was rapidly claimed to be untrue [cnet.com] .

Re:It's optional! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199387)

Indeed, you don't have to buy it yet.

Re:It's optional! (1)

bogado (25959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199461)

ITunes sucks it don't play ogg by default and it refuses to play ogg from the network even after the quicktime coded is installed. I have setted up a daap for my home and itunes simply does not work, while rythmbox work perfectly.

I also tried to configure songbird to see my daap, but had no luck, and my wife want something that is as easy as itunes.

Also I loved the "Dr. Horrible sing along blog" I tryed to buy the files from itunes, it is impossible, because you know you have to have a itunes installed, so one less sell.

ARGH I really hate itunes.

Unlikely (4, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199169)

Most internet users can't tell the difference between firefox and IE, it's unlikely they'll understand what DRM even is. Those who do understand DRM, probably never bought from the itunes store in the first place.

Re:Unlikely (2, Insightful)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199199)

Bingo, what is needed is, more education about alternatives and how better the alternatives are. These smear DRM/IE campaigns rarely work.

Re:Unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199311)

I have an uncle-in-law who has a graduate degree in optics and I still had to patiently explain what drm was and how apple used it. He's a smart guy, so I take this as evidence that apple's drm is very transparent. Well, transparent until you want to do something *crazy* like listen to your music on linux.

Re:Unlikely (1)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199517)

For the average computer user, that is crazy.

Re:Unlikely (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199571)

Why would the average computer user want to listen to their music on Linux? They use Windows or OS X.

Re:Unlikely (2, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199663)

Listen to it on Linux no, but my brother, a very average computer user, was quite disappointed to learn that he couldn't listen to his iTunes purchases on his generic MP3 player that his wife got him for his birthday. He has no idea what DRM stands for, but now that I've had a talk with him he DOES understand that the songs he now buys from Amazon.com work fine on that player.

Whether or not he understood DRM or not, Apple still lost a customer in this case. I'm sure it won't be their only one. The question is simply the point at which the revenue that DRM loses outpaces the revenue that it brings in.

Re:Unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199437)

Most people are idiots. And that is exactly why we need campaigns like defective by design.

Re:Unlikely (3, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199593)

"Those who do understand DRM, probably never bought from the itunes store in the first place."

Not even remotely true. Lots of people who understand DRM have bought from the iTunes store. Understanding DRM doesn't necessarily mean opposition to it. Or, more specifically, understanding it doesn't mean opposition to it in every and all forms. Some DRM sucks and should be avoided in protest. Some DRM is sufficiently light that people don't mind. Yes, some oppose DRM in any and all forms but some, even though they understand DRM perfectly well, don't object to it in the same way.

iTunes Plus (2, Interesting)

Geraden (15689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199173)

Apple DOES offer iTunes Plus. Yes, it is sold at a premium price. However, for those concerned about DRM, it at least affords an alternative that is higher quality and DRM free.

Re:iTunes Plus (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199215)

iTunes plus has been $.99 (same as iTunes minus) for quite a while now.

Re:iTunes Plus (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199237)

Not true. They originally sold for more, but all songs, AFAIK, are now 99c.

Re:iTunes Plus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199245)

Yeah a premium price of 99 cents.

Re:iTunes Plus (4, Informative)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199269)

Apple DOES offer iTunes Plus.

Yes, it is sold at a premium price.

No, it's not. It was when Apple introduced iTunes Plus, but now the DRM-free tracks are sold at the same price as those with DRM.

However, for those concerned about DRM, it at least affords an alternative that is higher quality and DRM free.

Unfortunately, still only part of the catalogue is offered as DRM-free tracks...

Re:iTunes Plus (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199423)

And people should try to remember that Apple would like to do away with DRM, but the RECORDING LABELS won't let them. All the while letting Amazon etc all go without DRM. There should be a lawsuit in there somewhere imo, but I'm not a lawyer.

So basically boycotting Apple over DRM, something they don't want either, is stupid. Boycot the recording industry for forcing them to keep it.

Won't matter (1)

CWRUisTakingMyMoney (939585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199177)

Part of me wonders if this is not-trivially for publicity, like Greenpeace goes after Apple a couple times a year. But either way, not many people will care and I certainly doubt that they'll convert anybody. iTunes does, IIRC, sell non-DRM'd music (at a premium but also at a higher bitrate), and the DRM they do have is fairly unobtrusive as DRM goes. I don't like DRM'd media any more than the next person, but I can think of much worse offenders to go after than Apple.

Re:Won't matter (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199495)

It's not trivial for Apple, because more than an other company, apple survives on its publicity. Becuase of all the money apple spends on publicity, any bad publicity is directly costing them because they have to counter it.

Re:Won't matter (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199583)

Of course it's just for publicity. (The DefectiveByDesign crew has a stated goal and god help you if you ask them if it's the right way to go about it or point out how they're wrong. They absolutely blew a gasket when a bunch of people started posting to their blog when they were advocating that you go waste the time of people at Apple's Genius Bars, wrote a snarky message to everyone who had commented saying that what they were suggesting was not a good way to do it, and then closed blog comments for that entry and deleted all the ones that were there. Silly children can't take criticism.)

Just 1 or 2% (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199195)

It will just make a drop in sales of 1 or 2%, almost not noticeable. If Apple feels like it can do without, good for them. Would they loose more profits if they ditched DRMs completely ? I doubt it and 1% is still 1%. I think there is another problem : a lot of the people willing to boycott are, IMHO, blue-chip consumers, those who helped Apple follow trends in the tech world. If Apple loses them, it may cost them more than a little drop of sales.

Re:Just 1 or 2% (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199291)

If it made a 1% dent, it would be an astonishing percent. More like .1% or .01% or more likely .001%

To get 1%, you'd need to have every DefectiveByDesign reader convert 100 or 1,000 or more people to total boycotters.

Not likely.

Re:Just 1 or 2% (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199625)

And they probably make up for this drop in sales by locking people into iPods. People will upgrade either because they want a better one or the old one breaks, and they'll want a device that can play all their music.

yeaaaaaaah goodluck with that (2, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199209)

Seriously. How many "boycotts" have people had against iTunes at this point. And didnt it just get announced a couple months ago that iTunes is now #1 in all music sales? Not for nothing but I hate DRM, I really do, and when I can avoid I do, which is why I dont by anything but indie music that comes as DRM free. But going up against iTunes is kinda a waste when ultimately its the studios behind the DRM, and they are now using it to leverage better royalty rates on music against Apple (thus despite having stores who have all DRM free music, Apple still has to put up with having DRM from some of the major players)

The only real way to get rid of DRM is to just STOP BUYING CRAP MUSIC. But then that was the only way to stop it years ago and you people still dont get it through your skull to stop supporting any artist on a major label.

I have (5, Insightful)

tamarik (1163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199219)

I, for one consumer, already have. I don't buy Apple products because of the DRM. Creative Zen MP3 player, Dell, and Fujitsu laptops, and Samsung i760 cellphone. My ex uses a Mac Mini. My best friend sweears by his iPhone and a couple Macs. Nice machines! Apple looks like a good OS but this danged DRM is the showstopper.

Bah! Come on Apple, lighten up. You seem to think all yer customers are sneaks and thieves, like Sam's or Best Buy.

Re:I have (1)

cyrano.mac (916276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199283)

I don't like DRM. I have no music or other content with DRM. I avoid DRM at all cost. But Apple's DRM is the simplest to circumvent. You don't even need software to get rid of it. So, why boycott the least worrysome DRM on the market? I, for one have better things to do...

Re:I have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199369)

But Apple's DRM is the simplest to circumvent. You don't even need software to get rid of it.

Other than going vai analog, how? (Serious question).

Re:I have (1)

Snocone (158524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199579)

Other than going vai analog, how? (Serious question).

1. Look at the lower right corner of the iTunes window.

2. Click "Burn Disc".

3. You're done.

When the horrible awful DRM that the whiners here get their panties in a twist about can be defeated by making a backup CD of it directly from within iTunes ... and there's a button right in your face so all you have you do is move your mouse to it and click once ... it's really really hard for anyone sensible to see where there's any kind of problem.

And, as others have pointed out, that's only if you buy DRM'd tracks in the first place. Apple happily sells "iTunes Plus" DRM-free tracks from whichever labels let them.

Re:I have (5, Informative)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199287)

I think people need to understand that the DRM on Apple's music is NOT put there at Apple's insistence. The music labels are the ones who mandate this DRM on iTunes, so boycotting iTunes does NOTHING to change this situation. Apple was the first company to call for an end to DRM in a public letter issues by Steve Jobs. It's not Apple that doesn't get it, it's the music industry.

Re:I have (5, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199347)

First off, your kidding yourself if you think your laptops dont have DRM on them. Go play something HD on a older digital monitor with a older connection and talk to us. Hell scre that you using XP? Yeah I thought so.

Second you think Apple actually WANTS DRM? Apple isnt in the music making buisness, nor or they in the video making buisness. They sell machines to do it, tools to do it, but ultimately they are not making movies and music. So where is it for them to WANT DRM? They want to sell you shit. Its the people they deal with, the major labels who WANT to make sure you get their crap and dont steal it. Apple practically makes nothing off the stuff they sell in the store. So little that the labels play to raise their rates a while back basically was countered with Apple saying "fine we will close the store then." They didnt even flinch when NBC left them, which says a lot about how much money they are really making with these deals that 1-2 especially when you consider that Apple is the one paying the hosting fee and maintenance fees for running the store, not the labels who just provide the song or video.

So really what you think your doing in boycotting them is just being stupid and showing your lack of knowledge of the situation. Because Apple really isnt in the business to DRM crap, and your saying they are just shows you to be a idiot.

Re:I have (1)

Xifeng (1425793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199561)

First off, your kidding yourself if you think your laptops dont have DRM on them.

My laptop runs Linux, you insensitive clod!

Re:I have (2, Informative)

W2k (540424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199587)

First off, your kidding yourself if you think your laptops dont have DRM on them. Go play something HD on a older digital monitor with a older connection and talk to us.

"Something HD", as in the HD rip of $movie that I downloaded from $favourite_filesharing_site? Yep, works just fine.

If you don't buy crippled media, you won't have any problems with DRM. And filesharing is just another way of voting with your wallet.

Re:I have (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199597)

1) Apple's trying very hard to get rid of DRM, if you hadn't noticed (and since you're posting this, I'm certain you haven't). It's not like it's their idea.

2) You complain about anything Apple does and you're supporting Creative fucking Labs? Really?

I hope so (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199221)

DRM is an evil concept.

people want software they can use (5, Insightful)

thegoldenear (323630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199225)

"The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use"

Why should it be surprising that people are willing to pay for ease of use? it can mean the difference between actually being able to use something and not being able to.
Most people can't use most of most software.

Re:people want software they can use (4, Funny)

TrueDego (1214140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199399)

Most people can't use most of most software.

Most uses of the word most I have ever seen in one sentence.

Re:people want software they can use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199427)

The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use"

In the final analysis, isn't DRM simply a component of ease of use? I can/cannot use this track/video in the way I would like because of technical restrictions placed upon it.

Viewed in that way, the DRM imposed on most (not all) iTunes tracks isn't enough of a negative ease of use to offset the positive ease of use from the iTunes ecosystem. Actually, while I understand and appreciate the point of the 'no DRM in any circumstances' argument, the limitations for those iTunes Store tracks that are DRMd don't prevent the majority of the things you'd want to do. I've certainly hardly felt them as a barrier in the last 5 years.

Re:people want software they can use (1)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199463)

Dear thegoldenear,

Please send your recent post to every project on Sourceforge.

Kind regards,
robot_love

Re:people want software they can use (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199485)

"The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use"

Nonsense. DRM doesn't improve ease of use. The average user is more than willing to pay for hobbled music because the music he/she wants is only available in DRM-restricteds formats. If the popular artists were only releasing new songs on 8-track tapes, people would buy 8-track tapes. The format in which music is sold has little to do with convenience; it has much more to do with the recording companies' business model.

Re:people want software they can use (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199617)

You misunderstand him. The software running the DRM'd material is better than the free offerings, so people (fairly rationally, for a non-savvy user) use it to purchase their music too. I don't much like iTunes, but it's a hell of a lot better than the open source software available on OS X/Windows for a similar task.

Re:people want software they can use (2, Interesting)

DSmith1974 (987812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199615)

Friends outside of work have no idea what DRM is and think I'm mad or joking whenever I try to explain what a potential encumbrance it will likely become in a few years whenever 'the thing' happens which means they'll have to re-buy their music or re-rip a thousand albums from/to CD again and lose the ID3 tags an so on. Friends at work who should (and do) know better just ignore DRM because they want the sleek iPod device for fashion - no buts. I guess they really trust Apple - but ask yourselves how it came to be that we don't buy games for the Commodore any more - and if the music you buy today, you still want to listen to in another twenty years? I just don't get it - got myself a Cowon iAudio5 last week - plugged the USB in and copied my music over (didn't even install the drivers). What could be easier than that? It plays all open and most closed file formats. A few years back I tried installing iTunes and the damned thing ran through a quarter of my collection 'importing' my mp3s to its DRM proprietary format and deleting the originals! iTunes is a virus as far as I can tell.. -- It is not immoral to create the human species--with or without ceremony - Samuel Clemens

For several reasons no (3, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199249)

1) The iPhone is the biggest selling single phone on the market, hell they've a 1/3 of the whole market with one device
2) The iPod is the biggest selling digital music player by a mile
3) iTunes is one of the easiest to use ways of managing your digital music collection

So will the vast majority of people give any sort of hoot about DRM when all they can see is their ability to share the music between their PCs and their digital music player? No they will not.

All this will do is demonstrate how pointless the actual demonstration is, thus meaning that Apple will be less likely to be concerned.

For most people the question isn't DRM-free its "playable on my iPod".

Re:For several reasons no (4, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199589)

1) The iPhone is the biggest selling single phone on the market, hell they've a 1/3 of the whole market with one device

Bullshit! They're nowhere close to 1/3 of the market. In 2007, over 1 billion cellphones were sold. Assuming a similar rate over the last year, we can compare that to Apple's iPhone sales (roughly 4 million) and it becomes evident that Apple has 0.4% of the market.

Even in the U.S, they only have around 5% of the market.

I think it's the U.S. touchscreen smartphone they've got 1/3 of the market of.

Nah (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199251)

People will boycott it, but many more will not. It's so easy to click a song, then find 30 more songs you like on iTunes.

Of course, I find myself only spending money on bands that I have been loyal to for quite some time (IE, System of a Down), and using SkreemR to seek out other stuff. The iTunes DRM is very easy to bypass, so I have no problem with removing it. Granted, it'd be far more enjoyable to not have to waste time breaking DRMs, but for the most part Apple's got no reason to stop using it if people won't stop using their services.

The only annoying thing is that I purchased things from iTunes on two separate computers, and getting them both on one computer is a giant complicated 'go-through-this-hoop-to-leap-over-the-pitfall' puzzle.

Boycott's don't work anymore, because there is a huge gap in American internet users: some get this stuff, others got no clue what it is. The ones that don't get what DRM is flat out don't care, and they outnumber the ones that do care, so any boycott done will do no good. So long as the 'ignorant masses' exist, with endless news channels telling them 'DRM good, no-DRM bad', they will not boycott.

Right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199263)

Pfft, who actually purchases music anyway??

The big picture (1)

chained2desk (1042764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199275)

how will they insure copyright infringement does not occur? Oh, I have an idea! Filter all internet traffic through centralized servers to track every user's activity!

Microsoft? Nintendo? (1)

the 9a3eedi (1068628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199285)

I'm guessing they mean the videogame consoles. What kind of DRM is obstructive in those? As far as I know when you buy digital distributed software in those consoles, you can't play them on other consoles. Makes sense. Also if they didn't put DRM in those software, then people would just not buy them anymore. It's going to be that easy to copy. I'm no DRM advocate though, but I can see why they'd do that. At least they didn't make it so that you have to connect to the internet and phone home everytime you wanted to play a game you downloaded.

exclusivity (4, Insightful)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199303)

"Apple regularly features exclusive live sets"

I think this sort of thing prevents the uptake of Free Software in general. People want to be part of an "in crowd", and seek ways to believe it's true (eg. Da Vinci code, fashion, nerd snobbishness, etc). People will pay for this feeling, and I reckon it was used to help prop up the monarchies (and now demonarchies*).

I mean, how "exclusive" is a live set on iTMS? Anyone can buy it, right? This is where marketing comes in. Grass-roots arts and software producers don't want to come across as "here's some scones that my mad-great-aunt made (they make great hearth-stones), all proceeds to the parish..."

*typo intended, exscuse the piss-take ;-)

Uphill battle (5, Insightful)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199307)

DefectiveByDesign would have better luck picking on Microsoft or some of the game publishers. Apple has managed to find the sweet spot between user freedom and DRM. Yes, Apple still uses DRM but it doesn't encumber a majority of Apple iTMS users.

Let's run through Apple's DRM:

  1. Can play music on up to five different computers. So, home, work, laptop, and two other places are covered.
  2. Can play music on iPod. So, can take music with us and play almost anywhere.
  3. When de-authorize / re-authorize computers as needed.
  4. Can rip music to Audio CD and *STRIP OUT DRM ENTIRELY* from the music track.

I hate DRM as much as the next /'er but the above "restrictions" are pretty darn loose. When iTMS and its uber-convenience is added into the equation, Apple's DRM becomes a minor annoyance. Point-Click-Purchase? One-click purchases? Recommendations based on previous purchases? It becomes pretty easy to overlook the little bit of DRM that is involved.

I'm not an Apple fanboy either:

[me@mydesktop ~]$ uname -a Linux my.rhel.desktop 2.6.18-92.1.18.el5 #1 SMP Wed Nov 5 09:00:19 EST 2008 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Why would most people care? (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199321)

They have a whole host of options for playing it back, and the iTunes ecosystem is very well suited for the average person. Half the TV that my wife and I watch, while not saying much since we don't watch much TV, is on our Apple TV. I've ripped a big chunk of our DVD collection to MPEG4 and put it into our iTunes library. If we want to take movies with us when we travel, we just sync up our iPhones and that's it.

There's also the fact that you can burn the music you download to CD. So what if you can't do that with movie downloads. They're overpriced enough as it is, and so you might as well buy the DVD media at the same price. That's also a problem that affects every online movie distributor.

accessibility (5, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199353)

The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use, and marketing.

There is an escape from Apple's DRM: just burn tracks on music CD.

On other side, many companies really disregard the time. The time user has to spend on doing something silly and stupid. Apple was always good on removing the artificial barriers and negotiating compromise where it doesn't hurt users. (But it's not that Apple is clear on all DRM charges.)

From my personal experience, I would easily overpay for something what requires little of attention and just works. Though most of my friends prefer to spend time searching for better deal, spend time getting into the deal and then spend even more time trying to make it work in the end.

IMHO, good accessibility is also feature and I do not mind paying extra for it. Though you never find accessibility on official list of features.

Right now iTMS holds really little of advantage over other stores, so the point of RTFAs stands. Yet, now the time Apple invested into building user loyalty is simply paying back. iTMS competitors shoot themselves so many times in all the possible foots and they would need considerable time to gain the trust back.

P.S. And thanks to misleading **AA campaign many believe that Apple's DRM is norm of life. And that I believe is bigger problem.

Re:accessibility (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199673)

And then rip them again? It's not all that convenient even if the sound degradation is okay.

My view. (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199355)

Can a boycott be effective? Of course, but the Apple-cult will never participate.

Anyhow, IMO it would be far more constructive to advocate DRM-free sources than boycott those with the DRM infection. This would not only make Apple & Co wonder what's wrong (the piracy card will doubtlessly be played), but make them see what people want => DRM-free.

From TFA

Odds are you are reading this on a computer with iTunes installed.

No.

And Apple regularly features exclusive live sets from popular artists, while Amazon treats its digital media sales as one more commodity being sold.

Is he saing Amazon doesn't want exclusives? Doesn't exclusive mean it's only sold to one vendor? And how doesn't Apple treat everything in iTunes as a commodity? A bit biased, don't you think?

Re:My view. (2, Informative)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199569)

Apple doesn't mandate the DRM in iTunes, the music labels do. Apple knows full well what's wrong with DRM and that is why Steve Jobs issued a public statement in early 2007 (BEFORE Amazon's music was released) to eliminate DRM in digital media. The music/movie labels are the ones pushing DRM because they don't understand (or care about) what their customers want, they just want to control all distribution as they were able to do in the good old days.

Re:My view. (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199603)

Interesting. Thanks for the clear up.

Sums it up almost entirely (1)

Vitani (1219376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199383)

"The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use, and marketing."

The bit that is missing is "... until they try to move their music to another PC/non-iPod/Xbox/MP3 Hi-Fi/iTunes 2/whatever and find out they're not allowed"

No (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199417)

What the FSF and EFF should do, however, is to prove that another approach could work in the marketplace. If the EFF wants to promote, for example, "voluntary collective licensing" [eff.org] - then - they should get the venture capital, start a business, sign up artists and show the RIAA and record companies that you can have a very successful business when you don't assume that your customers are criminals who are out to file share everything not locked down. The record labels are businesses, they care about profit, not some kind of geek utopia - and they listen to fiscal arguments first, not technical ones.

Re:No (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199637)

This poster has it.

That said, the FSF would never deign to offer a good, workable alternative; their game, at least with the DefectiveByDesign crew, seems to just be to scream and rant about how bad the current system is. Not once have I seen them offer a good way for content creators to make money (I'm not talking the RIAA, I'm talking about the people actually making the music). It's just "give for freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!", with the predictably short-sighted results. (Not all musicians can tour, for example.)

DRM ha! (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199419)

They can DRM all they want. I haven't played their pop music game since they killed Napster. Anything I want to listen to I play myself on the guitar. I'm no Jimi Hendrix but I do well enough and the satisfaction of doing well enough is as great as hearing the virtuoso himself.

And I often forget to flagellate myself for not paying performance fees.

How about ipod + (not itunes) (1)

DinZy (513280) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199433)

I absolutely hate Apple and would love to boycott them, however their ipods are good products and I am considering getting an iphone to use as an alternative to satellite radio. In the end I am forced to go with the best option, and quality of the actual device is the prime concern. Now if Apple had no DRM, licensed their OS, and weren't so strongly supported by people who mainly buy their products for the image, then I would probably be an Apple fan.

On a semi related note My GF bought me a Zune for Xmas because my old ipod was dying and she knows how much I hate Apple. We had to trade it in for an ipod because the software will not install in XP 64 bit. Sorry MS, I am not upgrading to vista 64 so I can use the device we just paid $250 for. As for the other alternatives, well give me some extra cables in the box and a charger to offset the glut of ipod acessories I can no longer use. So how can one boycott apple when the top alternative doesn't even work?

But I will never buy a damn thing through itunes so that part of the boycott makes sense.

Re:How about ipod + (not itunes) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199453)

If your only alternatives are Apple phone and Zune, then you deserve whatever you get.

Re:How about ipod + (not itunes) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199515)

On a semi related note My GF bought me a Zune for Xmas because my old ipod was dying and she knows how much I hate Apple. We had to trade it in for an ipod because the software will not install in XP 64 bit. Sorry MS, I am not upgrading to vista 64 so I can use the device we just paid $250 for.

XP 64 bit doesn't support mass storage devices? What else do you need to support an MP3 player?

Re:How about ipod + (not itunes) (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199621)

"Now if Apple had no DRM"
-Don't blame Apple, blame the content providers who mandate the DRM.

"weren't so strongly supported by people who mainly buy their products for the image"
-A small minority buy their products for the image. Most people buy them because they work well and have the highest customer satisfaction ratings. Please try to unlearn this piece of misinformation because it is simply not true.

Retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199449)

Apple is publicly negotiating with the record companies to get the ability to sell DRM-free music. That they cannot is not their choice.

play nice apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199469)

Apple just make a plugin for other players and play nice... not EVERYONE wants to buy a stupid ipod

DRM (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199473)

DRM is only an issue when it gets in the way of the customer using the product the way they want. Apple 1) does offer songs DRM free (for a slightly larger fee) and 2) the DRM is so trivial to get around that any user who would be bothered by it can easily ignore it. So, in Apple's case, their DRM is only an issue for people who want zero DRM, no matter what - people who have taken a firm stance against DRM in any and all forms. For the vast majority of other people out there, however, the DRM isn't an issue and likely won't ever be noticed. And, thus, that means it's a well-executed DRM scheme. imho

what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199475)

I've been boycotting them for quite a while now!

Misinformed (2, Informative)

pphoenix (737080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199489)

Sounds like DefectiveByDesign.org is misinformed. DRM is pushed to Apple iTunes (and other online media Shops like Rhapsody) by the record labels e.t.c. Even if the boycott is successfull, unless if it hurts the record labels they will continue to push this policy to all online content. iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster only sell what they are authorized to sell and what is in the contract. By the way, i dont believe Apple makes a lot of money from iTunes, it is simply a means to help sell the iPod. Record labels make most of the money. Solution: Boycott the record labels

How is it "hobbled"? (5, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199491)

People don't care about DRM per se, they care about whether they can use what they buy any way they like.

In the case of music with DRM bought from the iTunes store: I can play it on my computer with no problems at all. I can burn it onto CDs without any problems at all. I can play it in my car (by copying it onto my iPod) without any problems at all. I can't give it away to friends to play on their computers (which would be illegal, which I might or might not care about, and I can give CDs with the music on them to friends, which is just as illegal, which again I might or might not care about), and I can't convert it to MP3 which would allow me to put it onto a cheap 4GB memory stick which can be played in many places, or onto a DVD which my DVD player can play.

Most computer users that I know would have no idea how to put _any_ music onto a memory stick or a DVD, so I don't think there is very much of a limitation at all. On the other hand, the music is easy to buy, and looking in other places is effort as well.

In the case of movie rentals, DRM might very much keep people from using a movie in the way the intend, but it's not in their way when they try to get what they paid for out of a movie (at least with the Apple store).

On the other hand, years ago I tried to buy some eBooks, which came with DRM. Paid for four books (but only a few Euros), had to download bloody Adobe eBook reader software, the software crashed during the download, and all in all I was able to read one of the four books I paid for. I don't dare thinking about what hoops I would have to jump through to make these books readable on my current computer. So in that case, DRM was most definitely in my way and kept me from giving them any more of my money for years. They now sell the same books in unprotected PDF files, which means I can read them on a Mac using Preview, and they will be usable forever.

So the summary: I am not going to boycott DRM if it is implemented well and I trust the company doing it. And if it is implemented badly, you don't need to ask me to boycott it.

monday morning apple rant.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199505)

apple users buy laptops with screens that work better as a mirror, with a pretentious little logo that shines through to your "graphic" work.. while a little colored pinwheel spins incessantly.

let them have DRM.

Also iTunes software seems to choke if you throw more than 10K songs at it...

Yes. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199525)

Files on my ipod (RIP, Neuros II...): 20GB

ITMS purchases: 0

And going to stay that way.

Maybe the average joe can't be arsed to learn about DRM, but that's just one more person for me to laugh at when the next company pulls a wal-mart.

iTunes DRM doesn't bother me. (1)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199537)

My household uses Macs, an Airport Express, iPods and an iPhone.

The DRM on music doesn't bother me because, if a track isn't a DRM-free iTunes Plus track, I can simply burn an Audio CD (using a CD-RW) and rip the CD to MP3s. I'm not an audiophile, so any "loss" due to the conversion isn't something I notice. The day Apple announces a date for their iTunes authentication server to go down, I'll burn some CDs.

The DRM on videos doesn't bother us because we simply don't buy them. We simply rip our DVDs. We do rent videos from iTunes, but the DRM works in our favor because it removes the video files after viewing. The price for rentals is cheaper than what my TV provider is charging for PPV, so its fine with me.

If Apple offers non-DRM choice ... I choose it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199553)

Apple has non-DRM versions in the form of Itunes Plus. I only buy those. If something isn't offered in non-DRM form, I don't. I'm already voting with my dollars.

I don't see the point of boycotting them when they do offer a non-DRM option, and I'm effectively boycotting artists/record labels that don't allow it too.

Only non-apple users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199565)

I really dont hear qualms about this from Apple users, because it is mainly iTunes and Amazon that seem to not be restricted to windows.

My main thought about this is the windows users who have a sandisk or zune or some other brand and have the multiple options as to where they can buy music from. The problem they have is when they take music from mutliple sources and try and move them around and mix and match them.
The problem is that there is no universal music format. Everyone is trying to push their own DRM system. Users aren't going to win with 9 different music programs to get different music from and with as many different players to choose from as there are people in the US.

I have had no problems downloading from amazon and importing it into iTunes, or using iTunes downloaded music within iTunes all being managed on my iPod.

It just works. (3, Interesting)

ari{Dal} (68669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199591)

Here's a major difference between Apple's iTunes DRM and other companies:

it lets people do what they want with it.

No, not what YOU want to do with it, what the average iPod/Mac owner wants to do with it.

Most people who are buying songs through iTunes have an iPod or iPhone, many have a mac, and the songs and shows are designed to work just fine on both. They don't want to sync with anything else, so why would they care about the DRM?

Something that restricts you from putting music on your iPod, yes that's going to piss the users off, but something designed to integrate with it? Not so much.

Or you could just not buy what you don't like (3, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199595)

I'm confused. If 'boycotting' means simply not buying what you don't like from some place that doesn't supply what you wish, then I guess I've been boycotting certain retail outlets all my life. With minimal effort on my part.

Should I be starting websites of my own to tell people what I won't be buying? Cos that could get pretty time consuming and frankly I have better things to be doing. Obviously these people don't.

Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199627)

I've been boycotting apple since the 80's

Just last night (1)

architimmy (727047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199635)

Just last night I sent a friend a direct link to a band on Amazon. She replied "oh cool, I'll go get this on iTunes."

no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199641)

No.

Thanks

Already boycotted drm on music for practical ... (1)

cybereal (621599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26199675)

I boycotted DRM encumbered music over a year ago for practical reasons. I suddenly had a few devices I wanted to use my music on besides my apple devices. Otherwise I don't care. Honestly, I don't care even in the slightest about the DRM. I don't have the false notion that I own any of this content, maybe it's the "Defective by Design" people who are wrong.

Historically speaking, nobody has ever owned any music or video by buying it, so let's look away from the faulty technology and look at the terms that actually matter and will actually capture the attention of paying users.

All that matters to most people is that they can use the things how they want to. Most people buy DVD's and never ever care about the DRM on there because they just stick it in whatever dvd player and it works great. If a person has nothing but apple products to play their DRM'd videos, why should they care about it?

Personally I buy TV shows on iTunes but I never even considered it anything more than the kind of fee I pay for cable tv, simply less over the course of a year because I only have to pay for what I want to see. If I want something less restricted I buy the dvd set when it comes out. You might comment about how I'm paying twice but frankly, so is every idiot out there paying for cable tv or satellite or whatever subscription service delivering you 25 times as many programs per hour as you'll ever be able to store.

And as a final comment, while you're boycotting companies for pushing these annoying technologies, remember who is really at fault for their very existence: big content. If you are going to boycott the cause for DRM's proliference then you have to boycott even NON DRM CONTENT if it comes from any company that promotes the use of DRM on any of their content anywhere, that means every single movie company since they all use DVD, etc. Let's get it right, if people are going to try and make a stand against nonsensical broken tech, let's at least focus the efforts where they actually matter.

I know I should care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26199681)

but it's such a simple matter for me to record anything that comes out of my audio card and save it off.

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