Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EU Officials Cautious on AntiTrust Issues

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the watch-what-you-do-with-that-drm dept.

156

An anonymous reader writes "News.com has a piece up looking at reactions from EU officials to the iTMS antitrust case. The individuals involved are wary of cracking open the DRM that protects the music sold at the iTunes Music Store." From the article: "One of the most outspoken government advocates on the issue is Norwegian consumer ombudsman Bjorn Erik Thon, who said he would act soon depending on how Apple responds to a letter the government had sent the company. If Apple can require an iPod for songs via iTunes, then music, book and film companies might restrict their products to specific players too, he said."

cancel ×

156 comments

I'll be worried about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550581)

When Hollywood releases a movie playing device. Seriously, I thought the concept of "proprietary formats" was understood by now...

Re:I'll be worried about this (4, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550975)

Well, the PSP is made by a major movie company. Yet, oddly, you can still buy any UMD movie on other formats.

Likewise, you can buy the same albums you see in iTMS from your local CD store, or in some cases from other music download sites. So what, exactly, is the problem?

I used to buy a lot of music from iTMS, but since I've started using my computer as the main playback device on my living-room stereo, I've come to demand lossless formats. Besides, if you want the full album it's usually a better deal to hunt down a used CD.

(I now generally only buy iTMS songs if it's just one tune that I want, and I'm mostly going to be listening in the car or some other setting where I don't care about hi-fi. For example, I recently downloaded "All the Time in the World" by the Subdudes. It's a great summer crusin' song, but I don't give a crap about the rest of the album. So that amounts to about three or four songs a month, which is a fairly small fraction of my music purchases. If iTMS starts offering lossless formats, I might go back to buying large quantities from them, since it is a hell of a lot more convenient than driving to the store... but for now I'm mostly off the bandwagon.)

Media restricted to prefered player only (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550601)

film companies might restrict their products to specific players too

Sounds like Sony and Blu-Ray.

Larger scope (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550632)

Sounds like Sony and Blu-Ray.

Your thinking is too limited. This sounds exactly like DVD and CSS, or Blu-Ray/HD-DVD and AACS. In either case unless you sign agreements to support those DRM standards you are not able to build devices to play that media.

The movie companies MIGHT restrict the products to certain players? They already do today and have for years!!

If I were Apple I'd write back: "Dear Sirs; either ban CSS as well or get off our case."

Re:Larger scope (3, Informative)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550712)

The main difference is - Apple won't license FairPlay to anyone. They will build a little itunes app that can run on a phone, but it's heavily crippled. Let's see Creative or Sandisk get a license to use Apple's DRM - won't happen unless a government body forces them to.

However, with CSS, they will license the technology to just about anyone willing to spend the cash. That's why there are so many cheap no-name DVD players at Wal-Mart and such.

Re:Larger scope (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550783)

So if Apple licenses Fairplay at half a million, we're all dandy right?

Somehow I don't think that's the issue. (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550935)

So if Apple were to agree to license out FairPlay to anyone willing to pay a "fair market value" for it, where the value of the license was equal to the number of FairPlay-compatible players the licensee planned on selling, times Apple's profit margin on an iPod, everyone would be happy? Because I'm pretty sure Apple would be okay with that. Say $75 USD a unit?

Apple is a company which exists to make money for its shareholders. I can guarantee you that they would license the FairPlay scheme to anyone who was willing to pay Apple what it's worth. Unfortunately, the problem here is that nobody -- least of all SanDisk and Creative -- can afford that.

Re:Somehow I don't think that's the issue. (2, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551061)

Your definition of "fair market value" seems to be a lot different from normal licensing schemes.

And second, you've assumed that Apple always does exactly what will make them the most money - it's simply not true.

And lastly, who's to say Apple would make money by licensing fairplay? What if itunes went down the crapper because someone was able to sell fairplay-encoded music in an interface that was better than itunes? What if third party players exploded in popularity, because people could easily transfer all their already-purchased music to those players, and ipod popularity dwindled?

Apple's DRM is about a lot more than just protecting the music studios - it's about vendor lock-in. To be able to deny that, you have to be drinking some serious Kool-Aid

Re:Larger scope (1)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550742)

The movie companies MIGHT restrict the products to certain players? They already do today and have for years!!

If I were Apple I'd write back: "Dear Sirs; either ban CSS as well or get off our case."

Shhh! Don't tip them off, if this goes through ladies and gentlemen it will be the end of CSS and AACS and all this POS. Well, that, or we get a completely toothless piece of paper hailed by its creators as major step forward for consumers and ignored by the world at large.

Re:Larger scope (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550825)

It's NOT the same... any manufacturer can implement a DVD player as they just have to fulfil the requirements (jump through the hoops) to get a licensed implementation of CSS and get their key... Apple however, doesn't allow anyone else to make players that can play content that's been locked up with their system... It's a closed shop with the only exception being that bastardized crippled phone that can only ever hold a maximum of 100 tunes

How is the phone not relevant? (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551028)

It seems to me the Motorola phone is the exception that proves my point. Apple is will to work with some device makers to allow playing on iTunes content outside of an iPod. They are just very picky who they allow to do so.

Re:Larger scope (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550952)

You are right, I was being limited. It would have been better to say it sounds like Sony and Betamax, and we all know what happened with that. In reading my old post it sounds a bit like a troll.

The point I was trying to make is this: If every time the game doesn't go your way, you take your ball and go home the other kids stop playing with you. If you play nice with the other kids, more people like you and everything is more fun. And music players should be fun, right?

Then again, I can cite Microsoft, iPods, and all Apple products before OSX to prove my self wrong.

Ummmm, NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550639)

Other then the fact that SAMSUNG will be releasing a blue-ray player adn that blue-ray is a licensed technology you are correct.

So to summarize, you are incorrect.

Very common (3, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550642)

>> film companies might restrict their products to specific players too
>Sounds like Sony and Blu-Ray.

Sounds like every game console ever made.

Re:Very common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551539)

> Sounds like every game console ever made.
Are you refering to the fact PS games won't play on an xbox or a GameCube etc.?

If so you are forgetting a huge differance.

There are recognized openly available standards for audio, and the player only needs to decode a file.

Writing multiplatform software is alot harder.
I haven't written software for a games console but I have written things to run under Windows and Linux.
You could go for the option of only using things in the Ansi C spec (if using C), but look through the spec, you see anything missing? I do. There is no thread functions, or any graphics functions, for thoose you need to go to the OS, or to other software running on the system (which varies from system to system). And don't even start on interfacing with devices.

Making a game cross platform takes more effort than a one platform game.
However the oppposite is true of music, it takes more effort to make a track that only plays on one player. If you want multiplayer all you need is to use any of the common formats (MP3, Ogg Vorbis). If you want single player you have to create your own format, or use a pre-existing format but modify it not to work except on your player, e.g. use an MP3 file but use AES encryption on it so a player needs to decrypt the file. (OK so reverse engineering could break this, but it would be illegal in the USA, DMCA and all).

Re:Media restricted to prefered player only (2, Funny)

GameEngineer (961102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550643)

"Sounds like Sony and Blu-Ray."

Please for irony's sake let this idiotic claim remain modded Insightful...

Re:Media restricted to prefered player only (1)

madcow_bg (969477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550652)

Nope, my friend...

Sony allows you to play every blu-ray disk to every blu-ray device with every blu-player. It is an unfortunate consequence there are not so many players.

The point is that YOU pay for the music. YOU can listen to it wherever you want, whenever you want.

Re:Media restricted to prefered player only (2, Interesting)

kupan787 (916252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550809)

Actually, the first gen blu-ray players wont be able to play back the quad layer blu-ray disks currently in development. So if you buy a first gen Sony player, you can't play every blu-ray disk.

Sony allows you to play every blu-ray disk to every blu-ray device with every blu-player. It is an unfortunate consequence there are not so many players.

But, Apple allows you to play every iTunes track with every iTunes player (any of the 1G-5G iPods, the Moto ROKR and upcoming iTunes phones, or on my Mac or PC). So hw is it any different? Further, comparing to other companies in similar boats, Apple offers more variety than buying a PS3 (you can only play PS3 games on a PS3), or the Xbox360 (you can only play Xbox 360 games on an Xbox360). So I am not seeing your point...

YOU can listen to it wherever you want, whenever you want.

Also, I can listen to the music I purchase on my iPod, on my computer, on my cellphone (ROKR), in my Car (either via burnt CD, or direct iPod to AUX input), on my home stereo (again, same way as via Car). Hell i can even play it on another music player (convert first to MP3, then load that MP3 on to said player). Also, there isn't someone standing over my with a timer (like teh subscrption music based services) which will delete my tracks if my subscrption runs out. I can listen to my tracks as many times as I want, as long as I want, whenever I want.

Re:Media restricted to prefered player only (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550815)

But wait. The biggest point here is that you cannot build a Blu-Ray player (or DVD player, or HD-DVD player) that will decrypt content without signing NDAs and promising to heavily restrict access to the insides of the player (draconian EULAs, no source, code signing, encryption). Proprietary "standards" are a loss for all.

Re:Media restricted to prefered player only (1)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550736)

Sounds like Sony and Blu-Ray.

Considering Samsung is releasing a Blue Ray player BEFORE Sony I am wondering when my Samsung Fairplay compatible product will be out.

Oh righ, never.

Re:Media restricted to prefered player only (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551295)

Bullshit. Apple doesn't make the music, they just distribute it. You can buy the same music from a huge number of other vendors. Now, if Sony were to make their movies Blu-Ray only and, on top of that, SONY Blu-Ray players only, then this analogy would work for them, but it doesn't stick for Apple. The guy used a very crappy analogy.

Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (2, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550602)

Really, you do. Infact Mr. Jobs has his gun pointing at your head right this minute. I cant hear him now, "BUY FROM iTUNES! DONT BUY A CD OR LISTEN TO THE RADIO"

I swear people get dumber and dumber the more consumerist we become.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (0, Redundant)

Phillup (317168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550659)

Not only do you have to buy from iTunes... but, what you purchase will only work on a iPod.

So, if you want to listen to it with your computer... any computer mind you... you are out of luck!

They should at least give you the option of converting the songs to a "regular" CD that would play anywhere a "normal" CD would!!

</sarcasm>

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (2, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550812)

If you want to BUY major label music in digital format (ie without the hassle of ripping a CD and hoping they haven't added some new CD DRM to prevent that), and play it on your ipod, you DO have to buy it from itunes, or one of the shady overseas operations.

If you DO purchase music from the ITMS, it will ONLY work on a computer on an ipod. So, if a really kickass Sandisk player comes out a month from now, you're fucked. If you have that fancy new PDA with a huge storage card - tough luck, you can't play your itunes songs.

And I am sick and tired of fanboys throwing out the "you can rip to CD" line. First off, apple has already decreased the number of burns you're allowed. Who's to say they won't keep doing so until you aren't allowed to burn at all? Second off, buring to CD loses quality. Third off, if you wanted to go through all the hassle of dealing with physical media, you'd be better off buying the fucking CD IN THE FIRST PLACE at a damn brick and mortar store.

The whole point of digital downloads is CONVENIENCE. Apple DRM does zero to prevent a motivated pirate (as you point out with the CD ripping), yet it provides great inconvenience and limitations for legit paying customers.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (1, Insightful)

pyros (61399) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550918)

Second off, buring to CD loses quality.

No it doesn't. Going from a lossy compressed format to CDDA gives the save audio content. If you turn around and go back down to another lossy compressed format, it will potentially (probably) lose quailty from the original uncompressed copy that was used to generate the lossy compressed copy you bought from iTunes. (master DAT -> aac -> CDDA/wav -> mp3). Since the CD was made from a lossy compressed copy, it may have already lost everything that the mp3 compression of the original DAT would have lost, so going from the CD to mp3 might not lose anything. But just going from aac to cd won't lose anything.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551018)

I should have been more clear - burning to CD then ripping back into itunes loses quality. For a given song it might be unnoticable, or it might ne noticable. Either way it sucks.

Even if you burn to CD and rip back to AAC, you're going DAT-AAC-WAV-AAC.

There are two compression steps there - the WAV isn't the same as the DAT original, and so your encoding is going to be different as well. When it's given an uncompressed WAV, AAC doesn't somehow magically know which bits were thrown away so it can rebuild the original AAC.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (1)

pyros (61399) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551102)

I've always been under the impression that audio compression looked for certain digital representations of particular audio characteristics, and chunked the ones considered imperceptible. So at some point, all such bits will no longer be present, resulting in no more quality loss, just plain data compression.

No, you don't, and few people do. (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551022)

...without the hassle of ripping a CD...

The only people unwilling to go through the "hassle" of ripping from a CD and who instead buy tracks at $0.99/song are people who have so much money to burn, they probably don't even know SanDisk or Creative exist, or that there are other MP3 players out there besides the iPod.

Seriously -- get a clue. The vast majority of songs on the vast majority of iPods in the world have been ripped from CDs (or downloaded illegally). The iTMS is a sideline, albeit a profitable one, but it's one that Apple would happily sacrifice in a particular market if the alternative in any way cut into their iPod hardware sales.

I don't know anyone who buys an iPod and then loads it up with music from the iTMS, or who bought an iPod because of iTMS. Who can afford to? By the time you filled that iPod up, it would be worth as much as a fairly decent, brand-new car. No, most people rip from CD, and it's dead easy to do. Frankly, sticking the CD in the drive and clicking on Import is easier, out of the box, than getting stuff from the iTMS is. (No signing up for an account, no entering your credit-card number, no high-speed internet required for good experience, etc.)

Nobody HAS to buy anything from iTMS. I'm sure there are lots and lots of people out there who can testify to the fact that they own iPods and have never bought anything from the iTMS. Personally, the only stuff I've bought was a few Audible books, and the free songs I've gotten from Pepsi caps. Even the people who download from the iTMS regularly, I'd wager, have far more songs on their computers from other sources than they do from the iTMS.

In short, you're vastly exaggerating the difficulty of ripping music from CD, and overstating the importance of the iTMS. If anything, the number of people out there with iPods is what will keep record companies from ever selling many un-rippable CDs, since so many people buy CDs and the first thing they do is stick them in their computers and rip them to their iPod.

If Apple offered a Napster-like music subscription ("all you can eat") service through the iTMS, then I would start to see your point of view: then you'd have a digital download service that was a practical source from which to fill up a HD-based music player. But at 99 cents a song, and much higher in some places in Europe, the iTMS certainly isn't it.

Re:No, you don't, and few people do. (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551087)

Seriously -- get a clue. The vast majority of songs on the vast majority of iPods in the world have been ripped from CDs (or downloaded illegally). The iTMS is a sideline, albeit a profitable one, but it's one that Apple would happily sacrifice in a particular market if the alternative in any way cut into their iPod hardware sales.

One billion songs is a sideline?

http://www.apple.com/itunes/1billion/ [apple.com]

The point isn't to fill an ipod up with music from itunes. The point is the many many people out there who get some free itunes songs in a coke bottle, set up an account to download them, then say "oh it's only a buck" when that hot new Lil Jon song comes out. Keep that up for a year, and suddenly it's become a royal pain in the ass to buy anything other than an ipod, even if a good chunk of your music isn't from the ITMS.

That's called vendor lock-in.

Re:No, you don't, and few people do. (3, Interesting)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551155)

I too don't understand what the "hassle" is...

Ripping a CD is just starting one of the many CD ripping utilities, clicking once (possibly twice depending on the utility), waiting for the disk to pop out and archiving it. That's what I do whenever I buy a new CD. Then I synced my ~/Media/sound/MP3 tree with my iRiver H320 (now lost —whine— waiting for a Creative replacement) every now and then.

Once every 3 months, I have to enter the track info myself because they don't seem to be on the freedb (or because I don't like the way they have been entered). Ok, that's sort of a minor hassle.

Maybe in Windows it's really horribly complicated but somehow I doubt it...

Re:No, you don't, and few people do. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551250)

It's not any more complicated in Windows; you put the CD into the drive, open up iTunes, click Import. It defaults to 128 kbit AAC, but you can change it to MP3 by going into the Preferences -- I think that requires maybe four clicks at most, although I don't have it in front of me to test.

iTunes became popular both on the Mac and the PC even before the iPod or the iTMS because it made ripping stuff from CD and organizing it dead easy. I know a lot of people (mostly older / nontechnical folks) who never really understood the whole MP3 thing when it was Musicmatch Jukebox or WinAmp, but understood iTunes enough to rip their CD collection and burn mix CDs. (That was the original mantra of iTunes: "Rip, Mix, Burn.")

Now other programs have matched or arguably surpassed iTunes in ease-of-use, but it's certainly not a hassle to rip from a CD.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551345)

So, if a really kickass Sandisk player comes out a month from now, you're fucked.

You'd have the same "problem" if you bought music from any other music download store, and a really kickass iPod came out. At least with iTunes tracks you have the option of burning to CD, unlike most WMA stores.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (3, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550693)

It's that whole leveraging a monopoly thing. Microsoft didn't hold a gun to your head and force you to use IE, either, but they got nailed for bundling it with windows. In a lot of ways, the Apple DRM is even more strong-arm than MS's inclusion of IE. But the Apple apologists always act like it's ok, because they are Apple.

I use exclusively Apple computers. I own three ipods. I bought a new macbook within a few days of launch. All my friends call me an Apple fanboy because I constantly try to convince people to switch. But I'm not so gullible to think that the ipod/itunes lockin isn't a blatant abuse of the customer. Apple has pretty much guaranteed I am going to keep downloading my music from bittorrent, by using an artificial extra layer to limit customer choice, and still have no effect on piracy.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (4, Informative)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550855)

It's that whole leveraging a monopoly thing.


No, it's not. What Microsoft did in the 90s was leveraging a monopoly, and I'll explain below.

Microsoft didn't hold a gun to your head and force you to use IE, either, but they got nailed for bundling it with windows. In a lot of ways, the Apple DRM is even more strong-arm than MS's inclusion of IE. But the Apple apologists always act like it's ok, because they are Apple.


You don't explain how exactly Apple's DRM is more strong-arm than Microsoft's inclusion of Internet Explorer. To use an iPod or iTunes, you don't even have to ever touch FairPlay, and just listen to your own MP3s. Microsoft's inclusion of Internet Explorer was targeted because it was a part of a series of behavior that included:

1.) Coercive OEM deals that threatened Windows license removals if manufacturers included rival software on new systems, including Netscape. Because of Windows dominance, a license removal would be commercial suicide.
2.) Vaporware announcements designed to lure customers away from buying existing competing products.
3.) Purposeful incompatibilities designed to make competing products appear as malfunctioning.

The big one is #1, and every time someone compares the iPod/iTunes tie-up to Microsoft's monopoly abuses of the 90s, I have to call them on it and point out Apple is doing absolutely no such thing. Apple is not calling up retail stores and telling them that if they don't remove all non-Apple music players from their shelves, Apple will no longer sell iPods through them. Apple doesn't really do anything about competing products. They, for the most part, completely ignore them and just let their own product design shine through.

But I'm not so gullible to think that the ipod/itunes lockin isn't a blatant abuse of the customer.


This is ridiculous. There is no abuse of customers going on. You're not forced to buy music from Apple, and if you do, it is of your own volition. You may also be disappointed to learn that if you buy an XBox 360, you can only play XBox games and not Playstation 2 games, even though they both use the same DVD format. Nobody is forcing the customer to do anything they don't want to do.

Apple has pretty much guaranteed I am going to keep downloading my music from bittorrent, by using an artificial extra layer to limit customer choice, and still have no effect on piracy.


You haven't explained how anybody's choice is being limited. You have free choice to buy music from Apple, with the implications that their service works only with other Apple products, as is their right. Or you have the free choice not to buy Apple's music, and just use MP3s you rip yourself. You also have the choice to buy any one of the myriad of competing music players that use PlaysForSure and other services. I fail to see what consumer choice is being limited here.

iTunes is specifically designed as part of Apple's vertical solution strategy, a medium for interacting with the iPod, and the iTunes Music Store specifically exists to provide music for people who have purchased the iPod. Apple is simply providing services to increase the value of an iPod to potential customers, just as they ship iLife only for Macs. It's adding value to a hardware purchase, just like when Nintendo releases first-party games to increase the value of a Nintendo hardware purchase. I may want to play New Super Mario Bros. on a PSP, but I'm not going to consider it monopoly abuse that I can't.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (1)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551290)

This entire "concern" over Apple and iTunes is entirely related to the idea of the MP3 as some sort of universal standard of music consumption. Even excusing the proprietary MPEG-3 compression standard rhetoric, most people see the argument as "a music file is a music file is a music file."

This stands in sharp contrast to a Nintendo cartridge vs. a PSP UMD vs. an XBox CD/DVD. In reality it's nothing more than sleight of hand, but to the end consumer (and unfortunately, most legislators), a company should have the right to dictate what game software they allow on their system, but should not have the right to dictate which music file types/DRM they allow on their system.

Obviously, the underlying assumption here is that any DRM that is controlled by one company (and unlicensable), rather than by an industry at large, is considered to be bad. Whether or not you believe to be this true will ultimately govern your own opinions on this case.

Re:Because you HAVE to buy from iTunes (2, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550943)

I'm growing more concerned that some people apparently believe the mere fact Apple owns most of the music player market means there is an inherent legal right to open up FairPlay. If Apple has done no wrong and abused no one, there is no basis to punish Apple by doing that. Before anyone brings up the inevitable comparisons to Microsoft in the 90s, Microsoft specifically stifled competition by threatening Windows license removals from OEMs who shipped competing software. So they would force computer makers to stop shipping Netscape, then they bundled Internet Explorer for free with every copy of Windows. That is an example of leveraging a monopoly to stifle competition.

Releasing a music player and providing a first-party service or add-on for it to increase its value and appeal (just as companies like Nintendo do when they produce Metroid and Zelda), then watching as the music player goes on to be the most popular music player, is not an abuse.

Ignorant Government Idiots (2, Informative)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550636)

One more time and all together now:

You don't have to use an iPod to play iTunes Music!

Options:
1. Play music on your computer (Windows or Mac)
2. Burn CD and play on your stereo
3. Re-rip to MP3

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (2, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550668)

4. lose quality and waste more time than you would have driving to the store to buy the fucking cd
5. ???
6. profit for everyone but you

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550688)

Lose quality? Where? Did you forget you can re-rip to AIFF or even FLAC?

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (3, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550724)

uh... ANY lossy re-encode degrades quality. When you go from lossy format A to lossy format B, B chooses different bits to lose, and A has already lost some. Encoding to the CD itself loses quality.

Nevermind that if you rip to a lossless format, you're wasting tons of HD space and certainly not improving over the quality of your much-smaller AAC.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (2, Informative)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550786)

As you point out, the CD is downsampled from the original master recording using an even less efficient lossy compression algorithm than AAC, namely "throwing away bits." But Apple encodes tracks in the iTunes Music Store using the studio's master recordings. So it's not completely out of the question that iTMS tracks could be perceptually closer to the original than the CDs, even at one-tenth the data rate.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550848)

But if you then burn that AAC file to a CD, instead of the CD being recorded directly from a master, it's recorded from something where bits were already thrown away. Hence, you lose quality by using the "burn and re-rip" loophole that the fanboys like to tout as proof that Fairplay isn't evil. IF you want digital music without DRM, the best quality you're gonna get is either buying the CD and ripping it, or getting it from a pirate site.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

holt (86624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550777)

Ok, then go "to the store to buy the fucking CD." I don't see the problem. What makes you think you have to buy this content from iTunes Music Store?

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (2, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550883)

Well for one, the record labels are also adding DRM to CDs.

For two, unfortunately most normal computer users don't understand DRM and how it limits their rights until it's too late. Relying on consumer ignorance to lock them into a DMCA-protected proprietary DRM scheme is unethical and should be illegal.

I hate the "if you don't like it, don't buy it" argument - if you don't like windows, don't buy it. But definitely don't ask the government to step in and do something about their abuse of monopoly power. After all, if you don't like it, you don't HAVE to use it.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551251)

Has anyone actually found some DRM-ed CDs that did anything to a Linux machine ?

I found out (after the fact) that I had a few "protected" disks (apparently they weren't even audio CDs anymore) and the ripping software doesn't even seem to notice. Apparently most of them rely on adding a data track to the CD which automates the installation of Windows drivers.

For now, DRM is still irrelevant to some users. Can't say what the future will hold of course...

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551520)

For two, unfortunately most normal computer users don't understand DRM and how it limits their rights until it's too late.

How is "when they sign up for an account" too late?

Relying on consumer ignorance to lock them into a DMCA-protected proprietary DRM scheme is unethical and should be illegal.

The only thing that relies on consumer ignorance is your argument. You seem to be implying that Apple is keeping the DRM restrictions secret, which they are not.

I hate the "if you don't like it, don't buy it" argument - if you don't like windows, don't buy it.

Uh, ok. I don't like Windows, so I didn't buy Windows. What's your point?

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

punkass (70637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550841)

Yeah, it's really too bad that they outlawed music stores after iTMS came to be, eh?

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550720)

It's also possible to strip the DRM from the iTunes AAC files with JHymn [hymn-project.org] . However, there aren't many players that play AAC files, so even without the DRM, you're pretty much SOL

Of course, mentioning this product violates the DMCA, which violates my right to free speech, but I'm posting anonymously anyway.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550897)

Hold on! Hymn only functions on tunes you bought in iTunes 5. For iTunes 6 you are on your own. As for players that can do AAC without DRM: I don't know for players under Windows, but xmms does just fine. You just have to install the AAC plugin. I don't think it will play the DRMed version, but those that I unDRMed with Hymn back when iTunes 5 was current, work just fine. I haven't bought from iTunes since version 6 is out.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

moracity (925736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550749)

Amen! iTMS and iPod are separate entities having no dependence on the other. How hard is this to understand? I have an iPod and 99.9% of my music is NOT from iTMS. If I threw my iPod away, I could still buy all the music I want from iTMS and play it where ever I want. Sure, there's an extra step...so what? It's no different than downloading(legally) a movie, then having to burn it to a DVD for playback on a DVD player.

If anything, I'd like someone to force Apple to have better quality encoding on their downloads. The few albums I do have from iTMS sound awful. Not being able to re-download songs is a real turn-off as well. I don't think iTMS albums are worth $9.99.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550753)

You forgot:

4. Play music on selected phones.

That said I don't think companies that intentionally restrict consumer rights above and beyond what copyright law does should be given the protections of copyright. It should be an either or proposition. Either copyright your song and consumers are obligated to follow the rules about not copying it, but you cannot impose any additional rules, or don't copyright it and impose your own technological restrictions, but if someone breaks your DRM they can do anything they want with it including republish.

I think what Apple is doing now is wholly necessary, but only because they are competing against the windows media format which is illegally bundled with a monopoly OS. I'm all for the EU making it illegal to further restrict use of copyrighted media by either format and the return to sane, standard formats that will entail. All I really ask, however, is they apply whatever standard equally to both iTunes and Windows Media.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550983)

I've been thinking about that recently. The same should be applied to any sort of "creative property" for lack of a better term.

Copyright is designed to enrich the public knowledge pool by giving authors a time-limited monopoly on distribution of their works. Without such a monopoly, many authors or inventors would simply try to keep their knowledge secret, which doesn't benefit the public. This is obvious with respect to books, especially when copying is very easy. In the software world, companies who do not release the source code for public inspection aren't really publishing anything in the sense that copyright assumes. The copyright on Windows 1.0 will expire in 2080, IIRC, assuming another retroactive extension is not made by Congress. This source will not likely be available anywhere (even at Microsoft) since it was never published, yet Microsoft gets a monopoly on the distribution of it and its derivative works (the binary).

I think that you make sense. If you don't publish your source, you don't get copyright. If forgo copyright protection, feel free to put whatever restrictions you want on your binary files, and even make EULAs that forbid redistribution, etc. If you do publish, you can't put any other restrictions on the files.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551055)

If you don't publish your source, you don't get copyright.

I have previously advocated going even further. For those companies that do publish a work, they use copyright to make a profit. They stop making a profit when they stop selling that work. I think the day a publisher stops selling a work at a reasonable market price is the day that work should enter the public domain and stay there. That will ensure all works, even ones the publisher does not find profitable, do not "vanish" as so many have in the last several decades. I also still think we need a reasonable and shorter maximum copyright duration as well and protections for creators versus distributors. The artist(s) involved in the creation of a work should be guaranteed no less than 50% of the profit from each sale (note profit not cost). Copyright reform is badly needed, but sadly most people just don't care that our musical, artistic, literary, and cinematic heritage is being steadily destroyed.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551127)

I'd be happy with a blanket copyright of 5 years with an extension to 10 if still commercially sold.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550866)

Are really 2. and 3. free and legal ?

Disclaimer : this may be, I don't use iTunes nor iPods

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550911)

Are really 2. and 3. free and legal ?

Yes, they are both free and legal. And clearly documented by Apple.

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550962)

then why the proprietray format ? I must have missed something...

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550992)

1) I do not have a Windows or Mac
2) As strange as it might seem. My PC is my stereo (see 1)
3) Legally?

Re:Ignorant Government Idiots (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551038)

1) I do not have a Windows or Mac
Then you are not one of their potential customers. Just like MS will have trouble selling me Xbox games because I do not have an Xbox.

3) Legally?
Yes. The capability is built into iTunes.

So? (5, Insightful)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550662)

So what? Game companies can make games that run on only one platform. The company that makes my water pitcher makes filters that can only fit in one brand of pitchers.

The problem isn't the DRM itself. Apple (and others) make intentionally crippled products, limited by this DRM junk. The consumer is free to decide if the crippled product is worth the price he/she is being asked to pay. If it's not, the product goes away, for lack of a market. Maybe some consumers DO find it a worthwhile trade, and the company can flouish because of it. Maybe some don't. If a government interferes with that process, it's interfereing with the free market.

The problem comes in when the government also interferes by making it illegal to circumvent the DRM, or do other "unauthorized" things to products people already have purchased. If Apple wants to sell me a crippled product, but I can make it better by circumventing the DRM, so be it. I haven't done anything ethically wrong until I've redistributed the product (presuming one buys into copyright as a valid concept, which we will for purposes of this dicussion). Maybe that easy circumvention is WHY it's worth it to me ot purchase the product. No one's going to tell me I can't rewire my blender to make it operate past spec, or cram together my own water filter out of parts I find in the store. It shouldn't be any different with media.

The solution is for government to butt out entirely.

"Just don't buy it" is a fallacy. (0, Flamebait)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550702)

I refer you to this article on "why market forces cannot correct DRM" [boingboing.net]

Further.. only in commodity type markets where there are substitute goods do people actually have the choice to "buy from another vendor". Copyrighted works are a monopoly market, and for this excercise the morality of this monopoly is not what is in question.. it's the way the market is. As such you do not have the option of buying the work from a vendor with less restrictions, there is only one vendor.

Re:"Just don't buy it" is a fallacy. (1)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551167)

At the moment, you most certainly do. You can buy most CDs without DRM, and a few stores, such as E-Music, sell a little mainstream music without DRM.

Even if those options go away, there's nothing preventing Joe Garage Band from releasing his music without DRM, to make it more appealing than the corporate-controlled music that has DRM.

I'd argue (seperately) that the concept of copyright isn't really valid, and the sorts of monopolies you speak of with regard to individual works are indeed a problem - for far more reasons than the connection to DRM. But one doesn't need to buy into that argument to see that DRM is an aspect of a product consumers can take or leave, of their own volition.

Re:So? (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550858)

Your entire argument rests on two incredibly huge assumptions. The first is that people are educated about DRM. The second is that there is a non-DRM replacement for each thing that. As most who watch the tech scene know, these two assumptions are absolutely, laughably false. People do not know what DRM is. Oh, and try buying the latest movie release (legitimately) without DRM.

Re:So? (1)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551230)

I'm not making those assumptions. But I don't want a government to interfere with a process consumers are empowered to direct themselves. Most people aren't informed about DRM. But there's nothing to stop them from getting informed. IF they don't, then so be it. It means they don't care. And the market will respond accordingly, to serve the things they do care about.

I know you can't easily buy the latest movie release without DRM (the vast majority of the time). So? If there are enough people so bothered by the DRM that the product doesn't sell, the policy will change. If there aren't that many people so bothered, than apparently it isn't enough of a deterrent to most people that the producer should have any reason to care. So be it.

I'm OK with DRM staying around, if it's what the free market decides it can live with. But I don't want the government telling me it's illegal for there to be an alternative scenerio. I would hope consumers would wise up and cast off DRM; maybe they won't. But so long as it's legal to circumvent DRM, or to buy products without them (think small, indy producers), I can shop around for a product that suits me.

Re:So? (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551400)

I'm not making those assumptions.

Oh OK. Hey wait a minute:

I'm OK with DRM staying around, if it's what the free market decides it can live with.

So you're assuming that we have a free market. What does a free market require? Consumer education, as well as competition between providers. Which, as my previous post points out, do not exist.

Re:So? (1)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551128)

No one's going to tell me I can't rewire my blender to make it operate past spec, or cram together my own water filter out of parts I find in the store.

I own the electrical system inside my home, but I'm legally required to hire a licensed electrician to modify it. I can't perform home renovations (even purely internal ones) without a building permit. I can't cut down my own tree in my own yard that's over 6 inches in diameter at chest height. I can't legally inhale the wonderful fumes from my own aeresol can, or melt down that Sudafed and make meth with it.

Now, I don't agree with any of these laws. I'm just saying that there are already laws that limit what you can privately do with your own stuff.

Re:So? (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551338)

Some of those are in the interest of other people's safety. DRM is only in the interest of securing a laughably failing business model. Nobody benefits.

Re:So? (1)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551348)

Fair point. But as you note, those are arguably bad laws too.

"Might"? that's the freaking point! (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550670)

The whole point of DRM was never to stop piracy, but to force any and all vendors to license the use of official playback by preventing them engineering their own playback ability.

Ed Felten has pointed this out on numerous occasions, and I seriously doubt these government officials are so stupid as to not see it.

News flash corporate sellouts: you can't have your cake and eat it too..

DRM is deliberate incompatibility, and if you protect it you can't encourage interoperability at the same time!

Re:"Might"? that's the freaking point! (2, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550716)

The pupose of DRM is to force the switch from a model where consumers buy their media (or at least a support that holds it and that can be kept ad vitam eternam) to a model where people rent their media, Whether some material support is involved or not.

Ummm... Those industries already do that. (2, Interesting)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550677)

There are tons of DRM'ed music, books, and movies. I'm fair sure Sony required people to convert their music into their ATRAC format for their early "MP3" players. eBooks often can only be read by specific programs on certain platforms. DRM protected DVDs can only be played on certain DVD players (albeit, this point is much less restrictive than many others.). Sure, you can (supposedly) only play music obtained from ITMS through an iPod or iTunes, but honestly, is it that big of a restriction? If you buy an iPod, you're likely to want digital music, and since not everyone is a pirate, they want to buy it. So Apple sets up a service for their product. There are other services that are less platform restricted, and some that are completely free of platform restrictions. Didn't the Prismiq have a media download service? I wouldn't be surprised if that media could only be played on the Prismiq. Was that available in Europe?

Re:Ummm... Those industries already do that. (1)

E-Rock (84950) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550822)

Being wildly successful makes you subject to special scrutiny. You think that Microsoft could get away with selling Computers and the OS the way Apple can? No way! Since Apple is the market in digital media, and even outsells retail (http://news.com.com/iTunes+outsells+traditional+m usic+stores/2100-1027_3-5965314.html), they're lucky that all people want is to let the music be played on other devices.

This is ridiculous (4, Insightful)

ostermei (832410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550689)

"If Apple can require an iPod for songs via iTunes, then music, book and film companies might restrict their products to specific players too, [Norwegian consumer ombudsman Bjorn Erik Thon] said."
That's such a load of crap. He may have a point if Apple were the originators of the content itself, but that's not the case. Apple is just one of many retail salepoints for songs that are produced elsewhere. If he doesn't like Apple's particular way of selling the songs, he has every right to purchase his music somewhere else (including buying the physical CD and ripping the music into whatever DRM-free format he would like... MP3, for example, which would still play on that iPod he apparently was forced to buy).

A more accurate way to argue the point he's making is to say that it would allow retailers to restrict the products they sell to specific players. For example, Barnes & Noble might start selling only ebooks in a proprietary .bn format that can only be played on their bnReader device. That won't stop you from swinging by Borders and picking up the good ol' dead-tree version, though.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551010)

That's such a load of crap. He may have a point if Apple were the originators of the content itself, but that's not the case.

I think you're missing several important points. First it does not matter how many companies are intermediaries or what options are available today. Copyright is supposed to be a two-sided deal. If the government provided a monopoly on the publication of something, subject to a whole series of rules and restrictions, why should content producers be able to implement technology that takes those rights away from the purchaser? I mean, if the law already states the proper balance of rights, why should the government grant them a monopoly at all if they are further restricting it?

As for choice, sure you can buy a CD today, maybe. Many of those CDs now have DRM as well and they may not even be available tomorrow. My opinion is DRM should void the copyright deal. Let them put any technological restrictions they want on it, but the government should not have to uphold their half of the deal then either and if someone cracks it, it is free to distribute. That sounds fair to me.

The second point you're missing is this is being presented by some parties as an antitrust issue. If Apple has a monopoly on digital music players (which is a big if) then they are illegally tying ITMS and iPods. Now MS is doing the same thing with WMF and Windows, and the EU has done nothing, but two wrongs don't make a right.

For example, Barnes & Noble might start selling only ebooks in a proprietary .bn format that can only be played on their bnReader device. That won't stop you from swinging by Borders and picking up the good ol' dead-tree version, though.

Nope. What he's saying is the book publisher might start offering it only in the .epb format, which can only be read on their player and not selling a dead tree version. Then the consumer must choose between not reading a work (or possibly any works) or reading it with fewer rights than the copyright deal signed into law grants them.

I say it is time to reform copyright, including making DRM illegal. I don't mean just Apple's DRM. I mean all of it.

Re:This is ridiculous (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551184)

If Apple has a monopoly on digital music players (which is a big if) then they are illegally tying ITMS and iPods.

You had me up to here. They are doing no such thing: they're not saying you have to use music from their store, in fact you can load music onto that iPod from anyplace you want (including pirated stuff).

If you choose to get music from the iTMS, then it becomes locked to the iPod: but it's not as if the consumer doesn't have a number of alternatives besides the iTMS.

Were Apple to make it so that you suddenly had to get your music from the Music Store in order to use that iPod that you just bought, then there would be a serious antitrust issue. But all the arguments I've seen basically ignore the fact that most people don't get their music from the iTMS! People still buy CDs every day, and put that music onto their iPod.

The line that seems to be coming up in this discussion a lot so far is that the music companies are adding DRM to their CDs, and thus the alternative avenue to the iTMS is being cut off. If this is happening, and if the market doesn't correct it (because I bet people aren't going to be very pleased when they can't put that new CD onto their iPod), then there's a place for regulation: at the very least, DRMed CDs should be required to prominently warn consumers that they're not rippable.

But generally, if the music companies start selling DRMed CDs, it doesn't make sense to turn around and punish Apple. Punish the companies selling "defective" CDs: since many more songs are sold every year on CD than on the iTMS, DRMed CDs present much more of a threat to the marketplace than where you can use iTMS-downloaded songs.

Basically, I find the whole iTMS argument flawed. Basically people are taking the iPod's possible monopoly over portable music players, and use that to justify cracking open Apple's music distribution outfit. This doesn't make any sense: Apple doesn't have a monopoly over music distribution; in reality the iTMS doesn't have more than a few percent of the worldwide music-sales market versus CDs and other sources. The thing they have a monopoly over (the iPod) is already open to non-Apple music.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551479)

You had me up to here. They are doing no such thing: they're not saying you have to use music from their store, in fact you can load music onto that iPod from anyplace you want (including pirated stuff).

I don't think you understand antitrust law. Whether or not you can load data from elsewhere is irrelevant. If Apple has a digital music player monopoly then it illegal for them to gain any advantage from that monopoly to gain market share in another market (DRM formats, jukebox software, OS's, or peppermint stick sales).

Suppose Apple has a monopoly with the iPod. They also are in the digital music downloads market. It is illegal for them to do anything with the iPod to gain an advantage over Napster or Sony in the digital music downloads market. Can Napster bundle their software with every iPod sold? If not, neither can Apple. Can Napster restrict their music with DRM on the iPod? If not it is illegal for Apple to do. Basically, the iPod division at Apple has to treat products in markets other than the monopoly just as they would products from another company. When the ITMS calls them and says, "hey we want to integrate seamlessly with your player and we wrote some protocols" Apple is legally obligated to treat them the same as if Sony called with the same request. That means no secret protocols, no bundling, and no favoritism. Either everyone gets to ship their music player on CD with iPods, or no one does. It's the law.

Basically people are taking the iPod's possible monopoly over portable music players, and use that to justify cracking open Apple's music distribution outfit. This doesn't make any sense: Apple doesn't have a monopoly over music distribution; in reality the iTMS doesn't have more than a few percent of the worldwide music-sales market...

That is the whole point. It is not illegal for them to have a monopoly on music players. It is illegal for them to use the monopoly on music players to unfairly gain market share in music sales or any other market. All this assumes they have such a monopoly, which has not yet been determined.

To show a parallel. MS has a monopoly on Windows. That is legal. They bundled Windows Media Player with Windows. That is illegal. They wrote secret, undocumented protocols to let their new server OS better interoperate with Windows desktop (the monopoly) while other OS's could not. That was illegal. The UE convicted MS of both of these abuses, but they did not yet stop either of them. It would be hypocritical of the EU to stop Apple's monopoly abuse when they have allowed MS's in the very same market. Personally, I think the EU should stop both.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

Chazmyrr (145612) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551046)

Yes, because repurchasing the same content in each new format is not only the best way to spend the money I earn, it's also the best way to guarantee that companies will have high profit margins since they won't have to produce any new content.

Confusing the device provider w/content provider. (5, Insightful)

Sierran (155611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550697)

This is a common trend. I'm not a fan of zealous copyright wielding, and (full disclosure) I am an iPod owner. On the other hand, around 95% of the music on my iPod is there through having been ripped off a CD collection I've been accruing over the past 15 years. The Norwegian ombudsman's quote seems to me to miss the one critical point that other posters above me have had no trouble seeing: The fact that Apple is the sole source of the player but not the content. If they were the sole source of both, that would indeed be a problem. If there were no other way to get music onto an iPod, that would indeed be a problem. If there were no other way to get downloaded music from the internet legally onto an iPod, that would be a problem. However, those aren't true. You can buy music on CD. You can get it on vinyl. You can buy it from places like eMusic.com (no, I have no affiliation other than having paid them for a month of service) and download it as DRM-free MP3s, which can happily be loaded onto Apple's iTunes and iPod.


The only part of the Apple solution that is 'locked' is the iTunes Music Store. And as we can see, everything available through there (with the exception of a few 'exclusive tracks!') is also available *elsewhere* - and there's a great deal of content that *isn't* available there. Furthermore, Apple makes no attempt to lock the iPod down from handling this other, DRM-free content (and if anyone whines 'it won't play format xxx' I slap them).


At that point, the thing that their 'lock' is protecting is their 'ease of use' consumer flow. In other words, we built this thing in such a way that the only people who can extract rents from downloading music to it (i.e. use DRM to make people pay money to download music to it) is us. If people want to invest a little energy and time, they can put music on it to their heart's content without having to cope with anybody's DRM, but if they want to accept the DRM and pay the cash for ease-of-use, they have to pay it to us.


That's what capitalism is all about. There's a perfectly good way onto the iPod for music that isn't from ITMS. If you don't want to pay Apple, don't. Buy a CD and rip it. Hell, record it yourself and load it. Your iPod will play it just fine. These bills have zip to do with protecting consumers, they have to do with protecting other businesses who want to extract their own rents in the DRM download market and want to freeload off the iPod's popularity. Screw 'em.

Re:Confusing the device provider w/content provide (1, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550729)

The problem is the music industry does not allow anyone else to sell in a less restricted format.

And cd's are not an example of this, they now contain some of the most virulent DRM ever produced. Since they are not encrypted they now come bundled with software which roots your system and incapacitates it to varying degrees based on which company made it.. and no i'm not just talking about XCP/sony rootkit drm either..

Let me guess you are an american (0, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550759)

That's what capitalism is all about.

That is right, Apple, iTunes, RIAA, sueing kids, that is what capitalism is all about. Norway isn't a capilalist country, the is socialist or by american standard, communist. Apple wants to sell in Norway then it got to play by norwegian rules.

Companies are free from not entering the european market. But Apple wants to have their cake and eat it too. Just because americans have a goverment that is so cheaply bought doesn't mean the rest of the world works the same.

Good job Norway. What do you know, a goverment official looking out for the people. It must be a cold day in hell.

Re:Let me guess you are an american (1)

calstraycat (320736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551307)

Norway isn't a capilalist country, the is socialist or by american standard, communist.

What a patently absurd statement. Norway is neither a socialist nor a communist state.

Re:Confusing the device provider w/content provide (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550818)

You have a lot of options:

Buy CDs (or LPs).
Buy non-DRM MP3s.
Buy from iTMS and play it on your computer.
Buy from iTMS and burn to CD and play anywhere.
Buy from another vendor.
Don't buy music at all..
etc.

Re:Confusing the device provider w/content provide (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550912)

The only part of the Apple solution that is 'locked' is the iTunes Music Store... That's what capitalism is all about.

We're talking about anti-trust law here. If Apple is wielding monopoly power in the digital music player space (which has yet to be determined by the courts) then advantaging themselves in any way in the separate music jukebox software space is a violation of the law. It doesn't matter that people can download some music from other places and put it on the iPod. It doesn't matter if they can rip the same music from CDs. It is easier for consumers to buy from ITMS, so Apple gains an advantage. Heck, just distributing iTunes with every iPod is illegal (if they are wielding monopoly power).

Now, there are several big caveats here. First, Apple has about 70% of the market, last I looked, which makes their being declared a monopoly pretty iffy. Second, the definition of markets is vague. It would be perfectly reasonable for the courts to rule that DRM'd digital music downloads and non-DRM'd digital music downloads are different markets. Third, For DRM formats, Apple is competing against Microsoft's WMF format. Microsoft has already been convicted of abusing their monopoly to promote that format and as such is not really in a position to bring complaints against Apple. Further, they have not stopped leveraging that monopoly and the courts have not acted to stop them. Apple can easily argue that the EU is unfairly discriminating against it if they apply a harsher penalty against them. Does anyone thing Apple offering a special version of the iPod upon request that costs the same, but does not include iTunes will make any difference in the market?

Basically, Apple is verging on doing something illegal, but MS has clearly already done the same thing and was punished a slap on the wrist. Now I'm all for forcing Apple to open their DRM or for making DRM illegal entirely, but they need to apply the same standard to MS as well.

Re:Confusing the device provider w/content provide (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550915)

This isn't capitalism, this is "the Wal-Mart Effect". Apple has established itself as the gatekeeper of sorts for digital music. The Apple/iPod/iTunes brands are as synonymous with portable music players and online music stores as Wal-Mart is with consumer goods super stores. As with Wal-Mart, Apple is in the position of making market decisions for others, limiting choices for the consumer, by keeping their player from recognizing other file formats and selling only fairplay encoded AAC files through iTunes (a format that no other digital music player can recognize unlike WMA which Microsoft licenses to numerous companies). Without this lock-in, Apple would not have the commanding lead in portable music players they have today and this is why they won't open the file format or license it to others.

why not? (1)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550808)

Everyone else is doing it. Why not. Say the biggest Music Publisher buys a mp3 player producer and changes the format to a proprietary format and the only way to get pod music is to use that hardware. Now that everyone that is anyone has the new player other musicians can't get published until they sign with the big monopoly.

Net2phone patented the Internet [com.com] cant find the /. any more.

Direct Tv and Comcast transmits there own digital formats. You can't store them on your hard drive and play them back until you go to analogue and recompress them.

The list goes on. PS. this is sarcasms.

Confusing Capitalism with Monopoly: (0, Flamebait)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550835)

Every time I see articles objecting to DRM lockin schemes I see some corporate brainwashee come out saying "but just dont buy the DRM, the people making the DRM aren't selling the content"

This is fallacious and misleading.

Look, i'll spell this out for you:

just because the maker of the DRM/Player isnt the sole marketer of the copyrighted work doesn't mean consumers actually have a choice.

Copyright is a government mandaded monopoly, and that means that anyone who wants to market it either gives the Copyright Holder his draconian DRM or can cry in the corner, and the copyright holder can easily dictate minimum restrictions.

This means that if you don't buy into one drm-lockin platform you have to buy into another or not buy at all.. and that's about as much of a choice as "living in a facist dictatorship or not living at all". What will you do, lock yourself away in a cave or live with mennenites?

in the case of CD's which don't have actual encryption, they now include autorun software, etc. which is designed to disable your computer, so there is no argument that CD's are DRM free anymore. Granted people with technical knowledge can circumvent the majority of DRM atm, but the argument being made is for the 85% of the market which does not have that knowledge.. and what happens to the remaining 15% as they make it more robust and crack resistant?

iTMS DRM only symptom... (1)

idsofmarch (646389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551392)

But should Apple be responsible for what the CD companies are doing with DRM? Is it Apple's responsibility to open up their format when others can remain closed? This is a potentially serious problem, but Apple has become the whipping boy for the problems with DRM and proprietary formats, Sony, Microsoft and others also engage in similar schemes and any attempt to fix the problem has to keep that in mind.

The problem is not Apple, the iTMS/iPod-lock in is merely a symptom.

wow, afraid to right click? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550836)

So...

1) Buy song through iTunes.

2) Right click on song, select "Convert to MP3" or "Convert to AIFF" (depending on your prefs)

3) Take your music anywhere.

How is that restrictive?

Re:wow, afraid to right click? (1)

ilovepolymorphism (642188) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550956)

That's not possible to do with songs bought from the iTMS.

Norway not in EU (2, Informative)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550840)

Er, Norway is not in the EU, so frankly what Bjorn Erik Thon thinks is of no importance whatsoever to what the EU competition officials might or might not do.

Re:Norway not in EU (1)

fuzzfuzz (881119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551052)

That might be, but the ombudsmen of the two EU countries Sweden and Denmark are following it up (http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments /9832/ [macdailynews.com] ), and they are very interested in what is going on with this in Norway. (Sorry, only have links about the last in danish)

Re:Norway not in EU (2, Informative)

handelaar (65505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551086)

It is, however, a member of the European Economic Area [wikipedia.org] , and therefore both inside the single European market and bound by the trading obligations thereof.

EFTA states (other than Switzerland, which isn't in the EEA) have their behaviour regulated by the ominous-sounding EFTA Surveillance Authority [eftasurv.int] , rather than by the European Commission, on matters related to compliance with Single Market regulations.

XBox Live? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550863)

What about other services like XBox live? Okay, so it's not a media distribution service so maybe that alone disqualifies the argument a little, but it is a service but they require you to have an unmodified XBox to use it... you can't just make your own device.

It's unbelievable... (1)

Mofaluna (949237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550885)

how these bureacrats still haven't figured out the importance of open standards for a free market. Wasn't the microsoft case clear enough?

Flawed reasoning... (1)

midifarm (666278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550891)

Apple doesn't require an iPod for iTunes. In order to transfer songs TO an iPod one must use iTunes. The only real arguement here is that in order to purchase songs via ITMS, one needs iTunes. It is, however; not required to use an iPod to listen to the songs. A Game Cube requires the use of software titles written for that machine and the software title needs the GC. If one chooses to participate in a closed hardware system, whether it's the iTunes-iPod, WMA or game consoles, that is the freedom of choice. I don't expect Halo to play on the PS2. This lawsuit should have no legs. The only people this potentially hurts are the retailers in Norway and the Norwegian consumer that wishes to own an iPod and buy songs via ITMS. Needless to say you can always import your CD's to iTunes and use it that way. The music distributors make more money that way!

Ombudsman in reality a Microsoft Shill (4, Interesting)

Been on TV (886187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551007)

We understand what the Norwegian Ombudsman and his department is saying, but in reality his is acting as a Microsoft shill. His department has never lifted a finger to make sure Microsoft DRM protected material is available to non-Microsoft customers in Norway.

Best example of this is the government, (mandatory) license financed "Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation" (public TV and radio) that publish all their video content in Microsoft DRM protected format. The Ombudsman has done nothing to ensure that this material truely is available to the public; only to Microsoft customers. There are other public institutions in Norway as well that publish Microsoft DRM protected content only.

If the ombudsman is eager to enforce Norwegian legislation in this area, he should first make sure the very government institutions and structure his department is a part of is in compliance with the law, before starting to go after one private company.

Mandatory warnings might be a good idea (1)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551080)

Something like this for ipods:

"Warning: This player supports Digital Restrictions that may prevent you from exercising any right you have to transfer or backup your music"

A similar warning could be put on ITMS checkout for the songs themselves.

What's the dispute? (4, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551186)

I don't understand.

1. You don't have to buy an iPod. You can buy any music player you want; and there are plenty of vendors. Furthermore, you can use any of your music players with Windows or OS X.
2. You don't have to buy songs from iTunes. You can use any online service you want; and there are plenty of vendors. Unlike the OS scene, lower marketshare for Microsoft's online music store, or Real's online music store does != less content. Napster has 1.5 million pay-for songs on it. MSN music has millions, as does Rhapsody. Nobodies forcing you to use iTunes.
3. iTunes *will* rip MP3 or AAC without an iPod, on both Windows and OS X. iTunes *will* copy MP3s or AACs to _any_ USB block device-style MP3 player, without you having to own an iPod. However you purchase non-DRM MP3s or AACs, you can manage them with iTunes, and copy them to _any_ USB block style device; including iPods.
4. The iPod can be access without using iTunes. There's plenty of Linux tools, and a fair number of OS X and Windows tools. MP3s and/or AACs can be copied to your iPod.

The ONLY limitation on the iPod/iTunes combination is AACs purchased on iTunes protected by FairPlay. Now, if iTunes had exclusive marketing agreements with the RIAA regarding content, or if the iTunes music store was the only online music store out there, or if no one made MP3 players but Apple; then there would be an anti-trust argument. As it is, the consumer *is not hurt* in *any* way by iTunes/iPod. You can buy a Samsung MP3 player, and play the _same_ exact music from the MSN Music store as you would have purchased from iTunes. Better yet, if you purchased non-DRMd music, you could managed it via iTunes and play it on your Samsung MP3 player.

The iPod/iTunes combination is less of an anti-trust problem than Windows/Windows software, or Xbox360/Xbox games, or Blu-ray/BD-ROMS, and HD-DVD/HD-DVD disks. Out of all of these product "tie-ins", the online music market is the *only* one where you can purchase the same _exact_ content from multiple providers. It's actually a competitive landscape.

Context is very important for antitrust. It's not about principle; in no way does Apple DRM limit market availability for RIAA music, unless the RIAA decides to exclusively license Apple, which they _have not done_. Now, I do believe that DRM is bad, but antitrust legislation is not the correct way to resolve it.

Any argument you can come up with regarding iPod/iTunes applies 100 fold to Windows/Windows Media/Software/Music. Win32-only, or WMV only is a far bigger problem in terms of competition, and you can easily see that by comparing the online libraries of OS X content versus Win32 content.

That all being said, product-tie-ins is one of the weakest forms of monopoly abuse. I suspect that all this noise regarding iTunes/iPod is being generated by Microsoft funding. Nothing else really makes sense. For god sakes, Apple has even started to license FairPlay, in terms of usage on Motorola's phones; and don't forget that Apple is NOT vertically integrated with content providers (RIAA).

I'm all in favor of generalized legislation protecting the consumers right to reverse engineer DRM for us on . Should I be able to try and crack FairPlay in order to play DRMd AACs on my Rio Karma? Sure. It's retarded that reverse engineering content you've paid for for usage on a hardware you own is illegal. But legally busting Apple without going after Microsoft/Sony/Real/AACS/CSS/HDMI ? What fucking sense does that make?

fuck3r (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551291)

ass until I hit my Partner. And if [tuxedo.org], standardsD should prima donnas, and that has lost = 36400 FreeBSD you are a screaming

uh, welcome to DRM! (2, Informative)

marimbaman (194066) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551498)

This is stupid. DRM and free competition are fundamentally incompatible.

First they want DRM, now they whine that it's not *their* DRM? Tough luck.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...