Beta
×

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!

Apple is DRM's Biggest Backer

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the set-my-mp3s-free dept.

Media (Apple) 400

parvenu74 writes "Arstechnica is running an article pointing out that while some pockets of the entertainment industry are experimenting with DRM-free distribution, Apple Inc, which announced that they have now sold over 2,000,000,000 songs on iTunes, is now the strongest pro-DRM force in digial media. From the article: 'DRM is dying. It's a statement being echoed with increasing frequency around the Web over the last few weeks, and is perhaps best articulated in this Billboard article. But there's a powerful force standing in the way of this DRM-free panacea, and it might not be the one you expect: Apple, Inc.'"

cancel ×

400 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

That's why I don't buy from Apple. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17572872)

I know Mac OS X is an excellent system. I enjoyed using their earlier systems in the 1980s and 1990s. But since the advent of the iPod and iTunes, I have refused to buy anything from Apple just because of their support of DRM. I don't need my rights "managed", especially by a corporation.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573116)

Bingo. Same here. And Apple phone also will never be found in my place ever. Just for this reason (and several others, like vendor lock-in).

Apple is just like M$ - however the fanbois want to distort that.

Now mod this down. And lets see how long the parent also stays at 0.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (5, Insightful)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573232)

But since the advent of the iPod and iTunes, I have refused to buy anything from Apple just because of their support of DRM. I don't need my rights "managed", especially by a corporation.

I'm a mac user and I don't have any DRM'd files on my hard drive except iTMS TV shows. I have 80GB of music, all Mp3. Apple's mp3 encoder works really well, too.

DRM is only there if you want it there. It's not some dirty little secret like it is with the subscription services.

Most people are aware by now of the limitations they face with iTMS files, and yet it's the 4th biggest source of music worldwide (first for downloads).

DVDs can't be ripped with any software you can purchase, does that mean you don't buy or rent them? DRM isn't intrinsically bad, especially when you can just avoid buying DRM products.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573316)

"Apple's mp3 encoder works really well, too."

Do you know a way to make iTunes rip VBR files? I'm making everything AAC anyway, but my Dad can't use that, nor cope with the complexity involved in doing it all via EAC or similar.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (3, Informative)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573370)

Do you know a way to make iTunes rip VBR files?

Preferences -> Advanced -> Setting: -> Custom

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573410)

Ta muchly - somehow I've always missed the Custom setting.

Now, to go back and re-rip 40Gb worth of music or not...

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573686)

I agree with most of what you write; the same thing applies to people refusing Vista because it contains DRM. It's not like one is forced to use the technology in any way. I do have a little problem with this bit though:

DRM is only there if you want it there. It's not some dirty little secret like it is with the subscription services.

DRM isn't any more of a "dirty secret" in subscription services than it is in iTMS, I'm afraid. In both cases, the restrictions are clear (arguably they're more clear in the case of subscription services, since they're essentially an essential part of the description), and generally nothing significant is left out.

The bottom line is that Apple, Microsoft, et al may be shipping insidious DRM technologies, but there's no obligation to use them.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (5, Insightful)

Nitage (1010087) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573278)

Don't forget that Apple have made no attempt to disable the 'Burn to CD then reimport' workaround. It seems as if they're paying lip-service to DRM in order to satisfy record companies, whilst making no attempt to implement a secure system.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573622)

But neither have Microsoft. You can happy burn and rerip tracks from the MSN store, or indeed any MS DRM store.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (3, Informative)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573766)

Don't forget that Apple have made no attempt to disable the 'Burn to CD then reimport' workaround

True, but there's no equivalent for DVDs, unfortunately. That's why I buy tunes on iTMS but not vids.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573844)

Not really. If you do that you lose quality. So they are saying go ahead and do that, but your music will be even lower quality than the original file you paid for, which is already lower quality than a CD. If you really want to go through all that to get low quality music, you're just better off getting higher quality stuff off IRC or some file sharing network. You've already paid for the song, so it's no different then then still selling unprotected CDs that you can copy (at higher quality) and share with the world. The only thing that the Apple DRM is really aiming to prevent is file sharing applications that share your entire hard disk, from distributing the files to the entire world. and it does a good job of that, if you want to burn, rip, and re-encode, just to share the file, well, that's harder than with CDs, and they really aren't going to try and stop you. I guess if they really wanted to, they could burn some data in the CD-Text area (so they are still making an AudioCD) that says that this CD contains protected music, and ITunes would refuse to rip it. It would work for about 75% of users who wouldn't figure out you could just use some other program to rip the music.

Some "workaround"... (0)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573966)

Don't forget that Apple have made no attempt to disable the 'Burn to CD then reimport' workaround.

That's because this "workaround" doesn't pose much of a threat to their DRM endeavors. Some major drawbacks and some other possible hassles:

  • It's time consuming.
  • You lose significant quality in the second round of encoding.
  • Does iTunes successfully get the metadata for these CDs, or do you have to enter it manually or edit it from the CD text? I'm guess the latter...

So while you can make a digitally transferable version of the song you bought if you really want to and are willing to put in some work, it's really not a viable option for a collection. Even then, you're losing quality.

It seems as if they're paying lip-service to DRM in order to satisfy record companies, whilst making no attempt to implement a secure system.

So by not totally eliminating your ability to play the music you buy from them on what is likely the most prevalent music playback device (the CD player), Apple is only "paying lip-service" because including that ability enables a clumsy and time-consuming workaround?

When the DRM is successful at preventing copying in 98% of cases, and is significantly irritating and has drawbacks in the other 2%, I'd say Apple's doing a lot more than paying lip service. It's more like a french kiss.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (2, Informative)

rising_hope (900951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573294)

You must not buy from Microsoft either... Windows Product Activation is DRM for the OS. And, in Vista, they make it more annoying that the product keys get checked every 30 days or every time the OS receives an update. MUCH more bullish than Apple. The only strong alternative is Linux...

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (1)

Weston O'Reilly (1008937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573876)

Why was this modded Troll? The poster is correct. Vista is packed with DRM, far beyond what Apple builds in. OS X doesn't disable or degrade drivers for hardware that can be used to record audio or video when you're watching protected content. Vista does.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573384)

I have refused to buy anything from Apple just because of their support of DRM. I don't need my rights "managed", especially by a corporation.

Funny. I have OS X, iTunes, and an iPod without a single bit of DRM on it.

Could it be that the only DRM that apple has is from their iTMS (iTunes Music Store) which I avoid like the plague.

Fairplay DRM isn't about protecting intellectual property as it is a vendor lock in to Apple products, but you can still own Apple products without DRM.

Re:That's why I don't buy from Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573616)

He didn't say anything about Apple products containing DRM. He said he will not buy Apple products because they support DRM.

yes and No (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572880)

Yes Apple is DRM's biggest backer, then again Apple's DRM is the only DRm that is constant among all songs. Windows DRM can change per player, musician, studio, or even CD. If you have to have DRM then Apple's is certainly better than anyone else's.

Now the only thing better would be no DRM at all. I can't see that happening as long the RIAA exists. How else could they afford to pay to make more Britney's, and Spice Girls?

Till then I will boycott music from non independent sources.

Re:yes and No (5, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572962)

At the same time Apple hasn't (so far) hasn't prevented their customers from putting music that has no DRM onto their iPod so I would question whether they really are DRM's biggest backer; they could have easily said that you could only put licenced music on the iPod that was purchased through iTunes in order to protect the 'rights' of artists, but they didn't.

Re:yes and No (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573422)

Admittedly, Apple's DRM is almost transparent to most people using it. The main problem with Apple's DRM is that you can't stray from Apple products. People give Apple a whole lot of leeway in this area, mainly because they make good products. However, this is far from the ideal solution. The consumer electronics and digital media industries need to standardize, both for the consumers as well as themselves. The industries are missing out on massive growth opportunities because they can't make their products compelling to the average person. The whole situation is just too complicated and convoluted at the moment.

Re:yes and No (1)

tbone1 (309237) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573504)

The main problem with Apple's DRM is that you can't stray from Apple products.
Really? The only DRM is in media purchased through the iTunes Store (which, BTW, is set at a consistent price). For songs, you can burn them to a CD (thus creating a physical backup at the same time), rip that CD back to a choice of DRM-free formats (including MP3), and then use that DRM-free MP3 file to put it on any bloody device or machine you want.

Granted, that's not complete and absolute freedom of choice, but it's not bad, particularly considering they got the music conglomerates to agree to it.

Re:yes and No (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573708)

Granted, that's not complete and absolute freedom of choice, but it's not bad
I'm sorry but I have to disagree. It's absolutely pitiful, and we as consumers shouldn't have to accept such asinine workarounds just to use our legally purchased media the way we want to. In any other market, we would have long ago left iTunes for a different conpany that provides a better product. However, DRM keeps us from doing just that. If you use an iPod, and you want to legally buy music online, your only option is iTunes. There's almost no consumer choice. DRM restricts the market from working the way it's meant to. On top of all that, your workaround doesn't work at all if we're talking about videos sold on iTunes.

Re:yes and No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573902)

particularly considering they got the music conglomerates to agree to it.

And how is this different to any of the myriad of MS DRM stores out there? (hint, it's not)

Re:yes and No (2, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573896)

Then again, refusing to play straight mp3 songs is a recipe for failure in the mp3 player business. I was going to point out that none of Apples competitors did this either, but then I had a vague memory of Sony trying something like it a few years ago, when they still pushed ATRAC. I guess Ars Technica forgot about Sony since everything they touch turns to shit these days. Apple is the most successful backer of DRM, not the worst. I imagine that also makes them the biggest, but that doesn't make them the most loathsome.

Yes Yes Yes (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572984)

I love Apple Notebooks and products because of their elegance but DRM has the advantage of locking you in. Apple's songs can be transferred to CD and other players once that iPod gets old but that is not so easy for Joe Average, better to get another iPod.

Apple put in DRM to reassure the music companies, but now it is working to their advantage. The music companies are probably regretting mandating DRM now because Apple is such a strong force in music because of this, that they can strongarm the RIAA into deals now, not the other way around.

This wouldn't have been easily possible with truly open music - then anybody with an iPod could have bought digital files anywhere they like, instead, they semi-have to go to Apple. (Yes, I realize the iPod can play many formats and ripped disks - but perception and ease of use among the average user is king here.)

Independent music on iTMS (5, Informative)

thegameiam (671961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573016)

Apple is pretty friendly to independent music sources, as well - CDBaby [cdbaby.com] has a deal where for a small fee they'll perform digital distribution, and I've noticed that iTMS is the overwhelming source of all of the digital purchases of my band's stuff.

Their payout rates to artists are as good or better than other services, as I discussed elsewhere [livejournal.com] .

So while no-DRM would be ideal, Apple's approach isn't unfriendly to indie musicians.

Re:yes and No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573056)

"If you have to have DRM then Apple's is certainly better than anyone else's."

I have to agree with you. I have no problem with Apple's DRM and it is incredibly weak (I had been shown how to losslessly remove this by a former employee of Apple who claims that it is only there to make it inconvenient to do so, not impossible). At the same time, I *REFUSE* to buy any other source of music that is DRM'd. I've seen too many friends screwed over by these inconsistent policies.

Heck, I know I've been screwed over by this sort of crap as well...I picked up a few eBooks back in the day only to find they didn't work on my Mac, and then a few months later after updating my PDF reader, it stopped working on my PC. WTF? Most DRM backers can't even keep it straight within their product, let alone extending it outward. Its amazing that my 1st Gen iPod plays DRM'd iTMS songs just as well as my 3 month old old Nano.

DRM isn't bad by itself, its bad when wielded by idiots that don't know how to implement something fair and consistent.

Re:yes and No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573166)

Biggest bullshit ever. DRM is DRM. Period.

Downfall of the iPod (4, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573258)

I've always imagined that Apple's reluctance to open their iPod/iTunes environment up to third parties will eventually be the iPod's undoing. At the moment, consumer electronics are a mess. Everything is proprietary and nothing works together, much the same way PC's were back in the early 80's. It's only in these kinds of situations that Apple's closed culture really thrives.

Eventually, though, someone is going to get it when it comes to consumer electronics, much the same way Microsoft did with PC's. People like to give Microsoft a lot of crap about how they run their business, but forget the they did a lot of the legwork for making the PC a standardized environment.

Once the digital media market has matured, I imagine we'll look back on the days of the iPod much the same way we look back on the early days of Apple. Meanwhile, Apple will have moved on to another market segment and continue to do what they do best, innovate within a small, closed environment.

How about Apple TV (5, Interesting)

rvw (755107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572916)

I read that Apple TV works without DRM, well the DVI signal to the TV/monitor is not encrypted. How does that fit into this picture?

Re:How about Apple TV (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17572948)

HDMI, dimwit, not DVI.

Re:How about Apple TV (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573188)

HDMI is a DVI signal. The video part coming out of an HDMI cable is DVI. It you wish to contribute, you might consider pointing out both DVI and HDMI support DRM. However, HDMI is specifically intended to be used as a DRM covered video/audio port. For inconvenience, buy your TV without HDPC support. Then you do have a valid excuse for circumventing DRM. Note: the courts may pretend the reason is not valid in the interest of politics.

Re:How about Apple TV (3, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573248)

AppleTV has DRM support... from the specs..

"Video formats supported: H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store)"

No mpeg2, divx or anything else... so it's clear they don't want you using videos from anywhere else. Pure h264 videos are rather hard to get at the moment.

It really wouldn't suprise me if the DVI was HDCP enabled - in fact the content providers will probably insist.

Re:How about Apple TV (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573888)

'' No mpeg2, divx or anything else... so it's clear they don't want you using videos from anywhere else. Pure h264 videos are rather hard to get at the moment. ''

DVD + Mac The Ripper + Handbrake.

War (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17572918)

These days wars happen at economic level. FI, if you want to fight a country you are dissatistfied with, you stop buy products created in this country, or whos materials are bought from this country. Just go buy some good cheap chinese alternative instead.

So bush sending warriors and trolls to Iraq is a red herring.

I hate to point this out... (3, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572924)

Apple DRM isn't exactly the strongest brand of DRM Goodness(tm).

I'm fairly certain everyone else is aware of that little secret too.

Be it the little known loop hole of secretly burning off your music and re-ripping it into your favorite codec or the more nefarious path known as fair play.

Re:I hate to point this out... (2, Insightful)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573362)

Yea, really. There are two types of people who download from iTunes:

  1. People who want to listen on their PC, their iPod, or a burned CD. They do that. No problem.
  2. Nerdier, less scrupulous people who want to shuttle those downloads to other PCs, and need to bypass the DRM. Those people use MyTunes, hymn, dBpowerAMP or something. Or if they're less nerdy (or it's 2001), they burn a CD and rip it. No problem. Any geek knows there is no DRM solution good enough to stop those people anyway.

DRM is just a way to "sort of" protect the studios' interests. It turns out it works really well in iTunes. I've tried to explain to iPod users that they don't need to use the iTunes music store. They can download a torrent a put the MP3's on their iPod. But they're not usually interested. They say, "I'll just use the iTunes store". And they pay. It baffled me for a while, but hey, they're happy.

It's true that Apple is quietly making DRM work very well for them. It works for them, because nobody has any problem with it. And if nobody has any problem, there's no problem.

Re:I hate to point this out... (2, Insightful)

ChrisWong (17493) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573674)

The burn-to-CD-and-rerip workaround is not really a scalable workaround. For any significant music collection, you want to organize by the ubiquitous artist/album/track metadata. But you don't get that when you rip from a homebrew CD: all the CDDB tagging that we take for granted from commercial CDs won't be available. So you will have to enter them yourself: artist, album, track, for every single track that you rip. Either that, or live with a "Misc" folder of 672 files with informative names like "file00012848.mp3".

Re:I hate to point this out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573726)

Hmmm, that doesn't seem to work when I try it with all the videos that I bought. There doesn't seem to be a way to view them on a system that doesn't have Apple's blessing (like my D-link media center, or any of the various iPod/Apple TV competitors?)

"might not be the one you suspect" (4, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572928)

On what planet did the writers come from? Apple is and has always been a company of control freaks. Not to say that every aspect of such behavior is bad, but it's often not good either.

(1) They control what hardware their OS will run on
(2) They often tried (though not recently) to control what OS(es) will run on their hardware
(3) They tried to control who/what could put songs on their iPods
(4) They are trying to control what software can be Applied to their iPhones

They are all about control, and I would be more surprised if they weren't in the top 5 biggest DRM supports since they deal in music, than that they are the biggest DRM supporter.

You don't get it. (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573074)

"(1) They control what hardware their OS will run on"

No, they control the software need to run the hardware they build.
Apple is a hardware company, always have been.

"(2) They often tried (though not recently) to control what OS(es) will run on their hardware"

No, they never helped some write software for there hardware, but they never tried to stop anyone either.

"(3) They tried to control who/what could put songs on their iPods"

No. They came out with a way to get music onto a hardware device they made. They have done nothing to stop the myriad of other software that can also be used to content onto the iPod.

"(4) They are trying to control what software can be Applied to their iPhones"

This has yet to be seen. I suspect this is an issue with American carriers, if itis true.

Apple doesn't really care what you do with the hardware you purchase.

Re:You don't get it. (1)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573298)

Apple doesn't really care what you do with the hardware you purchase.
To a certain extent, if you do something non sanctioned and then expect support then they do care. But yeah you're right.

Apple isn't wholly a hardware or software company - that's looking at their business in PC terms. They are an "experience" company, i would have said computer but they seemed to have dropped that. OSX is a value-add and integral part of the product they offer; they aren't in the same business as say Dell.

Re:You don't get it. (2, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573630)

Apple are NOT a hardware company. They're an "experience" company. They package together hardware and software, and through the wonder of synergy, sell a box that does a lot, for a price that is a lot. That's what apple does. It's not about hardware OR software.

Because they sell experiences, they have to control what goes on as much as a marketing agency controls what goes on in adverts - and for the same reason - brand protection. They need to ooze the feeling that you're getting so much more with Apple than with another computer-type-box from somewhere else. If the experience they're selling is tarnished, even slightly, that's a massive dent in the only real thing they're selling. For an example - that's why they initially said iPods don't work with Windows, when they have from day one. They err on the side of caution, as their reputation is the only thing other companies can't develop with their own R&D spending. Fashion is weird like that :)

Re:You don't get it. (1)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573770)

"(1) They control what hardware their OS will run on" No, they control the software need to run the hardware they build. Apple is a hardware company, always have been.
Apple's EULA eplicitly makes it illegal to run their OS on anything other than Apple hardware. I fail to see what kind of distinction you are trying to make here. They clearly seek to control what hardware can be used with their OS.

Re:You don't get it. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573892)

(1) They control what hardware their OS will run on"

No, they control the software need to run the hardware they build.
Apple is a hardware company, always have been.


Does Apple have to change their name to "Apple Digital Entertainment" before you people will realize that Apple is not a computer hardware company anymore. One would think that the change to "Apple, Inc." would give people a clue, but apparently not.

The original poster's statement is accurate. OS X has the capability of running on hardware other than Apple's, but Apple doesn't want to support it on anything but their own hardware. Apple's tying the OS to the hardware is their way of changing the market conditions so that they are not competing directly with Microsoft, and the truth of the matter is this: When Apple pushes computers, they don't push computers, they push OS X. Read their advertising. OS X isn't a means of getting people to buy Apple computers. Apple computers are a means of getting people to buy OS X. Steve Jobs came from NeXT. NeXT was first and foremost a software company.

Why is Apple such a big fan of DRM? Because, like Microsoft, they are really a software and content distribution company.

"(2) They often tried (though not recently) to control what OS(es) will run on their hardware"

No, they never helped some write software for there hardware, but they never tried to stop anyone either.


You should read this article about the history of Linux on PPC. [penguinppc.org] Much of the divide between MkLinux and LinuxPPC in the early days was due to Apple's loathsomeness to disclose hardware information. They didn't try to stop anyone from using alternative OSes (and in fact they helped quite a bit), but they didn't always make it easy, either.

Re:You don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573926)

Wow, are you seriously that arrogant?

1. As said, the EULA specifically states that it cannot be run on any non-Apple hardware.

2. Eh, this I'm not sure about. They developed the software/hardware so technically they can do with it as they please.

3. Ummm, yes, they have tried to do stuff. You think they haven't tried to stop FairPlay workarounds? Bull. There's a reason they keep releasing updates to try to "break" PlayFair. But it always comes down to the mousetrap scenario.

4. Ummm, do you not read? Apple stated they aren't going to support third party applications. I don't see how this is "yet to be seen" or an issue with American carriers. The damn thing runs OSX, that's not carrier-specific in any way whatsoever.

Re:"might not be the one you suspect" (1)

dniq (759741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573234)

(1) Why don't you bitch around that XBOX360 software isn't allowed to run on PowerPC machines? Or why router firmware can't run on a home PC. Same thing: apple is hardware company, producing firmware for their computers. Consider Mac OS X a firmware for Macs. (2) Can't remember a single reference when Apple has done anything to prevent other software from running on their computers. Care to provide examples? (3) They have never tried to control who and what could put songs on their iPods. They've made it convenient to use with iTunes, and in fact, iPod is "iTunes-to-go", not the other way 'round. They don't have to make iPod convenient to use with anything else. It's always iPod + iTunes. (4) There are no iPhones yet on the market. We'll see how that works when there actually are.

Re:"might not be the one you suspect" (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573762)

(1) They control what hardware their OS will run on

Of course they do. As another poster mentioned, Apple is a hardware company - I see nothing evil or abusive about ensuring that OSX only runs on Apple hardware. It is also crucial to their reputation as a company that OSX only runs on supported hardware - Apple has seen the gigantic can of worms that MS opened by allowing OEM hardware on Windows. They want their system to be stable and speedy, without legacy HW support bloating, and controlling your hardware is the best way to do it.

(2) They often tried (though not recently) to control what OS(es) will run on their hardware

They have? Please provide a source for this. They've even gone as far as to make a click-and-play way to get Windows running on your machine, and they've done absolutely nothing to stop other flavors of 'nix from running on their hardware.

(3) They tried to control who/what could put songs on their iPods

No they haven't. Apple has made no attempts to stop third-party software from interfacing with their iPods. Hell, you can use it like a USB drive if you wanted to. Simply because they do not officially SUPPORT such a method does not mean that they've "tried to control" it. Sheesh, you're acting like anyone who doesn't go out of their way to support third parties is controlling their platform. iTunes remains the best way to get music onto an iPod (IMHO anyway), and Apple has engineered the end-to-end download-to-iPod experience - why would they officially support otherwise not-as-slick ways to organize your music?

(4) They are trying to control what software can be Applied to their iPhones

This is true, though I suspect it's less to do with Apple and more to do with Cingular (and other carriers). If the platform was open we'd see massive Skype usage off the iPhone, and the carriers can't have any of that now can they? Personally I'm disappointed, but not surprised. The bigger surprise (and disappointment) is the inability to have mp3 ringtones. What is this, 2003?

not likely (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17572934)

the article is short-sighted. apple supports DRM because they have to in order to be granted the right to sell media from various studios. apple is a hardware company, and their hardware works just fine with non-DRM'ed media. the itunes music store embeds DRM because it has to. at no point is apple diametrically opposed to the destruction of DRM; it's not a mutually exclusive relationship in the least. in fact, if media were easier to obtain, a valid argument could be made that apple would benefit- if media were free, people would potentially be more interested in obtaining media hardware [from apple].

Re:not likely (1)

z-kungfu (255628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573314)

Bravo... mod this up...

Re:not likely (3, Insightful)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573342)

apple supports DRM because they have to in order to be granted the right to sell media from various studios.

I have no doubt that Apple wouldn't have been able to start the iTunes store without including DRM to make the media companies happy. However, DRM now very much works to Apple's advantage. There's a great synergy between the iTunes store and the iPod. Some of this exsists simply because they are nice products that are designed to work together. However, DRM enforces this synergy because the iPod is the only music player that songs purchased from iTunes (easily) play on. So, once you buy songs from the iTunes store, you are stuck with the iPod as your portable player of choice, unless you want to go through the trouble of burning and re-ripping your files (or breaking the DRM some other way).

As long as iTunes is on top, Apple has no interest in getting rid of DRM. If another store with their own type of incapatible DRM becomes very successful, then you'll suddenly see Apple screaming about abolishing DRM. (This is probably the crux of TFA which I haven't had a chance to read, yet).

But the laziest DRM (5, Interesting)

shirizaki (994008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572944)

Apple's DRM doesn't wonderously restrict files. You can still burn them and rerip them.


YES! We know there's a small reduction in quality.


Even though they have DRM, they aren't doing it totally for the RIAA. They have a business model that kind of works: .99 for a song, do almost what you want with it. They mostly have DRM so they can segway that iPod purchase into some iTunes purchases, and they can only offer that type of DRM. That is why the French fought to try and force Apple to disclose their DRM method. Apple is doing it more for a business model rather than legality according to distributing music. So it's going to be a tougher fight for them to either disclose their DRM method or to be totally non-DRM.

In reality, it's still the record labels that are in the biggest way of DRM and their legal rabbit the RIAA. The recent russian site that closed did send royalty checks to RIAA, but they never cashed them.

Systems are in place, but it's the industry that holds it back.

Re:But the laziest DRM (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573132)

Apple's DRM doesn't wonderously restrict files. You can still burn them and rerip them.
Seems more like a loophole to me, a workaround if you please. Rather than a permitted 'right' (is this against the DMCA?).

YES! We know there's a small reduction in quality.
Which is enough to not make me not want to buy it in the first place.

They have a business model that kind of works: .99 for a song, do almost what you want with it
No.. I read their agreements some time ago, you certainly can't even mix the music into something else and redistribute the resulting work.

They mostly have DRM so they can segway that iPod purchase into some iTunes purchases, and they can only offer that type of DRM.
It's still there, and I don't want it.

That is why the French fought to try and force Apple to disclose their DRM method.
Seeing how Microsoft can provide knowledge on how to make DRM compatible devices, and the DRM is largely unbroken (by largely, the only things I've seen are these 'hacks' that grab the unencrypted content -- but aren't players themselves). Sorry, I don't understand the problem because of this.

So it's going to be a tougher fight for them to either disclose their DRM method or to be totally non-DRM.
I think they don't want to disclose it, because it's the perfect lock-in.

Re:But the laziest DRM (4, Funny)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573146)

They mostly have DRM so they can segway that iPod purchase into some iTunes purchases

I was going to correct your spelling (segue), but actually considering the very low percentage of songs on most peoples iPods that are actually bought from iTunes, I think you've coined a useful and appropriate new verb.

v. segway - to segway: to vastly underperform based on high initial expectations

Re:But the laziest DRM (2, Funny)

tbone1 (309237) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573666)

v. segway - to segway: to vastly underperform based on high initial expectations

You should add: "syn. Vista, Zune, Danica"

Re:But the laziest DRM (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573820)

YES! We know there's a small reduction in quality.
No, it is not a small reduction in quality. Once you encode something in a format like mp3 or aac, it introduces numerous artifacts which render the the resulting audio very difficult to re-compress. At a similar bitrate, the resulting audio will sound awful.

Apple's current encoding quality is only barely acceptable. The only acceptable option would be to re-encode it in a lossless format, and this is rarely useful for playback on a portable device.

When DRM free music is priced correctly (2)

fishyfool (854019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572956)

there will be no need for anti-piracy efforts.
Allofmp3 showed the path, is the riaa going to take the red pill or the blue pill?
My personal price range is 25 cents a song.

Who really is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17572960)

Apple is selling the right to re-sell music through them to the major music and movie companies. Guess who is requiring DRM? The major music and movie companies. And Apple is having a hard time convincing the major movie companies that online DRM for the movies sold through the iTunes Music Store is good enough. But not to worry. Any of the inherent deficiency in DRM systems exist in Apple's implementation of DRM. If you want to circumvent the measures meant to prevent you from copying what you downloaded from iTunes to your friends, it is not hard. And you can avoid this hassle entirely by ripping the CD yourself and then giving the copies to your friends. I would say you could do the same for DVDs, but they also requiring circumventing DRM to make copies.

You could probably stop all of this nonsense by getting your congress person to de-authorize :) the DRM provisions of the DMCA.

Talk about sensationalism, (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17572986)

Apple has an agreement to DRM the music in order to carry it.

Steve Jobs said:" "None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have Ph.D.'s here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content."

It seems to me when DRM goes,Apple isn't going to try and stop it.

No I don't own any macs.

Re:Talk about sensationalism, (1)

z-kungfu (255628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573352)

Exactly... mod this puppy up...

A low blow even by Democrat standards... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573670)

Ah, did anyone doubt that the November Congressional elections would usher in a new era of pettiness and nonconstructive criticism about the war in Iraq? As the editorial notes, leading Democrats wasted no time in attacking the President's change in strategy before they had even heard the details, and as usual their mindless carping was not accompanied by alternate solutions.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01122007/postopinion/e ditorials/boxers_low_blow_editorials_.htm?page=0 [nypost.com]

They're successful because the DRM is weak (5, Insightful)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573002)

Apple may be "pushing" DRM, but according to what I've read, it's mainly because they couldn't get the publishers to agree to a DRM-free model. To get access to the music catalogs, they had to be able to say they had a scheme for preventing iTunes from turning into (the old) Napster. The DRM model that they use is pretty much the weakest model you can have and still cal it DRM--you can burn any song or songs to CD and the protection scheme is weak enough that it's been repeatedly broken by people interested in "unprotecting" the files.

I know there are a number of purists (and anti-Apple types) who argue that any and all DRM is bad. But in my opinion, Apple's weak DRM scheme hasn't stopped the imaginary DRM-free world these folks are advocating--it has actually helped by prevented something much more onerous from becoming the de facto standard.

Can you imagine a world where the most successful music download service provides music in Microsoft's WMF and you can't burn a CD or copy the song to more than one PC? My hope is that the success of the weak-DRM'd iTunes store will discourage people from "renting" music or subscribing to some scheme where the DRM is significantly more restrictive.

well (3, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573004)

Fanbois, moderate me down again, I don't fucking care. Apple has always been about control. They control hardware, software, and don't tolerate rivals.

But a feud between Apple and RealNetworks over music downloads is exposing Jobs' tragic flaw. Amazingly, he seems to be making the same devastating mistakes with the iPod that he made with the Mac 20 years ago.

The iPod has half the digital music player market, and iTunes sells 70% of all legitimate music downloads. Jobs practically willed the digital music business into being.

But around 1985, Jobs and his executives decided not to license Apple's technology or operating system to any other company. Apple wanted total control. It wanted to sell all the products itself. It wanted no competitors.

This was a yawning opening for Microsoft, Intel and the PC. Since anyone could buy the licenses and components to make a Windows-based PC, that technology took wing.

"Apple could have reaped the benefits of having dozens, even hundreds of imitators all adding their own unique value to the Mac," wrote Jim Carlton in his 1997 book, Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania, and Business Blunders. "Legions of suppliers would have sprung up all around the world to furnish components such as disk drives and memory. And since the software was light-years ahead of everybody else's, the Mac's, not Windows, might have come to dominate the personal computer market."

Instead, the opposite happened for Apple, and the PC crowd took advantage of those kinds of economics. This year, Apple is left with less than 4% of the market for personal computers -- basically a cult following.

More recently, Jobs has done for digital music what he once did for personal computing: He's made it appealing to non-techies. Once again, his design sets the pace. No device is as good as the iPod; no software solution works better than iTunes.

But like the Mac of 1985, it's a closed system. Other than open-source MP3 files, only music downloaded through iTunes will play on iPods, and iTunes music won't play on any portable device except an iPod. Apple refuses to license the technology to third parties. Instead of setting a standard for all, Apple wants to own it all. When Microsoft behaves that way, everybody screams antitrust.

So how comes that as a surprise that they are the major users of DMR technlology?

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573192)

Bullshit - iPods will play AIFF, WAV, AAC and MP3 files. How the fuck is that a closed system? Apple sells AAC files with a fairly weak DRM scheme via iTMS, but iTunes allows you to burn these as PCM to Audio CDs or as MP3 to ISO CDs. It's about as weak a DRM scheme as anyone's ever introduced. I don't buy from iTMS, but I can see the attraction, and perhaps I would do so if my lifestyle was different. I DO use iTunes, and I find it a great music and podcast DB.

Re:well (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573636)

It's about as weak a DRM scheme as anyone's ever introduced.
Weakest one I ever saw, was Sony's SonicStage, which lets you remove the DRM on their OpenMG formats entirely -- keeping full quality etc.

Re:well (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573214)

The fact that they made it trivial to take the music you purchase, and convert it to a format that can beplay pretty much anywhere proves your wrong.

Steve Jobs has DRM because the industry insisted. He told them it won't work, he knows it doesn't work, but he has to have something to sell music.

Jobs didn't want his hardware cikkuted, and from a technical standpoint(as opposed to market) he was right. Look how diluted, crapy, and bloated the PC is.

It seems he did learn a lesson, and is being a lot more carefull.
I don't own a Mac.

Re:well (1)

z-kungfu (255628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573426)

Take a chill pill. Apple is a hardware company, they tried the licesning their OS, it gutted their hardware sales. Killing it was the right thing to do, though I didn't agree at the time.

As for you assumption that you can't use iTunes music and another music player, they make it very east to get around that, the DRM is there because the labels demanded it. And you can certainly use music other than iTunes Store bought music on an iPod, I've bought one song off of iTunes yet my iPod is slam full of legit music...

But at least you got your last statement correct. "So how comes that as a surprise that they are the major users of DMR technlology?"

User is correct. They are the largest user because the labels forced it on them....

Get it right... (4, Insightful)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573024)

Some DRM = Can be good for consumers, e.g. It satisfies crazy music execs while giving average consumers DRM which they will rarely/if ever notice at all.

Restrictive DRM = Bad for consumers. Draconian style restrictions that stop the average consumer from doing ordinary things with their music.

Apple's music is unrestrictive DRM (2 Billion songs worth) you can even burn it to a Audio CD removing the DRM entirely.

We're not talking about zunes that let you share a song which expires after a few plays or a few days (which ever comes first.) Or windows media devices that require regular docking otherwise the music will cease to function. We're talking about the ability to legally download music and literally give it to any of 5 computer users. Or burn copies and spread them infinitely. Some kids use maybe two of their 5 licenses on other computers in the house, the rest usually go to their friends. (Legal or not, it still lets you.)

Side effect of being #1 (5, Insightful)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573028)

The fact that Apple is the #1 'DRM purveyor' is just a function of the fact that they are the #1 music download service. DRM was a condition absolutely insisted upon by the big record labels. You can argue as to whether or not DRM would have any kind of foothold as it does today were it not for iTMS, and its a valid argument. In the end, this too shall pass; you can't change physics and the old model must pass away eventually. (Kicking and screaming, as it turns out.)

Re:Side effect of being #1 (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573560)

DRM was a condition absolutely insisted upon by the big record labels.
And my condition for buying content is that there is no DRM on it. So they're not getting sales from me, even if they are "the #1 music download service".

Re:Side effect of being #1 (1)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573606)

I don't like DRM, but Apple's is one of the least restrictive (at least to me). If I purchase music from the iTunes store I can play it on my iPod, I can play it on my hi-fi (via airport express) and I can burn it to a CD. There's not a lot else that I want to do with it, so I'm fairly happy. Though I still prefer buying music on CD and ripping it.

You have a choice in DRM today (4, Interesting)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573030)

You can live in a DRM free world today. Your participation in the existing paradigm is voluntary. Is there anything stopping you today from producing your own hit movie and releasing it without DRM?

If you don't like DRM then become a DRM-free producer. You'll be a more effective leader by walking that walk than you will by being a harping critic who takes no action.

Re:You have a choice in DRM today (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573408)

Is there anything stopping you today from producing your own hit movie and releasing it without DRM?

You mean besides not having millions of dollars to spend to produce and distribute that hit movie? Well, not having the talent to do so. But other than that...

Of course, to you a "hit movie" is probably something that's gotten more than 100 views on youtube. Those of us more grounded in reality might have a different definition of "hit".

Five Words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573676)

Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning

Re:You have a choice in DRM today (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573514)

You can live in a DRM free world today. Your participation in the existing paradigm is voluntary. Is there anything stopping you today from producing your own hit movie and releasing it without DRM?
Lack of money.
If you don't like DRM then become a DRM-free producer.
Or... You could just not buy DRMed stuff.

I used to buy DVDs (some from the States, some more local in Europe), then I discovered I couldn't play some because of some badly made DRM. I haven't bought DVDs in years since.

I'm not interested in workarounds, I know most of them, I know about DVD region-free players, point is -- I am not going to buy something on the assumption that I am a criminal. Obviously these people don't want my business.
You'll be a more effective leader by walking that walk than you will by being a harping critic who takes no action.
On the contrary, I think not tolerating it in your daily life is where it starts or ends.

Re:You have a choice in DRM today (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573668)

Is there anything stopping you today from producing your own hit movie and releasing it without DRM?

Other than having $1,000,000 (almost nothing in Hollywood terms) and no access to the distribution stream needed to get a movie into theatres? Not at all. . .

I'm not actually disagreeing with you, only pointing out what I see as a fallacy in your argument. Making the actual movie, assuming one has money, talent and time, is not actually the hard part. The hard part is getting the movie into theatres around the country so that people can see it. So, while technology has massively lowered the barriers to entry for making the actual film, the system which exists to distribute movies is still a closed and difficult system. That will probably change some day, but at the moment there is not really other system in place.

DRM is not evil (4, Insightful)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573032)

DRM is not inherently evil, but often implementations are troublesome or onerous.

I probably sound like an Apple apologist here, but to be honest I have no problem with the relatively weak DRM included on iTMS songs or movies. They don't prevent me from watching, they don't prevent me from copying (within reason) and I really believe that the DRM inherent in iTMS and by extension iTunes is not a problem.

OK, some people may have a huge problem with DRM philosophically. I must admit, I am not over the moon about the whole idea either but the DRM world is one that we are going to live in whether we like it or not. If we have to accept DRM, then it shouldn't be overly onerous. I think that Apple's implementations are as "consumer-friendly" as you're likely to find. They don't prevent me from using my purchased media, and I don't get the feeling that Apple can "turn off my music" at whim just becuase I changed my registered card number at iTMS. Besides, it's simple to work around with even lossless conversions. I know, I've converted stuff in the past... but generally my purchased iTMS music remains "DRM encumbered" and I have no problems sharing it with my wife's computer or my daughter's iPod as well as my own iPod. The only reason I sometimes convert said music is so I can put a copy on my MythTV box so I can have it when I want to play music on that.

All of course IMO.

Re:DRM is not evil (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573424)

They don't prevent me from watching
I use Linux as my main desktop OS. Enough said.

Re:DRM is not evil (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573556)

I use Linux as my main desktop OS. Enough said.
So did I until 6 months ago. Part of the reason I changed? Because I accept the fact that we're going to live in a DRM world. There's nothing stopping someone from writing a DRM playback client for Linux using (gasp, shock, horror) a binary playback module developed by Apple. The purists who hate the idea of binary-only code in Linux are the ones who are going to kill it as a desktop. The average user doesn't give a monkeys, they just want to play back their media. You may point out that Apple hasn't produced such a module... well... has anyone asked them to?

Sure, open media is the goal but as long as we live in this litiginous, corporate-controlled society we're never going to get it. Like it or not, DRM is something the corporations want, and the corporations will get. The people who are diametrically opposed to this philosophy are a very small minority of the buying public... like small enough that the corporations don't really care about annoying you. You won't buy their wares? They don't care. You write flaming articles on your blogs about the evils of DRM and how it should be opened? They don't care. As long as they can sell their wares openly to a large enough percentage of the population then they really don't care.

Hey, I may not like the DRM-encumbered world much either. I actually hate the concept in general... but that doesn't mean I won't accept it and move on. There are more crucial things that demand my attention and can take up my life than worrying about the encoding or encryption of a media file. As long as the media I want is using Apple-type DRM then I'll tend to probably buy Apple equipment to play it back until someone else license the technology.

Re:DRM is not evil (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573950)

So did I until 6 months ago. Part of the reason I changed?
I'm not changing.
Because I accept the fact that we're going to live in a DRM world.
DRM is not a big enough issue to me to switch OS.
There's nothing stopping someone from writing a DRM playback client for Linux using (gasp, shock, horror) a binary playback module developed by Apple
I'm not really hoping either. I'm not too fond of the idea that someone can just invalidate my collection on a whim.
The purists who hate the idea of binary-only code in Linux are the ones who are going to kill it as a desktop.
I'm not one of those.
The average user doesn't give a monkeys, they just want to play back their media. You may point out that Apple hasn't produced such a module... well... has anyone asked them to?
Yes, I remember the petitions on this.
Sure, open media is the goal but as long as we live in this litiginous, corporate-controlled society we're never going to get it. Like it or not, DRM is something the corporations want, and the corporations will get.
That's fine.
The people who are diametrically opposed to this philosophy are a very small minority of the buying public... like small enough that the corporations don't really care about annoying you.
I'm aware of that.
You won't buy their wares? They don't care. You write flaming articles on your blogs about the evils of DRM and how it should be opened? They don't care. As long as they can sell their wares openly to a large enough percentage of the population then they really don't care.
I agree completely.
Hey, I may not like the DRM-encumbered world much either. I actually hate the concept in general... but that doesn't mean I won't accept it and move on.
Oh, I accept there is DRM. I haven't bought a DVD in years because of region encoding. I'm not too worried, I can tell the companies aren't interested in selling me things.
There are more crucial things that demand my attention and can take up my life than worrying about the encoding or encryption of a media file.
I agree -- Which is why I don't have any.

Re:DRM is not evil (1)

tbone1 (309237) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573920)

They don't prevent me from watching

I use Linux as my main desktop OS. Enough said.

Enough said, indeed. You made the choice of using Linux; I can't imagine how it could be considered a de facto standard in computing purchases. As part of that choice, you also chose not to use iTunes, Microsoft Office, and a lot of other software that is not available to the platform. Just as I did when I chose OS X.

So, if anyone is preventing you from watching, it's you. But that's okay: it's your choice and your right to make those choices on how to use your assets. Just as it's Apples right to decide how to use their assets.

Oh, wait, I'm making an argument for libertarianism and responsibility on the internet. I apologize; don't know what came over me.

Yes, BUT... (3, Insightful)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573038)

So Apple is the biggest backer of DRM. But then, the DRM I get when I buy songs on iTunes still gives me more choice than the DRM that comes with some CDs these days. And it won't install root kits either. So maybe Apple's just the biggest backer because they're the only large company that uses a kind of DRM people don't mind to being subject to.

Re:Yes, BUT... (3, Funny)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573326)

And it won't install root kits either.
Ah, Windows user!

Apple may be the biggest purveyor... (4, Insightful)

manonthemoon (537690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573046)

But it is also the entity responsible for the oncoming demise of DRM on digital music- or at least the non-FairPlay, non-Watermark variety. Why is Microsoft suddenly the biggest cheerleader for non-DRMed music? Because their obtuse and nasty version of DRM got flattened in the marketplace.

All the other DRM formats can't compete and so they are going to the labels and applying their utmost pressure to be able to release DRM free. The labels are listening because the alternative is ceding utter control of their future digital distribution to Apple.

Watermarking will end up being their common friend. The RIAA gets someone to sue and the online music stores get a format that plays on the iPod. I'm not sure watermarking gives me the warm fuzzies (in fact the whole idea gives me the willies), but it is the likely way for this to play out.

Re:Apple may be the biggest purveyor... (1)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573824)

Some people have even wondered whether Microsoft released a restrictive and unpleasant DRM in order to demonstrate to the music industry that DRM is bad for business. Make your own minds up about this.

Always worth repeating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573078)

Microsoft does a great job of diverting attention away from the fundamental problems in the software industry that the F/OSS movement attempts to redress. So much Microsoft bashing happens here and in other forums that the uninitiated might think the primary motivation of the F/OSS movement is to usurp Microsoft. Not so.

If you've never taken the time to read about the philosophy of the free software movement [gnu.org] , you really should take the time to do so. The problem is bigger than Microsoft [gnu.org] .

Article has major flaws (2, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573100)

It takes the stance that if iTunes didnt have DRM, people would jump ship from using the iTunes/iPod combo... totally forgetting the fact that for a good year or two the iPod was a good seller without the iTunes Music Store EVEN EXISTING and that iTunes still works with other MP3 players out there, you just cant use restricted music on it. Worse never once does it mention the fact that people might be using the combo simply cause it works, only that they use it because they have to which anyone on slashdot and even anyone who goes to a site like iPod Lounge could show you is completely false, there are plenty of other ways to get music on a iPod.

This article nor the second one is infact not well written at all, a good article would not make such huge leaps of faith saying the market is one way, when there is plenty of evidence that exists now (such as the fact that much of the music on iPods comes from CD rips, NOT iTunes Music Store) that proves its not even that way today.

Why would we not expect this? (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573102)


Apple is well respected for design and, well, just for being a cool brand, but no one has ever associated Apple and openness. Apple is THE closed, proprietary, system. Being the big backer of DRM is completely consistent for them so I'm not sure why the summary suggests that we should be surprised.

Obviously, people don't care (1)

listening to triplej (813299) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573178)

I'm sure a lot of people care about DRM, particularly the sorts you find on slashdot. But hey really, if people cared about DRM so much then Apple wouldn't be able to sell song.

Apple is just like every other large greedy corporation, they do whatever they can get away with to ensure the biggest slice of profit for themselves.

Apple doesn't want to piss off it's customers (too much), otherwise they wouldn't be successful. So, if they think Joe Shmuck will tolerate a bit of lock-in, or DRM (by keeping them happy with shiny new toys) - then lock in and DRM is what he'll get.

I point the finger at the money focused structure of the public company, weaknesses in the free market model, and lazy consumers who only care about themselves.

If you really care, then vote with your feet! Take your money and loyalty elsewhere - then apple will start to listen. (try emusic.com or something)

Consequences. (2, Insightful)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573274)

First they argued to labels that the liberal DRM is needed - or consumers will not buy songs. Now the coin flipped and Apple wants DRM themselves since it is one of the reasons why people buy iPods - so they can use well-integrated iTMS.

Well, it is business as usual: they have made some sacrifices in past (like $0.70 label fee on every song sold) but now they just want to maintain the position iPod has gained in market.

If Apple resorts to such tactics, we may conclude that end of iPod's rein in market is looming. And Apple is feeling that: otherwise they wouldn't have resorted to such low tactics.

Re:Consequences. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573664)

You do realize that the iTunes store has nothing whatsoever to do with the popularity of the iPod correct? Most music on iPods is not from the store, it's from ripped cd's or otherwise. So if the music is from the cd's people already own why would we ever want to think that the iTunes store is what sells iPods? Oh yeah that's right. So you can have your little delusions.

emusic.com (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573304)

I looked at iTunes but their prices are way too high - basically the same as buying a CD at Amazon.com - and the DRM restrictions were just enough to make me want to stay away.

I've been very happy with emusic.com [emusic.com] , which offers a growing catalog of music, prices that are about 1/3 of Apple's, and completely unrestricted MP3 files.

Sure you won't find top 40 dreck at emusic.com, but if your tastes are the least bit adventurous there's a lot of great music at reasonable prices.

Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, Lucinda Williams, Kirsty MacColl, Tom Waits....

So what? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573306)

As the article points out, Apple is neither pro-DRM or anti-DRM. I think FairPlay is just a means to an end for Apple: Apple wanted more sales of their iPods. One way to do it is to make it easy for individuals to purchase music online. If Apple wanted online music distribution, Apple had to work with the music distributors and develop a system that they would permit. FairPlay was/is a compromise. The DRM is restrictive enough not to allow wholesale piracy but not so restrictive as to trample over fair rights.

There will always some people who will not tolerate any DRM. There are those who think that Apple is being unfair in not licensing their system and leveraging their monopoly. Unlike the MS Windows monopoly, consumers have real choices here. If they don't like Apple's DRM, buy CDs. Buy something other than an iPod and buy music from other distributors. Apple is the biggest player here because consumers have chosen it to be.

Re:So what? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573358)

The DRM is restrictive enough not to allow wholesale piracy but not so restrictive as to trample over fair rights.
I'm sorry, things like the DMCA say otherwise.

Why Apple gains little from DRM (3, Interesting)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573364)

The headline and summary state that "Apple is DRM's Biggest Backer" as though this is fact, so I was disappointed to see that the link is just to an opinion piece--I was expecting a smoking gun, like Jobs saying "DRM is wonderful; DRM forever."

I'll set forth my own opinion: Apple gains nothing from DRM. Apple makes its money selling hardware, like iPods and Macs. Nobody credible believes that Apple is making much, if any, money from the iTunes music store. Instead, it seems the iTMS exists for the convenience of Apple's customers--that is, so Apple can sell more iPods.

Therefore, in economic terms, music is the complement to the iPod: the more music that's out there, the more iPods Apple sells. It's in Apple's interest to ensure there is as much digital music out there as possible. DRM in the iTMS is merely a means to an end, in that it makes it possible for Apple to sell downloads in an easy-to-use, legal product. I don't mean that DRM makes it *technically* possible, because of course Apple could sell DRM free MP3s. It makes it possible from a *business* perspective, as the labels would cry bloody murder if Apple sold DRM free MP3s in its easy-to-use store.

Because the DRM exists ultimately for the convenience of Apple's customers--that is, so they can download music from an easy-to-use store--Apple doesn't care about the DRM. They just want the music to be easily available in an easy-to-use store (P2P services are not nearly as usable as the iTMS.) Prices at the iTMS are relatively high, considering what ALLOFMP3 is selling music for. But Apple isn't making much money here. Apple would be better off without the DRM, if it could get away with that, and with cheap prices--remember, the more music that's out there, the more iPods Apple sells. More music also would drive appetites for bigger capacity iPods, thus driving sales for newer models.

I think the evidence shows that Apple realizes that DRM benefits it little and that DRM hinders its customers, thus ultimately reducing the sales of iPods. Apple does not license its DRM scheme to other players. I think part of the reason for that is because Apple realizes that it would not benefit from having an industry standard DRM scheme. Such a scheme would keep music prices high, which would mean that customers would have less money to spend on iPods and less music to put on them.

Also, look at the weakness of the iTunes DRM. Burn to a CD, rip it back. It's a well-known hole. Apple has done nothing to close it (unlike Microsoft, which has attempted to implement digital watermark schemes) because Apple doesn't want the DRM to be a hassle. They only have the DRM to placate the labels, and the DRM works well enough for this purpose. This hole is a hassle for customers, though. I think Apple would prefer no DRM at all.

I realized all this when I heard of the lawsuits of people complaining that the iPod is not interoperable. That's absurdity. The iPod plays MP3, the most universal music format there is. The iPod is interoperable with any store that sells MP3s. It's not Apple's fault that the other music stores (except the brilliant ALLOFMP3, along with other players like Magnatune and eMusic) are selling music encumbered with Windows DRM. If Apple were truly interested in locking people in with DRM, then Apple would make their music players play ONLY Apple DRM-locked files.

TFA says "The lock-in afforded by FairPlay creates an Apple ecosystem that essentially ties the iPod to iTunes and to Apple, at least for commercial transactions." That's equally absurd. There is an ecosystem between iPod and iTunes, making them easy to use together. That certainly benefits Apple. However, FairPlay is not creating the lock-in. The majority of music in most people's iTunes collections are ripped from CDs or are downloaded through means other than the iTMS. If Apple sold unencumbered MP3s in its store, then there would still be an easy-to-use Apple ecosystem. The purpose of the ecosystem is to sell more iPods, not to lock people in to a DRM scheme. It's absurd that the author thinks Apple would want to lock people into iTunes, considering that Apple makes no money off of it.

All in all, Apple realizes that it's best at selling easy-to-use hardware. Unlike Microsoft, Apple seems to have no desire to be a DRM-scheme licensor--they haven't licensed FairPlay. Apple would benefit greatly from an abundance of DRM free media, and I think Apple would be cheering (at least internally, if not publicly) when DRM suffers its ultimate and inevitable demise.

Re:Why Apple gains little from DRM (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573658)

Apple's success in this area, so far, has been due to making nice products that people want. That's absolutetly true, and Apple would be just as successful right now, even if iTunes had no DRM.

But looking to the future, Apple's DRM very much works to their advantage. For instance...

Let's say you are Microsoft or Creative and you want to sell a portable player to compete with the iPod. What? Your player won't (easily) play all the music everyone's bought on iTunes? You're SOL.

Let's say you are Amazon or Yahoo and you want to open a store to compete with iTunes. What? You're form of DRM won't allow your music to play on the most popular portable player? You're SOL.

That's the crux of the article. Not that Apple's success is due to DRM, but that DRM makes it impossible for a new player to compete in either of the two areas. Why would Apple want to give that up?

What may eventually happen, is that the media companies will allow DRM-free files to be sold, simply to wrestle power away from Apple.

Once again, repeat after me... (1)

Conanymous Award (597667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573402)

Apple is not a backer of DRM. Apple has DRM in iTunes because there would be no iTunes without it. It is there to keep Big Music happy and content. As soon as it becomes possible (and it will, the way DRM seems to be wilting away), Apple will drop DRM from the music it sells. But never, ever could they have made the music industry to give their goods for sale on iTunes if there had been no DRM. That's just an ugly fact.

Most evil DRM? Apple's not even in the running... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573442)

Biggest DRM clusterfuck ever? Vista! [auckland.ac.nz]

Nonsense! (3, Insightful)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573498)

I'm not even going to RTFM. Apple sells 2 billion DRM'd songs, ergo, Apple must be the biggest road block to removing DRM from electronically distributed goods? That's nonsense. It wouldn't be nonsense if Apple owned rights to what they're selling, but they don't - they're just the distributors. The DRM is a condition of being able to distribute. Take Apple out of the equation and you'll see what the RIAA really want - which is price differentiation (latest pop "hits" cost more than old stuff), music "rentals" (you never own what you buy) and a big slice of the revenue from every device sold for use to play or perform the digital content.

So far as I know, the DRM stops casual copying but is easily circumvented. It seems like a pragmatic solution to me and if people want to see real DRM, bring on the Microsofts, and Napsters of this world!

Which is Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17573794)

I will never buy anything from iTunes.

DRM exists for a reason... (1)

MoanNGroan (1050288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17573898)

...and a lot of the reasons can be found here. Apple's DRM is fair, thoughtful, addresses both the consumer's and the distributor's needs, and everybody goes into it (except perhaps the truly techno-illiterate) knowing the deal. Come on, multiple devices, 5 computers, being able to easily reset which devices are approved...is this really unfair?

I've really tried to stop reading anything to do with DRM on /. because all I ever see is a huge number of highly modded posts supporting the idea that the rights of the people creating this stuff are less important than the rights of the dick who doesn't feel he has to pay for it. I mean, you really think you're going to have the same range, quality, and depth of experience if music is handed out unprotected when the majority of people posting here are all ready proudly posting how they steal it in the first place?

Sure, this post will be followed by the 0.01% of people who have some minor, lateral and perhaps even justifiable reason for hating DRM or iTunes or Apple, but that has nothing to do with the general, common-use issues of creative content and the rights of the owners and the agencies they deal with to protect their assets.

Hate corporations (I do, their generally soulless minions), hate the clumsiness of general DRM (like Microsoft-in-the-head's implementations), but instead of just thumping your chest because you cheat or steal and get away with it, offer a solution...or protest it honestly by sticking to the stuff you can access legally for free. But don't pretend that your clever music-stealing schemes are anything more than sticking your hand in somebody else's pocket.

Apple's DRM is, if you like Apple products, more than fair. That is, until all the UNIX-fanboys living here develop their uber-sophisticated, 'permanently version 0.32' of DRM/player technology that lets me freely transport my songs among all my various computers/players (oh, wait, that is what I have now...and now I'm just being nasty). Until then, I'll happily support iTunes, download songs that are fairly priced and as transparently protected as possible. As to the corporations that many of us (myself included) love to hate so much, their days are numbered anyway, if Koopa [bbc.co.uk] is any indication of the future.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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>