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Beware the Apple iPhone iHandcuffs

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the future-of-gizmos dept.

Encryption 406

Nrbelex writes "Randall Stross makes a fresh and surprisingly accurate review of one of the biggest "features" in the upcoming iPhone and the iPod in general, 'fairplay'. Stross writes, 'If "crippleware" seems an unduly harsh description, it balances the euphemistic names that the industry uses for copy protection. Apple officially calls its own standard "FairPlay," but fair it is not.... You are always going to have to buy Apple stuff. Forever and ever.' Can mainstream media coverage help the battle over DRM or will this warning, like those of the pas, continue to go unnoticed?"

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"Fresh"? More like -1 Redundant (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602168)

There's nothing new for a Slashdotter here.

Re:"Fresh"? More like -1 Redundant (2, Interesting)

drt1245 (994583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602832)

I agree. Is anyone surprised that the iPhone (like the iPod, *gasp*) doesn't play Microsoft's music files? Did people really expect the music playing portion of the iPhone (which Apple describes as the "iPod" portion) to operate very differently from the iPod?

Handycuffs (0, Offtopic)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602174)

Now if I could just get my wrist to be shaped more like an apple, I'd never have to worry about someone stealing my iPhone.

Just rip your CD's fool (5, Insightful)

bobalu (1921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602180)

I really don't understand the repeated efforts here to brand Apple as the devil over "FairPlay". I'm no fan of DRM, and don't use it because it's entirely unnecessary. I've bought about 6 songs and one video off of iTunes in the last 3 years. I just don't get the freedom-threatening nature of ripping my own CDs.

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (4, Insightful)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602206)

At least the article didn't blame Apple, but the music industry. Then again, why didn't he just talk about how the music industry shackles Apple and the other online music stores? Well, if he did that there would be no fan boys to rile up would there?

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (5, Informative)

ahillen (45680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602670)

At least the article didn't blame Apple, but the music industry.

Well, he also blames Apple. He gives the example of eMusic, which sells a lot of music from independent labels without DRM (and that of course with the labels agreement). The same music is sold by Apple in the iTunes Store with their fairplay DRM. It seems that in theses cases Apple's assertion that "we have to use DRM, otherwise the labels would not allow us to sell the music" is not true.

So I guess he has a point, although I don't agree with everything he says. Starting with the headline: the problem is not the iPhone (or the iPod), the problem is the iTunes Store. If you decide to buy your music somewhere else (like - gasp - CDs) you are not locked in at all. But, OK, the iPhone is what all the buzz is about right now, so that's probably the reason for the choice of headline. He also says that by buying the iPhone, you have to use the iTunes Store if you want to buy music online. Then he goes on to give the example of eMusic, which sells millions of songs online in MP3 format without DRM. Obviously, these files will also work on any Apple device.

So, his arguments are at some points a bit flawed, but I think the general intention of raising the awareness for the possible pitfalls of buying DRM music has to be applauded.

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (5, Informative)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602208)

Exactly.
1. Rip your own CDs. Legal.
2. Borrow your friends' CDs and rip. Not legal in USA.
3. Buy MP3s from AllofMP3.com. Legal in Russia.
4. Buy MP3s from eMusic.com. Legal.

Plenty of sources for music that don't involve iTunes Music Store.

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602478)

You forgot the public library.

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602494)

It would be illegal to make copies though in most countries.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell! (1)

FractalZone (950570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602552)

Why not just follow the U.S. government's lead and Don't Ask where your downloaded music comes from, and Don't Tell anyone how you got it? If the concept works for the U.S. Armed Forces, it should work for you. If the government can assume that everyone who enlists is straight, why shouldn't you assume that all music you find on the Internet is free?

Re:Just rip your CD's (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602298)

When the music industry finally realizes that they can sell you a digital DRM'd to hell download and mail you a pretty poster album cover the howling will make more sense.

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (2, Insightful)

Zonk (troll) (1026140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602342)

I deeply despise the idea of DRM, but with the iPod it is completly options. Don't like the DRM, don't buy from the damn store. Just like when competeing stores complain about Apple "locking them out" of the iPod, all they have to do is sell non crippled AACs or MP3s. Personally, I rip all my music from CDs, encode them with LAME, and then use GTKPod to copy them to my iPod. I buy most of my CDs from local used stores or used from Amazon or Half.com. No copy protection and the RIAA doesn't get additional money*. As a plus I often pay only $5-$8 including shipping.

* I know the artist doesn't either, but if they signed with an RIAA label fuck 'em. I only buy new if it's and independent artist.

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602512)

Apple doesn't force you to use the Music Store purchased songs to put them on your iPod. I have taken MP3 from different sources and put them on my iPod, the iPod does support Fair Play DRM but it doesn't make the songs downloaded DRM. I am sure Apple doesn't really care much for DRM but if they wanted the Record Companies to allow them sell their music they had to place some restrictions on what can be done. Jobs is a tough businessman but so are the record labels. Apple came out of the talks a lot better then Microsoft did. The Record labels wanted a much tougher DRM then Fair Play. Apple didn't want much for DRM. It is a compromise. Now that being said. You have a choice. You can still use other music sources, you if you find some music elsewhere you can put it on your iPod. Apple wants you to buy an iPhone or an iPod, they want you to use their store.... But they much rather have you using their iPod then using their Store.

"nobody forces you to" ... aaaargh (1)

drx (123393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602694)

Apple doesn't force you to use the Music Store purchased songs to put them on your iPod.

With this approach it is indeed difficult to critisize any business practice, because almost all the time nobody ever forces you to do anything.

Maybe there is a difference in what people expect to get when they buy something and what they get in fact.

Also, business practices shape culture and law. If something is considered normal (although nobody is forced to do whatever), it will be an accepted way of doing things.

Many "digital products" transport politics by the way they work. So it is important to discuss the "defaults" these products are setting.

If you think that DRM suX0rz, then you have every right to say that the iPod is crap. Because it is an integral part of the product.

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602352)

I switched to Apple in 2000, because my work Dell laptop running MS Windows would lock-up with blue-screen of death 3-5 times each workday -- while running mainly MS Office applications (including Visio and MS Project). My Apple computers have *never* locked up the whole operating system in 6 years. I have only had a very few application lockups. It is exactly why I own a Honda, not a GM car. Apple computers are just more reliable, and they are not more expensive than comparably equipped Dell, Gateway, HP, or other branded computers. As long as Apple remains more reliable and gets the job done, why fix something that isn't broken by changing ??

I have had an iPod for about 2 years now. I've been using iTunes for longer than that (e.g. to listen to live Internet radio) or to get the free iTunes downloads (e.g. from BBC Radio, CNN Radio). My iPod has over 9GB of music -- 100% of it from CDs that I own. Apple's DRM has ZERO impact on me, because I don't buy ANY music from Apple. The iPod also has my Calendar and Address Book, sync'd using iSync from my Apple laptop, which let me stop carrying a Palm when travelling.

  • Nothing makes anyone BUY anything from Apple's ITunes Store.
  • MOST iPod users NEVER BUY anything from the Apple iTunes Store.
  • Buying music online is a choice. America is all about having choices. No one is pointing a gun at anyone.

So what, exactly, is the big hangup with Apple here ??

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602562)

I just have to say, while your experience was rosey, mine wasn't.
My Apple computers have *never* locked up the whole operating system in 6 years.
My Apple computers running OS X used to crash on me daily, give me the spindle of death every now and then. I've had more logicboard failures than I can remember, airport wireless hardware just randomly died on a few machines, systems getting too hot to touch, emitting high pitch noises that I can hear (not everyone can hear them, but I can).

Re:Just rip your CD's fool (1)

Yuto (980909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602432)

I agree with bobalu. I just don't understand why iTunes and the iPod using Fairplay is always spun so negatively.
1) You can buy CDs, Rip, and Play them on the iPod, iPhone or iTunes. No DRM Required anywhere in there
2) You can buy a song from iTunes, burn it to a CD and then bring it back into iTunes. The process allows for this.
3) When you stop using the iTunes music store because you have decided that buying CDs is the best way to stay out of DRM's way, you don't lose the music you purchased because you purchased it, not a subscription to it. There must be other examples that have been repeated outlined.

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Re:Just rip your CD's fool (3, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602812)

Well, there's 2 camps here.

1. The actually genuinely concerned consumer activists, who don't realize Fairplay is really as good a DRM system as we're probably ever going to get, consumer-wise.
2. The people who are royally pissed that THEIR DRM isn't the stuff being shoved down everyone's throats.

Of course, #2 has some sub camps, based on motivation.
- There are the people who are just royally pissed that they aren't getting the online music sales or MP3 player sales they "deserve" since they're "in the industry", so they obviously deserve a competition free environment. Forever. (The "real" music publishers.)
- There are the people who are royally pissed that the DRM doesn't include a rootkit, doesn't cost $5 a song, allows you to play the songs more than once, allows you to move your music onto normal CDs, onto multiple players, etc. (The anti-fair use people.)
- And there are the people who are pissed that the iNdustry (iPod, iTunes, etc) seems to be propping up Apple, which they thought they had killed off so long ago that no one would notice them borrowing features and themes from OS X for their new big name Operating System release... (The Windows die-hards, not all of which are centered in Redmond.)

All 3 of these camps can easily afford to pay for an astroturfing campaign, so... Who knows?

Had to happen (1, Insightful)

wallyhall (665610) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602182)

I guess it was always gunna happen at some point. They've had such a hit with iTunes and the iPod with their own audio format...

Buying Apple is like getting married (5, Funny)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602192)

No matter how sexy or cool things seemed early on, the day will come when you will wonder what the fuck you were thinking.

Re:Buying Apple is like getting married (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602496)

That's funny, because every time I've bought Apple, starting about 7 years ago, as the days go by I keep realizing what a good idea the purchase was.

As plenty of others have pointed out, you can put MP3s on iPods, and there are plenty of legitimate places to get those. As far as interoperability goes, Apple does a lot better than MS, although maybe not quite as well as the various Linux distros and programs.

Re:Buying Apple is like getting married (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602540)

shut the fuck up with your fanboyisms. No one likes you. Get a life.

Re:Buying Apple is like getting married (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602764)

Did you even read the article summary posted on the main page? I'll quote a part of it for you:

You are always going to have to buy Apple stuff. Forever and ever.'

You then back up that point with:

because every time I've bought Apple, starting about 7 years ago,

Believe me, I have NO doubt you will buy many more Apple products in the future. Kind of the point of the whole article.

People have had such a hard time finding room lighting devices that are both easy to use and good looking. I'm waiting for the iLights. Apples answer that is a sleek and sexy line of home and portable lighting products that are required to actually see the Apple products in your room as Apple intended.

I had an opinion that might be considered negative to Apples image! Quick, mod me down to -1.

Re:Buying Apple is like getting married (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602824)

"Believe me, I have NO doubt you will buy many more Apple products in the future." Probably, because they've worked pretty well for me. However, I won't be buying Apple because I'm locked in to iTunes - I haven't bought any music from there since JHymn stopped working. I wish they would have just let JHymn slide and not changed the encryption scheme repeatedly, but I doubt the music industry would have been too happy about that.

Buying Microsoft is like losing your virginity (4, Funny)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602716)

You do it because all your friends are doing it. So you go out, get drunk, and find the cheapest, skankiest thing you can get home to plug. And now you're actually touching it! And boy you're on it ALL NIGHT (in five minute incremements between reboots). When you wake up in the morning and take your first sober look at the 'face, knowing you could have done much better, you barely succeed in convincing yourself that it wasn't necessarily the wrong thing to do.

Then you realize you have 17 viruses.

Re:Buying Microsoft is like losing your virginity (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602808)

You know, it is possible to talk about Apple with no mention of Microsoft at all.

stop stealing and pay up... (1)

oktokie (459163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602200)

stop stealing and pay up...
sick of iphone bashing. Nobody has asked to buy iphone unlike MS windows. If you don't like it, then don't buy. Windows... I had to buy to open *.doc.

This is dumb! (4, Insightful)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602204)

The suit contends that Apple unfairly restricts consumer choice because it does not load onto the iPod the software needed to play music that uses Microsoft's copy-protection standard, in addition to Apple's own.


As far as I'm considered, this is a stupid argument. Slam Sony instead. How about a $400 DVD plaver that won't play MP3 file.

Re:This is dumb! (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602504)

How about instead we place Sony and Apple in the same category?

Re:This is dumb! (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602548)

How about instead we place Sony and Apple in the same category?

No, because then you'd make fun of Apple, which is completely unacceptable.

Only Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602212)

Only Apple can sell the razor and the blades at a premium.

Article is about iPod, not iPhone (4, Insightful)

phozz bare (720522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602214)

The iPhone is mentioned in the first paragraph and in the headline, perhaps to grab the reader's attention. The rest of the article is about the DRM restrictions in music purchased from iTunes. While this will also apply to the iPhone (as it includes iPod functionality) I really can't see why this article is remotely interesting or newsworthy. I was expecting to read something about the 3rd party software lock-in on the iPhone, but there really is nothing to see here.

phozz

Re:Article is about iPod, not iPhone (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602476)

This is newsworthy because it appears in the New York Times, a publication read by millions of iPod-owning, iTunes-buying Americans who've never heard of DRM -- also a publication with typically nothing but repeated praise for Apple. The usual tech articles in the NY Times relating in any way to Apple Inc. read as advertisements or press releases, not journalism.

Give them some time, and we can hope for an article on 3rd-party software lock out. Meanwhile, the next time you read an NY Times article/advertisement written through apple-colored glasses, write them a letter.

Don't buy it if you don't like it... (4, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602216)

So people want to force Apple to make Microsoft formats work on the iPod? Those same people blame Apple for iTunes purchased songs not working on a Zune as well? I don't get the double standard. If Apple should be forced to make iPods play Microsoft DRM, then isn't it the responsibility of Microsoft to make Apple's FairPlay work on Zunes? I think I'll go buy a Zune then sue Microsoft because my iTunes songs don't work on the Zune. I hope this case gets thrown out and the woman has to pay the court costs.

Re:DRM = Incompatible (2, Informative)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602338)

Microsoft used to promote its PlaysForSure copy-protection standard, but there must have been some difficulty with the "for sure" because the company has dropped it in favor of an entirely new copy-protection standard for its new Zune player, which, incidentally, is incompatible with the old one.

They got it part right in the article. The whole lawsuit is that one flavor of DRM is incompatible with another variety of player. While they were at it, why pick on just Apple and Microsoft. Toss in the Sony Minidisk and the Sony DRM format too.

They poked the lawsuit at the wrong end of the market. They complained that the players would not play each others incompatible formats. They should have gone the other way and insisted the Zune store, the Plays for Sure stores, and iTunes store all sold compatible MP3's instead of incompatible DRM files.

Re:DRM = Incompatible (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602470)

Maybe this is the real "format war" and HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are playing second fiddle? I say the solution is caveat emptor. Inform yourself before you buy something. I can't blame any of the companies for creating their own standards, even though I think it is funny that Microsoft can't even make a DRM that is compatible with their previous ones.

Re:DRM = Incompatible (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602838)

even though I think it is funny that Microsoft can't even make a DRM that is compatible with their previous ones.


I think it's even funnier that emusic is the only online store selling legal MP3's that play on every MP3 player out there including my car stereo and living room DVD player.

As artists drop the RIAA and their lables and move to emusic, I expect things to get uncomfortable for the 4 labels in the cartel. They won't be able to sue and shut this down like they did Napster. They will have to adopt or die.

Re:Don't buy it if you don't like it... (3, Insightful)

okoskimi (878708) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602798)

Not a double standard. Apple does not allow other companies to use FairPlay - if they would, every MP3 player would support it. The whole point for Apple is to support iPod sales and customer lock-in. And Apple does not enable other DRM systems to work on iPod either. They are using the fact that they have the dominant online music store and dominant MP3 player to lock down iTunes users to iPods (because only those can play iTunes music) and to lock down iPod users to iTunes (because only iTunes can sell DRM'd music for the iPods, and major labels currently only sell DRM'd music).

Also, to those who say that it doesn't matter because you can rip CDs: you are being elitistic. That means you expect every user to have the technological savvy to understand that the song collection they bought so easily and conveniently online is just a worthless bunch of bytes if they ever want to use another brand of MP3 player. Didn't someone say iTunes has two billion downloads by now? That's an awful lot of users. Entrapment of users is not more acceptable just because it is possible to evade the trap if you are smart enough. If it were Microsoft doing this, they would get chewed out quickly enough.

Locked music? What about locked OS? (5, Interesting)

jezor (51922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602222)

I read the NYT article, and this is really not a new issue, is it? The iPod has had this issue, as did Apple's previous foray into cellphones (the ROKR and now the RAZR [apple.com] ). The bigger challenge the iPhone faces is that, according to Steve Jobs [slashdot.org] , 3rd party developers won't be able to write programs for the iPhone without Apple's blessing and distribution channels. That's a product killer, given that the most popular smartphones already on the market (especially those running PalmOS and Windows Mobile) are tremendously extensible via 3rd party offerings. It's also a huge mistake. Having a phone that plays music isn't a revolution; it's a necessity these days. Heck, the phones that are being given away by the carriers can all play MP3s at least. Rather, anyone spending as much as Apple wants for the iPhone (even before locking in a data plan from Cingular) is going to want to do whatever he or she can imagine with the iPhone in all aspects of life, not just music or telephoning. That will require 3rd party developers. Apple should embrace 3rd party development, since it will sell many more iPhones, rather than the current strategy.

Personally, I was pondering how to make the business case for an iPhone at work until I read about the current 3rd party app limitation. As someone who's used the PalmOS for 10 years, I am *not* going back to one-vendor sourced apps. {Prof. Jonathan Ezor, PalmAddict Associate Writer} [typepad.com]

Re:Locked music? What about locked OS? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602316)

For the same reasons as you gave, I'm not accepting Apple's stated reasons for not allowing arbitrary third party apps. Right now, the most I see that is reasonable is that the software would have to pass a standardized security validator, that's about it. I don't want to see that iPhone developers have to become part of a secret society in order to get any permission to install software.

Re:Locked music? What about locked OS? (1)

Thrudheim (910314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602412)

That's a product killer, given that the most popular smartphones already on the market (especially those running PalmOS and Windows Mobile) are tremendously extensible via 3rd party offerings. . . . Apple should embrace 3rd party development, since it will sell many more iPhones, rather than the current strategy.

You might be right, but I'll venture to guess that Apple knows what it's doing. We'll see how sales actually go when the phone hits the market. It's an empirical question, after all.

Besides, at this point, we really don't know about just how many third-party apps will get through Apple's vetting process. There just isn't very much information yet, but my bet is that there will be a lot more third-party developer activity for the iPhone than people seem to think. I saw one post from a developer who attended a development forum on the iPhone at MacWorld who wrote that he/she was dropping all other projects to work on iPhone-related projects. He/she could not provide details due to a non-disclosure agreement. Apple is secretive, but it is not stupid.

In the abstract, I see nothing wrong with Apple making an effort to ensure compatibility and proper installation of non-Apple apps. Apple's tendency is to favor application quality over quantity. There is a trade-off at some level between wide-open access for third-party development and platform stability. In the end, there may not be quite as many little apps for the iPhone to do every last little function that some tiny part of the marketplace may want, but there will be robust, well-designed apps to handle all key functions. And, frankly, that's all Apple needs to secure a chunk of what is a huge market. Apple does not have to target the entire market in order to have a winning product. Trying to target the entire market, moreover, would probably be counterproductive.

Re:Locked music? What about locked OS? (5, Insightful)

jezor (51922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602516)

My point is that a lot of little niche markets make up one honkin' big one, and whether or not Apple is encouraging 3rd party development, if every app has to pass through Apple's screening process and be distributed (read: priced and sold) through Apple's own structure, it will significantly discourage niche products.

As a long-time PalmOS user, I look to Palm for both negative and positive examples. Palm's success was built not on the PIM applications, but on 3rd party tools, and while Palm offered certification for software programs, it didn't require certification in order for programs to run. Not only did that drive innovation by 3rd parties, but many of those 3rd party developments put pressure on Palm to extend the basic OS accordingly. Tapped drop-down menus, fullscreen Graffiti entry, running apps off SD cards, full backup (not just PIM apps) and hard button reassignment all began as 3rd party innovations, and were later adopted by the PalmOS. At the same time, though, Palm's uncertainty about whether it was a hardware, software, or OS company has led to stultification of the underlying PalmOS, to the point where the iPhone has a real opportunity not only to get Treo users but non-smartphone users like me (I use a T|X) to cross over, if it's done properly by Apple.

I'm not counting Apple out by any means, nor am I assuming that 3rd party developers won't be able to create homebrew apps that will load and run on the iPhone, Apple-certified or not. That said, I hope that Apple is looking at the PDA rather than cellphone market for inspiration. Otherwise, this Newton 2007 may rot unpicked. {Prof. Jonathan}

Re:Locked music? What about locked OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602664)

3rd party can't create apps for the iPhone, but they can create widgets, right?
Perhaps Apple just doesn't want to provide/support a "soft phone" and everything else that goes along with making full-blown apps on the phone.

Apple picked the least evil option (5, Insightful)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602230)

Apple had to produce a DRM that was acceptable to the music industry, or else iTunes would never exist. MP3 players would still be gimmicks, much like minidisk players, and the advances we have seen across all brands of MP3 players never would have happened. Instead, Apple came up with a solution that appeased the music industry, and which doesn't remove that many rights from consumers. The really brilliant thing Apple did was allow FairPlay to be so easily cracked by burning the music to CD's. I find it interesting that the article complains about Apple locking in consumers, but the far more interesting thing is how they have locked in the music industry. The music industry would love to raise prices, make all services subscription, and restrict our rights in more and more ways. Instead, Apple is strong enough that not only can it maintain the status quo (which they improved by allowing us to buy single songs, instead of CD's with a decent song and 9 crappy ones), they are extending it to other music labels and now movies. They have created a means for more independent artists to make a living without giving into the labels (not as good as eMusic, true, but they had to give up something to get the major labels.), allowed consumers to buy music ala carte, and are changing the face of the industry. There are the vocal few who claim that all DRM is evil, and refuse to buy anything from the music labels. I admire both your stance and your dedication to it. However, most of the public do not understand the issues, and they provide enough revenue for the labels to ignore you. Apple is a middle ground now. Hopefully in the future, we will be able to move to an even better situation. However, without this middle ground, we would all be talking about buying music in a hopelessly outdated, unfair manner, or stealing it.

Re:Apple picked the least evil option (1)

wongaboo (648434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602426)

Parent says: "Apple had to produce a DRM that was acceptable to the music industry, or else iTunes would never exist." While this may have been true it is unresponsive the article in which Apple is shown making this argument in court and then Mr. Stross makes a counter argument. TFA:

"Apple pretends that the decision to use copy protection is out of its hands. In defending itself against Ms. Tucker's lawsuit, Apple's lawyers noted in passing that digital-rights-management software is required by the major record companies as a condition of permitting their music to be sold online: "Without D.R.M., legal online music stores would not exist." In other words, however irksome customers may find the limitations imposed by copy protection, the fault is the music companies', not Apple's. This claim requires willful blindness to the presence of online music stores that eschew copy protection. For example, one online store, eMusic, offers two million tracks from independent labels that represent about 30 percent of worldwide music sales."

Mr. Stross also notes later in the article that eMusic and Yahoo have had some recent success getting the major lables to give them access to their music sans DRM. Tell me, why can't Apple provide DRM free music downloads to indi artists who want that?

Re:Apple picked the least evil option (2, Informative)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602768)

The article also says that the four major labels refuse to put music on eMusic. The DRM free songs they have released are few. Some conspiracy theorists claim this is to show it doesn't work, but I think they don't like Apple being the dominant one in the relationship, so they are trying a variety of means to see what works best, including subscription services, PlayForSure, and DRM free music. They wouldn't be doing this if Apple hadn't flipped the tables. As to why Apple won't let artists upload music DRM free, I can take a couple of guesses, but they are just guesses. Maybe the DRM process is automated, and Apple sees no need to go through the process of releasing music in different formats. Maybe their agreement with the big four requires it. Maybe they do want to lock people in. But if so, I wouldn't think they would have provided such an easy to use back door, as well as all of the tools to make it work.

Re:Apple picked the least evil option (2, Insightful)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602690)

Just because you can't remember a time before iPods doesn't make pre-iPod mp3 players gimmicks. Like it or not, all these so called advances (what advances? the touchpad stolen from a laptop or flash stolen from USB sticks?) would have happened eventually. Only there would be a different name on the box. It's really sad when I am in Best Buy and I hear this guy say "but I thought they were all called iPods"...

NOTE: I've owned 4 iPods, 2 still alive

Re:Apple picked the least evil option (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602742)

And I owned a Diamond Rio. I remember MP3 players from before the iPod, and I owned a minidisc player as well. The comparison is apt, in my experience.

yada yada (1)

erikwestlund (1003368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602234)

Though I'm not a fan of DRM, and I generally avoid the iTunes store because I'm not sold on 128kbps sound files, this is their choice. If people want to play iTunes store songs on other digital media players, then they can work around it by burning CDs, or they can obtain the music some other way. Unfortunately, one of those ways is piracy, which Apple surely knows. I hate to be the person that says "they are making a business decision," but in a sense, they are. It makes sense for them to keep their users "locked in" to the iPod/iPhone/iWhatever line. And quite honestly, most people don't know about DRM's specifics, nor do they care. What do they do? Buy an iPod, if they didn't already have one. Techy people get upset, but I really doubt the techy people are the market in this case. I DJ using a digital solution and I prefer 320kbps mp3s to balance size and sound quality. I don't buy from iTunes store almost at all, because it's not what I'm looking for. Over and done with. It does seem to me a bit unfair to complain, as the lady does, about her other music players not playing iTunes store stuff. The flip is that people who use those media players aren't going to buy from the iTunes store -- bad for Apple. OR they buy an iPod. Good for Apple! There are still trade-offs involved. I dislike DRM. But for all the fuss, it's never really got to my nerves very much, and I buy more music in formats from mp3 to cd to good old vinyl records. I primarly buy digital music. People are not entitled to DRM-free music from iTunes store. It's part of the bargain. And as long as people see it worth it to buy a low quality m4a file with DRM, which 2 billion purchases suggest they do, then what's all the fuss?

Choice (2, Informative)

eefsee (325736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602238)

You can easily fill up an iPod or iPhone with non-DRM music. Just rip it yourself. In fact, throughout the keynote Jobs used Beatles music (rubbing their nose in it, I guess) and those albums he showed are not available on iTunes. Apple has improved the ripping experience by providing album art for ripped tunes. Granted, FairPlay is hardly fair to Apple competitors. I wish that if Apple continues using it they would at least make it an open standard so we could have a level DRM field, but I don't expect Apple to support other DRM schemes, even when their own creators (MS anyone?) seem to abandon them, for sure.

The article does make a good point, though. If a label is willing to let its music out on eMusic without DRM, and even willing to let Apple have it for iTunes without DRM, then why does Apple not post it on iTunes without FairPlay? I'd guess this is (A) more of Jobs consistency bug, don't get people expecting different behavior from different objects in the store, and (B) Apple has begun to feel proprietary about this music and wants to sell more and maybe feels a wee bit fearful that an open tune will suffer sales decline. Who knows.

Re:Choice (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602354)

The article does make a good point, though. If a label is willing to let its music out on eMusic without DRM, and even willing to let Apple have it for iTunes without DRM, then why does Apple not post it on iTunes without FairPlay?

Because nobody's made a big enough noise about it, I suppose. There still aren't enough popular artists on eMusic for this to be a major issue for people.

Alternatively, consider that Apple would still be selling the music in AAC format, which it claims gives better quality in smaller file sizes than MP3. So buyers from the iTunes Store would still be shut out from listening to the music on other players.

It would be nice of Apple to license FairPlay to other hardware makers, especially since I can't see it putting a huge dent in iPod sales anyway. But I'm not sure this lawsuit has a compelling chance of making it happen. As long as the same music can be easily bought in other places, it's not a monopoly.

AAC is open, protected AAC is not (1)

kherr (602366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602546)

Alternatively, consider that Apple would still be selling the music in AAC format, which it claims gives better quality in smaller file sizes than MP3.

Just to clarify a bit, AAC is as open a format as MP3. It's the MPEG group's successor to MP3. Apple adds their DRM to AAC, creating protected AAC. There's no reason for modern players to not support AAC. Apple's FairPlay is a separate issue.

Re:Choice (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602554)

Yeah, because we all know AAC is a proprietary format. The A in AAC stands for Apple, after all, right? Right?

Jesus goddamn Christ, how is it possible for fucktards like you--on Slashdot, no less--to remain so ignorant TEN EVERFUCKING YEARS after the introduction of MPEG-2 Part 7?

Are you sure about that? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602790)

You can easily fill up an iPod or iPhone with non-DRM music. Just rip it yourself.

Are you sure about that? I have a brand new RAZR from Sprint and while it has the capabilities to play mp3s you download from their store, it has no ability to copy your own to the phone (unless you want to save them as ring tones). What makes you think the iPhone would be different? While it is true that you can rip your CDs to an iPod, nowhere was it mentioned that that capability will be included with an iPhone. Downloading music for a fee is one of the revenue streams the cell phone companies are depending on. Why would they want to give that up?

Anti-Apple week (4, Informative)

Oniros (53181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602254)

Geez, the iPhone must have scared the crap out of everyone in the industry, seems it's Anti-Apple FUD since the iPhone was announced.

I own an iPod (3rd gen or something), works great with the hundreds of CDs I own and ripped. I bought 1 song on the iTunes store. The article lie in implying the iPod is limited to FairPlay music. This is not the Zune, iTunes doesn't add a DRM layer to your music. It plays non-DRMed songs just fine.

I own a Mac, plays all the fansubbed unlicensed anime series I get on bittorrent. Works even in FrontRow. And on the video iPod and Apple TV if I batch convert them to H264. Again, non-DRMed video plays fine.

So, allow me not to be scared.

If you want to worry, check the big brotherish content protection in Vista:
A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection
http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_c ost.txt [auckland.ac.nz]

Re:Anti-Apple week (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602382)

Geez, the iPhone must have scared the crap out of everyone in the industry, seems it's Anti-Apple FUD since the iPhone was announced.

Allow me to present my Apple credentials. An original LC owner from around 1993 (I think), then skipped out but back in for a 12" Powerbook when Jaguar was released. Our household has a MacBook Pro, a MacBook, a dual G5 tower, an (Intel) Mac Mini and an SE/30 for nostalgia. Pro-Apple enough perhaps? Well then, I think that as announced so far, the iPhone is a poor product.

  • No 3G. A killer in Europe for something at that level. I'm assuming this won't be a problem by the time of launch though, because I simply cannot imagine anyone trying to launch a 2.5G smart phone here these days.
  • No video calling. Minor league problem for me and directly related to no 3G.
  • "First proper browser on a phone" says Jobs in the keynote. Err...no, no at all. My phone is happily running Opera, as are plenty of others.
  • No user-replaceable battery. No spare batteries? Are they serious? Not a problem with an iPod, you just lose your music for a while. Annoying but liveable. For a phone however, that's a much bigger hassle.
  • No third-party software. Err...no. Won't fly for me.
  • Can't use your "iTunes music" as a ring tone. Now admittedly the source I read for this didn't make it clear if they really meant iTMS-purchased music or just any old MP3 but either way that's pretty poor.
  • No GPS (that I'm aware of). I'm spending that amount of money, I'd like a GPS-enabled phone please.
  • No radio. For the love of god, what is it that Apple have against radios? Even the built-in Radio function of iTunes is utterly useless. I don't want to carry around an add-on for that, it should be built into the phone like damned near every other phone.
  • Fixed capacity - I can't move my own flash cards in and out of the phone.
  • No video at all - not just lack of video calling but also it's unclear if that camera will actually shoot video for storing on the internal memory and transferring off later.


I love the look of the interface, though in practice I do wonder how well it's going to stand up to daily use (smears on the screen etc.). Right now though, the hardware itself just looks too weak to me. Not enough features for the cash - my N70 already does functionally more than the iPhone, and that came as a freebie with my contract. I'll admit the Nokia interface is terrible in comparison, but for me at least the OS X interface isn't enough to compensate for the lack of capability in the phone. Not asking for the moon on a stick here - everything I've mentioned can currently be done by other phones, all but GPS in already done by my freebie N70.

Roll on v1.x please.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Anti-Apple week (1)

Dan_Bercell (826965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602474)

Seems like the IPhone is similar to the IPod. The IPod is not really the 'best' MP3 player in the industry, it is popular because it is a fad. Its the 'cool' MP3 player to buy. With the high price tag I am not really sure who Apple is marketing the IPhone towards. Its too expensive for masses of young people to purchase, it doesnt offer anything that Windows Mobile or Palm offers for Business users (in fact is offers less). I guess we will have to wait for its release and commericals, mind you Apple has never been good at marketing its products, with the exception of the Ipod of course.

Re:Anti-Apple week (-1, Troll)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602520)

HAHAHAHA! Oh, wow. Clueless.

You just don't get it, and you never will. I'd feel sorry for you if only every aspect of you weren't such an offense to our aesthetic sensibilities. Choke on beige and die, PC user.

Re:Anti-Apple week (1)

Dan_Bercell (826965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602726)

Spoken like a true idiot with nothing to prove.

Re:Anti-Apple week (1)

GRW (63655) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602558)

In a similar vein is this article [latimes.com] , talking about the advanced 3G capabilities of Japanese cell phones.

Re:Anti-Apple week (2, Funny)

bheer (633842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602574)

Allow me to present my Apple credentials. An original LC owner from around 1993 (I think), then skipped out but back in for a 12" Powerbook when Jaguar was released. Our household has a MacBook Pro, a MacBook, a dual G5 tower, an (Intel) Mac Mini and an SE/30 for nostalgia. Pro-Apple enough perhaps?


I find it disturbing that so many Slashdot posts feel spending thousands of dollars on Apple gear entitles them to criticize Apple. It doesn't work that way in real life, guys. Take women. I've spent thousands of $$$ on women but I still get to sleep on the couch for imagined slights.

Re:Anti-Apple week (1)

stg (43177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602704)

I find it disturbing that so many Slashdot posts feel spending thousands of dollars on Apple gear entitles them to criticize Apple


Yeah, me too. I don't recall ever spending anything on Apple gear, yet I feel that I'm as entitled to criticize them as anyone... :-)

Seriously, when I saw the first news release I was almost drooling. I mentioned the specs to a couple of friends, with the same results.

Then I saw every single annoying limitation... (specially no third-party software) Now I'm basically not interested at all.

Maybe by the second or third generation...

I'm confused.. (4, Insightful)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602256)

How is this fresh? That is... we knew it was an iPod, right? Did people think it would not have DRM just because it was a phone this time?

This is the same argument every time a new iPod comes out... "hey, it only works with songs from iTunes" and "iTunes only works with iPods." No shit. We know this by now. This article really has nothing to do with the iPhone specifically, it's just another DRM bashing article. Which is fine, I'd love to see it gone as much as the next guy... but as far as DRM goes, Apple's is pretty "fair" IMO and definitely simple.

I spend almost 2 hours yesterday trying to get my little sister's Sansa to work with some songs my mom bought for her from the Walmart music store. Now THAT is some crappy DRM. Crappy software. Crappy everything.

Re:I'm confused.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602434)

You do know that the iPod works fine with unprotected MP3s and CD rips, right? The "only works with songs from iTunes" is pure nonsense.

The least of all evils (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602260)

I hate DRM as much as the next /.er, but Aple seems to be the least of all evils currently out there. Unless the recording industry moves to unprotected MP3/AAC/WMV (and the last I heard, Hell was has not even had frost warnings over the past few years, much less a chance of freezing over), legal downloadable files will always have DRM.

GIven that, Apple gives a very lax DRM (compared to other services) when it comes to their service. Easy to tracks/albums to mp3. Easy to use download software (iTunes). Easy to pay for music (not that stupid MS bucks where you are forced to buy more than you need). Easy to use mp3 players that go along with their service.

When you consider the general public, and not typical /.ers, Apple, for the most part, gives the people what they want (or at least as much as the RIAA will allow).

(Or you can do like the rest of us /.ers fo, and and just rip all our music from CDs to mp3 or whatever unprotected format you want. No DRM.)

Yawn @ article (1)

ParraCida (1018494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602266)

This article isn't about the iPhone, it's about the iPod and it's DRM model for selling songs online. Whereas his claims towards the ipod may be justified, the title is just plain misleading.

This is just some guy trying to latch onto the current iPhone news by putting the word iPhone in the title, and then going on about the iPod, good catch by slashdot! What news value indeed!

iComment (1)

daveling (746446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602286)

As i sit here typing on my iKeyboard clicking my iMouse I'm reminded of the dot com phenomena of everything being eSomething - eMail, eTrade, eNough. Fortunately the letter i can't be trademarked. Before anyone else trademarks it I'm now selling uPhones, uMail servers, uTrees and so on, hey I'll make uBillions.

My prediction for this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602296)

People who don't like Apple will argue with people who don't like people who don't like Apple, and the end result will be every bit as confusing as it sounds.

That, and I don't like people who don't like people who don't like Apple.

Forever and ever, amen. (2, Interesting)

Masque (20587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602306)

"You are always going to have to buy Apple stuff."

It's tragic and depressing, it is. If only there were a way for me to burn my FairPlay music to CDs! Then I could listen to it on any device, anywhere, anytime, or even re-rip it, thus ending up with unencumbered music.

C'mon. You're already buying compressed audio or video. If you were serious about quality - or "freedom!!1!!!1!" - you'd be purchasing the highest-quality source material possible, and using lossless compression to archive it. But you're not. Instead, you're complaining because your convenience is inconvenienced by FairPlay. Pfft.

Re:Forever and ever, amen. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602448)

It's tragic and depressing, it is. If only there were a way for me to burn my FairPlay music to CDs!
CDs? ... Most of us use mp3 players or mp3 CDs... Get with the times.
Then I could listen to it on any device, anywhere, anytime
Actually a CD doesn't fit into my mp3 player...
or even re-rip it, thus ending up with unencumbered music.
Once you encode something in a format like mp3, aac wmv, etc, it introduces numerous artifacts which cause the produced audio to be difficult to recompress -- At a similar bitrate, it would sound horrible.

Oh yes, and how exactly do I rip movies downloaded off iTunes store again?
C'mon. You're already buying compressed audio or video.
Which is why we cannot afford to rerip this non-sense, the DRM needs to come off.
If you were serious about quality - or "freedom!!1!!!1!" - you'd be purchasing the highest-quality source material possible
I don't have a working vinyl player anymore and I don't think my particular equipment is good enough for digitizing the audio. It would probably come out worse than the lossy audio I can get.
But you're not. Instead, you're complaining because your convenience is inconvenienced by FairPlay. Pfft.
Actually, I'm happy with the quality provided by something that's been encoded once with a lossy codec for most cases, encoding it again, as I've mentioned before, is highly likely to make it sound horrible.

Re:Forever and ever, amen. (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602610)

Who says you have to recompress the music after you burn it to CD? Just reimport it directly back to AIFF or FLAC. There you go: music, compressed only once, that you can "share" with your six billion best "friends" as much as you like.

Of course, this probably wouldn't occur to a linear-thinking PC user like you. You can thank me for the insight later.

Re:Forever and ever, amen. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602684)

Who says you have to recompress the music after you burn it to CD? Just reimport it directly back to AIFF or FLAC. There you go: music, compressed only once, that you can "share" with your six billion best "friends" as much as you like.
Oh great, I'm going to go waste what? five? twelve? times the space by doing that. Most mp3 players can't play AIFF or FLAC.
Of course, this probably wouldn't occur to a linear-thinking PC user like you. You can thank me for the insight later.
No, it occured to me, and it wasn't a viable solution. Converting a 3MB DRMed song to a 23MB flac (doesn't even play in most PC media players) is not a solution. What are you going to suggest next? WAV?

Re:Forever and ever, amen. (1, Informative)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602762)

FLAC plays fine for me on my Mac regardless of what player I choose (likely thanks to the QuickTime plugin). If I really gave a shit about your filthy "freedom"—i.e., if I found FairPlay cumbersome in the least, which I don't—I'd rerip my music library to AIFF or Apple Lossless and lug those around on my iPod, which plays both formats, by the way.

Really, the iPod platform was much more fun before Apple opened it to you PC-using fucktards. We thought there were schisms in the Mac community before; the arrival of you tasteless party crashers, though, has united us all against the slow of mind and still of soul. You ever wonder why Apple discontinued the "switcher" campaign? It's because they noticed too many of you were actually taking the bait. Drown in beige and die.

Re:Forever and ever, amen. (1)

Masque (20587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602678)

I don't have a working vinyl player anymore and I don't think my particular equipment is good enough for digitizing the audio. It would probably come out worse than the lossy audio I can get.

I think the biggest favor you can do yourself in this case is to replace your computer, then, with one that has an optical drive. Starting as recently as 1982, music has been available on optical media - completely uncompressed, and free of DRM. Interestingly, you pay a very small premium for this, though you do have to venture to the outside world or place an order to be delivered.

Basically, your complaints seem to boil down to the same as the article. Even though there are ways to do what you want, you want to do this one narrow thing in one narrow way. I'm sorry it frustrates you.

Re:Forever and ever, amen. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602740)

Interestingly, you pay a very small premium for this, though you do have to venture to the outside world or place an order to be delivered.
Actually the local stores here don't stock much industrial music or classical music.
Basically, your complaints seem to boil down to the same as the article. Even though there are ways to do what you want, you want to do this one narrow thing in one narrow way. I'm sorry it frustrates you.
I honestly don't consider ordering CDs from the USA much of a 'way' with the delivery costs involved.

(Note: I have not used the iTunes store yet.)

How long until someone comes up with FoulPlay? (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602322)

That would be the killer app for the iPhone.

Re:How long until someone comes up with FoulPlay? (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602592)

There's already been PlayFair, which Apple stomped all over like a gorilla in rutt.

Wait for alternatives (1)

allden (748789) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602400)

Wait till December and you will have a bunch of iphone alternatives, copies and wannabies at lower prices and lesser restrictions.

iSmug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602468)

yeah but you won't get that smug, self congratulationary feeling with somebody elses product :D

Ugh sundays... (4, Insightful)

Internet Ronin (919897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602410)

Sundays on /. always reminds of Ed Norton's monologue in Fight Club, when his boss discovers the rules for Fight Club.

It ends with him saying maybe his boss shouldn't bring him every piece of trash he happens to find.

This, and most 'Sunday' driver stories on /., seem to be the same piece of trash.

Really the issues is that PlaysForSure DRM doesn't work on the iPod. That's almost always what the bitchin' is about. Well, it doesn't work on the Zune either. And on the flip side, FairPlay doesn't work on their media players. It's not the Mp3 (or in this case iPhone) player's issue. In this case, Apple doesn't support PFS because 1.) MS has never been very forthcoming in sharing and 2.) When Apple is totally and completely dominating a single market they just don't need second rate technology.

The good news is that the iPod plays Mp3s. First and foremost. Playing a DRM-ed song is just an annoyance that people have to put up with if they want easily acquired legal digital music. I told people for years that the reason I used Napster was because there was no effective alternative. When Jobs opened the iTunes store (before anyone else mind you), I had to pay the piper. If I continued to steal my music at that point, I could claim no moral high ground, and I would have been robbing the artists just as much if not more than the RIAA. So, I started buying music from the iTunes store. Yeah, it's DRM-ed, yeah I'll probably be stuck buying iPods for a long time. What a shame. Fortunately for me, and everyone else, iPods have really been popular and easy to come by.

Stories like this just make me wonder WTF we even show up here for on Sundays. Go back to bed. Wake up later. Watch the playoffs.

FairPlay lock in? Not really. (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602416)

Fairplay doesn't lock you into audio. Just burn your tracks to CD, then re-rip them. No big deal. Oh wait, the iPod plays mp3, .wav, .aiff, and generic mpeg4 and h.264 videos. And you don't have to buy iTunes, it's free.

So do I have to buy Apple stuff "Forever and Ever?" As long as they keep doing what they are doing, they're my first preference.

I buy Apple stuff because it really does just work. That's not vendor lock-in, that's superior design. When that changes, well, I'll change vendors. That's called the free market.

article about ITMS, not iPod or iPhone (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602440)

The article summary is bad. First, it is quite amazing how we can get an accurate review about a product that doesn't even exist, at least not in any real sense. The products on display and in use are preproduction prototypes, and reviewers at most have seen in for a hour, perhaps some have used a prototype for an hour. At this point, the iPhone is cool, but until we have massive quantities shipped, it is vaporware. Until it sells, it is nothing more than an interesting concept.

Second, fairplay is not the primary format of the iPod, or even iTunes, and presumable not the primary format of the iPhone. The songs are not translated to a Fairplay format, or any other format, when copied to the iPod. Songs are not by default imported into iTunes as Fairplay files, and there is not even an option to so do. I do not think Apple marks files that are imported in iTunes at all. And while the default import format is the is ACC, is it easy to change it to MP3 which is compatible with most players, except maybe Sony.

So fairplay will only effect users that buy songs from iTunes, and only those songs that are bought from iTunes and not burned to CDs. This is all covered in the article, but not the summary

The article is really about the fact that Apple will not license fairplay. This is really indicates a sad state of writing. First the author decries Fairplay as crippleware, and then complains that it cannot be acquired universally. This is like complaining that polio is a horrible disease, but innoculations means most of us won't get it. The article is correct that if you use the iTMS, you must buy apple stuff. The logical response to this is not to use the iTMS, and fight for non DRM online formats.

Then the article goes onto say that MS is better because it does license formats, but then has to admit that the Zune does not use the format. What the article does not admit is that this situation indicates that there is no money to be made in licenses DRM formats and thus compete with walmart on price instead of locking consumers in to an optional online format.

The point that the article does get to, after losing all credibility, is that consumers may end up with songs a product they cannot use. They may buy Play for sure, and then buy a zune or an iPod. They may have a collection of iTMS tracks, and then buy a Sandisk, in which case they will have to butn all the tracks to CD and reimport then. What the article does not mention is that we did this all before when we copied all our vinyl to tape, and even worse when we replaced all our vinyl with CDs.

I really believe that this article is the case of an uninspired writer cribbing from old articles. The lesson learned, and probably needs to be taught to the masses, is if possible buy a used CD and rip it to your computer.

DRM is, at the moment unavoidable. (1)

sircastor (1051070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602442)

This is just part of a greater buildup that has been going on for quite some time. DRM is coming, it will continue to come stronger and stronger. Apple is a major player. In the music market, it is the major player. Microsoft, Sony, and a few other along with Apple are trying get themselves in the top. FairPlay is close right now, but I expect at some point that it will be opened up. That will happen after Apple has won out the DRM battle.

WOUAF? (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602454)

What is this? After the month of Apple Bugs, now on /. comes the week of the unsubstantiated Apple flame?

Go and criticize Apple where it fits, there's enough to be pissed off about for me as a Mac user. But this and the last article [slashdot.org] are just cheap flamebaits.

Fair Play (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602464)

I wonder if FIFA has anything to say about Apple trampling on their trademark... oops, again? Or has this one expired too?

Same old drivel (1)

tkdog (889567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602466)

Or take your itunes track and burn it CD and it plays anywhere. Is it the same quality, no. Is it what you bought, yes. If you don't want to buy it, then don't. A great histrionic article is not needed or helpful.

The "Right Thing" is NOT "Give Me Music For Free" (1)

ScienceMan (636648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602480)

The author of this article equates "fair use" with "no protection and ignores the successful integration of easy access, CD burnability for fair use, and copy protection TO PROTECT THE AUTHORS of the music that has made Apple's model successful with both consumers and musicians. Apple has been on the forefront of protecting consumers from the subscription model (I don't want to pay continuously for access to music I already own) and music studios that want to raise the cost of songs. This iNYT piece s a stupid article that should be removed from Slashdot.

Not redundant at all (2, Insightful)

JeffElkins (977243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602490)

Sure, everyone who reads /. is up to date on the DRM wars, but I guarantee you the majority of NYT readers aren't. Anti-DRM publicity in the pages of the national "paper of record" is an excellent step forward for the good guys!

Windows Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602526)

If the NYT article is correct then I also want Microsoft to make sure that any software I purchase for Windows also runs on the Mac. Oh, nevermind. The word "crippleware" really means that your Windows machine will be crippled with spyware and viruses. So lets keep the Mac software separate.

People seem to be missing a big distinction. (2, Insightful)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602528)

Apple's DRM sucks _the_least_. IS it there? yeah. Does it impact 99% of the people that use the iTunes store? Not really.

Okay, you're stuck with Apple's iPodlike devices. So what? They're really good. I realize the people I'm talking to in this form: The Apple Haters and the DRM freedom fighters, but as a well educated IT person, my impression is:

Apple has managed to negotiate with folks that can't be negotiated with. Further, they were able to do so in a way that greatly benifits the customer. In doing so, they managed to jumpstart the current, DEVELOPING, download industry.

Do the permit renting the music? No. and I can see why: Rentals rely on the end user getting complacent and 'forgetting' that $15 a month fee. Once it gets past their notice, and they fall into complacency, the bult of that $15 is free money to the vendor. (Assuming they don't get bought or go out of business, or whatever)

DRM may be an unnecessary evil, but Apples done a lot to make it hurt as little as possible. I can't say that alternative has _ever_ acted with the consumer's interests in mind.

I've got absolutely NO qualms with sticking with Apple. Their products mesh extremely well with my needs.

DRM Jail (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602570)

Microsoft has now proved the most popular reason to dump DRM: the Zune player forces users to rebuy their legit content, because its DRM conflicts with the old DRM.

I bought Pink Floyd's _Dark Side of the Moon_ on vinyl, on "audiophile" vinyl, on cassette, on CD, on "remastered" CD, and again a few times to replace worn-out copies of those (but never on 8-track, smartass - that was my copy of _The Wall_). But then I scanned my audiophile CD to HD/WAV, and have transferred it a dozen times: to backup CD in a closet, to mobile devices, to new HDs that aren't worn out, to SHN, then FLAC compression, to MP3 for streaming to my remote locations. I own that content, and I'll do whatever I want with it that's fair. If I want to prop up a wobbly table leg with the audiophile CD, I'll do it if I damn well please, even if the "license" I bought doesn't specify that use.

These record companies make most of their money from "catalog reissues". Records they made (usually cruelly unfair to artists) deals to sell decades ago, when they profited on their balance sheet. The biggest hits, that already paid for themselves many times over, are naturally the ones most desired to be played today. Because last generation's pop culture is this generations' folk culture - that's why we call our parents our "folks". The corrupt "copyright extension" monopoly laws are bad enough. "Enforcing" them beyond the publisher's rights, destroying rights and purchased privileges of the owner, and the public, is a culture-destroying crime.

And now, Microsoft has painted the picture for everyone to see. Make your player equal "Microsoft", and you'll pay for the privilege of using your own property as often as they "upgrade" their predictably buggy and inconvenient equipment.

Now is the time to make "DRM" as dirty a word as is "censorship". Kill it now, before it's permanently rooted, while people are still surprised to hear we have to dump our "old" content just to play it in some incrementally newer way.

Warning of the PAAS? (1)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602580)

You mean these guys? [paaseastereggs.com]

News for Nerds.... (1)

Hercules Peanut (540188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602588)

....Sensationalistic and (largely) inaccurate (and misleading) titles for suckers.

Nothing to see here folks. You're not forced into Fairplay. Rip your CDs, buy your AllofMP3s, whatever. I experience total freedom with my ipod. The only thing I can't play on it are DRM'ed songs from other companies (sounds like they are the ones handcuffing me). I expect the iphone to be the same.

Mod -1 to slashdot for even posting this crap. Let's get some real news back on slash.

iHandcuffs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602600)

but what if iLikeThatSortofThing?

What's Past is Pas (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602658)

will this warning, like those of the pas
And we all know what happened to the pas when they ignored the warning.

As an Apple PowerBook user... (1)

w3c.org (1039484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602718)

As long as Apple will continue making products that "Just Work" (iPod, iBook, PowerBook, ...) and nice objects to look at, i don't mind having to buy their products. And ripping my cds / LPs to put them on the iPod. When DRM will come closer from my devices, then i'll fall into piracy. YAAARRRR !

yeah it sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602748)

"You are always going to have to buy Apple stuff"

<sarchasm>
I really want to use the XBox 360 controllers and games with my Wii as well. I'm sure people buying the iPhone just hate having to buy all that Apple crap as well.
</sarchasm>

DRM is bad, and no DRM is bad. Abandon DRM? (1)

Angelwrath (125723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602770)

I love the number of articles springing up, claiming that 2007 will be the year that DRM dies. None of these articles mention alternatives, either, it's beautiful.

Without DRM in the age of digital music purchases, it's even easier to share music illegally... you don't need to rip music anymore, it's ripped for you. You could even have straight-to-torrent scripts.

Without restrictions on music, we will resort right back to the pre-DRM days. Nothing has changed. People still don't want to have to pay for music, and there are still file sharing services available to do it. Eventually, as people resume illegally distributing music, their friends will start doing it. The labels haven't done a thing to improve the quality of music, people are still unwilling to buy 2-4 good songs amongst 12 total on an album, and this will only lead to illegal downloading.

So the question is - do the people spreading anti-DRM FUD actually expect DRM to disappear? If so, they are guilty of believing their own hype, and in doing so have fooled themselves.

I'll be there to refer back to these articles and laugh. :)

Anything new? (2, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17602830)

Given that:

  - the iPhone is likely to use iTunes for the synching
  - this limitation of only supporting Fairplay DRM and Audible DRM, has been around since the iTunes store came out
  - iTunes allows you to use your own none-DRMed music

I don't know why the fuss is being made over the DRM on the iPhone, since this argument applies to any iPod out there, and therefore is neither new, nor iPhone specific.

FairPay is the name! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17602848)

There must be a spelling error here. The Apple policy must be called "FairPay"! Or...?
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