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EU Countries Call Out iTunes DRM

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the cue-the-gunfight-music dept.

Media (Apple) 457

seriouslywtf writes "Europe is upping the pressure on Apple to open up its restrictive DRM that ties iTunes to the iPod. Norway ruled last year that the iPod-iTunes tie-in was unreasonable and gave Apple a deadline to make a change to its policies, but was unsatisfied with the response they got. Now France and Germany have joined forces with Norway, making it a lot harder for Apple to just walk away from those markets. From the article: 'France's consumer lobby group, UFC-Que Choisir, and Germany's Verbraucherzentrale are now part of the European effort to push Apple into an open DRM system, with more countries considering joining the group. However, the company has been under some fire over the last year due to those restrictions, first with France and then Denmark looking to open up restrictive DRM schemes (including, but not limited to iTunes) ... Norwegian consumer groups were unimpressed by Apple's response. Norway has now given Apple a new deadline of September of this year to change its policies, and the pressure on Apple will likely grow in the months leading up to the deadline.'"

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So, they want to get rid of iTunes? (4, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725626)

Without the hardware tie in there's realy no incentive for Apple to keep running iTunes. Its the iPod & iTv sales that make them money.

Re:So, they want to get rid of iTunes? (0)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725988)

What tie-in? It's a false premise.

The majority of devices that can play DRM encumbered songs from the ITMS are not iPods.

Really, we just need to figure out which hardware vendor is paying which government officials to push for this.

Re:So, they want to get rid of iTunes? (1, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726134)

So how is it possible to buy a tune from the ITMS and play it? If that information isn't openly available and instead requires you to get permission from Apple, I'd say there is a case that Apple is using a dominant position in online music sales to establish dominance in the hardware market.

Re:So, they want to get rid of iTunes? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726322)

To buy a song from iTunes and play it, you must have the iTunes music manager on your computer. You don't need the iPod; you only need a computer that can run the iTunes manager. You do need the iTunes music manager if you intend to play or burn the purchased trax without breaking the DMCA because only it will remove the Fairplay.

Re:So, they want to get rid of iTunes? (2, Insightful)

zootm (850416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726310)

The majority of devices that can play DRM encumbered songs from the ITMS are not iPods.

There are devices that can play iTunes DRM-coded songs that Apple don't make? Last I heard Apple were suing anyone who tried to get non-iPods to play iTMS music, and iPods to play non-iTMS (DRMed) content?

Re:So, they want to get rid of iTunes? (3, Insightful)

MillenneumMan (932804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726022)

Surely you jest. iTunes provides a vastly superior experience to the user: their music catalog is huge, the tools they provide to search for tunes and sample tunes is so much easier to use, their purchasing model is friendlier, and the sound quality is top notch. A magazine I subscribe to included in this month's issue a free 35 song sample from eMusic.com. I investigated it and the service was horrible in every way. Music catalog sucked. Finding songs in their catalog sucked. The sound quality of samples sucked. Their purchasing options were limited to three subcription models. Even with free music samples I could not find any compelling reason to use their service. If a company wants to compete successfully against an iTunes, they better offer an advantage somewhere.

Re:So, they want to get rid of iTunes? (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726232)

They may provide a superior service, but they don't make much profit (if any) on it directly. The purpose of the iTMS is to sell music that can be used on iPods, and consequently help iPod sales. If they were a standard music store that sold music for every platform, iPod sales would likely fall as some people would buy cheaper devices or devices with more features that could play their music. If iTunes had to accommodate other platforms, chances are prices would go up to compensate for hardware sales lost to other players.

Re:So, they want to get rid of iTunes? (3, Informative)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726364)

A magazine I subscribe to included in this month's issue a free 35 song sample from eMusic.com. I investigated it and the service was horrible in every way. Music catalog sucked. Finding songs in their catalog sucked. The sound quality of samples sucked. Their purchasing options were limited to three subcription models. Even with free music samples I could not find any compelling reason to use their service. If a company wants to compete successfully against an iTunes, they better offer an advantage somewhere.

I'll agree with you on eMusic's site being quite the unholy steaming coil of a mess (don't like installing mystery stand-alone clients myself, so I didn't bother trying theirs). I'd say you couldn't rightly say the catalog (meaning selection) "sucked", but rather that you considered it less extensive than that of iTunes, devoid of the artists you enjoy, or both. I'd disagree about the sound-quality of samples from a functional perspective: why would you expect a free sample to sound particularly crystal-clear? The samples aren't making them any money, and as such, it's best to keep the bitrate low to both decrease the download time for the potential costumer and to conserve bandwidth and thus save costs for eMusic.

The real clinker, though, is your talk about competitive advantage. eMusic's got a very clear advantage: no DRM. Thus, no buy-burn-re-rip dance maneuvers (minimal as they are, it's about as fun and convenient as killing fruit flies), no voting in favor of DRM with your hard-earned dollar, and no guilt.

I sign up for a trial with eMusic about two to three times a year when offered just to see what's changed. The main problem is that the site itself is getting *worse* and is a real bitch to navigate through efficiently. The number of artists, however, is growing, and I'm finding more and more quality stuff up there every time I give it a look. If they'd fix the site, I'd be a customer for sure.

Apply to one, apply to all (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725640)

So, if Apple has to open its DRM, then so does Microsoft and everybody else trying to hide behind such things. Anything else is merely targeting one or more members of a group under the pretense of customer satisfaction.

People have lots of alternatives to iPod's, as well as alternatives to iTunes. Is there anything that's ONLY available from iTunes that can't be acquired elsewhere?

I don't get it.... (0, Flamebait)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725646)

If you don't like the iPod, don't buy one.

If you don't like iTunes and Apple's DRM scheme, don't buy from the Apple music store.

Am I missing something here?

There are hundreds of MP3 players you can buy to play many types of music formats.

Re:I don't get it.... (5, Informative)

D4rk Fx (862399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725710)

Am I missing something here?
Yes you are. The only place that can put DRM in the songs that will play on the iPod, is iTunes. Other places want to be able to put DRM in their songs, and have them be compatible with the iPod. Apple is essentially locking people into buying from iTunes if they want to buy music from big record labels online. Yes, there are alternatives to buying DRM'ed, but their legality is still not confirmed.

Re:I don't get it.... (0, Redundant)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725906)

Hmm...no, I don't think the GP is missing anything. All of your concerns are assuaged by the fact that you can completely avoid Apple when buying music online. Just don't do business with them. This is really disturbing that the EU is trying to legislate what amounts to luxury goods and services, in light of all the other problems in the world.

Re:I don't get it.... (5, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726012)

It's not the EU The title is misleading, Norway isn't even part of the EU! France and Germany, as sovreign nations, are following Norway's example. It dosn't appear to be anything to do with the EU at all.

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

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726262)

This is really disturbing that the EU is trying to legislate what amounts to luxury goods and services, in light of all the other problems in the world.
(Empahsis mine)
What the !*&^! has that got to do with anything! Soverign states have the right to control commerce within their boundaries. Norway, France, and Germany (not the EU as others have pointed out) have concerns about hardware lock in. End of story. Or do you think that all commerce should stop because GWB is trying to write himself a place in the history books?

Re:I don't get it.... (2, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726130)

Yes you are. The only place that can put DRM in the songs that will play on the iPod, is iTunes. Other places want to be able to put DRM in their songs, and have them be compatible with the iPod. Apple is essentially locking people into buying from iTunes if they want to buy music from big record labels online. Yes, there are alternatives to buying DRM'ed, but their legality is still not confirmed.

i fail to see how this should warrant forcing apple to license fairplay or allow the ipod to play wma-drm files. there are plenty of options out there, apple does bully the market. it is certainly not their fault that nobody has come up with a competitive music store and/or player that people want. if they pulled a microsoft and started telling the labels that they can only sell through itunes, that would be a totally different story.

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

phayes (202222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726226)

Yes, there are alternatives to buying DRM'ed, but their legality is still not confirmed.
Bzzzt, incorrect! I still buy CD's and rip them myself which, contrary to what the RIAA would have you believe is legal.

If the CD is "copy protected" (given to me as a gift as I refuse to buy any DRMed media), I play it through my external DVD player which has a digital output connected to my PC's sound card. Slightly more work, yet also incontrovertibly legal.

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

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726240)

'' Yes you are. The only place that can put DRM in the songs that will play on the iPod, is iTunes. Other places want to be able to put DRM in their songs, and have them be compatible with the iPod. Apple is essentially locking people into buying from iTunes if they want to buy music from big record labels online. Yes, there are alternatives to buying DRM'ed, but their legality is still not confirmed. ''

Why is that Apple's fault? Anyone can sell music in standard formats (MP3, AAC) that will play on an iPod without any problems, and Apple is not stopping them. eMusic does it, for example. If the record companies don't allow iTMS competitors to sell music without DRM, that is not Apple's fault.

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

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725728)

But what if I want to buy music on iTMS and play that music on my Zune?

I mean, I guess that's the complaint. It doesn't seem to awful to me, but then again I wouldn't mind if Apple dropped DRM completely.

Re:I don't get it.... (3, Insightful)

derEikopf (624124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726136)

I think it's akin to saying: "What if I buy a 10mm screw but I want to use it in a 5mm hole?" At some point, consumers stop being victims and start becoming whiney assholes.

Re:I don't get it.... (2, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726394)

Well, to be fair it's more akin to printer ink-cartridges than like screws. I can get the right size screws made by many different companies if I choose, but a lot of companies (replacement mop heads are another example) lock you into using them as a source to load their products. I agree with your sentiment completely (although I won't complain if Apple could drop the DRM entirely), I'm just trying to refine the case a bit.

Of course, there's a different between iTMS and my printer: if I can't get ink-cartridges, my printer ceases to be useful. If I can't get iTMS songs for my iPod and iTunes, I still have my vast library of already-purchased music *and* I can use that old standby method that has supplied almost all of that music already: buy the damn CD and rip it. So really, Apple is comparatively clean in this behavior. Again, I would love to see them drop the DRM, assuming it's even up to them, but I can't get upset at Apple specifically when so many other companies pull much worse crap in this same vein and aren't ever targeted by politicians.

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725758)

It is same thing as MS. iPod is owned by majority of the people and so EU may be classifying them as a monoploy in that field. As they are askig MS to document all the API so others can interoperate the same is happening with Apple.
If it is okay with MS then it must be okay with apple too.

If you can't obey France, Norway and Germany laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725786)

Then don't sell there.

There are hundreds of other markets Apple can sell any type of their locked-up DRM ridden crap into.

Re:I don't get it.... (4, Informative)

a16 (783096) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725792)

If you don't like the iPod, don't buy one.

If you don't like iTunes and Apple's DRM scheme, don't buy from the Apple music store.


I like my iPod. I own an iPod.

I don't like the iTunes music store. I'd quite like to try out some of these subscription services, ignoring the DRM aspect (which I'm addressing now) I quite like the idea of paying "rent" to have access to a huge music library. And if someone did the same for films I'd like that too, I'd happily pay a fairly big monthly fee to the music and movie people to get unlimited digital viewing of whatever they produce.

What these countries are trying to do is let you use any music player with any music store, and vice versa, and hopefully get rid of the extra DRM problems created by all of this in the mean time. And it doesn't seem to be exclusive to iTunes, it applies to everyone. I'm certainly hoping for these kind of changes, more choice is nver a bad thing.

Re:I don't get it.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17726166)

And I'd like to add something :

if you don't like our laws, nothing forces you to sell on our market.

I'm getting tired of all these whining on "you're jealous of our success" (which is by the way not yours, as American, but apple's), "don't buy it if you don't like it" and so on.

The beginning argument, "don't buy it if you don't like it" is as stupid as "if you're innocent, you've nothing to hide, so let us search your home".

In Europe, we make efforts to protect the consumer/citizen. As a consumer, I like this spirit. (However, I agree, sometime, we totally miss it)

Fair Use; get it? (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725832)

If you buy music or video from iTMS, you are forced to keep an iPod as a AV player since no other device can handle the DRM on iTMS files. You say, "Don't buy an iPod and don't buy iTMS stuff then." The problem is that later on, you do not have a choice. If someone wants to change their mind and get an iRiver or a Creative or...etc. as their next device then the bought media will be unreasonably difficult (if you wanted to transfer video, I figure you'll have to use screen capture software, and let it run for the duration of each show you want to copy; having to repetitiously burn CDs, rip them, and write new tags isn't fun either) to transfer to your new player. It's the "place/format shifting" part of Fair Use.

Re:Fair Use; get it? (2, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725964)

That is not specific to Apple. That is endemic, and actually the point, of DRM of any kind. If that was a reason to target Apple, the target should be broadened to attack any and all DRM.

Yes you are. (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725836)

I own an iPod.
I own music that I bought from iTunes.
If I wanted to buy a Zune (Oi - stop sniggering at the back) I'd lose all that music, so if I want to keep on playing it, I need to add the cost of re-purchase to my Zune - this keeps people buying iPods, which keeps them buying iTunes DRM etc.
I paid for that music, it's mine - why is it wrong to want to play that on my next portable music player? Why would I not want to but the best hardware next time, rather than the latest iPod?

The RIAA and MPAA would disagree with you (5, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726038)

You said:
I own music that I bought from iTunes.
and:
I paid for that music, it's mine

Actually, one of the problems with DRMed media is that the record and movie companies don't view that you have bought anything. They view it that you have rented it for play on one specific device, which means that if you want an iTunes purchase to play on, say, Zune, you need to buy it again for Zune.

Re:I don't get it.... (0, Troll)

cjmnews (672731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725942)

I agree with you. The French, Germans and Norwegians must not have the intelligence to use iTunes and the functionality it provides by default. You can buy from the iTunes Music Store and use a non-iPod MP3 player with the use of mp3 formatted import and a CD-RW.

Apple makes it so easy, you wonder how the music labels approved their DRM method.

Re:I don't get it.... (4, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726032)

I hope you are sarcastic...

That easily takes 15 minutes per cd (burning and ripping), and results in quality loss (as 128kbit AAC is good enough, but re-ripping to another format is a bit much).
The time aspect alone makes this route prohibitive...

Priorities (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725656)

I'm as anti-DRM as the next communist terrorist hippie, but where do the priorities begin here? Why not make the effort to follow through on removing Microsoft's stranglehold on "standards" to open up before they make their way to Apple? Which is more important -- the computers we use everyday, or the music we listen to on them?

Re:Priorities (1)

madcow_bg (969477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725798)

Did you miss the EC lawsuit agains MS? It is not over yet, and has begun years ago, so your question has already been answered.

I am not sure what to think about this lawsuit against Apple, but if won it would be tremendous success for the EU citizens.

As a communist terrorist hippie... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725924)

...you should realize that wherever government sees money being made, it sees a target for a shakedown. Why should they have priorities when they have enough resources for multiple simultaneous muggings?

Remember, all is fair in love and tyranny.

Wait, I don't get it... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725660)

...iTunes is Evil (TM)?!? That simply can't be. This is Apple we're talking about, and we're on /.!

WHy is this a problem? (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725666)

" Norway ruled last year that the iPod-iTunes tie-in was unreasonable and gave Apple a deadline to make a change to its policies,"
I don't understand that at all. You can use 2rd party music managers if you want to. so I fail to see how this tie-in can be percieved to hurt consumers.

Can anyone explain?

Re:WHy is this a problem? (1)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725788)

Not iTunes the program, iTunes the music service.

Re:WHy is this a problem? (0)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725806)

Because they (Apple) have a virtual monopoly on content delivery and hardware, and the two are unbreakablly linked. Unbreakable in the sense that 99% of the people who use iTunes and/or iPods would have no idea how to get the music they bought onto another device other than an iPod. Many many people are building libraries that will forever be tied to Apple. Imagine if all of those CDs you bought in the 90's would ONLY work on the brand of CD player that was popular at the time, say Sony.

Of course, most of the people using iTunes aren't goign to realize it until it's too late.

-S

Re:WHy is this a problem? (5, Insightful)

elcid73 (599126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725952)

Or realize it but don't care. Last time I brought this up I got blasted by Slashdot because people seem to think that just because I don't want golden, infinite access to every track purchased since I was 5 years old that that somehow means I have horrible taste in music. Slashdot group thing seems to completely neglect the fact that a dollar for a track is worth it (to me) to get a good amount of use in a very convenient manner (where convenient means: purchase, sync, correct meta-data, no virus, searching, ethical dilemas,etc...) ...but if tomorrow I lose the song, I'm not going to miss out considerably. If I really like and want to keep something- I'd just go buy the whole CD. Or... just get over it. That 99cents is the price I pay for "easy"

Re:WHy is this a problem? (0)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725998)

Apple has a monopoly on ITMS/iTunes/iPod just like Micrsoft has a monopoly on Zune and the apps and services that it works with. They don't have a monopoly on DRM, music playing, or music downloading. Most of their advantage in the service space comes from using their market share to get better prices (an economy of scale if you will). There is nothing wrong with using market share to gain competive advantage. Sony already tried this it was called BetaMax. If one prefers a standards based player one can buy a multitude of players that work with Real and their DRM system, or MS and their DRM system. Unfortunately they all pale in comparison to the Apple system and hence apple gains most of hte market share, as they should.

Re:WHy is this a problem? (1)

elcid73 (599126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725808)

You can't play songs purchased on itunes music store on your Zune. That means that if you ever want to move away from an iTunes+iPod to iTunes+Zune, you're unable to.

Re:WHy is this a problem? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726288)

And? I can't play my vinyl albums in a cd player. Should CD manufactures also include an album with each cd sold?

Am I not allowed to create my own music format?
sheesh.

Re:WHy is this a problem? (1)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726316)

"You can't play songs purchased on itunes music store on your Zune."

Burn them to CD them rip them to mp3 and play them on your Zune. Problem solved. Your argument may have been valid five years ago when there were still people with computers without a CD burner, but virtually every machine has one today.

Bout time. (3, Insightful)

elcid73 (599126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725672)

Apple, I'll still choose to buy music from you because you continue to offer the most seemless system for music management. Just don't force me to do it. You made a good system, just trust in it.

Re:Bout time. (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725916)

So rip the music to cd, convert that to mp3 and do exactly what you want with the music you bought....

iTunes allows that without difficulty.

Re:Bout time. (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726334)

The point has been made several times that the resulting mp3 are of lesser quality than the original DRM-encumbered AAC files, and that this action requires time.

Re:Bout time. (1)

elcid73 (599126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726366)

I *do* do that, but only because I have to.

My point is that even if they removed any restrictions, I would still buy an iPod and I would buy tracks from iTunes because the entire experience is better than what I've seen elsewhere.

Re:I sense an embellishment (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725920)

In particular, I don't think you've ever actually used iTunes - either the store or the player. Or an iPod for that matter.

If you had, you'd know that Apple isn't forcing anyone to buy music from iTMS. Me, I've been using iTunes since the beginning of this century and I've somehow managed to never buy any music from iTMS.

Of course, I've had Apple goons break my legs a couple times, but they can pry the MP3's out of my cold, dead hands. (And they're trying. I've experienced a couple drive-by shootings in the past couple months.)

Re:I sense an embellishment (1)

elcid73 (599126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726174)

What part of "choose" do you not understand?

I *choose* to spend money on tracks on iTune because it's easy for me. I don't wnat to spend the time to buy a CD, take it home, unwrap it, and click "burn"

I also don't want to search Peer-to-peer sites, find the version that has some semblance of the correct meta-data and deal with it that way.

I know Apple isn't forcing me to use their system. I just don't care about *a lot* (ie- not all) of my music enough to really care about it. ...and please don't give me crap about my "taste in music" because you have no idea. The fact that I make my decision based on my interest in music and convenience of the system have nothing to do with what kind of music I like.

Also, I'm not lazy, user interfaces and user experiences should be as seemless and efficient as possible, the "Apple system" provides that for me better.

That said, a large majority of my library is mp3 as well (the ones I *do* care about)- but that's irrelevant.

No Pressure At All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725676)

There is *no pressure* on Apple to bow down to any of the EUs demands. They have gotten to a point where they can exit such restrictive markets.

Re:No Pressure At All (2, Insightful)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725898)

There is *no pressure* on Apple to bow down to any of the EUs demands
Indeed, Norway isn't even part of the EU, the title is a little misleading. However, if the EU as a whole followed the trail layed by Norway (instead of just a couple of EU countries), then apple could be in trouble, pulling out of a market as large as that of the now 27 member EU, would be a bad idea, there would be more to gain by following the rules than there would be to lose from exiting the market.

Re:No Pressure At All (1)

madcow_bg (969477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725960)

There is *no pressure* on Apple to bow down to any of the EUs demands. They have gotten to a point where they can exit such restrictive markets.
Oh, just as viable as MS quitting because of the lawsuit. :)
I know, I know, we're not talking about the largest market in the world with GDP way over the US. We're talkin' 'bout damned hippies.

(joke)

But in the US, we get the "PERFORM Act" (5, Insightful)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725698)

What a great country I live in. Here we have legislators in the pockets of media companies proposing laws that would require DRM [arstechnica.com] , but in Europe, the legislators (apparantly acting on behalf of the populus, which is what I thought the "of the people, by the people, and for the people" US government is SUPPOSED to do) are rightly saying that DRM is unfair to the people.

Is this a great country, or what?

Sigh.

-S

Act (1)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725818)

Hopefully this will be applied across the board. Does the Zune also infringe upon such laws. If there is going to be DRM, I am at least happy with the way iTunes handles it, and I typically avoid it by purchasing CDs, discarding the empty shell afterwards.

I burn at 128, a lower resolution copy, which is within fair use for those who wish to call me a thief...

Re:But in the US, we get the "PERFORM Act" (0, Flamebait)

FallLine (12211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726360)

What a great country I live in. Here we have legislators in the pockets of media companies proposing laws that would require DRM, but in Europe, the legislators (apparantly acting on behalf of the populus, which is what I thought the "of the people, by the people, and for the people" US government is SUPPOSED to do) are rightly saying that DRM is unfair to the people.
Which "people" are you referring to? I am a US citizen and I would disagree vehemently with this sort of action. I would rather a government that treats us like adults instead of coddling us constantly. I am a rational and intelligent person that is perfectly capable of making this call on my own. Yes, in certain rare circumstances it might make sense to have the government intervene (like in the case of a true monopoly in a mature market). This, however, is an act of government overstepping its bounds. DRM is in its infancy and it's going to take awhile to get right. There are several other options out there for people that find Apple's system too onerous.

Yes, DRM is a pain sometimes (primarily because I have to use iTunes or an Ipod to play ITMS music). It would be nice to be able to play this stuff on my SONOS music system directly and other players....

Yes, I'm sure Apple benefits as a result of its lock-in.

However, I also suspect that it is unlikely that Apple could securely share (without people leaking) the specifications with a half-dozen different manufacturers and also keep all those different software/devices in sync with the latest DRM state (so that they could stay one-step ahead of the crackers... at least as far as the average user is concerned). The only way I see this working is if Apple could distribute binary/objects and mandate a framework for internet auto-update across all the platforms...even then I think it's a stretch.

Yes, I know some of you anti-IP people couldn't give a damn about the rights of the industry to protect its own property from illegal distribution, but this voter couldn't disagree more strongly. I'd rather face the lock-in with Apple (which, imho, still has a very good and product overall) than risk losing an effective DRM system entirely. It's possible that various copyright owners may survive without DRM, but I'd rather preserve the option (which requires avoiding hamhanded government regulation) and allow things to evolve before contemplating regulation like this.

Is this a great country, or what?
It has its flaws, but yes. On the whole I'd rather be here than anywhere else.

You can mark me -5 TROLL now.
Disagreeing with Slashdot Dogma:
pro-DRM (-1)
pro-IP (-1)
pro-US (-1)
pro-mainstream platform (-1)
anti- "consumer" (-1)

Re:But in the US, we get the "PERFORM Act" (5, Insightful)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726390)

...but in Europe, the legislators ... are rightly saying that DRM is unfair to the people.

They are? It sounds to me like they are just trying to make digital music player makers, distributors, etc. license each others' DRM schemes to increase DRM interoperability. If they were saying that "DRM is unfair to the people", they could just ban it. That would also address both of their complaints (iTunes songs don't play on non-iPods, iPods don't play DRM-encumbered songs bought elsewhere) as people would use the MP3 format for songs, and it plays on everything.

blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725708)

im so tired of it all. i might just stop listening to music.

im skeptical on Kaczynski being 'the guy', as i am with many people demonized by the masses and the mass media, but regardless if he was or not, surely the seeds of our destruction lay garnished in our technological 'advancements'

Re:blah blah (1)

errxn (108621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725810)

...surely the seeds of our destruction lay garnished in our technological 'advancements'

They didn't listen on Caprica, either. Look where that got 'em.

Is the "lock in" really that strong? (-1, Troll)

tetsuo29 (612440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725714)

1) Burn tracks to an audio CD

2) Re-rip tracks from audio CD in the format of your choice

3) Use newly ripped, un-DRMed tracks on the non-iPod device of your choosing

Or, is it that this process is:

a) too complicated

b) too much work

c) too time consuming

for most Europeans to figure it out?

Re:Is the "lock in" really that strong? (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725938)

You missed: 4) Re-tag music. And yes, if you have a library of even a thousand songs, average length 3 minutes apiece, assuming 1MB/min that's roughly 5 discs of burning time. If you have a medium-speed burner, that's going to take you 30 minutes. Say relabeling each song takes 10 seconds. That's another 10,000 seconds = about 3 hours. So because of "lock in" I'd have to spend three hours of my life (that could have been spent somewhere else) converting my library in order to use it on another device when Fair Use would dictate that I have the right to place/format shift the media that I paid for, the right that is blocked by making the breaking of DRM illegal.

Re:Is the "lock in" really that strong? (1)

tetsuo29 (612440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726128)

Sorry, but you're wrong about needing to re-tag the music. If you burn an audio CD in iTunes and then re-rip it, the tags are intact.

Re:Is the "lock in" really that strong? (1, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725948)

You know, I thought about the same thing when Microsoft was forced to unbundle WMP from XP. I mean, one of the first things I do when I set up a new XP box is install Winamp. I never use WMP. Yet in their infinite wisdom, the EU decided that I was being "harmed" because RealAudio can't convince people to download their spyware vehicle enough to make a profit. And that cost Microsoft a good couple of billion.

If they had been serious about controlling Microsoft they would have gone after the unholy PC maker/Microsoft alliance. But no, that would probably have affected more European companies. So, we have Windows XP N. I for one find it hilarious that pretty much the same demographic that whines about government involvement in their lives were more than happy to see Microsoft get the shaft. Whatever makes you tick, I guess.

These things have a root in protectionism, as always. Europeans just love to dilute markets enough through regulation that consumers end up with less and no one makes any money. The idea that people would go to another player/music service out of choice because they have realized that DRM is bad for them is completely foreign to our pseudosocialist European friends. Competition is good only as long as the they have control over it.

Re:Is the "lock in" really that strong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17726020)

Hey ! Why would we need a printer ?! Just send a note to Gutemberg to explain him that you don't need its thing, as we already have monks to copy books...

Please, once in our life, try to understand that what is acceptable in the USA may not in Europe.

As you point, the scheme is useless, thanks to CDs, so why should we rip CDs to access the music ? That's a loss of time, and time is money

Re:Is the "lock in" really that strong? (1)

tetsuo29 (612440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726308)

I'm not pointing out that the scheme is useless. The scheme has a use. It pacifies the recording industry into a false sense of security and it got the whole legal downloading of music kick started.

It's kind of like getting your uptight, virginal boyfriend/girlfriend to finally take a few sips of wine. Yeah, you could argue that he/she should have just given himself/herself to you in the first place, but unfortunately, sometimes in life we have to build up a certain level of trust and tear down a certain level of reserve or nothing exciting will ever happen.

Let's just be glad the way around Apple's DRM is easy and hope that at some point the recording industry realizes that it is unnecessary. But, the answer isn't to require Apple to let others use their DRM- that would be a step backward. The answer is to show people that owning an iPod isn't tied to using the iTunes Music Store (iTMS), and that, conversely, buying tracks on iTMS isn't tied to using those tracks only on an iPod. Educating the public about how easy it is to use iTMS tracks with the device of their choosing is a far better solution than opening up Apple's DRM for more use elsewhere.

And, to those of you who say that taking your 5,000 tracks you bought from iTMS and burning them to CD and then re-ripping them would be too much work, here's a hint- don't do it all at once. One or two CDs a day and you'd have this library free of DRM restrictions in no time.

Re:Is the "lock in" really that strong? (1)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726086)

Or, is it that this process is: a) too complicated b) too much work c) too time consuming for most Europeans to figure it out?

Not a European myself, and I'm not so sure they're actually railing against DRM in and of itself so much as one particular brand of DRM being restricted to one piece of software and one portable device, but as you brought up this issue...well, let's face it: it's almost as much work as pirating something, and unless you plan on keeping that music on one device, you're effectively paying to experience this inconvenience. As such, one could argue it's foolish, and the only reason to bother is to avoid the risk of prosecution through buying legally, and you still do the so-far-so-good legally gray bit that nobody's gotten a slap on the wrist for as of yet.

Re:Is the "lock in" really that strong? (2, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726228)

Doing what you describe is, however you want to play it, illegal, as you are violating a contract you made with Apple when you bought their music:

9. Purchase of Apple Content

b. Use of Products. You acknowledge that Products contain security technology that limits your usage of Products to the following Usage Rules, and you agree to use Products in compliance with such Usage Rules.

Usage Rules

You agree that you will not attempt to, or encourage or assist any other person to, circumvent or modify any security technology or software that is part of the Service or used to administer the Usage Rules.


That is clearly a 'no getting around the DRM' clause. Are you suggesting that all users of the iTunes store should commit an illegal act to relieve Apple of the burden of illegally abusing their iPod monopoly?

The point is - music you buy from iTunes is only playable on either your computer (a limited number, to boot) or an iPod (admittedly unlimited). The European courts look unfavourably on any kind of lock-in, and they want iTunes music to be playable on any device, legally, because you bought it, and Apple are denying you the right as a consumer to use it how you like.

There is no way you should be forced to spend upwards of 200 dollars to use something you spent 99 cents on.

It's amazing really - the bulk of these comments are "Why should Apple let you play iTunes music on any other player", when almost exactly the same people have been saying "Microsoft have to give their full Windows API to EVERYONE otherwise it's monopoly abuse". Why shouldn't Apple have to a) give out how they code their DRM to allow others to make DRM music that is compatible, and b) give out their DRM specs so manufacturers can code their MP3 firmware to be able to play iTunes music?

I love a good bout of hypocrisy.

Why Apple? (4, Insightful)

kevinbr (689680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725716)

Surely it is the job of the RIAA/Record labels to define an open DRM standard. After all they are the ones who demand DRM. Apple did not demand DRM on their own. Of course DRM suits Apple to tie users lightly into the iPod.

In any case, no user is actually tied - just burn a playlist on to a CD and copy the MP3's to any device.

Should Wallmart be forced to allow K-Mart to sell goods via the Wallmart checkout systems?

Re:Why Apple? (0, Offtopic)

badonkey (968937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726160)

Should Wallmart be forced to allow K-Mart to sell goods via the Wallmart checkout systems?

Okay, that's it. I'm calling for a "Shitty analogy" score to be created on Slashdot.

And moderators, I'm not joking. If you mod me as Funny, that would be as inappropriate as someone hating all black people at the supermarket because they might buy a Ford with exploding tires. Which, btw, is the same as the latest XP patch.

Seriously. Think about it.

the k-mart/wal-mart analogy is very wrong (2, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726296)

the deal here is that while "techies" may know how to get around the DRM you cannot easily integrate an iPod without using iTunes and you cannot easily use iTunes with another MP3 player.

The problem becomes, whats in it for Apple? I think now that the iPod is so successful that there is little risk allowing iTunes to work with other players, other than the support issues that the other players just foul up iTunes. Same goes for the reverse, allowing the iPod to be easily integrated to other Music managers. This requires that their DRM be available for anyone else to incorporate.

Frankly if I were in these governments I would just make all companies use the same standard. Its bad enough consumers deal with DRM, let alone 10 different shades of it.

Re:Why Apple? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726352)

I think Apple actually loves their DRM. It used to be that they lamented it and put some in, but they are so fiercely protecting it with a fervor that exceeds that of the RIAA.

Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725742)

Comment

Finland, too! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725746)

This is a coordinated action by the Finnish and Norwegian consumer ombudsmen and German and French consumer watchdog organizations. At least that's what the strange gobbledygook here [kuluttajavirasto.fi] maintains.

Translation: (5, Interesting)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725754)

"You're being too successful. Please stop."

Look, I loathe DRM as much as the next guy, but Apple's not using their market dominance to smack around, say, Microsoft from making a run at them. Microsoft is doing a FINE job all by themselves at lousing up their attempts to dethrone Apple. :-)

Ergo, this is just market forces at work. The market has spoken, and people prefer the iPod and iTunes to the competition. Until there's good evidence that iTunes prevents someone from, say, playing a WMA file on Windows or the like, Apple's in the clear on this. Let them have their success, and stop monkeying with the system.

Re:Translation: MOD PARENT UP! (1)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725950)

here here! Mod parent up. I don't understand the problem. Company B invents a widget that people like to purchase. You don't have to buy the widget if you don't want to...

Re:Translation: (1)

**loki969** (880141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726330)

Jeezez! I don't care about market forces. Goverments and Laws are there to serve the citizens and not some multinational enterprise. Apple should have trust in its own products!

"Open DRM" is a contradiction in terms (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17725756)

No DRM system is open, so it's silly to ask for "open DRM". Apple is the wrong target; the right target for this sort of action is the record companies which refuse to sell music that isn't deliberately stripped of interoperability.

Wrong solution (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725770)

DRM, by definition, causes vendor lock-in. If DRM schemes were licensed under a fair and non-discriminatory policy then they would not work, because anyone who wanted to get around them would be able to get the specification. You could even legally create an open source application which did all of the rights checking inside #ifdefs so if someone defined the IGNORE_DRM symbol then they could compile a version that decrypted the DRM'd content but didn't apply any restrictions. This wouldn't even be illegal, since they would be distributing the version that respected the DRM and end users would be applying the modification.

The correct solution, then, is not for lawmakers to go after Apple, but for them to go after DRM in general. Except on books [pingwales.co.uk] , where it makes perfect sense.

Re:Wrong solution (2, Insightful)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726082)

My personal favorite solution is to sit back and let this all die out.

I figure in some random interval unit of time (5 years, maybe?) someone will come along and successfully dethrone the iPod as the default MP3 player. When this happens, consumers are going to be in for a bit of a shock when they realize that none of their AAC files will play (out-of-the-box, anyway) on their shiny new non-iPod player. The same will happen for people who buy Zunes.

And when that happens, the market is going to decide very strongly against DRM, either by switching to a non-encumbered or less boneheadedly-implemented service or, if none exists, by going back to buying everything on CD. (The music industry is not going to be able to kill the CD anytime soon.)

As far as I'm concerned, rulings like this one against Apple mostly serve to enshrine DRM as it's currently being handled, which I fear means that we'll end up stuck with this annoying control-freak DRM model.

Re:Wrong solution (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726194)

Plenty of manufactures make devices capable of playing Microsoft DRM'ed files, that is what they mean by "open" DRM.

All of the consumers that have purchased music from ITMS cannot play their music in anything but Apple products. Its anti-competitive and Apple should be punished for their behavior.

Re:Wrong solution (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726306)

DRM, by definition, causes vendor lock-in. If DRM schemes were licensed under a fair and non-discriminatory policy then they would not work, because anyone who wanted to get around them would be able to get the specification.

Well, you forget, those who would own the specification have no interest in it being licensed "under a fair and non-discriminatory polilcy".

You would have to spend $100,000 to get the document, and you would have to sign agreements not to release the information, or use it as a way of circumventing the DRM.

The owners of any DRM scheme can't risk it becoming an 'open' (and therefore, useless) mechanism. Because once everyone knows how it works, they turn it off. And, then the media companies stop allowing people to encode any more data in that format.

DRM being successful (and palletable to the studios) depends on it being anything but fair and non-discriminatory.
You could even legally create an open source application which did all of the rights checking inside #ifdefs so if someone defined the IGNORE_DRM symbol then they could compile a version that decrypted the DRM'd content but didn't apply any restrictions.

Nope, that is the situation they absolutely will not allow to happen. Because then it's childishly easy to avoid DRM, which is not what the media companies want.

There is no way in hell an open source implementation of DRM will ever be allowed to exist. Period. Believing so is very naive and idealistic.

Cheers

They should... (1)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725774)

...add iPod and iTunes to Bill of Rights....or even better ..make it a Fundamental Right!!

Then the world will be divide in two - those who have iPods and those who don't.

Re:They should... (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725842)

Then the world will be divide in two - those who have iPods and those who don't.

I thought it was already...

Open DRM system?? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725780)

...are now part of the European effort to push Apple into an open DRM system...

I really don't see the point for end users. Music from iTunes store can still be restricted by "Open DRM" to only run on iPod. Music from other providers can have confusing and different restrictions on number of PCs, number/type of devices and expiration time. The only "Open DRM" is an unencrypted MP3 or AAC, but that is already available on iPod.

Does this even make sense? (3, Insightful)

owlicks58 (560207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725796)

I don't understand the logic behind this. This sounds akin to demanding from Sony that Playstation 3 discs run on all other gaming systems. This isn't an issue of vendor lock in, as it was with Microsoft making it difficult for home users to use anything but Internet Explorer with Windows. If European consumers don't want to deal with the DRM on the iTunes store, then they should not purchase songs from there, it's as simple as that. I can see no reason why Apple should be under some kind of obligation to allow a product that people are well aware only plays on the iPod to play on other MP3 players. Does someone care to enlighten me as to why this makes any logical sense whatsoever?

Re:Does this even make sense? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725946)

This sounds akin to demanding from Sony that Playstation 3 discs run on all other gaming systems.

No, because PS3 games cannot technically run on any other hardware (barring an emulator running on some insanely powerful machine). However, AAC/MP3/etc. files can technically be played on lots of different hardware but Apple is intentionally crippling them to run on their platform only.

Sold out... (1)

network23 (802733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725860)


The Swedish Consumer Agency (KO) has a "Microsoft Only" IT strategy.

Call the other asshats and ask them to publish their own IT strategy.

Sigh.

- - -

kvp.com [kvp.com]

To make things fair . . . (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725962)

did the EU also contact MS about the Zune marketplace?

Re:To make things fair . . . (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726050)

Zune isn't sold in Europe, so the answer to that is no.

Summary without the hyperbole (1, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725978)

The government of Norway is still not satisfied iTunes DRM, and has given Apple until September to change iTunes. Also, consumer advocacy groups in France and Germany are pushing for Apple to change the iTunes DRM.

So one EU government (out of 27), has issued an ultimatum to Apple. Consumer lobby groups in two other EU nations are also advocating against iTunes DRM.

Re:Summary without the hyperbole (3, Informative)

jm.one (655706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726252)

norway is not part a member of the EU

Re:Summary without the hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17726278)

Just FYI, Norway is not in EU.

Like we say on efnet (1)

1155 (538047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17725982)

Just say no to .no!

Or what? (5, Funny)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726072)

"Norway has now given Apple a new deadline of September of this year to change its policies...."

Or else they will send a letter to Apple telling them how upset they are.

Off Topic: No one should pay (2, Informative)

tetsuo29 (612440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726080)

I know this is somewhat off topic, but I see that there are ad-sense type ads on this discussion for software that allows you to get songs off of an iPod. Now, I know that slashdot wouldn't exist without advertising, however, in this case, the ads do clueless readers a disservice.

No one should have to pay to get their music off of their iPod. Hell, even Apple now has a page that explains how to do this without any additional software other than iTunes:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=300 173 [apple.com]

Also, there are plenty of free programs out there that do what the advertised programs do:

Windows:
http://www.ephpod.com/ [ephpod.com]
http://www.sturm.net.nz/website.php?Section=iPod+P rograms&Page=SharePod [sturm.net.nz]

Mac:
http://www.ilinkpod.com/ [ilinkpod.com]
http://fadingred.org/senuti/ [fadingred.org]

I'm sure there are some for Linux as well, but I've yet to connect my iPod to Linux so I haven't ever looked for any.

Re:Off Topic: No one should pay (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726342)

So? you can also change your own oil, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to pay someone to do it for you.
just like you can buy softare that doesn't thing as a convience for the consumer.

Simple solution: Decriminalize breaking the DRM (4, Insightful)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726096)

Without getting into the "correctness" of the EU's position ("just don't buy it" speaks loudly to me) I fail to see the issue here.

Instead of forcing Apple/et al to open up their standards, simply make it legal to break that very DRM if it isn't open. You will very quickly see applications for sale to do it (come out from the shadows) and the Apples of the world will be motivated to change to an open standard.

mhhmm (4, Insightful)

jm.one (655706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726124)

1. Norway is not part of the EU. 2. I cant see how actually an EU country is doing something here.. only organizations that work in this countries.... Conclusion: Catchy but wrong title

Heresy! Bastards! How dare they! (2, Funny)

overtly_demure (1024363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726164)

You can't bash Apple! They are holy! They are beyond good and evil! You can't compare them to petty ruffians such as the RIAA. Why, these damned Europeans don't seem to be able to distinguish between the criminal scum of the RIAA and the sacred institution of Apple, Inc. They are by no means the same, nor even comparable. If Steve Jobs backdated his stock option purchases it is just reward for having saved the world, transformed it in revolutionary ways, changed the very way we work, play, live, and envision ourselves. The world is nothing like it was before the Mac or the iPod, when demons roamed the earth and giant savage beasts preyed upon mankind. And those scurrilous lice at PARC and Creative Labs preemptively stole the technologies from Apple before the Jobsian gods were able to invent them, patenting some of them in a wholly immoral manner before Apple brought them forth upon our barbaric world in the form of blessed consumer electronics.

Nay! Apple must not be restricted! If they maintain a microsoftian monopoly it is for the good of mankind, and we must not question their mysterious and infinite wisdom. All will become clear when the iPhone is brought down from the heavens and placed in the pockets of iPod-earplugged yuppies striding along the streets of the Financial District. They will show us the way. They will understand the word made silicon and plastic, and convey it to the rest of us mere cheapskate mortals who are unable or unwilling to invest in the meager cost of an iPod, iPhone, MacBook, or other godly Apple instrument. Then we shall see, then we shall hear, then we shall know. The clouds will part, warriors will lay down their arms and embrace each other, weeping with joy and brotherly love. The hungry shall find nourishment, the thirsty will quench themselves with pure crystalline water. The poor shall know prosperity for the first time and forever. The barren shall bear fruit, and the downtrodden shall find dignity.

It is the unbelievers, the infidels who challenge the sacred rule of the Jobsian iSacraments. They must be stopped!

Consumer Protection. (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726202)

How about some real consumer rights, like "If you own it, do what you want with it."

FUCK DRM.

rhY

Tied in? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726248)

What exactly is the tie-in? You can certainly use an ipod without itunes (I'm doing it on my Ubuntu box right now, as a matter of fact). You can just as easily use the itunes music store without owning an ipod. Neither of these require owning an apple iMac or MacPro, either.

I suppose the only real tie-in is that you cannot reasonably use an ipod without having access to a computer. Given how popular ipods are now a days, I bet some people did try that along the ways. :-)

As for using ipods with other music download sites, the devices play mp3s, which are what most music is currently distributed in (just ask the RIAA!). It's the other sites that are being incompatible.

An honest complaint? (3, Insightful)

franksands (938435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17726338)

Apple has one of least troublesome DRMs, and there's not really a tie-in, since you can put any mp3 file in the iPod, and use a program like winAmp to do so. Why don't they bother MS, Sony or EMI that has much more draconian DRM systems. I mean, as long as these are legitimate and genuine complaints, and just suing the company they would profit the most, considering how much Apple has of the mp3 player market.
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