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Jobs Favors DRM-Free Music Distribution

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-my-fault dept.

Media (Apple) 755

Another anonymous reader tips an essay by Steve Jobs on the Apple site about DRM, iTunes, and the iPod. Perhaps it was prompted by the uncomfortable pressure the EU has been putting on Apple to open up the iPod. Jobs places the blame for the existence and continuing reliance on DRM squarely on the music companies. Quoting: "Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."

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Which means... (5, Funny)

Ariastis (797888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910380)

Dear governments, please Gang-Bang the big studios for us. (Which I believe would be a very nice thing to see)

At least Apple is consistent, I guess... (0, Flamebait)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910918)

It means what we knew already. Apple will blame anyone but themselves and try to spin it so that they don't look bad. For example, iTunes doesn't work on Vista at the moment and might cause data corruption on the iPod. Does Apple apologise to their customers for not having a Vista version of their software yet? No, they take jabs at Microsoft for breaking compatibility, instead.

mod jobs up (4, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910382)

finally, somebody in the business had a shot of insight.

Re:mod jobs up (-1, Troll)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910440)

Feh, he's only saying the exact same thing ("don't blame us, they made us do it!") that Microsoft says. Actions speak louder than words. Of course, this is Slashdot, so it will be proof of Apple's godliness and Microsoft's perfidy.

Re:mod jobs up (5, Insightful)

Zelet (515452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910500)

If they don't agree to the music industries terms they can't sell music. How does that help the fight against DRM. Being a hugely popular player/store in the world of online music advocating against DRM plays a more important role than just abandoning the market.

Re:mod jobs up (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910596)

He's just attempting to deflect consumer ire and make excuses. It is true that the large music giants demand the music be sold with DRM, but the iTunes store insists using a proprietary DRM that prevents playback on any device other than the iPod, and they insist on applying it to every song they sell, including those where the copyright holder has said they don't want the DRM.

Re:mod jobs up (1)

patrick0brien (615224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910646)

There's a DRM scheme that isn't proprietary?

Re:mod jobs up (2, Interesting)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910870)

Okay, poor choice of words. I just meant that they refuse to license it for use in other playback devices.

Re:mod jobs up (5, Interesting)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910552)

Not really. MS has just released a new OS that is more locked down with DRM than any other OS so far. They have been active in promoting the use of DRM and even saying it will be to the benefit of consumers. There is no way that they were forced by the industry to implement that much DRM at the heart of their latest product. I'm not hearing any info that Leopard is going to be similarly encumbered. Make no mistake, MS is a wholehearted supporter of DRM.

Jobs on the other hand is actually saying that consumers don't want it, and that they'd drop it in a heartbeat if they were allowed to. This is the complete opposite of what MS are saying, not the equivalent.

Bob

Re:mod jobs up (1)

bgfay (5362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910572)

But if Apple and Microsoft are saying this and there is pressure exerted by these companies on the record companies to free their music, how could that be a bad thing for consumer of music?

If music was priced fairly, I would buy. In fact, I've often wished that there was a CONTRIBUTE link on the home page of each of my favorite musicians' sites. I would gladly download the music over my connection, burn it to my own cd if I want, and load it onto my mp3 player at my own expense if I knew that the money went to the artists more than to the record companies which, one hopes, have outlived their usefulness.

Re:mod jobs up (4, Insightful)

jmp_nyc (895404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910578)

Feh, he's only saying the exact same thing ("don't blame us, they made us do it!") that Microsoft says. Actions speak louder than words. Of course, this is Slashdot, so it will be proof of Apple's godliness and Microsoft's perfidy.

Except that Jobs comes off as sounding level headed and well thought out, while Bill Gates has managed to come off as whiny in his recent media appearances. Tone goes a long way towards persuasiveness.
-JMP

Re:mod jobs up (4, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910736)

Feh, he's only saying the exact same thing ("don't blame us, they made us do it!") that Microsoft says. Actions speak louder than words. Of course, this is Slashdot, so it will be proof of Apple's godliness and Microsoft's perfidy.
As an Apple fan who hates Microsof's products, I have to say the following: I do not blame Microsoft for DRM in media files. Clearly the music companies and movie studios have demanded this.

The fact is that iTMS was the FIRST legal online music store. Apple had to do a lot of work to convince the music companies to allow legal distribution. They did not have the music companies over a barrel as I've heard some people claim. They were negotiating from a position of weakness. It was months before iTMS even had enough sales to say they were selling more than vinyl LPs.

As Bill Gates pointed out, from the point of view of the individual consumer, ripping CDs still makes more sense than iTunes music store for a number of reasons: no DRM, get a higher quality copy of the music, you have a physical media as a backup if your hard disk fails. The iTunes store however, is still more convienient. So, it is not without value, but I often choose to buy a used physical CD via Amazon marketplace rather than buy from the iTunes store for precisely the reasons I stated. So, ITMS isn't locking people into the iPod via DRM - DRM is often blocking people such as myself from buying from the iTunes store.

Obviously a DRM free iTunes store would be better than what we have now. I think it would be MORE popular, not less. Would iTunes have competition, yes they would since obviously other vendors could sell DRM free music. OTOH, I think Apple could still be competitive in such an environment. Their store is easy to use and nice.

I think this article basically says two things that I didn't know before I read it. First, it puts Apple on record as opposing DRM. Second, he gives an argument against licensing FairPlay to other vendors that I hadn't heard or thought of before (i.e. that other vendors would leak the keys and this would require the iTunes store to be shut down.)

Re:mod jobs up (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910874)

Mod parent up; not troll: there's a damn good reason that Apple won't license their DRM to anyone. Apple understands how to lock people in to their product line.

mod work up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910496)

So when will we be able to run MacOSX on non-apple hardware then?

Re:mod work up (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910602)

That's completely different, that's Apple's fault. Jobs is trying to convince people that the reason their shiny new iTune won't play on their polished brown Zune is the music company's fault, not iTMS, and that the music companies need to change how they allow iTMS to sell their music, rather than governments forcing Apple to let competitors use their DRM.

Re:mod work up (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910872)

I believe you can try but it won't be supported but legal to do.

Running some versions of Windows Vista in a virtual environment won't be supported either and would break the terms of the license agreement. I'm not sure if breaking the EULA is an illegal thing or just that Microsoft can turn off the OS from afar and you're SOL.

Another way to look at it is that the MAC software accompanies the hardware like a fax machine has software. Would you want to run Brother's Fax software on a Sharp unit?

It comes boxed specifically to run with the Apple hardware brand no different than Palm Pilot upgrades Palm Pilots and not Windows CE devices.

Re:mod jobs up (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910556)

It's not Jobs' insight that we have to admire, but rather his willingness to not only rationally assess the situation, but also publicly acknowledge the failure of DRM as a means to an end.

In this case, Jobs demonstrated that common sense CAN dominate over greed, even in a corporate environment. Jobs realizes that DRM may lock some users into iTMS, and they might lose some market by dropping it. However, he also realizes that users are growing more irritated with DRM in general. But more importantly, he understands that by abolishing DRM, he can dramatically boost the sales of music online.

Therefore, it is only logical that he supports abolishing this monstrosity - it hurts B&M distributors, while boosting internet sales.

Can we get a new icon? (5, Funny)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910416)

One with Jobs sporting a nice, glowing halo?

But make it in proportion to the Gates/Borg icon.

Re:Can we get a new icon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910794)

While we're on the subject, maybe we can get one for GNU [stallman.org] , too?

Attacking DRM != supporting copyright infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910430)

It's too bad that Jobs says in the article that people who attack DRM have too much time on their hands and only want to enable copyright infringement. He doesn't want to admit that anyone might have any other motive. This is an oddly sour note in the course of an article that otherwise reasonably admits that DRM is problematic and that consumers would be better off without it.

Apple comes out against DRM? (5, Interesting)

Zelet (515452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910446)

What is amazing to me is that Jobs/Apple have a near monopoly on digital music downloads/players that would only be hurt by a lack of DRM lock-in and yet Jobs is still advocating for the change. Would any other company or CEO do this?

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910580)

Apple has recently been in legal troubles in Europe for not licensing their DRM to other companies. This is clearly a response to that particular situation. He's essentially saying that an open DRM standard is not something that Apple views as feasible and if people don't want restrictions on their music they need to go after the record companies instead. It's hardly the selfless gesture that the summary would have you believe. However, if the end result is more people putting pressure on the record companies to abandon DRM then more power to him.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (1)

MITEgghead (570541) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910586)

Probably because he knows it's never going to happen and he might as well say it to cast the company in a better light after the recent Apple DRM troubles in Europe.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910604)

He points out he doesn't think there is an effective "lock-in" since by his (perhaps overly-simplistic) statistics, FairPlay music amounts to only 3% of music on iPods.

Aside from that, I wonder if more people would buy from iTunes if there were no DRM. I know I would, but I might not be representative of the population.

(Unless the population lives in their parents basements and cries themselves to sleep at night for all the loneliness they feel every day.)

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910612)

Here's why. As he said, on their most popular player, only 22 songs are from his company out of 1000 songs on that player. So, he's obviously not making money selling music. His money is from selling hardware. The money made on those 22 songs is a lot less than the money made on that one player.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910618)

Selling the music is fine, but he wants to sell PLAYERS. The iTunes store is an inducement to buy an iPod, DRM makes the iTunes store harder to work. Sure if there was no DRM you could buy your music anywhere, but iTunes makes it *easy* to buy music. He figures people wouldn't bother shopping around 10 e-music sites if iTunes just has it and talks to their iPod.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (1)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910626)

Because he knows it will never happen.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? Probably not... (0)

VidEdit (703021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910656)

"What is amazing to me is that Jobs/Apple have a near monopoly on digital music downloads/players that would only be hurt by a lack of DRM lock-in and yet Jobs is still advocating for the change. Would any other company or CEO do this?"

  Jobs probably said this knowing full well that the Music Industry will not stop demanding DRM. An Apple lawyer has already said that Apple wouldn't ditch DRM for iTunes even if the labels stopped demanding it. As long as one Music Company demands it, Jobs can have it both ways: iTunes and iPods will lock customers in and Jobs will blame **Apple's** lock in on the music industry at large.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? Probably not... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910912)

An Apple lawyer has already said that Apple wouldn't ditch DRM for iTunes even if the labels stopped demanding it.

Because everyone knows that unnamed lawyers quoted in Slashdot postings know a lot more about a company's internal strategy than the CEO quoted on his own damn website.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910724)

What is amazing to me is that Jobs/Apple have a near monopoly on digital music downloads/players that would only be hurt by a lack of DRM lock-in and yet Jobs is still advocating for the change. Would any other company or CEO do this?

Most iPods are still filled primarily with P2P downloads and ripped CDs. The lock-in they have is not all that valuable and probably not worth the bad press they receive as a result of it. I have long said the ITMS and Fairplay were just there to sell iPods not make money and the Fairplay was the least intrusive DRM they could get the studios to buy in on. Jobs stated long ago that DRM does not work for stopping piracy. He knows the score. DRM exists to promote incompatibility such that the media companies can get people to buy the same music for different uses (ring tone, in the car, portable, home stereo, etc.)

Apple saw this use coming an stepped in to make sure the Mac line of computers was not destroyed by it once Microsoft controlled DRM using their OS monopoly. The fact that they succeeded as well as they have is somewhat miraculous and I suspect surprised even them. They set out to stop macs from being third class media citizens and ended up the big kid in the portable player market. Don't get too excited though. Windows Media Format - PlaysForSure is still the most common DRM scheme in use since so many people accidentally rip their CDs to that format with WMP's default settings. Now Apple is being attacked through legal channels and several companies have a vested interest in making sure Fairplay is defanged, while PlaysForSure and the Zune DRM formats are not. Jobs is doing the right thing here by turning their press attacks against them and asking for no DRM, rather than a situation that will inevitably lead to MS owning the space.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910828)

I bet Apple would have sold DRM-free music from the beginning if they could. The iTunes Store exists as a convenient way to avoid having to import a CD into iTunes when you could just buy the AAC files directly. Most music on people's iPods is still in MP3 or unprotected AAC format. The Store has done a lot, but Apple's iPod business doesn't rely on it. At least, not the music part.

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (2, Interesting)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910832)

He's being sued in Europe and the U.S. for Antitrust violations.
This could be a bit of the "Those guys made me do it" defense.
Not that it isn't true, it is. And yet Apple IS profiting from it.

Slattery v. Apple Computer, Inc.
N.D.Cal.,2005
http://news.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.p l?page=/andrews/bt/cmp/20050922/20050922slattery.h tml [findlaw.com]

Apple's iTunes hits a sour note in Europe
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/5c7050fa-af24-11db-a446-00 00779e2340.html [ft.com]

Re:Apple comes out against DRM? (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910838)

What is amazing to me is that Jobs/Apple have a near monopoly on digital music downloads/players that would only be hurt by a lack of DRM lock-in and yet Jobs is still advocating for the change. Would any other company or CEO do this?

Because he knows it'll be a cold day in hell before the big studios agree to it, and gets him out of hot water with the anti-competitive investigations that's going on in Europe. "See, we don't *wan't* to hold this monopoly, but the studios are forcing our hand. We can't do anything to stop it, really we can't." Plus the PR is good too. iTunes is on the fast track to become a huge outlet of music, and the longer they can keep the FairPlay show on the road, the more powerful they'll get. I'm sure that with their "all songs are DRM'd alike" they can pull a "all or none" stunt even if one of the big ones actually starts to lean towards DRM-free music, making sure it doesn't actually happen. It's a win-win all around for Jobs.

win / win (4, Insightful)

cpearson (809811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910454)

With public relation statements like this coupled with the DRM 'ed iTunes how can Steve and Apple lose?

Vista Help Forum [vistahelpforum.com]

Steve has some cogent thoughts (4, Insightful)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910456)

I actually read the complete commentary by Steve Jobs.
He is dead on.
The music industry (RIAA and their cohorts in crime) have completely botched the distribution of music in an internet-enabled world.

FTA (5, Informative)

roger6106 (847020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910462)

Here's the parts I found most interesting:

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store.

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven't worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.

If anything, the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system has limited the number of participants selling DRM protected music. If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies.

Re:FTA (1)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910698)

sounds like allofmp3.com

Re:FTA (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910880)

If anything, the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system has limited the number of participants selling DRM protected music. If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies.
What I find interesting about that sentiment, is Jobs is basically saying "We would be totally happy competing on a level playing field where the quality of our offering would go up against the other guys stuff". He says that, because he believes it -- and, as an iPod owner who has never bought a track from the iTunes music store, I agree with him. I find the iPod and iTunes to be good products.

Oddly enough, if this was Microsoft, they would be all too happy to achieve vendor lock-in by specifically NOT being interoperable -- they've been trying to get people locked into just their crap for a very long time.

Cheers

Somehow I doubt this is honest - it's just PR (0, Troll)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910464)

Why?

Because the only way we can fight DRM is through the DRM selling groups. We can't download music from BMG/Universal/etc. directly. So, we go through things like iTunes.

If he honestly gave a damn, he'd realize that /he's/ the one who has the power and weight to fight those companies, not us. We have to exercise our force through him and his company, and similar companies.

Re:Somehow I doubt this is honest - it's just PR (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910704)

"We" do have the power to fight the record companies through our governments. Something you Americans seem loathe to do, but Europeans are not. Right now a few European governments are fighting Apple, so naturally Steve'd want to redirect their attention to the source of the problem.

Re:Somehow I doubt this is honest - it's just PR (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910778)

If he honestly gave a damn, he'd realize that /he's/ the one who has the power and weight to fight those companies, not us. We have to exercise our force through him and his company, and similar companies.

Enough FUD (intentional or not) thank you. WE are the ones with the power to fight these companies. Just choose where you spend your money. And if you really and truly care, convince others to do the same. Convince them that they don't need the latest timberlake CD. Get them to buy non-DRM music. This is what companies pay attention to. "Hey, they're buying music without DRM over there! And our sales are falling! Quick, drop the DRM!" Anything else is just jerking off.

Re:Somehow I doubt this is honest - it's just PR (4, Insightful)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910814)

It's called the goverment. It makes laws and can fight companies for you. People control it in most places.

Re:Somehow I doubt this is honest - it's just PR (2, Insightful)

dynamo (6127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910856)

It's government that has the power, not him.

Re:Somehow I doubt this is honest - it's just PR (2, Interesting)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910900)

You are both right and wrong...but mostly wrong.

You are right in that Jobs could refuse to sell DRM'd music. However, he tried to do this from the beginning. Unfortunately, Jobs does not control the rights to sell the music, the record companies do. The record companies allow Jobs to sell through iTunes as long as he adheres to some conditions. The record companies did not allow Jobs to sell DRM free music. Jobs resisted as much as he could, and iTunes users ended up with one of the least restrictive of the DRM policies, but nevertheless, it's still DRM'd. If Jobs really wants to stop selling DRM'd music, it is not up to him. It is up to the record companies. This is why he is issuing this statement. He is hoping that the record companies will see it his way and allow him to stop with the DRM.

Re:Somehow I doubt this is honest - it's just PR (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910904)

If he honestly gave a damn, he'd realize that /he's/ the one who has the power and weight to fight those companies, not us. We have to exercise our force through him and his company, and similar companies.
Uh, what do you think he's doing? This public commentary is part of the fight. He can't just confront them and demand they remove DRM, all-or-nothing. Because then he'll get nothing, and we lose. But he can appeal to the public.

Vivendi is french? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910468)

Looks like I am never going to buy any games from Blizzard or Sierra again.

Re:Vivendi is french? (1)

Illbay (700081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910582)

Looks like I am never going to buy any games from Blizzard or Sierra again.

No, that's Vivendi UNIVERSAL.

The whole universe owns it.

Well, Jobs gets it (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910484)

At least he understands what the rest of us understand, which is that DRM can never prevent copying. The most it can do is slow it down.

He does get one thing wrong in the article though: "No DRM system was ever developed for the CD". Not true. There are several DRM systems developed for Audio CDs. However, they all depend on the disc being placed into a computer that will pay attention to something other than CDDA tracks, which means they are ineffective on purpose-built CD copiers or computers on which the user has either disabled autorun or holds the shift key while the disc is inserted.

DRM doesn't have to be effective to be DRM...

Re:Well, Jobs gets it (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910628)

Well, since Philips controls the definition of "CD", and they've decided that a CD with noncompliant data doesn't really count as a CD, it is technically correct (the best kind of correct) that no DRM system has ever been developed for the CD. But there have been tons developed for the shiny plastic coaster.

Well, he was technically correct. (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910652)

True CDs never had DRM. Phillips wouldn't approve / license it as the Trademark holder on the Compact Disc.

There were forms of optical media that were created to be Compact Disc(TM) compatible with DRM, but they were legally distinct from a real CD. They also failed due to Sharpies and shift keys.

Re:Well, Jobs gets it (1)

vistic (556838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910676)

As I recall such discs stray from the standard for CD's and as such can't use the "Compact Disc" logo on their packaging.

Re:Well, Jobs gets it (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910878)

Not true - no DRM system was ever developed for the CD. If it has DRM on it, it does not meet theCD Audio spec. That it plays on CD Audio EQ is irrelevant.

BTW, does this mean that having Linux installed on a computer and putting one of these buggered "DRM'd" non CD Audio discs into it that you'll be violating the DMCA?

Forced... but who's pushing now? (2, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910490)

Apparently Apple was forced to put DRM up. If you remember correctly, a few years ago, Apple even promoted copying music as one of the things you could do with the (back then) new Apple with CDRW (G3's).

Steve Jobs and Apple have always been holding their leg stiff against the record companies as much as possible and now they're kicking back. I think the record companies and affiliates finally see that DRM is hurting them bad, worse than the so-called pirating going on.

I don't buy DRM'ed music, I refuse and I rather buy an MP3 from an indie artist or download a good song through BitTorrent. Well, I hope they finally start offering MP3's or any other codec (Ogg perhaps) without DRM.

iTMS needs to pave the way (5, Interesting)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910492)

Apple needs to give record labels the choice of whether they want their music to be sold with or without DRM on the iTunes Store. Keep the same prices, keep the same format and bitrate (128kbps AAC), and keep embedding the user's ID in the file, but give the labels the choice, and indicate it to the customer before they buy (a small icon next to the "Buy" button should be enough).

Obviously most labels will continue to choose DRM. That's OK. Let them. And let the market sort it out.

Re:iTMS needs to pave the way (1)

e2ka (708498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910600)

Unfortunately, as was indicated in the article, digital music is a very small part of the market.

Re:iTMS needs to pave the way (1)

e2ka (708498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910648)

OK, yeah, CDs are digital too... I meant downloadable music. You know what I mean!

Moderates need to pave the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910738)

"Obviously most labels will continue to choose DRM. That's OK. Let them. And let the market sort it out."

And which market would that be? The "I'm not hurting anyone because I never would have bought it" market?* Or the present "iTunes is doing well" market?

*aka "monetary vote"? What the hell is that?

Or... (0)

theguru (70699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910506)

Jobs could actually license the iTunes DRM to other companies and allow other devices to work with it. The Apple DRM really isn't that bad, if only other devices could be supported without jumping trough (license violating) hoops.

Re:Or... (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910608)

And if you'd RTFA, you'd know that Jobs addressed that very option, and why Apple concluded that it wouldn't work.

Re:Or... (1)

bgfay (5362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910644)

There are problems with the approach you suggest. Jobs explains them in the essay.

Re:Or... read the essay. (4, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910684)

He actually gives a reason why not:

An equally serious problem is how to quickly repair the damage caused by such a leak. A successful repair will likely involve enhancing the music store software, the music jukebox software, and the software in the players with new secrets, then transferring this updated software into the tens (or hundreds) of millions of Macs, Windows PCs and players already in use. This must all be done quickly and in a very coordinated way. Such an undertaking is very difficult when just one company controls all of the pieces. It is near impossible if multiple companies control separate pieces of the puzzle, and all of them must quickly act in concert to repair the damage from a leak.
Are you going to read his essay or not?

Re:Or... (1)

woster (726475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910686)

Actually, I think he thoroughly explained in the letter why Apple doesn't want to go down that road and to IMHO to be a pretty reasonable explanation. Then again, people have accused me of being an apple fanboi, so what do I know. . . 8^)

Re:Or... (1)

acaben (80896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910846)

Did you RTFA? He says why they can't do that.

Well that's rather interesting (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910538)

I am "sure" that Apple's lawyers didn't have anything to say about the DRM decision either. Let's face it. If iPod were an open and easy to use music player (from a technical/file system standpoint), they would have become the targets of all the big label music publishers out there. So I'm relatively certain the move was initially "CYA." However, the fact that their DRM scheme seems to lock everyone else out is pretty indicative of their attempting to turn a burden into an advantage.

They can have their DRM and not use it to monopolize after all. That said, let's take Jobs' lead and go after the music publishers!

How's that working out for you, being clever? (3, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910542)

It's probably ridiculous for me to say this, but dammit, this is Slashdot, so I'm gonna say it anyway:

Is it not possible, nay, probable, that this was Steve Jobs's plan all along with reference to interoperability? The iTunes/iPod Family of Devices gets locked up behind music industry DRM which we all know Apple would rather not have bothered with in the first place. They were slow to fix exploits of various versions of FairPlay, and fixed those exploits probably at content cabal insistence. On the side was a lack of interoperability with other devices/services that went along with FairPlay.

Now that people are up in arms about the iPod not playing fair with others, more and more Joe Sixpacks are starting to see that DRM is a bad thing. Here comes Steve Jobs, suggesting that if you want to point fingers at FairPlay's effect on interoperability, you should also be pointing fingers at the content cabal.

Could this have been his diabolical plan all along?!

Well.... Probably not. But it would sure make for a good conspiracy theory for all the Mac fansites out there.

iTunes and DRM (1, Interesting)

Clomer (644284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910548)

About a year ago, I purchased and downloaded two tracks from the iTunes music store. This was before I realized the nature of the DRM that restricts such downloads. I noticed it after I purchased a new computer and had to authorize that computer to play those files.

The computer I originally downloaded them on no longer exists, so I have no way to deauthorize it. This means that I am down one of the 5 computers that I can authorize my songs to play on. When I realized this, I decided that I will never again purchase any music files that have any DRM on them whatsoever.

I still use the iTunes music store, but only to browse and hear samples. If I find something I want, I look it up on Amazon or head out to Best Buy and buy the actual CD. If the music companies will remove that asinine restriction of DRM, then I will go back to purchasing music downloads.

Note that I am against piracy. I think that people that distribute these things wholesale are the scum of the Earth. But I do not appreciate being treated like a criminal just because I happen to like music. I really hope that Jobs gets his way with this.

Re:iTunes and DRM (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910710)

I still use the iTunes music store, but only to browse and hear samples. If I find something I want, I look it up on Amazon or head out to Best Buy and buy the actual CD. If the music companies will remove that asinine restriction of DRM, then I will go back to purchasing music downloads.

I hope you realize that by buying the music anyway, you are supporting that DRM indirectly, because it is the music labels that are mandating it.

Apple's stated premise (just want to add emphasis to the fact that I don't necessarily believe it) is that people would rather pay the dollar to get a song than pirate it. They want to do the right thing and as long as you make it cheap and easy, they will do so. If this assumption is correct, they don't need DRM.

Of course, Apple could have planned to have the DRM all along, and this might just be some propaganda from Jobs trying to spin the decision the other way. "Look at the big, bad record companies!" Not that I'm saying that's the case, I just want people to consider the possibility. To quote Maynard:

All you know about me is what I sold you, dumbfuck
I sold out long before you ever even knew my name
I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit
And then you bought one

Re:iTunes and DRM (1)

bgfay (5362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910722)

I'm curious about something:

If I burn a DRM tune to a cd, then pop the cd into a computer and have it read back into iTunes, will it still have the DRM restrictions? My guess is that it wouldn't. If anyone can explain, I would appreciate it.

Also, assuming the DRM is removed, what are the downsides to doing this other than using a cd?

Re:iTunes and DRM (2, Informative)

Clomer (644284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910860)

That's actually a known way to get around Apple's DRM. The disadvantages are that you use a CD to do so (which you mentioned) and that there is a slight loss in sound quality since it is being re-encoded.

I'll probably do this with my two protected files sooner or later, when I actually get around to it.

Re:iTunes and DRM (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910906)

The music no longer has any restrictions, and there are no downsides to this. You can use rewritable CDs, or there is even a way to trick iTunes into writing into an ISO instead of a real CD, then rip it back out of that.

A possible downside is introduced if you try to compress the file from your CD/ISO. In that case, you are recompressing a file that was already compressed (then decompressed). Likely, you are doing so into a new and different format (like MP3, instead of AAC). If you ears can hear them, you are degrading the recording through this process. If you rip from CD/ISO into a lossless format, you won't see this downside. (But, if you care that much, you probably wouldn't have bought music in a compressed format in the first place!)

My ears can't hear the difference, and this works great. My wife uses the original iTMS songs on her iPod, but everything is converted to high bitrate MP3 before being dropped onto the house music server.

Re:iTunes and DRM (2, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910750)

Apple provides [apple.com] instructions on how to deauthorize computers. I think from within iTunes.

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910768)

you could
1) open iTunes application
2) click on the "Account information" button
3) Find where it says "Deauthorize All" computer authorizations - essentially starting you over with all five machines
4) use your iTunes songs on 5 machines again

I'm not saying iTunes DRM is good or bad, but there is a way to get your music back to 5 different computers whenever you want.

Re:iTunes and DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910780)

The computer I originally downloaded them on no longer exists, so I have no way to deauthorize it

Except you do. You can reset your authorization counter to zero once a year.

Re:iTunes and DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910798)

he computer I originally downloaded them on no longer exists, so I have no way to deauthorize it. This means that I am down one of the 5 computers that I can authorize my songs to play on. When I realized this, I decided that I will never again purchase any music files that have any DRM on them whatsoever.

yeah i guess that's easier than actually checking the iTunes help file. If you did, you would know that you can de-authorize your extra computers at any time. Don't have the original computer any more? You can still de-auth ALL the computers and re-auth the ones you use. This has been plain as day since the iTMS came out. I guess you've been busy!

-AC

Re:iTunes and DRM (1)

Evil Dave Letterman (967729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910822)

Wow, way to get frustrated without doing any homework whatsoever. Are you really a nerd?

Once you have exhausted your 5 computers, you can send a form into Apple to reset all your keys. Next time you start iTunes you'll have to reenter your login, but that's it. Do that on all the machines you want to reauthorize.

It's not nearly as draconian as a lot of /.ers say it is. And still miles better than the Zune store.

Re:iTunes and DRM (1)

kevinl (38843) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910830)

It's not true that you have no way to deauthorize the computer you no longer have.

From Apple support article 93014: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=930 14 [apple.com]

If you find you have reached 5 authorizations due to system upgrades, you can reset your authorization count by clicking Deauthorize All in the Account Information screen. Note: You may only use this feature once per year. The Deauthorize All button will not appear if you have fewer than 5 authorized computers or if you have used this option within the last 12 months.
Keep hating Apple's DRM if you want, but don't do it because they screwed you out of one of your authorized computers.

Re:iTunes and DRM (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910892)

if its dead dead and you know the SN of the computer (for Apple machines) you can also tell a iTunes tech and they will deauthorize it for free.

Re:iTunes and DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17910884)

You can deauthorize songs in the iTMS. You don't need to have access to the original computer.

That explains why they... (3, Insightful)

arose (644256) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910598)

That explains why they apply DRM even to music that is sold in DRM-less versions elsewhere...

Re:That explains why they... (2, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910866)

Not a hard concept, but I'll go ahead and let you in on it:

Someone else's contract != your contract.

If you were to sign a contract to buy wingnuts from the Acme Wingnut Corporation for $0.02 / wingnut and then you see that another guy is only paying $0.01 wingnut, would you just pay $0.01 / wingnut, or do what your contract says?

What do you thing the Acme Wingnut Corporation would expect to receive?

We Knew it All Along (1)

ablair (318858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910632)

I think this goes a long way to prove what many suspected: Apple is a hardware company, and their interest is not so much in selling DRM-protected music but the hardware to listen to it with. So Apple created FairPlay DRM probably on the insistence of the "Big Four" labels in order to do business with them (and made it as unobrtusive as they could get away with), but in the end the iTunes Music Store was created to sell iPods, not the other way around. In a revelaing quote Jobs says

"Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. [...] This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store."
So much for Apple's vendor lock-in machinations: sounds like Apple would dump FairPlay if they were allowed. Will the record labels eventually see it this way too, leading to the death of music DRM as many have been saying?

Re:We Knew it All Along (1)

Budenny (888916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910792)

No, you are missing the point. There is no need to lock the tunes to the pod in order to have copy protection. They are both logically and technically distinct. To prevent unauthorized copying, what you need to do is mark the tune to the buyer. Then you can trace back unauthorized copies and prosecute. But the tune can play on any player the buyer chooses to use. There is no need to lock it to one particular brand of player.

What Apple has done is exactly the opposite of this. It has locked the tune to its own brand of player. However, if this locking is broken, there are no safeguards against unauthorized reporduction because no way to tie the tune to the buyer.

Maybe Apple sold the industry that by doing the second it was effectively doing the first, who knows? But the fact is, it chose a solution which is ineffective against piracy, but very effective against competitive suppliers of players.

Do you really believe this was an accident?

DRM implies no interoperability (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910634)

Jobs makes an interesting argument, which I haven't heard before: that DRM inherently has a tendency to cause a lack of interoperability. His argument is that Apple had to promise the music companies that they would use a DRM system, and also had to promise them that if the keys to the DRM system were discovered, Apple would immediately move to fix it. He claims that this is hard enough with a proprietary, single-vendor system like the iPod, and would be completely impossible if there were multiple vendors. I can't help thinking that this is a very convenient argument for Apple to make. One of the reasons he claims it won't work if there are multiple vendors is that there will be greater opportunities for someone, somewhere, at some company to leak the keys; this seems like a strange argument, since it wouldn't seem all that difficult to pull the keys out of the iPod's memory while it was running. Why hasn't this happened yet?

One thing that this really throws into stark relief for me is that DRM is also completely incompatible with allowing individuals to control their own general-purpose computers. If Apple's DRM keys are compromised, apparently their plan is to do a prompt, mandatory update of the iTunes software. This can only work if users don't have any way to prevent the update.

Re:DRM implies no interoperability (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910796)

Why is it a strange argument?

Keys are pulled all the time; it happened with HD-DVD, BD-ROM, and CSS. Why hasn't it happened with the iPod? Because the software is lenient enough to work around it. Most people found it simpler to compromise iTunes or QuickTime than to compromise the iPod.

And Apple usually throws in new features into iTunes while updating their software security. I'm sure the next leak will see "performance improvements" or "new visualizers" or whatever engineers have cooked up that have not yet been released.

So tell me then (-1, Flamebait)

Budenny (888916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910638)

This is the standard Apple explanation. If this is true, why is it that Apple sells DRMd music whose owners do not insist on it? Music that is available without DRM from other online stores?

Its simply not true. Apple could have introduced a form of copy protection for those labels who insist on it which did not lock iTunes to iPods. All you need to do is some form of watermarking which ties the bought tune to a particular buyer, and so prevents copying and sharing. But it chose not to, because that is Cupertino culture. Cupertino culture is lockins. Lock the OS to the hardware. Where possible, have non-standard interfaces. Lock the store to the purchasing software. Lock the tunes to the player.

The point, which is usually admitted in other forums than when you are putting out this weird propaganda, is to increase hardware sales. That's to say, to make people buy hardware they would otherwise reject, so as to get either your software or your tunes. Its a crazy and utterly repellent strategy. But if you are in Cupertino, it looks a lot easier and more palatable than making hardware people want to buy on its merits.

And the Party Line, or spin, which you then arrange to have sprayed all over the web by your adherents, goes "repeat after me: Apple is a hardware company". Yes, its a company that tries to make you buy hardware you do not want, to get software or tunes you do. That is what "Apple is a hardware company" means in practice. Nothing to do with being a hardware or a software company, but about being a lockin company.

Courage of his convictions (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910650)


Say what you will of Steve Jobs, he whole-heartedly believes in Apple's products, and in their ability to compete on a level playing-field. How many other companies, owning the sort of market-share that Apple has in digital music, would even countenance changing it ?

And, he's not insane - Apple make their money on hardware, not so much on the iTMS itself - the risk is relatively low for Apple, conversely so for the labels. It is in fact likely to give SJ *more* power in his dealings with the record labels - Apple are the entrenched brand, the shining beacon over the dark landscape of pirated music . Once DRM is gone, the labels will need Apple to be even more on-side than they do currently, because they'll have lost the small measure of control they currently have.

As far as Apple is concerned, it's a win-win. Steve probably expects to lose sales on the iTMS, but that non-DRM'd files would become more-commonly shared, raising the number of people who want a DAP, and given the public's current opinion on which DAP is the best, he feels confident Apple will benefit overall. Still takes some cojones to suggest it, though... A bit like when they cancelled their best-selling iPod model (the original mini) because they had a better version. A traditional business would have milked the mini for all they could, first.

I think the whole RDF is simply that Steve *really* *really* believes in his companies products, that belief shines through in his body language, his tone of voice, his whole attitude. People pick up on that and empathise with it. It's a great sales technique, but it needs products that really change the world to do it. Apple strives to make that sort of product.

Simon.

Re:Courage of his convictions (-1, Troll)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910776)

Say what you will of Steve Jobs, he whole-heartedly believes in Apple's products, and in their ability to compete on a level playing-field.

Complete and utter bullshit. If he truly did so, then Apple wouldn't be using that DRM that they were "forced into using" to lock you into their hardware and software. They're getting sued over this in Europe for a reason.

I'll believe that line of reasoning when I'm able to use music bought and downloaded from their music store on anything other than iTunes and my iPod. And no, jumping through hoops and degrading music quality to remove the DRM doesn't count.

Re:Courage of his convictions (1)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910886)

the margins on the plastic-flash-nano were close to twice that of harddrive-aluminium-mini. Doesn't take a saint to figure out which one he ought to sell...

Ah...... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910664)

the don't look at me defense. A classic to be sure.

This is a pre-emptive strike..... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910674)

.... Against the EU shutting down the iTunes Store. By appearing to shift the blame, he clouds the issue and makes it more difficult for them to shut him down.

Yeah right... I don't believe it for a second. (0, Troll)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910714)

I don't believe it for a second. If he was really pressured into it by the record companies, then why does Apple refuse to license their DRM? Why do they have to be sued by European countries to open up access to iTunes bought music?

No, Apple LOVES the lock-in. This is all about playing the blame game, and trying to pass the buck to save Apple's reputation.

Every time there's a DRM article and Apple is mentioned, fanboys pop out of the woodwork and loudly proclaim that Job's is a saint and the evil RIAA twisted his arm into it. And yet they have no problem using it to try and lock iTunes users into the iPod. I'm sure their PR department is estatic that people actually believe that crap.

Re:Yeah right... I don't believe it for a second. (4, Informative)

oberondarksoul (723118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910858)

Please read the friendly article. Jobs says that Apple have considered it before, but they're in an interesting position: if FairPlay is cracked, and remains unpatched for a number of weeks, then the record companies can simply pull their content from the iTS. Now, at present, Apple can simply patch FairPlay and push out a new version of iTunes and the iPod firmware. However, with multiple players and stores all using FairPlay, the problem magnifies: if any one of those links in the increasingly-complex chain remains weak, and FairPlay is still exposed, it leaves Apple vulnerable.

Jobs: "Only 3% of music on iPods is DRM-protected" (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910726)

FTA [bold mine]:

Let's look at the data for iPods and the iTunes store - they are the industry's most popular products and we have accurate data for them. Through the end of 2006, customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store. On average, that's 22 songs purchased from the iTunes store for each iPod ever sold.

Today's most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats. Its hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future. And since 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store, iPod users are clearly not locked into the iTunes store to acquire their music.
I think he's assuming that all of the 97% of non-iTunes music is non-DRM, but it may be possible that some fraction was bought from other stores. Anyway, it's interesting data, IMHO.

New Mac ad (0, Offtopic)

roger6106 (847020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910728)

Apple also has a new Mac ad [apple.com] making fun of Vista's security prompts.

::sigh:: (-1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910746)

Due to slashdot readers being the way they are, I know imma get modded down for this but I don't care. mod away.

If Jobs truly cared about not implementing DRm and if he truly and honestly felt as strongly as he is trying to make it appear...why the fuck didn't he say something when they first started the store? Why do so many consumers still not know what this is? If Apple is so commited to interoperability, why can I not play a WMA file on an Ipod, DRM'd or not?

"You stupid poster, because WMA is Microsoft and that is their competitors!"

Exactly. And if you have average joe blow consumer with 30 gigs of files in WMA format, and suddenly he can play them on an Ipod...don't you think that might just increase the chance that he ::gasp:: BUYS ONE?

Seriously. Publicity bullshit. Nothing to see here, please move along.

Re:::sigh:: (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910894)

Yeah I've already been modded troll for saying this exact same thing. Good luck to you.

Gates did that as well (1)

Boron55 (1060136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910774)

Gates also said that DRM was evil for Microsoft customers and suggested buying DVDs and CDs instead of DRMed mp3s. This was discussed on Slashdot several weeks ago.

Now Jobs is doing similar announcement. I think this is the FUD from the big bosses: "Sorry guys if my employees hurt you. They just do their jobs well, you know... You should forgive them. I am above those dirty things they do with DRM, it's evil, I agree. Still, we have no choice..."

If your company does something you do not agree with, but can not change, either stick to your companys politics and shut up or protest and leave.

P.S. Sorry for the socialist slogans here.

Sign of a trust (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910810)

The fact that a whole industry can press for something out a vendor is a sure sign of price fixing and various other crimes done by trusts. It's time to dust off the Sherman Anti-trust act, and use it on this horrendous industry.

Future Essays Leaked (3, Funny)

DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910854)

I have obtained a copy of "Thoughts on Movies," a followup to to "Thoughts on Music," from sources inside Apple. I present it in its entirety:

"With the stunning global success of YouTube, podcasting, Rocketboom and Zefrank, some have called for my other company, Pixar, to "open" the digital rights management (DRM) system that Pixar uses to protect its DVDs and online movies against theft, so that movies purchased from Pixar can be played anywhere in the world.

"These people also point out that doing so would be in keeping with the principles I called upon the music industry to support in my previous essay.

"To which I respond: Suck it, frigtards. Do you honestly think I got here by being a 'nicer guy' than Bill Gates? This is the real world, not 'fantasy la la land' where 1st gen Apple laptops don't burn your crotch and mysteriously shut down, or where you don't have to pay a bribe to go to the front of the line in the Apple Store.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go backdate some stop options, inspect the dormitories at our Foxconn company town in China and sue the pants off a teenaged blogger."

now feinstein needs to read this! (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17910910)

now Feinstein and the other Senators who are trying to push the bill for mandatory DRM on internet music (streaming music for now but who knows....slippery slope to cover all digital music) should and need to read this from Steve Jobs.
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