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Woz on Open Source, DRM

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the when-the-man-talks dept.

Apple 170

destinyland writes "Steve Wozniak just weighed in on DRM, saying "it doesn't make much sense if these things are going to have DRM forever." In this great new interview, he complains that even now, only six songs on his iTunes playlist are DRM-free. He applauds the Open Source Movement, saying "it's very honorable and it's very good for the customers." He's even considering publishing the hand-written code for the Apple II as a manuscript. He's also surprisingly non-commital about the iPhone. ("Will word of mouth kill it or make it a hit? Who knows?") He also talks about his favorite pranks, and reveals that "the Secret Service read me my Miranda rights once.""

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Respect (5, Insightful)

Serapth (643581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743497)

Woz has this special ability, he is universally liked and respected. Apple fans worship him, while PC fans still respect him. Look at all the other big names in the industry, like Gates, Jobs, Ellison, Torvalds, Schwartz, etc... and there is always something you can find to dislike them for. Not Woz though, nobody dislikes him.

Its too bad he isnt more actively involved in the industry these days. Then again, thats probrably a good part of why he is so liked!

Re:Respect (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743535)

Pardon me ignorance, but who are Ellison and Schwartz?

Re:Respect (2, Informative)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743579)

I believe Ellison is Larry Ellison of Oracle fame. I didn't realize he was beloved by everyone though.

Re:Respect (3, Funny)

supersnail (106701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743771)

I would be surpised if Ellison was loved by anyone

Re:Respect (5, Funny)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744729)

"I would be surpised if Ellison was loved by anyone"

I've heard rumours that he's very popular with himself.

Larry's went on Oprah for a date (1)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745985)

--> I would be surprised if Ellison was loved by anyone.

I'm not up-to-date on Larry, but way back in 1997 as wife #4 was on the way out, Larry went on Oprah trying to lure wife #5. Predictably Larry got a lot of resulting dates. I wonder how Larry's doing lately?

http://www.oreview.com/9703larr.htm [oreview.com]

"And while Gates recently married his first wife, Ellison recently divorced number four - and let Oprah Winfrey know on live TV that he is looking for number five." My-ESM (Electronics Supply Manufacturing) [my-esm.com]

---

um, well off-topic, actually I did hear on NPR this morning larry is hoping to lure the winning New Zealand TEAM that piloted the Swiss boat to America's Cup victory; well he wants them to work for him now.

Re:Respect (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744389)

From the original post:

Look at all the other big names in the industry, like Gates, Jobs, Ellison, Torvalds, Schwartz, etc... and there is always something you can find to dislike them for.
Proving once again that people on slashdot cannot even read a post they reply to, yet alone RTFA.

Re:Respect (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743583)

Oracle and Sun.

Re:Respect (5, Funny)

QunaLop (861366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743633)

The schwartz is a powerful force within all of us, one cannot ask whom it is, because it is a powerful base unit of the universe!

You have the ring, and I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Let's see how well you handle it.

Re:Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743763)

Yes, but there are two sides to every Schwartz!

Re:Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19746871)

You have the ring, and I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Let's see how well you handle it.
I handle it very well, thank you.

Re:Respect (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19747537)

I believe with Schwartz he meant Jonathan Schwartz [sun.com] , Sun's CEO.

My first guess was Randall Schwartz [wikipedia.org] who's on *my* list of "big" names. But in context, Sun's CEO seems to fit the bunch more.

Re:Respect (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743747)

Woz has this special ability, he is universally liked


Why would I like someone who cooperated with just another Master of Spin to amass a fortune? Look, everyone has the choice to not work for Microsoft, SCO, the UBS, Raytheon or... Steve Jobs. Every employee or investor who sees that a company's direction is becoming hypocritical or otherwise immoral has the choice respectively quit or sell all his stock and give it away. But no, just like his founding partner in Shiny Computer^W Inc., he's managed to maintain the veneer of Saint Within His Field.

He simply did the same thing as several dozen other 8-bit computer builders of the era; he lucked out on partnering with a fantastic PR stuntman. Not saying what he did was easy - though an elite EE today should be able to homebrew a computer - but let's not blow him out of all proportion. He's no Ken Olsen, no William Hewlett. Nor should one mistake Apple's ability to bring stuff to the people (such as the UI of Xerox et al) - what Microsoft's an order of magnitude better at, if market cap is anything to go by - a measure of their R&D skill.

Again, I'm not putting Wozniak down - I'm putting down his fanboys for thinking he's untouchably great. He's one of a list of high quality geeks who combined technical skill with business acumen - and profited. And then jumped into philanthropy. Like Gates, on a smaller scale.

(Sorry, guys. Bill Gates can code, and manage coding projects. Maybe he hasn't written a single line for Microsoft for a couple of decades, but neither has Woz for Apple, and their understanding of contemporary technology was fundamental to the startup of their respective firms.)

Re:Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743961)

Why would I like someone who cooperated with just another Master of Spin to amass a fortune?

Because of this:

"Laser Safety Officer"..on the card, and in the photo I'm wearing an eye patch

"Market Cap" no measure (5, Insightful)

Tony (765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744039)

Sorry, market cap is an indication of the ability to sell stuff, not the ability to produce good products. In an ideal world, they'd be one and the same, but in an ideal world, communism would work. We don't live in an ideal world, so neither is true.

As far as what Woz contributed: well, first and foremost, he created a floppy drive that could fit in a space smaller than carry-on luggage. In fact, it was smaller than a toaster. And he was able to sell it for less than $1000. You can trace the start of the home computer revolution to his Apple ][ and the small, cheap floppy drive.

I would say Woz was about 10 times more responsible for the computer revolution than Bill Gates, or Microsoft. Gates was a more vicious businessman, and willing to exploit others, even fuck others over; and so his company has a larger market cap.

As far as Gates writing stuff, he was never that great. If you look at the impressive stuff done by Microsoft, Paul Allen was responsible for the heavy lifting up through MS-DOS 3.0. (After he discovered that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were trying to figure out how to get his shares back should he die of his cancer, he left. See what I mean about fucking others over?)

As far as jumping into philanthropy, Wozniak has been all about philanthropy since day 1. Gates didn't get into philanthropy until after he got married. Until then, he kept getting slammed in the press for being a stingy fucker. After it started affecting his image, he started giving money away, often in the form of, get this, Microsoft software. So, he gets to improve his image, and spread the disease at the same time.

Wozniak is ten times the man, and ten times the geek, that Gates is. Gates is more comparable to Jobs than Woz. Paul Allen was more the Woz equivalent for Microsoft.

Woz is easy to respect, as he not only was one of the primary forces to kick off the home computer revolution, but he's a nice guy. A bit strange, but nice.

Neither Gates nor Woz is really relevant any more. But Woz was and is the better geek, and the better man.

Re:"Market Cap" no measure (5, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744571)

At least Gates did more than marketing, which is more than you can say for Steve Jobs (praise be upon him), and at least Gates didn't steal hundreds of dollars off of Allen, which is more than you can say for Jobs (praise be upon him) and Woz.

Re:"Market Cap" no measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19747243)

Dirka Dirka, Jobs Jihad!

Re:"Market Cap" no measure (4, Insightful)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744635)

but in an ideal world, communism would work

In an ideal world we wouldn't need communism, because it would be ideal. If you're going to dream, dream big.

Re:"Market Cap" no measure (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744853)

market cap is an indication of the ability to sell stuff, not the ability to produce good products


I said it was an indication of ability to "bring stuff to the people" (albeit as part of a horribly worded sentence - sorry). I was referring to mid-'80s Microsoft, as mid-'80s Apple, bringing various developments from elsewhere to mass market.

You can trace the start of the home computer revolution to his Apple ][ and the small, cheap floppy drive.


Sorry, what?? How did we need a floppy drive, much less a small one, for a home computer revolution? I cut my teeth in 1985, at the age of 5, on an Acorn electron (cut-down sibling of BBC B in the UK) with a cassette interface, with its built-in BBC BASIC interpreter, assembler, heaps of software, etc. Really, the home computer enthusiast was not held back by the lack of small, cheap floppy drive - it was an evolutionary step, and "making stuff smaller and faster" is what computing has mostly been about (bringing the Internet to the people is a notable revolutionary step) in the past couple of decades.

I would say Woz was about 10 times more responsible for the computer revolution than Bill Gates, or Microsoft.


You're welcome to carry on thinking that a PC now sits on every desk because Wozniak made floppy drives slightly smaller and cheaper; I believe that Microsoft's cooperation with IBM had rather more to do with it.

As far as Gates writing stuff, he was never that great.


I really can't comment on the individual lines of code produced by Gates. But a demonstration of understanding of technology is more than an ability to turn the crank.. you have to architect, to balance various conflicting requierments, to identify what's a workable solution within the constraints you're faced with. Gates has demonstrated a tireless ability to do this - which is why his systems are considered appropriate by the majority of humans on this planet today, just as they were 25 years ago.

...should he die of his cancer, he left. See what I mean about fucking others over?)


Nice emotive mention of cancer. "I don't want clueless heirs to take this company in the wrong direction," is a rational business decision, and it doesn't matter whether that's due to freak accident, leprosy or old age. Although Allen has been able to take good care of himself, I'm sure he appreciates your concern. Would you like me to respond with a discussion of Wozniak's succession of marriages?

Wozniak has been all about philanthropy since day 1. Gates didn't get into philanthropy until after he got married.


A cetain lady catching his eye at Microsoft is to blame for producing Microsoft Bob, certainly (and he deserves a little spanking for OKing it), but no-one forced the man to give away his money. So Wozniak amassed a few million and quickly went into Daddy Warbucks mode, while for Gates it was a few billion after 15 years. You're simply arguing strategy now ;-).

often in the form of, get this, Microsoft software


Sometimes. MS software has always been quite cheap for non-profits, i.e. those who wouldn't be just as ruthless as he if they had the skill. If you really want we can compare the efforts of the B&MG Foundation's work with Wozniak's - not that the much greater output of Gates necessarily shows him to be a better man; simply, as mentioned above, that his strategy worked out better than Wozniak's.

spread the disease at the same time


Hm, Gates' foundation is doing quite a lot to help eradicate disease. But I assume that was a hilarious joke about Microsoft software being a "disease". No, sorry, it isn't. It's just software you voluntarily install on a computer - sometimes Microsoft offers the best tools for the job, sometimes it doesn't. But don't be like the peasant at the start of the Renaissance assuming that new technology is witchcraft - it's just a combination of good engineering and good marketing :-).

and ten times the geek, that Gates is


Yes, Wozniak seems more geeky than Gates in loving technology for its own sake. But simply loving something inanimate won't help solve the world AIDS problem, or achieve anything noble really. Fortunately, both Wozniak and Gates are more than just geeks.

Neither Gates nor Woz is really relevant any more


Even if Gates didn't have incredible personal wealth, and even if he had no shares in Microsoft allowing to him exert a significant influence on the most powerful ubiquitous company on the planet, even if his foundation gave away all its money tomorrow, businessmen would still listen to his every word - because he made it, and he made it bigger than almost anyone else. So, no, Gates is still very relevant.

Re:"Market Cap" no measure (2, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745449)

And he was able to sell it for less than $1000. You can trace the start of the home computer revolution to his Apple ][ and the small, cheap floppy drive.

My understanding is that Apple was still 3rd behind PET and Tandy even though they had a floppy drive. It was so expensive that it was not a top seller. People lived with mostly cassetts until the early 80's, at which point the other vendors had their floppies working and they grew cheaper. Apple eventually led PET around 1980 because VisiCalc was first written for the Apple, not because of floppies.

See what I mean about fucking others over?...Wozniak is ten times the man, and ten times the geek, that Gates is. Gates is more comparable to Jobs than Woz. Paul Allen was more the Woz equivalent for Microsoft.

It is because Woz does not care about money and fame. He just wants enough money to play around, but is still mostly frugal. The others want money and power for the sake of money and power.
         

Gates the philanthropist... (1)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746475)

Gates was a more vicious businessman, and willing to exploit others, even fuck others over; and so his company has a larger market cap.

And is it by any coincidence that he's giving it all away before he meets his maker? I think not. I'd dump that blood money as well if I had his karmic debt.

Re:"Market Cap" no measure (4, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746765)

Gates didn't get into philanthropy until after he got married.

Actually, Gates didn't get into philanthropy until after he got married and Microsoft got indicted for illegal trade practices.

Re:"Market Cap" no measure (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746941)

Nor should one mistake Apple's ability to bring stuff to the people (such as the UI of Xerox et al) - what Microsoft's an order of magnitude better at, if market cap is anything to go by - a measure of their R&D skill.
The parent post is NOT insightful, mods. In fact he can't even read. The GP didn't say anything about the quality (though I'd argue that from a design perspective apple and microsoft both suck) but about bringing "stuff" to "people." You'll even notice that the GP emphasized this point. It is about the ability to sell stuff as the parent says, but then misses the point that that is what the GP was talking about.

You'd think with a UID that low that you'd have learned at least a little reading comprehension in all that time. I guess not. Sorry, Tony, quality has NOTHING to do with ability to get product to people. For good examples of both look at windows and ipod, tons of users, little quality. Both companies have been very good at bringing this "stuff" to "people" however.

Re:Respect (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744345)

(Sorry, guys. Bill Gates can code, and manage coding projects. Maybe he hasn't written a single line for Microsoft for a couple of decades, but neither has Woz for Apple, and their understanding of contemporary technology was fundamental to the startup of their respective firms.)

Sorry, but no. Your analogy is flawed-- Gates is Jobs, not Woz. He's not really credited with directly contributing much, if anything, to the field of software or hardware. His contribution to the world of technology is, for better or worse, in Microsoft's cut-throat business practices. Gates' connections and money he got through his parents got Microsoft off the ground (it's a little easier to become a billionaire when you start out as a millionaire), and his willingness to screw the next guy quicker than anyone else made it grow and succeed.

I'm actually not all that much of a fan of Woz, or at least his public image (I've never met him). He seems like an annoying egotistical kid to me. But let's not go trying to pretend that Bill Gates could ever have taken his place.

Re:Respect (2, Interesting)

rhizome (115711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744733)

Sorry, but no. Your analogy is flawed-- Gates is Jobs, not Woz.

This is true. Paul Allen was the Woz of MicroSoft, for whatever that's worth.

Re:Respect (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744051)

Woz has this special ability, he is universally liked and respected.

I know. I hate and disrespect people like that!

Re:Respect (1)

sgml4kids (56151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744147)

Its too bad he isnt more actively involved in the industry these days.
I've always hated him for that.

Re:Respect (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744335)

Apple sux anyway. A wimambweh, is my favorite song. And all who care about apple are bound to doom. I hope you have been warned and prepare my revenge.

Re:Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744613)

Bleh, Woz is a terrible pilot! I hate him for that.

Re:Respect (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746609)

Torvalds is like his representative icon.

A penguin.

A penguin is fun, friendly and unassuming.

Re:Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19747541)

Yeah, no shit, he hasn't actually done anything lately, hasn't stuck his neck out, hasn't taken huge risks. If nobody hates you, you're probably not doing much.

You need both types of people. Early Apple was successful because of both Woz and Jobs.

Not hating, and I know he's happy with his life.. just pointing out that being "universally loved" isn't always admirable or even useful, and it's not an "ability".

but what we really want to know is... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743501)

...whether or not he's a fag

Re:but what we really want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744065)

This isnt a dating forum you'll have to look elsewhere

Re:but what we really want to know is... (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744209)

He'd not give it to someone like you, even if he had one.

Great interview... (2, Interesting)

chris098 (536090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743561)

This is really a great interview. It's a bit long, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the whole thing. I loved hearing about his escapades with the sheets of $2 bills.

Steve Colbert's best remarks.. (4, Informative)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743565)

To Woz, about Steve and Woz and Apple :"You guys are Adam and Eve of nerds." Its funny, interesting, insightful and can also be flamebait/troll at the same time.

Re:Steve Colbert's best remarks.. (1, Troll)

fyoder (857358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743837)

To Woz, about Steve and Woz and Apple :"You guys are Adam and Eve of nerds." Its funny, interesting, insightful and can also be flamebait/troll at the same time.

Aye [binary-environments.com] (full frontal nudity warning)

Re:Steve Colbert's best remarks.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19746693)

If colbert wanted to troll he'd have said Adam and Steve.

It's not the Open Source Movement (4, Informative)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743597)

He applauds the Open Source Movement

Actually, I don't think the Open Source Movement has much contribute to the fight against DRM. Let's not forget that Open Source is just a way of writing software. The Free Software Movement however really fought against DRM, for example the Free Software Foundation launched the campaign DefectiveByDesign.org [defectivebydesign.org] .

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743619)

Dude, Open Source Movement and Free Software Movement are like penis and testicles. They always go together. You can't really fuck somebody if you are missing a penis or testicles. Can you? May be you can, but you get the point, right?

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (2, Informative)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743695)

See this essay [gnu.org] or, if you prefer, an updated version [gnu.org] of the essay by Richard Stallman (without whom we would not have the free GNU/Linux operating system). It explains the big differences between Open Source and Free Software. You can also look it up on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (2, Insightful)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744027)

Saying that without Stallman we would not have Free Software is like stating that, without Columbus, we would not have discovered the Americas. It would happen, perhaps later, perhaps in a little bit different way.

But it would have happened.

Not to say I don't respect RMS deeply for his contributions. As it stands, he was the driving force behind it.

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745591)

Saying that without Stallman we would not have Free Software is like stating that, without Columbus, we would not have discovered the Americas. It would happen, perhaps later, perhaps in a little bit different way.
Extremely good example. Just like the Chinese, Vikings, Irish, and countless others discovered the Americas before Columbus, there was plenty of Free software before Stallman. Originally, almost all software was Free, because the hardware cost so much.

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746071)

"Originally, almost all software was Free, because the hardware cost so much."

Care to prove that assertion? Lots of computers came bundled with an OS and some software, much as my Mac came with OS X and iLife, but it was hardly "free". Even in the 360/PDP days, IBM and DEC would be more than happy to sell you an accounting system or Fortran compiler to go with your machine. How far back do we need to go "originally"?

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746377)

It would happen, perhaps later, perhaps in a little bit different way. But it would have happened.
I'd say that strongly applies to Microsoft, but I'm not so sure about Stallman. Maybe BSD would have filled the GNU/Linux market gap, but actually I think not - it's Stallman's ideology that produced the GPL, which kept Linux from becoming fragmented and dissipated like BSD software is.

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19747303)

*BSD doesn't have an authoritative leader like Linus Torvalds to keep them together. The GPL is not immune from fragmentation -- consider Emacs vs XEmacs. Or GCC/EGCS.

Mod Stallman -1 Overrated (0)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745713)

Without Richard Stallman we would still have Linux. Without Linus Torvalds, we wouldn't.

Without Richard Stallman Linus would have had to use another compiler, of which there were at least three available at the time. Without Richard Stallman he would have used a different license, but that wouldn't have kept people from joining up to work on Linux... using a different license didn't keep people from working on BSD, and it didn't even keep people from working on Minix... which wasn't freely redistributable by any means.

Heck, without William Jolitz we might not have had Linux. Jolitz redirected a lot of the interest in BSD Net/2 and BSD Lite into 386BSD for a couple of years, and never went anywhere with it. Linus has written that if the fully open-source BSD had been ready even a year sooner, he would have worked on it and there wouldn't be a Linux. But there might have been a better BSD... because a lot of the reason Linux was developed so effectively early on is that Linus is a genuinely nice guy, as well as a good project leader *and* technically competent.

But either way, there were multiple projects and source trees developed duing the '80s that would have produced the same kind of open source environment we have now, with or without Richard Stallman. The details might have been different without him... it's hard to say... but the idea that he was *necessary* for any of this? No.

Re:Mod Stallman -1 Overrated (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19747361)

Linux was not originally GPL licensed. At the time, minix (and a lot of other source code) was available but you were not allowed to distribute modified versions, so if you wanted hard links in minix, you had to download a patch for it and hope it didn't conflict with other patches.

Anyhow, the original linux license was in reaction to that trend. Also, linux distros didn't initially use the gnu libc. Food for thought.

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (1)

QunaLop (861366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743745)

what about testicular cancer?

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744739)

I don't think the Open Source Movement has much contribute to the fight against DRM.
Existing as the antithesis of DRM is the biggest contribution imaginable.
They don't fight DRM, they make the alternative.

Re:It's not the Open Source Movement (1)

cabalamat3 (1089523) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744931)

Let's not forget that Open Source is just a way of writing software.

No it's not. Text editors, IDEs, unit tests, and compilers are ways of writing software. Open Source is a way of licensing software. As is Free Software (which is largely the same thing).

Actually, I don't think the Open Source Movement has much contribute to the fight against DRM. [...] The Free Software Movement however really fought against DRM

I write software and release it under the GPL. Does this make me part of the Open Source Movement, or part of the Free Software Movement, or both?

ok (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743609)

I'm probably going to get lynched by this crowd, but those pranks he boasts about...Half of them I don't really get as being especially clever or even coherent.

Re:ok (1)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743639)

Gotta agree. He comes across as somebody who never grew up. Making fun of a waitress doesn't seem like a good use of one's time.

Why would he have to make good use of his time? (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746491)

Good use of one's time? Why would he have to make good use of his time? He's stinking rich. At least he's not spending his time trying to make his mountain of money even bigger.

For the record, I thought the waitress story was hilarious, and good-natured. He wasn't making fun of her as much as he was making fun of himself.

Re:ok (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743731)

Yeah, I guess I don't get his sense of humor at times. Some were funny, but many did not seem like something to boast about. It seems that he just likes to jack with people all day even if there is really no "payoff" from it other than the act itself. I guess I would probably need to know more about him than just the few things I have read.

Re:ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743827)

I agree. Half the time, he just sounded like a bit of a dick.

I agree (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745441)

When I was reading the article, I thought, "these must be old person pranks." I've seen other older people pull the same kind of stuff; stuff that isn't particularly funny, or convincing, like "pull my finger."

Re:ok (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745637)

I'm probably going to get lynched by this crowd, but those pranks he boasts about...Half of them I don't really get as being especially clever or even coherent.

Coherency never was Woz's strong point. As far as whether they are good pranks or not, they are things that amuses him. He probably doesn't care if you are amused. It thought those that were described coherently were pretty funny. Imagine the look on people's faces when Steve Woz hands you what looks like counterfit bills. He likes messin' with people and then watching their expressions and spends all day thinking of new ways to mess with people.

And seeing an official-looking laminated warning about pooping over cities in jet restrooms; you know some people are going to take it seriously, and that is the funny thing about it.

Secret Service read me my Miranda rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743727)

Which Secret Service? Is this someone like Major Error, who read my drive?

Re:Secret Service read me my Miranda rights (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743983)

Which Secret Service? Is this someone like Major Error, who read my drive?


That's nothin'! You just had a Major. Colonel Error not only crashed my operating system, but he doesn't even know how to spell Colonel!

Re:Secret Service read me my Miranda rights (2, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744247)

And his C.O. is General Protection Fault?

Re:Secret Service read me my Miranda rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19747197)

Woz isn't revealing this for the first time in this interview. He also mentioned being read his Miranda rights in an old issue (June 1997, actually) of MacAddict(now MacLife).

What i want to know is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743751)

why is DRM so popular in the US? It isn't as if US culture has anything worth protecting - it's all militarist commercial crap. We should just stop spending any money on the abortion that is our culture - it sucks big-time!

If we really are a country which thinks that Transformers are a worth-while way to spend money and time, we've already lost the plot.

Why don't we all learn Swedish and watch art-house films?

Re:What i want to know is.... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744709)

"If we really are a country which thinks that Transformers are a worth-while way to spend money and time, we've already lost the plot."

I'm pretty sure that the whole of the western world thinks it's worthwhile, I know I'm looking forward to it more than any other film that's been out this year.. and I wasn't even that into transformers as a kid. It's hard to tell whether you're even being sarcastic or not.. why shouldn't people enjoy indulging in action flicks occasionally as a form of entertainment? If you want a decent plot then read a book o_0 Books are always better that the film version!

Re:What i want to know is.... (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745033)

Why don't we all learn Swedish and watch art-house films?

Because hardly anybody speaks Swedish outside of Sweden and art-house films blow.

Whether you like it or not, American films and music are popular the world over. As the worlds largest exporters of films and music the producers do have a right to call at least some of the shots as to how they are distributed. The issue of real or supposed poor quality is really up to the consumers to deal with. If they wouldn't buy the damned Spears' or whichever blasted boy band of the week album is en vogue each time that they get released, then it wouldn't be a problem.

If the items of pop culture suck that badly, then how come everybody wants them? I mean it is pretty clear that you have some sort of animosity towards the US, but could you at least make a few valid points between the trolling?

Re:What i want to know is.... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745201)

Judging how much people want something is no real way to figure out how good it is. After all, more folks use Windows than Linux, and more folks have fleas than Ferraris, and McDonalds sells more BigMacs than salads.

Re:What i want to know is.... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746619)

Yeah, but the question of what is and is not economically viable has never been about what is superior, but instead what people will pay for various items. In the context of my response, the issue was popularity rather than quality. Gold wasn't very useful at all until electronics were developed, and yet it commanded quite a price at market. If people hadn't been willing to pay for it, there was no particular reason why they would be hard up for not having it beyond the market price for it.

Right now people are willing to pay $1 for a DRM laden pop single, if people were only willing to purchase items of higher quality or without the restrictions the market would move towards that eventually.

I wouldn't personally say that Linux > Windows, Linux is absolutely worthless if what you need out of a computer is the ability to do quality artwork. Granted people usually use a Mac for that, but I can guarantee you that anybody doing serious work would be far more likely to use Windows than Linux.

Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (4, Interesting)

soliptic (665417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743753)

Sorry, I know Woz is a geek god and all that, but I still don't see why he should be let off this one. If you don't think DRM "makes sense", why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content?

I'm not sure how many tracks I have (I'm not at home to check) but I think perhaps 60 gig or so (legal, I hasten to add - 99% cd rips), but I do know exactly how many DRM-free tracks I have in my library: all of them. There isn't a DRM'd track on my hard drive. There isn't a user account in my name with any vendor of DRM'd tracks.

It's really not very difficult to simply not buy something you think is a poor product or morally objectionable idea, and I don't half get fed up of seeing people complain about <Apple / MS / Walmart / RIAA / MPAA / Nike / Nestle / etc> and in the next breath telling us all about their latest purchase from said company.

And I know what slashdot is like, so if anyone is thinking of arguing the technicality that Woz didn't decry DRM, only "forever" DRM, perhaps they can be ready with the evidence that ITMS DRM is built to turn itself off any time sooner.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (5, Insightful)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743849)

>>...If you don't think DRM "makes sense", why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content?

Because he's a billionaire...

And Apple only sold DRM music until recently.

"Doesn't make sense" is different than "strongly opposed to." Like I said he is a billionaire, and he probably has lot of other stuff on his mind (like more pranks, apparently.) Just because you think something is a bad idea doesn't mean you equate it to Satan. People have different priorities in their life.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (2, Insightful)

soliptic (665417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744279)

Because he's a billionaire...
Does not compute; doesn't answer the question at all. That explains how he can buy a lot of <anything>, but not why.

Being a billionaire, he could have bought 97,000 jellyfish-shaped strawberry cheesecakes, but he (presumably) didn't, so "being able to buy something" clearly doesn't in itself explain why he/anyone DID buy something.

And Apple only sold DRM music until recently.
Again, completely specious argument I'm afraid, as Apple are not the only vendors of music.

"Doesn't make sense" is different than "strongly opposed to." Like I said he is a billionaire, and he probably has lot of other stuff on his mind (like more pranks, apparently.) Just because you think something is a bad idea doesn't mean you equate it to Satan. People have different priorities in their life
On the other hand this is an absolutely fair point. I must admit his 'anti-DRM' remark was so extremely vague/weak it's a stretch to start contrasting it against his behaviour. In fairness that rant was more of an "in general" thing, not so much aimed at him specifically (he just gave me the topical 'hook' to rant off), and more based on seeing/hearing people do this in general.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744459)

Being a billionaire means a lot of things are trivial in your everyday experience. Convenience may be more an issue than anything else.

I mentioned Apple just recently selling DRM-free music because that was the context he was talking about. I imagine he owns literaly thousands (or even more) of CD's (without DRM), but he was talking about his iTunes purchases that were DRM-free. In reality, you can't say much about it unless you know his ratio of non-DRM/DRM purchases over a specific period of time when they were both available. But I don't think he really cares - I imagine if he wants a song he just buys it and doesn't think much about the DRM because convenience is probably more important to him.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744897)

Because he's a billionaire...

He's got plenty of dough, but he's not a billionaire. He cashed out in the pre-billionaire era.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745551)

My bad. I thought he cashed out better (like Paul Allen).

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744939)

Woz is very far from being a billionaire.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (1)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746535)

>>...If you don't think DRM "makes sense", why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content?

Because he's a billionaire...


Or is it because the iTunes music store "just works"?

I don't know which is more weird... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19743951)

your has-to-be-my-way Nazi mentality, or the fact that you got modded up to 4.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744123)

Sorry, I know Woz is a geek god and all that, but I still don't see why he should be let off this one. If you don't think DRM "makes sense", why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content?
Well, women don't "make sense" too, but I am not so anti-women that I won't deal with them. I feel that I gain more than I suffer.

There are ways to oppose something without being rabid fanatics. This being /. I should add that you will learn that if you ever leave your parents' basement, but I don't know if you'd tolerate the joke. Not that I really care ;oP

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744129)

Anti-DRM advocates are dicks.

And Steve Wozniak is a pussy.

And the RIAA is an asshole.

The problem with dicks is that they want to fuck all the time or fuck when it isn't appropriate. Pussies, on the other hand, sometimes don't want to fuck at all. That's because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes. So if we don't let those dicks fuck that asshole it will shit all over everything.

Apologies to Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (0)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744341)

Sorry, I know Woz is a geek god and all that, but I still don't see why he should be let off this one. If you don't think DRM "makes sense", why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content?

Maybe because he buys music he likes instead of buying music that sucks but doesn't come with DRM just to make a point.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744365)

Cause if you can read it you can copy it - fact - drm adds a layer of cost and inconvenience

>why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content
availability

>It's really not very difficult to simply not buy something you think is a poor product or morally objectionable idea
For most it is difficult and really not THAT big a deal to them - so they choose DRM grudgingly

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744793)

If you don't think DRM "makes sense", why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content?
Because, on earth, that's the only options you have been offered.

Why do people buy anything? (1)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745165)

Typically, because they want it, and can afford the price.

Not every act of purchase is meant to express political support.

Re:Whatever happened to voting with your feet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19746117)

The summary says "only six songs on his iTunes playlist are DRM-free."

but the actual quote is
"Only six of my purchased music songs so far, though, are from (DRM-free) EMI."

He says nothing about his ripped music. Summary writer sucks.

Same reason everyone else has (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746529)

Sorry, I know Woz is a geek god and all that, but I still don't see why he should be let off this one. If you don't think DRM "makes sense", why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content?

Same reason as everyone else. Buying music from the iTMS is the path of least resistance. It's easier than buying CDs, and it's certainly easier than trying to find the music you want in a DRM-free shop, and it's also easier than downloading it from a P2P network.

What's Woz done for us lately? (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743879)

Sure, the Apple II was really cool, but that was a long time ago. Come on Woz, quit it with all these pranks and get back into computers!

Woz standing in line.... I was there. (5, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19743907)

I was there at the Valley Fair Apple store, the one which Woz showed up for. I originally was 5th in line, and through events of "holding places for various friends of others" and the generic line shinanigans (reminds me of the one person in the movie theater that says "These 15 seats are saved." WTF does "Saved." mean? In a movie theater you don't have assigned seats) anyhow...

I ended up 20th or so in line. Funny thing is, I think I was the first one to buy an iphone for myself. Almost everyone in line was buying them in quantity to either sell at a profit via ebay (haven't heard of success at that). However, back to my point of addressing Mr. Wozniak.

I realize many of you would consider him a god around here, but nonetheless his arrival was like this.

He arrived around 4am (note that by this time there was a considerable line) before the Apple store opened, and said "I'm Steve Wozniak, and I'm going to be first in line and buy 8 iPhones." What a dick, I would have thought more of him if he had gotten 'to the back of the line' like the rest of the crowd, just like every other regular joe. It's all good.

However... more importantly, one thing you won't see in the articles/blogs..

While he was in line, a 50something year old woman with a macbook tried to enter the store prior to the doors opening, as she was having battery trouble with it. Woz then proceeded to help her troubleshoot her battery issues. When she walked away I asked her, "Do you know who that is?" She responded "No." I told her, "He co-founded Apple..." She smiled, said "Oh, that's nice," and headed home to try again to fix her laptop with Woz's tips.

I did get a chance to talk to him for a minute, and he agreed with me when I asked him if he thought that when apple launches a major product (iPod/iPhone) that the atmosphere is similar to that of the US Festivals he organized in the early 80s. He agreed but added, "Less heat, less music, but the same comradarie and fun atmosphere."

Thought that was pretty slick, once a nerd always a nerd.

And verily did he troubleshoot the lady's MacBook (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744863)

I realize many of you would consider him a god around here, but nonetheless his arrival was like this.

He arrived around 4am (note that by this time there was a considerable line) before the Apple store opened, and said "I'm Steve Wozniak, and I'm going to be first in line and buy 8 iPhones." What a dick
[...]
While he was in line, a 50something year old woman with a macbook tried to enter the store prior to the doors opening, as she was having battery trouble with it. Woz then proceeded to help her troubleshoot her battery issues. When she walked away I asked her, "Do you know who that is?" She responded "No." I told her, "He co-founded Apple..." She smiled, said "Oh, that's nice," and headed home to try again to fix her laptop with Woz's tips.
1- Gods don't stand at the back of the line, they lead their people ;-)
2- Had he been in the back of the line, that little old lady would not have had help with her laptop from a bonifide Geek God of macs.
She especially wouldn't have much luck getting the attention of the mac geniuses in an iPhone stampede. By using his geek god status, he was where and when he needed to be to help the meek. It's a miracle!

Re:Woz standing in line.... I was there. (1)

jimbug (1119529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744871)

If I were that old lady, I would've had him sign my iBook. Or write something clever on it.

Re:Woz standing in line.... I was there. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745523)

He arrived around 4am (note that by this time there was a considerable line) before the Apple store opened, and said "I'm Steve Wozniak, and I'm going to be first in line and buy 8 iPhones." What a dick, I would have thought more of him if he had gotten 'to the back of the line' like the rest of the crowd, just like every other regular joe. It's all good.

I thought he was just screwing around and eventually left the line, no?
       

Re:Woz standing in line.... I was there. (1)

Hamilton Lovecraft (993413) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745829)

I think I was the first one to buy an iphone for myself. Almost everyone in line was buying them in quantity to either sell at a profit via ebay (haven't heard of success at that).
Considering that, to the best of my knowledge, Apple stores were limiting sales to two per customer, and at least one AT&T store limited them to one, that sounds unlikely. Which kind of makes the rest of your story suspect as well.

Re:Woz standing in line.... I was there. (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746567)

I read that the people in the queue gave him the number 1 spot. He would have gotten a free iPhone from Apple anyway, but apparently declined it.

Re:Woz standing in line.... I was there. (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19746881)

There was no way he was going to get 8 phones. Sales were limited to one per customer, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't have said that as a joke. I would be kind of surprised if someone who recognized Woz wouldn't let him cut in front of them. "Hey! It's Woz! Come stand by me so I can chat with you for 8 hours!" Repeat until you're a the front of the line, and everyone is is compensated with a private audience. ;)

I love this story. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744077)

blockquote)Get It In Cash (from: The Computer Entrepreneurs) Fairs and exibitions are very important in the computer business - they are where entrepreneurs display their wares and meet their customers. One of the oldest of these shows is the West Coast Computer Faire, founded in San Francisco in 1977 by Jim Warren. Warren tells this story about Jim Egan, booth decorator, who worked the first Faire. "So," says Warren, "these two bearded, hippie, pony-tailed kids in Levis come up to the counter... and here's this old, white-haired guy that's been on the show trail for 20 years, right? Every shuck-and-jive artist in the world has come up to him at one time or another. So these two kids come up and say, 'Hey! You know, we'd like to set up some of these really nice chrome displays to make our stuff look flashy. And Egan says "Fine, I rent them." And the kids say, "Yeah, but we're sort of short of loot. Instead of giving you money, could we maybe give you stock in our company? It's called Apple Computer." And Egan pounds on the table and says, 'Apple Computer? Hell no, man! I deal in hard cash here. You want the displays, you pay the cash!" Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak went ahead and fixed up their own exhibit, and Jim Egan is still in the booth decorating business. /blockquote)

My goodness... (0, Troll)

DreadfulGrape (398188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744301)

...the Woz certainly looks, uh, well-fed. (compared with always-trim Steve Jobs.)

Sadly it's not up to the users (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19744309)

People love music and they WILL buy it in whatever form the artists contracts to contain the audio. It's the right of HE who own the material to put in whatever form they want. Usually this is the most sales worthy, but if the pirating of intellectual property through DL of copyrighted material continues with no curve I think it's going to have a very negative effect on artists.

I think it will polarize the music community to some degree, creating a HUGE market for one hit wonders and very small market for the actual cutting edge musician who's sound is unlikely to be realized at first.

Being a computer nerd and musician I think you can see there IS a legit need to at least control music piracy. Usually when one cannot enforce a law the last resort will be to rely on education, but in this case I just don't see the population quickly realize that DL all their music instead of buying it is in fact a long road to steal profits from the entire music industry and perhaps ultimately taking money from the arts.

I for one think while liberal arts may be directly useless in many cases, indirectly it shapes out culture and makes us better people. The instant delivery of media, especially free media, has the advantage of expanding the listeners minds FOR NOW, but what is there really is a negative impact on artists from people stealing their works. In a much bigger picture it could help contribute to the downward spiral that is American culture. American and the industrialized countries at least should be paying for MOST of their music. It's just not that expensive and the profits do without a doubt perpetuate the music industry.

While they can adapt their models somewhat and profit less from CDs and more from merchandise and concerts, that's still a negative effect.

So while slashdotters hate DRM, is it because it's make free music harder to get or simply because a few people wind up getting ripped off and losing their songs. I bet it a little bit of both, which means, the world needs a better DRM. One that is fair and effective because stealing content HAS to have some negative effect on our artists. Our people might get smarter or more cultured though information theft, but what happens in 100 years when the numbers of truly passionate artists decline even more.

You cannot deny that the vast majority of great works are made be an tiny fraction of the people. So the effect of discouraging their production through theft could be much greater than you might at first assume. It IS a problem people and while DRM wasn't the answer I don't think making media easy to steal is a reasonable solution either, which happens to be the case currently. Google videos compromise is MUCH more realistic but it still winds up censoring a ton of material production companies can pull massive amounts of content whenever their contracts expire.

How can people be truly inspired to create art if we have no realistic means to stop everyone from not paying for their product. I mean being a pure artists who cares not about profit is great, but MOST artists BY FAR are just doing their jobs.

Perhaps the easiest solution is for the media companies to buyout the P2p providers and make money through advertising and having their client run on your PC. For that matter the client could run P2P DL free music legally and also use your extra CPU cycles for whatever profitable endeavor the companies can think of. Plus perhaps move the bar up a little and get us to a more lossless audio standard. Give away the majority of music perhaps (since they can't stop piracy) and charge for the newest songs.

I think they also need a national organization to manage things such as DVD encryption standards because the companies waste years arguing over specs and by the time their content actually hits the market the encryption is already cracked. Rather than this media control process be controlled by individual companies it should be done be one centralized non-profit organization. They would be the ones to decide what the next level of piracy protection is and quickly get it adapted. Take the process out of the hands of competing corporations.

Face it, there is nothing wrong with making users actually pay for their content. You all just had free cake too long and forget the reality of the situation. Artists are workers like everyone else and we'll never be able to steal their content.

Either p2p goes down or DRM gets better. ISP's will be able to effectively filter the majority of p2p traffic eventually, but then once they do that why even get a broadband connection.. ha. I don't see P2P adapting to the point that it cannot be filtered. One could already say these services are a clear threat to national security and would be easy to distribute highly illegal information over disguised in the mass of content.

I don't support the dismantling of such networks, but it seems very likely since most arguments for p2p are total BS and the government is moving away from its previous stance that you can have something like P2P but only use it for legal purposes.

Riiight and you COULD have heroin for medical purpose, but the problem is statistically most people are just recreational users and addicts. Just because P2P has a theoretically legal purpose (especially bit torrent) doesn't mean they are going to let that go forever. They simply haven't thought up a cost effective way to stop it, but they will.

Really DRM main reason to exist is to slow down P2P. It's not really targeted at personal file sharing just GLOBAL file sharing. We never had this problem when Joe copied Jane's CD but once the global exchange of music started happening it became a much MUCH greater volume of music, especially considering the ease of just queuing up every song you ever wanted and walking away VS getting someone who actually has that CD to lend it to you or copy it for you.

I love P2P, but it is the root of all this and they are unlikely to give up on media protection so long as P2P is so prolifically sharing out all this copyrighted material. I know I never buy music anymore. Thought, I'm poor so I would have anyway.. probably. I might have bought 1-3 CD's over the course of a year. Movies however thats much different. A person can save an insane amount of money DL and ripping movies and even getting new releases or movies in the theaters (or not yet even there). I think the average person rents and buys more video content than audio easily.

So, there is a problem, DRM was an attempt at a solution (just not a good one), but no matter what system they put into place it's going to require you to jump through at least one or two hoops more than using good ol plain mp3. Yet, it's stupid to just have the opinion that all media protection is a bad idea, unless you can present a realistic.

One dollar songs are a pretty damn good deal compared to what we used to get, but even that's not slowing down audio piracy and certainly nobody is ever going to sell 1 dollar movies (at least not new releases).

Hate DRM all you want, but it's perfectly fair for the content makers. They may be rich now, but it's an entire industry and it needs to perpetuate itself.

What copyright means, and why DRM doesn't matter. (3, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745569)

You're off on the wrong foot right from the start in that article. You write "It's the right of HE who own the material to put in whatever form they want." which is true, but it's got nothing to do with copyright, or DRM, or anything else.

Copyright is fundamentally very simple. It's the right to make a copy.

In practice that's pretty complex, because... what's a copy? If you decide to get really technical, when you read a book or listen to a song, you're making a copy of it. It's low fidelity, unless you've got an unlikely good memory, but by your logic an artist should have the right to sue you if you hum the time or recite the story in public. Oh, I'm sure that you wouldn't go that far... but it's where the logic leads.

Copyright law is complex because copyright law is mostly about defining EXACTLY what a copy is. And when a copy is subject to copyright. There's been licenses on software that are based on the theory that you're making a copy of the software when you install it on your computer, but there's nothing about copyright restrictions preventing you from making a temporary copy of the images in a video when you play it on your TV. Unless you do it in a public place... then it's a performance. And you're allowed to make a personal copy of a movie off your TV if it was broadcast, which is a kind of public performance though your playing it isn't, or even if it's on a DVD... but not if you're playing it from a rented DVD, whether it's a public performance or not, and not if you're seeing it in a movie, which is another kind of public performance.

So, first off, while an artist has a right to use whatever format they want, that doesn't mean you don't have the right to make a recording in another format... for your own use. Apple got attacked for their "RIP, MIX, BURN" advertising campaign... but it turns out that in the US it's legal to "RIP, MIX, BURN". And it's legal to do that even if the music was DRMed to begin with.

So that's the second thing. The main reason for DRM is to try and create new rights. The DMCA is a really useful tool, because it makes it illegal to use "technical means" to bypass DRM. So while the law doesn't say that an artist has the right to prevent you from making a personal copy of an HD DVD, they're *creating* that right by gluing together bits of the law. This kind of thing happens all the time, the law says one thing, someone comes up with a way to make it mean something else, and sometimes the law gets changed to say that the other thing is really in there, or it gets changed to say the other thing was an unintended side effect and it's really OK to eat peanuts on church after all.

This kind of thing also ends up making the definition of a "copy" trickier.

And people aren't stupid. They look at the way things work, and they look at DRM, and they go "you know, you're treating your fans like shit". So they either treat the artists like shit in return, or they decide they don't like the music enough to put up with being treated like shit. So there's actually competition, and market forces, and all that America and Apple Pie stuff, and what it does it makes DRM into something that provides an advantage for the artists who don't use it. Particularly the ones who aren't selling that well, yet... so they put stuff out that's not restricted, and people discover it, and they go "hey, this is good stuff", and they go "hey, this guy is cool", and they buy his stuff. And there's guys who've made it this way.

And these artists aren't signing with EMI. So EMI's not getting their cut, so this gives EMI a reason to go DRM-free... maybe they can sign a few of the hot new internet artists who'd otherwise be going through CDbaby and eMusic and getting earplay through last.fm. Because, you know, the Internet isn't going away.

I hate the "Napster clones". I think Napster should have been slapped down HARD, right off, because their whole business model was deliberately about setting up cutouts so they could get a cut of copyright violations without being liable for it. But they were good enough at figuring out the problems in the laws then on the books (remember, I talked about that a few paragraphs back), so they were able to manufacture a "right" to get away with that stuff that didn't exist before. Meanwhile another company that was trying to stick to the *spirit* of the law by only letting people download music they could prove they had a CD of, MP3.com (the original one), DID get slapped down because they were really making a copy... even if they were making a copy for someone who could prove they already had a copy.

What this all means is that statute law and case law isn't a really great guide to what people's rights are, it's a guide to what the best approximation of rights that a bunch of lawyers could come up with last year or a few years back by watching mistakes people made in figuring out what the law meant a few years before that.

So what about rights?

Until a few hundred years ago, an artists rights extended to not getting killed for making fun of the king, if they didn't do it too much and were good at it, and the kind was amused. The closest thing to copyright were things like sumptuary laws and royal patents and other guild and court monopolies. You weren't allowed to make salt unless you were in the salt-maker's guild. You couldn't wear clothes that implied you were a brewer or a lawyer. Today, we'd treat a lot of those rights as ludicrous, but back then they were useful enough that they lasted in some form or another for centuries. Soem of them have come down in other forms... trademarks, patents, and visual copyrights.

In the US, these came from the idea that you could get people creating more and better stuff if you gave them an incentive to do it by giving them a *limited* monopoly for a *limited* period of time. Having to pay a bit more for a copy of sheet music or a book was considered worthwhile if it led to better music and better books being written. But there were, from the start, deliberate limitations built into them. You couldn't keep people from cooking food by copyrighting recipes. You couldn't keep people from posting broadsides by copyrighting the shape of letters. Even in today's post DMCA world, you can't keep peopl from reverse engineering your software or product UNLESS they're doing so to bypass a technical means to prevent copyright violations.

These are limits in what you can enforce. You can release your music in a funny format, but people are allowed to convert it to another, if they can do so without bypassing DRM via technical means. If your music can be played, it can be recorded and burned to a CD, and you can't keep people from doing that.

Not only that, but if someone does it, you can't find them. You can find the people using the P2P network, but you can't find the person who broke the DRM. Because there's only one of him, no matter how many of them there are, and he only has to do it once, and it could be anyone.

So it doesn't matter how strong you make your DRM. Somewhere, someone will make a "good enough" copy that it'll be passed around anyway. You can't even slow it down much, because there's only one of you, but there's a lot of "anyone".

So DRM has nothing to do with P2P networks or copyright, except incidentally. All it is, is a way to make your competitors stronger because they're not pissing off their fans the way you are. The only artists who would really benefit from stronger DRM are the ones who are already successful without it.

Re:What copyright means, and why DRM doesn't matte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19746171)

Bravo!

I'll just add as a comment about the grandparent: historically, the patron was dealing with the artist or, perhaps with an intermediary who got a small cut, not an intermediary organization who offered a minute fraction to the artist.

Artists with passion and the skills to execute will find success, albeit not necessarily commercial success. Ask most musicians who play classical or other non-pop music. But they can achieve success enough to further fuel their passion.

Does piracy commercially stifle more artists than the lack of access to mass media outlets? In other words, who does more damage to individual artists as a class - pirates or media companies?

Woz is the man. (2, Insightful)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19744631)

Whether you're an Apple fan or not, Wozniak is just a great hearted and life filled individual. Wish we had more people like him in this field or world for the matter, it would be a better world.

Holy "Story of Mel" Batman! (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19745979)

From the Fine Article:

I couldn't afford what's called a rental system, where you can type it into a computer, and you type in your program, and it will give you back the 1's and 0's. So I figured out the 1's and 0's in my own head, and wrote them down on the piece of paper. Everything for the Apple II was done by hand.

Woz never ceases to blow my mind. (Story of Mel link [pbm.com] for the uninitiated.)

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