iTunes?

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Mon Jan 12 12:45:22 MST 2009


Jason Wright <jasonwright365 at gmail.com> writes:
> Well, they shouldn't criticize others (call them hackers, threaten
> lawsuits, etc.) who try to use their technology (ipod) to play music
> in their DRM-laden format.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairPlay#Harmony:_RealPlayer_Music_on_the_iPod
> Thant being said, RealNetworks is also hypocritical for using DRM.

I didn't say Apple was blameless.  Their handling of people who
reverse-engineer their stuff isn't great.  I'd say they've got a very
mixed record when it comes to this stuff, but I think it derives from a
desire to tightly control the iPod/iTunes experience.  I don't think
that's necessarily a bad thing, though it should certainly be a factor
in anyone's decision to buy into the iPod/iTunes marketplace.

> Apple is for DRM, when it suits their purposes. Apple has more
> competition now and will do what is in its best interest to keep
> customers. If apple really does support eliminating DRM, they should
> take more steps than just this one. (See all 8 points listed on eff
> article) They should also be proactive at taking steps, instead of
> taking them when it is in their interest to make more money.

Let's look at those 8 points, shall we?

(1a) DRM to lock iPhones to AT&T: This is the result of a business deal
with AT&T that helped subsidize the iPhone.  This is an unfortuante
aspect of how the cell phone market works.  Apple would probably prefer
to sell a phone that could be used anywhere, but locked to a single
carrier in order to make the phone more affordable and get the carrier
to implement features (visual voicemail, etc.) they considered vital to
the user experience they wanted to create.

(1b) DRM to lock iPhones to the App Store: This is frustrating to
would-be developers, but again is because Apple wants to quality-control
the user experience.  I believe this is perfectly legitimate, though you
should keep it in mind when considering a purchase.

(2) I'm upset that Apple tried to prevent 3rd party apps to sync with
their devices, though I think it falls under their desire to
quality-control the user experience.  They did have a pretty good track
record of letting 3rd party sync programs be for a while, and I'm not
sure this wasn't just a case of lawyers-run-amok instead of a calculated
move to kill the 3rd party sync programs.

(3) This is another lawyer-run-amok example, I think.  Lawyers look for
legal precedent and laws as tools to win cases, not to use in
philisophical debates as to whether they're right or wrong.  If there's
DRM in OS X, it's not very effective DRM, and you don't even have to
enter a serial number to install OS X from disk.

(4) How much do you want to bet that the port technology was only
licensed to Apple under the agreement that the DRM would be enabled?
This looks like another example of someone playing the DRM card against
Apple.

(5) I can see why EFF is upset about this, and Apple is probably not
happy about the accidental disabling of old licensed device capability
either, but when you make money by licensing a connector technology, it
makes sense to try to protect that revenue stream.  I'm annoyed by this,
but more because of the accidental disabling of old device features than
the presence of an authentication chip.  After all, it doesn't change at
all what media plays over the connection, so it doesn't (or shouldn't,
anyway) affect my experience as a user of the device.

(6) Um, video content owners holding the DRM card over Apple's head
again.

(7) Audiobook content owners ... etc.

So, we have half of the points where DRM is imposed by another party as
a requirement for dealing with Apple.  And the others are half
lawyer-gone-amok stories and half Apple quality control stories.
Clearly Apple doesn't care about DRM the same way you do.  They don't
see it as an evil to be eliminated at all cost.  They see it as an
impediment to user experience in some cases, and a tool to ensure user
experience in others.  Does this make them evil?  Well, only if you view
DRM as always evil.

> I'm not sure how it is analogous. DRM and patents are very different.
> DRM is used to prevent using your media (software, music, video,
> hardware, etc.) how you see fit. If you bought the item you should own
> it. That doesn't give the right to give it to your neighbor. Whether
> Apple uses DRM or not, thieves still steal it.
>
> Patents are used to protect competition from ripping your original
> ideas and hard work. Without patents, copyrights, and trademarks there
> would be much less incentive to innovate and produce high-quality
> products.

If you can't see an analogy there, just forget I said anything about it.

>>yet a smart company MUST play the game in
>> order to remain competitive in the market.
>
> Amazon.com seems to be doing fine without DRM, Walmart as well. Heck,
> any individual artist selling music on their site almost never uses
> DRM.

I think you're forgetting that Apple was the first one to get a major
record label to agree to DRM-free downloads.

>> Some may play nicer than
>> others, but it's hard to be a competitive business and avoid the wrath
>> of the EFF/FSF zealots.
>
> Zealots, eh? Name calling won't help support your argument. Stick to
> facts. That and the FSF is not the same as the EFF. They have very
> different goals.

Okay, if you're going to take offense at me calling the author of that
EFF article a zealot, you really need to get a thicker skin if you want
to continue arguing on the internet.  But if you prefer, I'll call them
'passionate supporters' instead.  Either way, the passionate supporters
of EFF and FSF tend to blind themselves to the factors in situations
beyond their immediate pet causes.  Also, it's reasonable to compare two
very different things by finding some core similarties.  See 'analogy'
above.

                --Levi



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