iTunes?

Jason Wright jasonwright365 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 12 15:00:03 MST 2009


On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 12:45 PM, Levi Pearson <levi at cold.org> wrote:
> 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.


You are quite the Apple advocate. From your arguments, you seem to
hold Apple (or at least Steve Jobs) almost blameless for
anti-competitive practices. From your response it would seem that
Steve Jobs doesn't run the company or have influence in how DRM
technology is used, but that "lawyers" make the decisions.


> 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.
>

Evil is a very subjective word. Wikipedia even goes so far as to call
similar words "weasel words" The word does not give a factual
statement, but attempts to bias based on emotion. It's not a very good
argument. My point about DRM is that it limits the user's control of
the media and gives the control of how the media is to be used to
someone else, in this case Apple. Much of this control (if not all) is
anti-competitive. Yes that may affect the quality of the user
experience (among other things) but it creates a more level playing
field among competition.


<snip>
>> 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.
>

I looked that one up. I stand corrected.

>>> 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.
>


I don't take offense to the word; however, using a word such as zealot
is an appeal to emotion and does not give an objective viewpoint, just
as your use of the word "evil" was also an appeal to emotion.
Specifying that it is a "pet cause" belittles the stance of the
organization instead of addressing the important issues.

Lumping 2 different organizations together just because they are
strong willed isn't a very good reason. It's like lumping Republicans,
Democrats and Libertarians together.


>Also, it's reasonable to compare two
> very different things by finding some core similarities.  See 'analogy'
> above.

And what would those similarities be, besides being a non-profit and
dealing with technologies? (in reference to the FSF & EFF)

Analogies can only describe both ideas to a certain point. An analogy
is a comparison of 2 very different things. An analogy always fails to
show complete congruence. I like this article on the topic:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy#Rhetoric


-Jason



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