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File this in the "What the Hell?" section...
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Matt
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Old Feb 6, 2007, 06:56 PM #1 of 9
File this in the "What the Hell?" section...

Quote:
Apple’s Chief Calls for End to Music Copy Protection

The chief executive of Apple Inc., Steven P. Jobs, is calling on the four largest music companies to license their music for distribution without digital anti-piracy protection, shifting away from a nearly four-year-old philosophy that helped steer the iPod music player to worldwide success.

Mr. Jobs’s appeal, expressed Tuesday in a letter posted on Apple’s Web site, arrives as the company, whose iPod dominates MP3 player sales, faces a slew of lawsuits in Europe over so-called digital rights management. France, Sweden and Germany are among the countries that have accused Apple of hurting customers by locking rival players out of its iTunes service.

It is a striking move for Mr. Jobs and for Apple, whose resurgence as a dominant technology company was built on the success of the iPod and iTunes. Introduced in 2003 as the iTunes Music Store, the service charges users 99 cents to download songs from the major labels. Its promise of copyright protection, called FairPlay, helped persuade the four major labels — the EMI Group, Universal, Sony BMG and the Warner Music Group — to allow online sales.

Consumers took to the system in droves, letting Apple capture nearly 75 percent of the portable music player market.

For the first quarter, Apple reported $1 billion in profit, stemming largely from sales of 21 million iPods. Customers have downloaded more than two billion songs from the iTunes store.

Since then, several other providers have devised their own proprietary systems. Microsoft first created its PlaysForSure system, used by a variety of music player makers. But as that system failed to dent iPod sales, the company then turned to its own digital-rights management system for its Zune player last year.

Yet the second-largest online music store, eMusic.com, does not use digital rights management. It heralded its 100 millionth download late last year. Though the store features songs from major artists and what the service claims is 13,000 music labels worldwide, it has not signed agreements with the major music labels.

In his letter, Mr. Jobs outlined three avenues for the future of digital music. One is maintaining the status quo, in which he said customers are “well served” by a variety of choices in players and stores.

Another would see Apple licensing its FairPlay system to other manufacturers, allowing other players to play iTunes songs and vice versa. But he said that system would only complicate enforcement of digital rights management, as myriad companies would have to coordinate software and hardware updates.

Finally, labels could shed digital rights management altogether.
Mr. Jobs pointed out that the vast majority of music bought today — only 10 percent of all music sold last year was through an online store — has no copyright protections and freely allows consumers to copy music to their computers. Attaching digital rights management to music bought online has only limited the number of online music stores, he wrote.

“This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat,” he wrote.

Source
Say what?

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Old Feb 6, 2007, 07:52 PM #2 of 9
Knowing very little about the music business, and really only drawing from Baen's experience with e-books, it's gratifying to see someone else take the same approach. I can easily believe that a company selling media with no restrictions doing more business, and it's great that a company such as Apple, which I'd like to believe has some influence in the matter now, pushing for abolishing DRM.

The thing I find funny is if this happens, doesn't that basically invalidate the arguments put forward by the RIAA regarding piracy for the last few years?

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Old Feb 6, 2007, 07:57 PM #3 of 9
Woah, this seems so random. I'm confused.

This thing is sticky, and I don't like it. I don't appreciate it.

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Old Feb 7, 2007, 12:07 PM #4 of 9
This landed in today's Boston Globe:


Quote:
Jobs asks music firms to end copy controls

Songs then would play on multiple devices, he says

By Bloomberg News | February 7, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs asked the four largest music companies to license songs for online distribution without copy protection software so music purchased online can be played across multiple devices.

The decision on whether to remove so-called digital rights management, or DRM, software to prevent copying of music files is up to Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Group Plc, Jobs said in an open letter posted yesterday on Apple's website.

Jobs said the companies, which together control rights to more than 70 percent of the world's music, required Apple to create a DRM system for its iTunes store as a condition to selling their music online. Songs purchased on iTunes only play on Apple's iPod device, while music bought from rival sites is tied to gadgets that work with their DRM systems, he said.

"When Apple approached these companies to license their music to distribute legally over the Internet, they were extremely cautious and required Apple to protect their music from being illegally copied," Jobs said. "Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."

Shares of Cupertino, Calif. -based Apple rose 21 cents to $84.15.

ITunes, started in 2003, is the most popular legal site for music downloads and offers more than 4 million songs.

The plea from Jobs comes as iTunes faces criticism in Europe, with Norway last month calling the online store illegal because songs purchased from the service only work with the iPod.

Noting that much of the concern over rights management systems is in Europe, Jobs urged critics of such software to "redirect their energies" toward the four major record labels and persuade them to sell music that is DRM-free.

"Apple has very neatly deflected many of the DRM issues from themselves and is putting the burden and the blame on the record companies," Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with JupiterResearch in New York, said. "Mr. Jobs laid out a very cogent argument in terms of why there are DRM protections on their products and why there will continue to be DRM across the board until the record companies change their tune."

Removing digital rights management would boost online music sales and allow consumers to move songs among devices, Jobs said. Online music sales doubled to about $2 billion last year, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in London said.
What's so confusing? He said in his letter that there's three things that can happen with digital music:
  1. Nothing changes; music labels continue forcing DRM down the throats of the consumers;
  2. Every music store uses the same DRM (and, of course, Jobs would like it to be Apple's DRM software);
  3. Music labels give up the fight for DRM.

Since jHymn stopped working after iTunes 6 was released, I've actually switched gears from mp3 to m4a to allow for some semblance of continuity between my iTunes-purchased music (m4p) and the music I've ripped myself. The problem is that my iTunes music is on one of the two hard drives I can't use right now thanks to my desktop shitting the bed, so, unless iTunes comes up with a way that I can download the music I've purchased and not have to go through miles of red tape for it, I'll be happy.

I feel that music sales would probably increase slightly if there wasn't any DRM. Every music store would basically be on a level playing field, so it would really come down to who has the best presentation and who has the best deals for music. I am hard pressed to believe that kind of market would ever exist, and I would be especially surprised if that is Jobs' ideal market. From a businessman point of view.

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Old Feb 7, 2007, 04:29 PM #5 of 9
Oh...I had interpreted the article as Apple implying that it would turn a blind eye to pirated music or something, which would obviously be strange. I guess it makes logical sense

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Old Feb 7, 2007, 05:00 PM #6 of 9
What's so confusing? He said in his letter that there's three things that can happen with digital music:
  1. Nothing changes; music labels continue forcing DRM down the throats of the consumers;
  2. Every music store uses the same DRM (and, of course, Jobs would like it to be Apple's DRM software);
  3. Music labels give up the fight for DRM.

Since jHymn stopped working after iTunes 6 was released, I've actually switched gears from mp3 to m4a to allow for some semblance of continuity between my iTunes-purchased music (m4p) and the music I've ripped myself. The problem is that my iTunes music is on one of the two hard drives I can't use right now thanks to my desktop shitting the bed, so, unless iTunes comes up with a way that I can download the music I've purchased and not have to go through miles of red tape for it, I'll be happy.

I feel that music sales would probably increase slightly if there wasn't any DRM. Every music store would basically be on a level playing field, so it would really come down to who has the best presentation and who has the best deals for music. I am hard pressed to believe that kind of market would ever exist, and I would be especially surprised if that is Jobs' ideal market. From a businessman point of view.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I think it's a great way to be in the forefront of an already-pending change in digital music distribution. And obviously this has something to do with what Europe's been calling for Apple to do with iTunes' DRM.

I'm just surprised that Steve Jobs admitted to all of this, even IF he pushed the blame off onto the music labels. It makes a ton of sense to get rid of DRM because of the exact reasons he said:
The majority of music purchased today is on compact discs, and none of those have protection embedded. Why push it on a small portion of an already declining market?


What kind of toxic man-thing is happening now?
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 05:27 PM #7 of 9
I'm curious as to why Jobs is being as magnanimous as he's being. He probably thinks Apple would still win out on a level playing field should the third situation arise, and obviously he doesn't stand to lose much if things stay the same, and he would sure make more money if #2 happened.

Additional Spam:
IGN's take on this.

Quote:
Though the RIAA seems to get its kicks out of skewering single mothers with broods of 8 year old music pirates, when it talks to Steve Jobs it takes a more passive-aggressive approach. Misinterpreting Jobs' conclusion so dramatically as to signify backhanded disdain or extreme cognitive dysfunction, the RIAA responded today by stating: "Apple's offer to license Fairplay to other technology companies is a welcome breakthrough and would be a real victory for fans, artists and labels. There have been many services seeking a license to the Apple DRM. This would enable the interoperability that we have been urging for a very long time." Weighed against the fact that Jobs directly rejected the concept of licensing FairPlay in his essay, it's somewhat difficult to fathom exactly what the RIAA is trying to communicate in this statement.
Is someone in the RIAA smoking something?

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Last edited by Dopefish; Feb 8, 2007 at 12:36 AM. Reason: This member got a little too post happy.
Matt
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 03:21 PM #8 of 9
More DRM chastising, this time from Music Label executives:

Quote:
Music execs criticise DRM systems

Almost two-thirds of music industry executives think removing digital locks from downloadable music would make more people buy the tracks, finds a survey.

The Jupiter Research study looked at attitudes to Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems in Europe music firms.

Many of those responding said current DRM systems were "not fit for purpose" and got in the way of what consumers wanted to do.

Among all record labels 48% of all executives thought ending DRM would boost download sales - though this was 58% at the larger labels. Outside the record labels 73% of those questioned thought dropping DRM would be a boost for the whole market.

Among all those questioned, 70% believed that the future of downloadable music lay in making tracks play on as many different players as possible. But 40% believed it would take concerted government or consumer action to bring this about.

BBC News


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Old Feb 15, 2007, 03:50 PM Local time: Feb 15, 2007, 02:50 PM #9 of 9
This is pretty interesting shit. I respect Jobs for taking such a stance and taking advantage of his position in this market to do so.

Jam it back in, in the dark.
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