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  • The beginning of the end?

    Apple Inc. indicated it would open its iTunes store to other portable players besides its ubiquitous iPod if the world's major record labels abandoned the anti-piracy technology that serves as the industry's security blanket.

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    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

    "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

  • #2
    Re: The beginning of the end?

    Sweet. Here's hoping.

    [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
    [ma-c2][taw-c1]

    Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
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    Treat others as you would have them treat you

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    • #3
      Re: The beginning of the end?

      A brilliant move by apple to shift blame toward the record companies. Bravo!!!!!!!

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      • #4
        Re: The beginning of the end?

        Wow...that has got to be the smartest move ever by Steve Jobs...or the worst mistake he's ever made. LOL :p
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        • #5
          Re: The beginning of the end?

          You know, I thought this thread would inspire a lot more comments than it did. While it may be to hard to have intelligent discussions when anonymous trolls are posting insipid comments like "Sweet. Here's hoping", I thought I may try to kick start some debate on this issue anyways.

          Here's a link to a previous thread: DRM = Fascism!

          and then some quotes from Jobs:
          Originally posted by Steve Jobs
          Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI [...] control the distribution of over 70% of the world’s music. 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. The solution was to create a DRM system, which envelopes each song purchased from the iTunes store in special and secret software so that it cannot be played on unauthorized devices.
          ...
          The problem, of course, is that there are many smart people in the world, some with a lot of time on their hands, who love to discover such secrets and publish a way for everyone to get free (and stolen) music. They are often successful in doing just that, so any company trying to protect content using a DRM must frequently update it with new and harder to discover secrets. It is a cat-and-mouse game.
          Originally posted by Steve Jobs
          The first alternative is to continue on the current course, with each manufacturer competing freely with their own “top to bottom” proprietary systems for selling, playing and protecting music.
          ...
          Through the end of 2006, customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store. On average, that’s 22 songs purchased from the iTunes store for each iPod ever sold.

          Today’s most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats.
          Originally posted by Steve Jobs
          The second alternative is for Apple to license its FairPlay DRM technology to current and future competitors with the goal of achieving interoperability between different company’s players and music stores.
          ...
          The most serious problem is that licensing a DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak.
          ...
          Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies.
          Originally posted by Steve Jobs
          The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely.
          ...
          Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.
          ...
          Convincing [Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI] to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly.
          Personally, I think that DRM is anti-consumer, and wish whole-heartedly that it would just hurry up and die. DRM is also the reason why I don't purchase music online. What do you guys think? Any pro-DRMers out there? Any professional content producers? What are your thoughts?

          Edit: For its part, the RIAA doesn't seem to understand what Jobs was saying.
          Originally posted by RIAA
          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.

          See article here.

          [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
          [ma-c2][taw-c1]

          Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
          Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

          Treat others as you would have them treat you

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The beginning of the end?

            From what you posted, Jobs appears to have skipped the only statement which would have an impact on the music publishers. By dropping DRM entirely, they will make MORE money. I'm not going to try to prove that, but I believe it to be true. People don't want to buy crippled products, regardless of whether the crippling affects them.
            Peace through fear... since 1947!

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            • #7
              Re: The beginning of the end?

              Actually, I think the RIAA understood exactly what Jobs was saying. But, like Apple, they chose to deflect and spin to shift blame. Funny all the same, though.
              [squadl]
              "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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              • #8
                Re: The beginning of the end?

                One day, they might realize that nobody cares about the "spin".
                Peace through fear... since 1947!

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                • #9
                  Re: The beginning of the end?

                  Originally posted by icky View Post
                  From what you posted, Jobs appears to have skipped the only statement which would have an impact on the music publishers. By dropping DRM entirely, they will make MORE money. I'm not going to try to prove that, but I believe it to be true. People don't want to buy crippled products, regardless of whether the crippling affects them.
                  I agree entirely with this idea. I read a very interesting article on market forces in relation to DRM last summer, which I quote here
                  Originally posted by Bubblegeneration
                  Gray markets happen when unauthorized sellers sell goods to buyers. The classic example is whats often called parallel importation: cheap Canadian pharmaceuticals, for instance. Usually, gray markets are obstructed by transaction costs. Firms impose transaction costs on gray market participants via a variety of strategies, like supply-chain interference, acquisitions, and legal tactics designed to increase transaction complexity.

                  The Net enables gray markets for all kinds of goods, because it reduces exactly the kinds of transaction costs firms hope to impose between gray market buyers and sellers. Now, buyers and sellers can easily find each other. For example, the costs of finding a seller of various kinds of pornography, before the Net, used to be fairly high; now, such sellers are not only easy to reach, but contact most of us every day, via spam transaction costs are zero.

                  Digital goods gray markets are markets for parallel consumption in the sense that consumers can choose to consume goods with embedded property rights or without them. How do embedded property rights for digital goods get separated from the goods they are bundled with? Usually, a number of mechanisms such as hacks, cracks, and simple misuse are responsible.

                  The larger point is that firms cannot always and everywhere ensure digital goods are consumed on the terms that they wish, because enforcement costs are prohibitive. In fact, at no time in the history of digital goods have firms been able to rigorously enforce any scheme for embedded property rights with any degree of success. As I will argue later, the best way to enforce property rights systems is to provide consumers the incentive to use them.

                  [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
                  [ma-c2][taw-c1]

                  Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
                  Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

                  Treat others as you would have them treat you

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The beginning of the end?

                    Originally posted by icky View Post
                    From what you posted, Jobs appears to have skipped the only statement which would have an impact on the music publishers. By dropping DRM entirely, they will make MORE money. I'm not going to try to prove that, but I believe it to be true. People don't want to buy crippled products, regardless of whether the crippling affects them.
                    I agree. I went on a ITunes buying spree a couple of years ago. Bought like 400 songs in about 4 months.

                    Then I wanted to go mobile but did not want an IPod. Had to convert them all to mp3's by burning to cd then ripping to mp3. Took forever.

                    Have only bought a couple of songs from any service since then. Just to much of an hassle.

                    If they remove that stupid DRM I would start buying again. And I would probably actually listen to my music again.
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                    • #11
                      Re: The beginning of the end?

                      I like what Jobs is proposing.

                      Also, I've liked Apple's DRM, and here's why: Using apple's own software that one uses to play its DRM content, you can remove the DRM, and they KNOW it.

                      Here's how:

                      Take a song you legally purchased from the iTunes music store and burn it to disc as audio (using iTunes). Then, using iTunes or any other program capable of ripping audio from CD, IMPORT that content back onto your machine in whatever format you wish that it is allowed to be imported in (if I want high quality, I go with AIFF using iTunes, or OGG using something else).

                      Bingo, then you have the DRM removed. There's no way apple does NOT know this, yet they still freely allow it. I like that. They're essentially subscribing to the fair use policy that governs the recording of content displayed on televisions.

                      Other DRMs such as WMP DRM doesn't allow you to do ANYTHING to any audio you rip from disc or buy using the player's built in music stores....besides shift the file around, that is. Other DRMs are much the same: you may own the audio disc, or that instance of the audio file, but they don't let you have full rights to it, so in essence, they're not allowing you to own that music at all.

                      Apple's way is much better, it seems, and now they're even willing to ditch DRM completely. Very pro-consumer if you ask me. NOT going along with this, which is what the big 4 may very well do, is very much anti-consumer and they know it. The thing is that I think that they don't care. They'd rather have all that power rather than give it up and increase profits.

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                      • #12
                        Re: The beginning of the end?

                        Keep in mind that the risk of selling DRM-free recordings is still perceived to be very high by the record labels. They only do about 3% of their business on-line, so why not keep it locked tight? It'd be a bold move indeed for the labels to ditch DRM, to ditch all post-sale control of an item which is so easily pirated.

                        Now, I know that I personally would purchase far more music were it legal, but let's be realistic here: Were it not for DRM, pirating music would be more pervasive still. Every time you go to a friend's house for a party, you'd hook your iPod up to his PC and copy everything from your Pod to PC and vice versa. The ubiquity of both DRM infested iPods as well as DRM protected music files from iTunes suppresses this, at least to a point.

                        I would love to be able to buy DRM free music, but I think that looking at it from the label's perspective shows us why it may not happen anytime soon. Which major label CEO would want to stick his neck out like that?
                        A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                        "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The beginning of the end?

                          The problem and the solution are both very murky. They both lie within the consumer. Whether or not any program, file, media or whatnot has any kind of protection, some clever lad will always figure out a way around it. I have a friend who pirated a 12,000 dollar piece of dental software for a dentist client of his and had to make new contacts all the way in russia just to do it.

                          Let me expand:
                          We live in a society of thieves. Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone has stolen something. Whether it's downloading an mp3 or stealing a car, the range is vast and hard to put into a moral right and wrong. Music is the epitomy of this concept, being the ultimate gray area. Some artists feel that while it's nice their music is sold on cd's, they still feel that people should have the free right to listen to it and download it for free. Others feel that no matter what, people should have to pay for their artwork. How do you define who is right? You cant. It's a universal disagreement that will never have an end. In the US, we're guranteed the right to free expression, so they cant make it illegal to give music away to people, no matter how badly the record companies despise that fact. They also cant make it illegal to charge for it due to free enterprise.

                          The ultimate fact is that regardless of who tells you what, in this case, there is no right and there is no wrong. The RIAA has given up on taking people to court for mp3 sharing because they cant stop it, no matter how many 12 year olds they charge to the tune of 6 million dollars. There is no accountability and the harder you poke "security" at people who want "freedom", the harder theyre going to try and break it.

                          In our time, as Steve Jobs pointed out, people will always find a way to beat the system. Anyone who disagrees is a fool. All it takes is time and motivation. Theres ALWAYS someone who wants that freedom and theres definitely people with the time to find the way to get it. As the technology for developing digital protection evolves, so does the general means to beat it. Develop a new encoding system for DVDs, they have it cracked within a week and the "new" technology is now obsolete. Music is the same way and the corporate bigshots and the RIAA and the big 4 music enterprises refuse to hear it. They can scream about security all they want, but theyre selling it to the rain, seeing as theres no real way to stop it. In an age where people can exist anonymously and information flows freely across international boundaries, nothing is going to be secure just because some company wants it to be. The best bet is to "suggest" that people buy it "legally" and leave it unprotected. So its already free to share, but now people have the choice and no longer have to be subversive in their means. The best you can do in the industry now is to HOPE to make money off such an enterprise based on your reliance on honest consumers. But hope is the best you're going to get. People will always want a free lunch.

                          The truth behind SJ's words is that the industry cant beat the internet. The best they can do is try to make what theyre selling more user friendly to a wider population in hopes of attracting customers from other markets. Otherwise, people are ultimately going to keep playing the "cat and mouse game" and the record companies, as well as the companies like apple that market the product "securely" are going to lose their shorts in a financial effort to stay ahead. It doesnt matter if you make billions of dollars off the music industry, you still have to pay people to develop the protection, not to mention fees for a myriad of things like licensing and copyrighting, et cetera, ad nauseam. Ordinary folks can break that protection for free in their spare time.

                          Anyone who really thinks that DRM is still even a reasonable way to protect music is kidding themselves. I know of at least 3 programs that will strip various DRM methods from mp3s, oggs, wmas, etc, including those that come from iTunes. Not to mention the CD burning solution posted above!

                          Bottom line to the message: accommodate or settle for making FAR less money. Its simply the record companies choice now and Jobs knows it. Smart man. The problem is that the record companies wont listen and I can pretty much guarantee that things are going to remain as they are. However, contradictory to what Brass said, its not a matter of increasing profits at the expense of power, its a matter of not continuing to LOSE money at the expense of looking like theyve been fools for so long. They like their big thrones and they think they cant be beat, but smart people know theyre wrong and are trying to tell them - its simply falling on deaf ears.

                          In addition, responding to Tybalt's notion of people not being able to share music with their ipods and such, microsoft just solved that problem for us with their new mp3 player, the Zune. You can now "beam" selected songs to other people, and its supposed to be secure. A little birdy happened to show me software that cracks the zune's "protection" and allows you to send the entire contents of your mp3 player to anyone who's willing to receive it, be that other Zune users or your home PC or someone else's PC or whatever. File sharing is just as rampant as it used to be, but it's now moving away from being strictly on computers, so the lines are blurred some and its harder to see.
                          Last edited by Ferris Bueller; 02-08-2007, 05:06 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: The beginning of the end?

                            Interesting post on Wired today. If Steve Jobs wants to sell DRM-free music, why doesn't he then?

                            Originally posted by Wired.com
                            A quick search shows that many of the same tunes available as unprotected MP3s on eMusic are sold as copyright-protected files at iTunes. The list includes recent singles and albums from popular artists like Tom Waits, Bloc Party, White Stripes, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Van Morrison, and many others.

                            If eMusic can sell these tunes without copyright protection, why can’t Apple?
                            Good question, right?
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                            He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

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                            • #15
                              Re: The beginning of the end?

                              When I was growing up in NYC, tattoo shops were illegal. There were many tattoo shops in peoples apartments. Some of them were very nice. Thats where I got my tattoos. Very few of them ever got busted, the whole city knew they were there, most cops in the city had a tattoo. I think keeping them illegal was a way to make the tattoo shops behave themselves and keep a low profile. In my opinion the record companies are doing the same thing. If there were no DRM people would be doing it out in the open and go buckwild. In the 90s people would publicly talk about using napster and what not. Now there is a stigma about file sharing and I don't hear anyone talking about it publicly, although most people I know are doing it. The record companies are trying to maintain a status quo. And I don't blame them. I prefer it this way. I don't want a whole bunch of noobs messing up the scene.
                              Steve jobs knows it will never happen. Its a marketing ploy to look like the good guy, where DRM is pissing off alot of people. I wish Steve Jobs would shut his Ihole.

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