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Steve Jobs battles with DRM issues as Europe watches over his shoulders - Image courtesy ZDNet France

DRM isn't stopping pirates, so Steve Jobs urges for what's best for consumers
Apple's leader believes that a DRM-free world would be the best one for consumers

Steve Jobs published an open letter on the Apple Web site Tuesday entitled, “Thoughts on Music,” which surprisingly details his view on the futility and insignificance of DRM, or digital rights management. The Apple leader isn’t the only technology visionary at odds with DRM -- Bill Gates went on record in December to express his disappointment in the overall situation with DRM.

Jobs wrote that the inconveniences posed by DRM are a result of restrictions set in place by the music industry, and that if record companies would be willing to abolish DRM on music, Apple would embrace the decision in a heartbeat. Jobs began his letter by addressing the DRM-supporting iTunes software, which is used to interface with the 90 million iPods worldwide. Users and their governments have complained to Apple that its iTunes software unfairly locks out MP3 players that are not iPods -- further suggesting that Apple is somehow creating a monopoly by selling DRM-protected music that will only work with iPod hardware.

Jobs defended his devices and software by saying Apple does not own or control any of the music sold over iTunes, that that the DRM restrictions are set primarily by the “big four” music companies: Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI. In order for Apple to have permission to legally distribute songs, it must adhere to strict guidelines set by the record companies. If any of those guidelines or security systems are breached, Apple only has a small number of weeks to fix the problem before the record company will withdraw its entire music catalog from the iTunes store.

Apple calls its DRM “FairPlay,” and like any copy protection scheme, hackers are quick in their attempts to circumvent it. “While we have had a few breaches in FairPlay, we have been able to successfully repair them through updating the iTunes store software, the iTunes jukebox software and software in the iPods themselves,” Jobs revealed. “So far we have met our commitments to the music companies to protect their music, and we have given users the most liberal usage rights available in the industry for legally downloaded music.”

With that said, the Apple leader is unhappy with DRM and outlines three possible forks in the road where digital music may venture from here. Presently, DRM-protected music purchased at online stores for specific devices will only work for that one device. Apple, Microsoft and Sony all currently split the online music stores market.

Apple, being the undeniable leader in the music player market,  has come under complaint that iPod and iTunes users are forever locked to Apple products—but Steve Jobs presents and argument saying that such complaints aren’t based on real world data.

“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,” Jobs detailed. “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 percent of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM.

“The remaining 97 percent of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats. It’s hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future,” he argued. “And since 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store, iPod users are clearly not locked into the iTunes store to acquire their music.”

Despite Jobs’ argument, European consumer groups and governments are pressuring Apple to open up its iTunes service, or at least its FairPlay DRM system, to competing music playing devices. The rally originated mid-2006 in Scandinavia, where Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman ruled that iTunes service breaks consumer protection law. Since then, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands have joined the continuing battle to force Apple to open up its DRM.

“We believe consumers have a right to play material purchased online on a portable device of their own choice … We thus urge Apple to make substantial progress towards full interoperability until the end of September 2007,” said the rallying countries in a joint statement. “It is also a signal to other companies that interoperability is an important issue for consumers, and that this is something they must take into consideration when determining their strategies.”

In order for iTunes to be interoperable with other music players, Apple would have to license its FairPlay DRM technology to current and future competitors, to which Steve Jobs commented, “On the surface, this seems like a good idea since it might offer customers increased choice now and in the future. And Apple might benefit by charging a small licensing fee for its FairPlay DRM. However, when we look a bit deeper, problems begin to emerge.”

With its FairPlay technology released to a wider circle, new concerns over security of the technology emerge. Leaks of the DRM’s system would be inevitable, meaning that it could no longer honor the agreements with the music companies.

“The Internet has made such leaks far more damaging, since a single leak can be spread worldwide in less than a minute,” Jobs wrote. “An equally serious problem is how to quickly repair the damage caused by such a leak. A successful repair will likely involve enhancing the music store software, the music jukebox software, and the software in the players with new secrets, then transferring this updated software into the tens (or hundreds) of millions of Macs, Windows PCs and players already in use.”

Apple already faces challenges when trying to patch up security leaks within a closed system, and believes that opening up its FairPlay to other companies would make it “near impossible” to coordinate a quick repair of the damage from a leak. Apple’s FairPlay technology was reverse engineered in October 2006 by Jon Lech Johansen, the same individual who cracked DVD encryption. Instead of releasing his findings on the Internet, Johansen plans to develop software to open interoperability between software and devices, while maintaining the integrity of protected music.

Finally, Jobs examined the third alternative: to abolish DRMs entirely, allowing DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats to be available at every online stores. “In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat,” Jobs boldly stated. “If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.”

Jobs reasoned that DRM is ineffectual in what it was designed to do—halting piracy. He pointed to the “big four” music companies again, and their requirements for online music to be sold with DRM, and essentially calls them hypocrites. He presented that in 2006 under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free  and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves—and those CDs could be ripped and illegally distributed over the Internet.

If those figures are correct, it would mean that 90 percent of the music sold by record companies are free of DRM. Jobs sees that the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system that caters to only 10 percent of music sold provides no significant benefits to the industry. In fact, he believes that it may be doing more harm than good. “If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies,” he said.

The Apple visionary’s lengthy letter is likely spurred pressures from several European countries. The odd thing is that three of the “big four” music companies that Jobs keeps referring to are largely controlled by European corporations. Universal is wholly owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50 percent owned by Bertelsmann, a German company.

“Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free,” Jobs said, referring to consumer groups who have attacked iTunes’ DRM. “Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly.”

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Too good to be true?
By ADDAvenger on 2/7/2007 12:03:44 PM , Rating: 4
I wonder if Apple etc are just saying they don't like DRM because they know their customers don't, or if they really think it'd be good for business. It seems like they're just trying to pass the buck on to the record companies, you know, make it look like DRM is all their fault.

RE: Too good to be true?
By Tsuwamono on 2/7/2007 12:07:47 PM , Rating: 5
Isnt it though?

RE: Too good to be true?
By Samus on 2/7/2007 2:08:55 PM , Rating: 5
Isnt it though?

Very true. The labels forced Apple to enforce some sort of mechanism to assure their 'product' wouldn't be pirated.

I guess nobody told the record labels about hackers.

RE: Too good to be true?
By alifbaa on 2/7/2007 8:03:53 PM , Rating: 5
Forget about hackers...
Nobody bothered to remember how the MP3 problem began in the first place -- unprotected CDs.

The record industry had its chance to protect itself back in the late 90's when they chose not to actively support SACD/DVD-Audio by phasing out CD production. If they had done that, and incorporated real encryption/protection standards such as those suggested by freetotinker, etc., they would have been able to retain control of their IP, and consumers would be able to enjoy ultra high quality, multi-channel sound today instead of the same digital stereo we've been listening to for the last 25 years.

Think about it... what other piece of technology do you use that has seen no fundamental improvement in the last 25 years? The music companies have no one to blame for this mess but themselves and their own laziness in keeping up with technology.

RE: Too good to be true?
By mjrpes3 on 2/7/2007 10:45:55 PM , Rating: 2
There would have been a huge backlash if the recording industry had forced the DVD format down consumer's gullet. Primarily because only audiophiles with high end system are able to hear any difference in audio quality, and consumers would have been forced to buy new hardware in their car, home audio systems, and computers, to support the format.

There hasn't been any improvement to the CD format for the last 25 years because there has been no need. The audio quality of CDs is good enough for the vast majority of consumers.

RE: Too good to be true?
By abhaxus on 2/8/2007 9:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
Sure the average person will hear no difference between a stereo SACD/DVD-A and a regular CD, but the multichannel versions on those discs sound amazing for the most part.

I would consider myself to have a discerning ear and an unfortunately small bank account. I can't afford a "great" audio system (polk monitors in one room, athenas in another) but I can still tell a difference with even my computer speakers between CD and DVD-A. 24bit is clearly better.

RE: Too good to be true?
By Bull Dog on 2/8/2007 6:03:26 AM , Rating: 3
Not to mention the fact that MP3 players, no headphones are only stero and 5.1 setups are really bulky. What I'm trying to say it that although 5.1 music would be cool in a way, I can't see it ever working in the portable music market.

RE: Too good to be true?
By MonkeyPaw on 2/8/2007 11:30:01 AM , Rating: 4
I don't doubt that they stuck with CDs because they are cheaper to produce than DVDs. Even now, you save a few pennies in production costs. Since the average consumer is okay with the sound quality of a music CD, the music industry has been running on status quo and pocketing the difference. You are right though, being proactive would have been more cost effective, since the RIAA/MPAA have spent a fortune developing DRM standards. Of course, we get to pay for that in the long run. If only both sides of the piracy battle weren't so obstinate, we may have actually ended up with a reasonable DRM solution--one where the paying customer doesn't get punished the most. It just goes to show, there is no honor among thieves, and I'm not just talking about the pirates.

RE: Too good to be true?
By Seymourbbuts on 2/9/2007 12:21:02 AM , Rating: 2
It just goes to show, there is no honor among thieves

I am a representative from the MPAA and we are now going to open a law suit for you quoting, without the expressed written consent of our company, an Artful Dodger album title...

It's only a matter of time till they try something like this...

Has anyone tried to get a guitar tab lately? Good luck; All major guitar tab websites have been sent notices saying that they need to quit displaying the guitar tabs (which for the most part are interpretations of a bands work or they will face law suits. Am I the only on that thinks this is getting a little out of hand?

RE: Too good to be true?
By mlittl3 on 2/7/2007 12:14:46 PM , Rating: 5
I know the default position for you guys is to doubt Steve Jobs and hate him and his copy, however, I think we should let actions speak for this guy and his company rather than doubt and conspiracy theories. I'm talking about two actions (one carried out and on to be seen).

1) Steve Jobs went against the record labels and "forced" "convinced" them to keep songs at $0.99. The record labels wanted to base the cost on popularity and other such criteria, but most people will be buying the popular songs so the average selling price will go up.

2) If what Steve Jobs says in this article is true, then if/when the record labels stop enforcing DRM infected media, Steve Jobs can be judged on whether he opens up the iTunes store and iPod "in a heartbeat".

So hold off on your prejudice, stereotypical Apple is egotisical, expensive, stupid, irrelevant, etc. postings, and talk about the merits of the arguments and hold judgement until Apple has a chance to prove it stance.

RE: Too good to be true?
By FITCamaro on 2/7/2007 12:32:51 PM , Rating: 3
While your points are valid,

1) I highly doubt Apple complained at all the record labels when they told them to make the iPod/iTunes inoperable with anything else(at least easily). It meant they'd have effectively have the somewhat monopoly they do currently do have.

2) I highly doubt Apple will really push the record labels to be DRM free. As long as the music has DRM on it, iPod sales stay where they are and iTunes stays popular as well. The loss of DRM would result in a huge loss of business for Apple. Both in songs sold and in iPod sales.

This speech is mostly to move the blame (where does rest though) and make it look like they hate it as much as we do. In reality, the record companies current stance is the best thing in the world for Apple.

RE: Too good to be true?
By mlittl3 on 2/7/2007 1:19:47 PM , Rating: 3
You could be right, although two opposing scenarios are possible and might encourage Apple to push the issue.

1) Dropping DRM might lead to more people buying iTunes media on their non-iPod digital player, which would increase Apple's music download service marketshare and revenue.

2) Dropping DRM might lead to more people buying the iPod to use with other music download service, which would increase Apple's digital player marketshare and revenue.

Now I know these two scenarios run counter to each other, but there is a lot of people still using radios, portable CD players, etc. so the market is still open to a lot of growth for all companies trying to compete.

RE: Too good to be true?
By f1sh3r on 2/7/2007 2:42:22 PM , Rating: 2
agreed. i got a free ipod, i gave it away a month later because i didnt like itunes. if i was given a simple drag'n'drop interface, i would have kept it forever.

if apple is confident that they have the best software/model for the download business, im sure they would want to open it up to more than just ipod users. of course, at the same time, people may decide to go with a sandisk because it would work with itunes as well.

RE: Too good to be true?
By moisiss on 2/7/2007 5:51:04 PM , Rating: 4
I think that dropping the DRM on iPods would have very little effect on sales (if anything, sales would go up). I say this because I believe that the vast majority of people who buy iPods really don't care about the details of what it does/how it does it.... people buy iPods because they want an iPod... period. EX. For Christmas my roommate wanted to buy his girlfriend an mp3 player. He started looking around and found a variety of players that had the same/similar or better technical specs/features that the iPod has... like no crazy DRM, plays lots of different file types, etc. Stuff that he would care about more than the "brand" or "cool factor". So he started discussing all of the different options with her.... and she didn't care AT ALL. She wanted an iPod. She didn't care about all the technical stuff, the price/performance ratio, any of that stuff... she just wanted an iPod. He could have told her that the iPod was just a small metal box full of rat turds and I doubt that she would have budged an inch... she wanted an iPod because it was an iPod... no other reason. I would be willing to bet that most people who purchase an iPod do so for the same reason... it's an iPod... it has a cool little apple on the box... it's what "everyone else" has.

RE: Too good to be true?
By Seymourbbuts on 2/9/2007 9:25:00 AM , Rating: 2
But there are also the people who want iPods because they have maybe borrowed a friends, or used one else where and they are comfortable with the interface that the iPod uses. Then there are the people who want iPods because of things like iPodLinux and iPodWizard, both of which most other players don't have due to a lack of a following for the player. Of course there are going to be the people who only want iPods because they feel popular or cool just carrying one around, but saying that is the why the "vast majority of people" of people buy it just isnt true. The reason why most people buy iPods at my school is they owned perhaps a color or 4G and when the video came out they wanted that because it was the new thing that was better than what they, or anyone else had.

RE: Too good to be true?
By mlittl3 on 2/7/2007 7:19:44 PM , Rating: 5
One last action Steve Jobs performed on our behalf (to be added to list in my above post) is...

3) Steve Jobs insisted that songs be sold individually rather than in albums (a la Napster in its hey day). Record labels wanted to sell only albums in the iTunes music store which means if you wanted just one song, you would have to pony up $9.99 for the whole album instead of $0.99 for just the song you wanted.

I learn about this on a Discovery Channel special about the iPod and iTunes. This my friends was the ultimate favor Steve Jobs and Apple performed for us customers. Just imagine if the only online music sales were for albums instead of individual songs at every digital music download service.

Again, I will give Steve Jobs the benefit of the doubt and take what he says with some earnest.

RE: Too good to be true?
By shimman on 2/8/2007 9:29:29 AM , Rating: 2
i believe jobs is overly protective when it comes to the ip. jobs, sony, & ms are the ones who are really pushing the drm, and now jobs is telling us the he doesn't like it? BS. it's not like he doesn't like it, but apple is in sticky situation with drm.

i think the only reason he is telling this is because itune has become a de facto standard of legal music distribution, and want grow the market share by supporting other digital music players & other platforms through itune.

until recently, itune locked out other players from the legal digital meida distribution, but now, osx can be potentially locked out because of vista's built-in drm which will gain more supports from other distribution services like walmart.

since fairplay isn't licensed to others & there is a built-in drm on vista, apple's mac & ipod, once again, are in the danger of becoming isolated from the main street.

By thebrown13 on 2/7/2007 1:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
A) No DRM. Not as great an option for musicians and everyone as some people argue.

B) A DRM STANDARD. How hard is that to figure out? One universal DRM system that all companies that sell music must use. This is the real solution, protecting musicians and consumers.

RE: Solution
By fic2 on 2/7/2007 2:21:19 PM , Rating: 3
protecting musicians and consumers

Shouldn't that be
protecting musicians from consumers

I don't see how DRM protects either musicians or consumers. Record companies, yet.

RE: Solution
By thebrown13 on 2/7/2007 2:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
First, DRM allows music subscription services. Second, I'm a part time musician and I would like to release my music knowing that people can use it, but not copy it to their friends an unlimited number of times.

So basically without DRM you're trusting consumers not to steal. Do retail stores trust you not to steal from them? No, they enforce it. It's only fair musicians get the same rights on what they are selling.

RE: Solution
By fic2 on 2/7/2007 2:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
I have several friends that are part time musicians. They pretty much give away their CDs. This encourages people to listen to their music and come out and pay to see them live. Seems to work for them.

BTW, I haven't bought (or copied) any CDs in about 5 years. Got tired of paying $12+ for a CD that had one or two good songs on them. I also don't buy single songs. I would if I could get them with CD quality and no DRM, but I can't so I just listen to the radio, older CDs and friends music.

RE: Solution
By thebrown13 on 2/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: Solution
By Pandamonium on 2/7/2007 4:16:18 PM , Rating: 3
That's horseshit. Even current DVD DRM hurts the consumer. My HTPC couldn't play back the last two DVDs I rented from Blockbuster because of DRM. Macrovision apparently detects when the player is connected to the display via Component at HD resolutions, and then refuses to play the content. I have an HDTV w/ component inputs and a HTPC w/ component output. Who the hell is a copyright owner to force me to stop using component, a standard connection?

RE: Solution
By thebrown13 on 2/7/2007 5:04:38 PM , Rating: 1
Ok so the movie industry fails too. They chose a ramp-up DRM technique, while the music industry chose to do all or nothing. Neither is right, while one sucks more.

RE: Solution
By slashbinslashbash on 2/7/2007 4:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
Some musicians don't perform live. I know it's hard to imagine, but some musicians sell their MUSIC, and not their dancing onstage.

And some are good enough musicians that they can command $5 to $20 per listener to sit on a stage at a bar and play their guitar and sing solo. No theatrics involved.

RE: Solution
By thebrown13 on 2/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: Solution
By slashbinslashbash on 2/7/2007 7:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not even talking about my friends. I'm talking about performers that I go to see locally. I don't know them, but I like their music so I pay to go see them play.

Furthermore, I wasn't implying that you suck. Once again I quote you:

Some musicians don't perform live. I know it's hard to imagine, but some musicians sell their MUSIC, and not their dancing onstage.

I know it's hard for you to imagine, but some musicians can perform live and still have it be about the music.

RE: Solution
By thebrown13 on 2/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Solution
By encryptkeeper on 2/7/2007 3:00:10 PM , Rating: 2
Jobs' argument is the other side of that coin. I perfectly agree to your statement about shoplifting, but at the same time DRM (in Jobs' view) hurts ITunes and music sales in general. If you enforce DRM, then you need to take blank audio tapes out of the market, blank music cds out of the market (I know you can't take either out of the market for various reasons, just bear with me). But there are so many ways around DRM as it is (like burning to CD then re-importing to ITunes) that you might as well just get rid of it because it does more harm than good.

RE: Solution
By thebrown13 on 2/7/2007 4:02:35 PM , Rating: 1
This is, again, where the music industry failed and the movie industry made a smart move. HDCP flags won't be flipped on until 2010-2012.

Music downloads have always been restricted.

Implement the standard of DRM, then flip it on when only 1% of your clients will be inconvenienced by it.

RE: Solution
By jtesoro on 2/8/2007 3:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
Those on the no-DRM side of the fence are saying that you'll make more money if there's no DRM. The logic here is that someone who wants your song and doesn't want to pay for it will ALWAYS be able to get for free - DRM or no DRM. This is because in spite of DRM, it is extremely easy to get it for free. On the flip side, if the music has DRM, some (just some) of those who are willing to pay for it will NOT buy it.

The conclusion using this line of thought is that DRM is actually hurting you - the musician. The logic is kind of upside down, but there's some sense to it. Just food for thought in case it is reasonable to you.

RE: Solution
By Oregonian2 on 2/7/2007 5:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
That makes sense, but only if you also don't allow your music to be put onto CD's as well.

Jobs makes a good point, that until CD's are phased out as a major way to sell music, that DRM's only practical advantage is for music that is uniquely DRM'd (no CD's at all). Like having a bank where the front door is locked and with armed (drm) guards -- but the other front door, the side doors, the back doors, and the loading dock are all kept unlocked, unguarded, and in fact don't even have doors. But that one door is emphatically demanded to be kept in place. Makes one shake one's head wondering as to what's the point other than someone feeling like they're doing something useful even if it's fruitless.

RE: Solution
By Pythias on 2/8/2007 12:35:45 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. If there existed an industry standard, and not some cobbled together plop, everyone (save for pirates) would benefit.

RE: Solution
By shimman on 2/8/2007 1:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
people pirate because the stuffs are way more expensive than their worth & the hassle of drm.

without drm, it would only work if and only if copy-rights cartels lower their prices to reach the mass market that people would not look for pirated materials

Not so sure...
By Aikouka on 2/7/2007 12:05:26 PM , Rating: 3
Well, I can see where Jobs is coming from, but I just see a couple of issues.

1) "Only 3% of music on iPods are DRM protected"
While this is essentially true via simple mathematics, it's not necessarily true in a real world environment. From my experience with iPod and other mp3 players, their owners tend to either fall into one of three categories: (a) Pays for music (b) Pays for a song here and there (c) Doesn't pay for any. The people who are annoyed and would be people (a). Jobs is describing people (b). What I'd like to see is songs purchased per person that owns an iPod (since you can use iTunes without one).

2) "The record companies are hypocrites"
This also gleams with a bit of truth in the way he words it, but the situations are so different that it's not really valid. With FairPlay implemented only in iPods, Apple has already secured it as universal in their music players. However... how easy would it be for the record companies to try to enforce FairPlay (for example) in any optical device that can read CDs (and output their audio streams via their own or other attached devices). It's never work and trying to force users to switch all of their optical devices (that cannot be flashed/upgraded to work with DRM) to go out and buy new devices... I highly... very highly doubt the average consumer would be embracing of this.

Although I do agree with his idea of removing DRM entirely. Nothing is full-proof and all they're doing is delaying the inevitable. Sure, some people will pirate their songs no matter what they do, but there are also legitimate users out there who are willing to pay for a song given a good a practical way to go about it.

RE: Not so sure...
By Aikouka on 2/7/2007 12:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
Excuse my little errors ;x.

"with iPod" -> "with iPods"
"are annoyed and would be" -> "are annoyed would be"
"It's never work" -> "It'll never work"
"would be embracing of this." -> "would embrace this."
"a good a practical" -> "a good and practical"

Proofreading ftw :/

RE: Not so sure...
By Aikouka on 2/7/2007 2:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
Excuse me, you perfect plebeians, if I attempt to fix my own grammatical issues to ensure my post is properly understood rather than let people misinterpret what I say to form some kind of nonsensical tirade against a nonexistent nuance.

My erroneous grammar may be my fault, but being a Nazi moderator is your own fault.

RE: Not so sure...
By Transcendental Ego on 2/7/2007 2:30:47 PM , Rating: 2
I guess voting people down gives them purpose to there life.

RE: Not so sure...
By Aikouka on 2/7/2007 3:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I guess I can't complain too much... I kind of felt like Hugo Weaving (aka V) in V for Vendetta with my little sortie of words up there ;). Albeit mine was not nearly as good as his.

Although, my grammatic mistakes seem to be nothing more than my thoughts gone awry... as they're written fine to begin with, but then I'll change one part and ignore that the rest even exists. That'll leave more pitfalls than even the ol' NES character could jump over.

To reset the train tracks a bit... umm down with DRM?

I guess it's also good to ask if you may consider DRM one of those necessary evils that we have in our society these days. One of those things where the negative aspects are cast away by the overall benefits. The thing is... that line never mentions who is affected by what, and as consumers, we know we're getting the short end of the stick.

By ilmdba on 2/8/2007 4:44:38 AM , Rating: 3
By Frazzle on 2/8/2007 2:02:45 PM , Rating: 2
I can't believe this but for once I actually agree with the Inq. The glorious spinmeister Jobs is applying his usual whirl of words to try to make people think he's all about the consumer when this is really about him and Apple's near monopoly on online music sales. If Stevie was really so big about being open to consumers, he'd license FairPlay and open up his OS for others besides the folks who buy his overpriced hardware. Since he won't do that he merely being duplicitous...again.

By stromgald on 2/9/2007 3:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Those were my thoughts also after reading the article.

Nice try Steve. Kudos to you for a good, well formed argument, but I'm still not buying an overpriced Mac or iPod.

3% from iTunes
By bhieb on 2/7/2007 1:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting, wasn't there an article around the first of the year stating these numbers for iTunes downloads. If I remember all the Apple fans were saying how impossible that was and how great iTunes was. Just found it odd that now Jobs is quoting roughly the same stats, essentially admitting that iTunes is not as big of a cash cow as everyone assumes.

RE: 3% from iTunes
By s12033722 on 2/7/2007 2:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I don't have an IPod, but I use ITunes for almost all my music purchases these days. I can burn the songs to a CD to play in my car changer, and I can listen to them on my PC, and that pretty well covers my music needs.

Reality distortion field at its best
By Justin Case on 2/7/07, Rating: 0
RE: Reality distortion field at its best
By JAS on 2/7/2007 10:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
Mr. Jobs has made a public offer that, if accepted by the music business, would mean we could download DRM-free music from any vendor (including iTunes) to use on our iPods. He has really put it on the line. It will be interesting to see how the music industry reacts to this proposition.

Apple earns little profit, if any, from iTunes. The lion's share of the 99 cents per song goes to the publisher. The remainder pays for Apple's bandwidth, credit card fees, the data center, and customer service.

If DRM was abolished, Apple would stand to sell more iPods, not fewer.

By Justin Case on 2/8/2007 7:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, that's why they loaded the entir system with lock-in "features". Because they wanted to sell less.... sigh...

I love it how Apple fanbois manage to spin their faith 180º around in a single day. It was the same thing with Apple adopting x86. One day Intel was the devil and x86 would never be as fast as a G5, the next day the Intel Macs were 4x faster than the G5, and moving to Intel was a brilliant idea.

I bet that if tomorrow Apple decided that MS-DOS was the way to go, the fanbois would immediately fill their little blogs with drool-covered posts saying what a brilliant move that was.

Along with many...
By ajfink on 2/7/2007 1:06:43 PM , Rating: 3
I am not the biggest Steve Jobs fan, but he really hit the nail on the head with this article. When I read it last night I thought, "This might be it." Now, if only RIAA would strike a fair with with so consumers can use their music distribution system (which is the best on the net, IMO) to buy music without the threat of it being shut down or the idea of illegality looming over them.

This is good news.

that or this
By ForumMaster on 2/7/2007 12:01:41 PM , Rating: 2
you could also you this tool to exercise your right to use the music on any mp3 player.

A better way to sell music?
By Andrwken on 2/7/2007 8:28:42 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I really liked yahoo music for the year I had it. Having a creative zen 30gb and being able to grab any song in their database and play freely on my mp3 player for 120 bux a year was great. I just don't drive enough anymore to justify it. For the price of 12 cd's with 1-2 good songs each, I got over 1 million songs to play at my leisure. If for some reason I feel the need to burn it, I pay the standard buck a song to move it to cd. I can't see why this system isn't more popular. It is drm, but for any other reason than to pirate a song, this method gives you almost free reign to play your music anywhere. In 5-10 years, these services could be holding just about any song you could want, new or old.

90 million iPods?
By collegeguypat on 2/8/2007 1:50:50 AM , Rating: 2
Is the "90 million iPods" figure the total number sold worldwide in total, or just the number that are still in use? Because most of my friends in college have had to purchase a second or third (based on how early they got their first) due to hardware failure, dropping it, the screen crapping out, etc. I'm sure a majority of users only purchased one, but I think the figure might be more like 80 or 90% of that figure (at most) of still working iPods currently being used, if that is the total sales of iPods ever.

Just a little speculation.


"why now & why not before"-
By crystal clear on 2/8/2007 6:21:38 AM , Rating: 2
*Ask yourself "why now & why not before"-yes Now before it is too late-this summer Apple faces a choice- OR sacrifice Ipods OR Fairplay.

* Apples Fairplay has turned into Bitterplay for Apple in the EU.

*Apple is wasting its Time & Efforts- The DRM is a long expensive legal battle,that will stay for a long time in courts.

*Apple is only trying to divert attention & get itself
much needed public relations & give a popular message to the users/buyers-


This help in their sales & marketing & Advertising campaigns.

Read the papers
By maxplanck on 2/8/2007 5:19:22 PM , Rating: 2
Warner Music will not be dropping DRM any time soon, no matter what anyone tells them to do:

By kingpotnoodle on 2/12/2007 1:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking personally I do not agree with DRM on principal and I will not buy DRM protected content - if I pay for licence to listen to a piece of music I expect to be able to listen to it on any of my devices, without risk of it expiring or being locked out. That to me seems fair and just.

If I buy a CD I can rip it to my computer, copy it to mobile players and take it everywhere, lend it to a friend or make a backup copy. But sometimes I don't want the whole album, or am willing to spend £3 for a song I only half like... so I would like to download - because of DRM I therefore use Limewire et al. However I limit this and do not share music onwards.

I would like to pay my way for the songs I listen to, I have no objection to paying for something if I can use it unrestricted (this does not mean giving it away) and if DRM was removed I would pay £1-£2 for the download of a CD single or subscribe to a monthly system. I would pay for the quality recording and ease of finding it from a proper secure online store - a big advantage over the virus ridden, mixed quality and often time consuming (for obscure music) P2P networks.

Currently people can copy the DRM free CD from friends but many still go to a shop and buy the album (besides the fact we have such personal tastes often our friends might not even have the CD/download to copy), I am confident they also would for download music if it was as unrestrictive as a CD in how it could be used.

DRM development should be ceased, then once we have a fair system all that money can then be used to fight pirates in a better way... the best form of defense is attack - if somone is offering music to download on P2P or on unlicensed website then shut them down - use DoS attacks or similar, use any method possible. If the record companies are fair on the honest consumers then I would support action against dishonest ones, as it is though I think DRM is unfair and the record companies deserve the piracy that occurs...

I don't buy music
By Mithan on 2/12/2007 9:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
I do not buy Music online, just because it is too much of a pain to port the software over to all the different equipment I want to play it on (PC, Xbox, Stereo, Car, MP3 Player, etc) and that is due to DRM but I love the idea of the iTunes music store, even if I don't use it due to the DRM.

Ya, you can tell me to go buy a CD and rip it, but I want the ability to buy single songs at a time, not entire CD's with only 2 or 3 good songs on them.

Steve who?
By Beenthere on 2/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: Steve who?
By Spivonious on 2/7/2007 1:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
The whole point of Jobs' argument is that no amount of DRM will ever prevent pirates from getting what they want. Therefore DRM encourages pirates. Take away the DRM and more people buy the music.

DRM may have helped back in the Napster days of MP3s, but nowadays everyone and their mother is buying songs over the web. MP3s have become mainstream, just like CDs. Sure people still copy CDs. Will that ever stop? Probably not. The record companies should just accept the fact that people will try to get something for free and stop hurting those who actually do buy the music with DRM by limiting playback options.

RE: Steve who?
By Transcendental Ego on 2/7/2007 2:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
The whole point of Jobs' argument is that no amount of DRM will ever prevent pirates from getting what they want. Therefore DRM encourages pirates. Take away the DRM and more people buy the music.

I really hate when people try to use that logic. Using the same logic I say, since no amount of security will ever be able to stop someone who wants to steal/break-in/hack then we should rid ourselves of all security so that they will stop.
I could have phrased it more clearly but you get what I am saying.

RE: Steve who?
By Aikouka on 2/7/2007 2:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
I can see your point, but he also isn't necessarily wrong. There are people who dislike DRM enough to not purchase music online to avoid the restrictions. However, statements like his tend to insinuate some massive influx of users to a pay system for downloading MP3s and I personally still see there existing quite a healthy segment of people who will download MP3s illegally.

RE: Steve who?
By FITCamaro on 2/7/2007 5:10:22 PM , Rating: 2
I would consider buying video on iTunes if it weren't for the DRM. But I'm not paying for video that I can only play back through iTunes. I stream media to my TV via my Xbox. In my mind, I paid for it so I should be able to do whatever I want with it other than put it on Bittorrent and give it to everyone else for free.

RE: Steve who?
By his dudeness on 2/7/2007 7:25:40 PM , Rating: 3
every once in a while i hear somebody claim DRM reduces piracy in some way. i have no idea what that way is though. could you or somebody else tell me? pirates are unaffected by DRM since music downloaded from p2p networks has no DRM. the only people who ever come in to contact with DRM are people who by definition are not pirating the music. please tell me if there is some flaw in my logic here.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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