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DRM "hurts" customers, partners

updated 06:05 pm EDT, Wed July 26, 2006

DRM "hurts" customers

The hotly-debated topic of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions imposed upon consumers of digital works to guard against piracy continues to rage, as one columnist claims that only two types of DRM exist, and that Apple's FairPlay DRM hurts both customers and partners. "Apple sold a billion tracks in three years in spite of its DRM, not because of it," said InformationWeek columnist Cory Doctorow. "No Apple customer bought an iTune because of the DRM." The author cites previously-proposed restrictions by industry executives, such as characterizing skipping commercials on TV as theft, but allowing "a certain amount of bathroom activity."

"What's more, every track in the iTunes music store can be downloaded for free from P2P networks," Doctorow continued. "Apple proves that you can sell music without DRM all day long -- all adding DRM to Apple's music does is give Apple the ability to abuse its customers and its partners from the labels."

by MacNN Staff





  1. shawnce

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It may be true that no iTMS customer purchased music/video for the DRM but it is more then likely they got the privilege to purchase it from iTMS because of DRM.

  1. Hobeaux

    Joined: Dec 1969


    excellent commment!

    well said.

    though I would love to have more than 5 locations to put my music. ugh.

    1 home Mac laptop 2 home PC laptop 3 my work Mac 4 wife's work PC 5 workstation that I use at client's office 6 new Mac that I'm going to buy after my tax return this winter 7 ... etc.

  1. Hobeaux

    Joined: Dec 1969



    and i'd like the comments section to properly register new lines as line breaks or paragraphs instead of mushing my list into one. ugh.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i love FairPlay DRM

    Not to sound Pro Apple but a iTunes non DRM file will always have some watermarking to find the owner when he spreads the music, the DRM is here to protect the user. Your iPod gets stolen and a day later its on the intenet with your name all over it, not an issue with DRM files.

    @Hobeaux Chose 1 media PC in the network and broadcast the music via iTunes to the other computers, work really neat with FrontRow en all.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bathroom activity!!!???

    That one line really caught my attention for all the imbecility of those motion picture execs. Going to the bathroom is, says he, against the law, if you're watching network TV. You must watch that commercial, even if it means peeing in your pants! Well, actually, he did say that 'some amount of bathroom activity' is OK. Therefore, you better get your kidneys and your bladder checked, and no beer during those long games; we all know what beer does to your bladder!!

    This is the mindframe of those in Hollywood. They just have no idea how absurd it sounds. When people like that start making rules for next generation DRM, I hate to think what will happen.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cory Doctorow

    He's got a cute blog, but by and large, Cory is pretty much disconnected from the real world. Nice soapbox, though, but in general he really has nothing useful to say.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cake and Eat It Too?

    First he says that on average, an iPod only has about 20 iTunes purchased songs on it. Then later claims that people are unfairly locked into iTunes/iPod because they'd have to replace 100's of songs if they wanted to buy a non-Apple iPod. So which is it? 20 songs, or hundreds?

    And contrary to what he says, Apple does NOTHING to prevent you from loading non-Fairplay songs on your iPod. Why do so many of these idiots forget about those shiny silver discs call CDs that come with music on them? And as for the other online store's music not playing on an iPod. It's not Apple's Fairplay that is preventing's the Window's Media DRM that is preventing it!

  1. slur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bathroom activity

    Methinks this article reflects a certain amount of "bathroom activity." Perhaps more than one variety.

  1. kw99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mr. Obvious...

    "Apple sold a billion tracks in three years in spite of its DRM, not because of it."

    Well, of course, moron. Why would anyone buy a song BECAUSE of its DRM?

    "FairPlay DRM hurts both customers and partners..."

    FairPlay is a balancing act between the interests of customers, "partners," and Apple.

    "Apple proves that you can sell music without DRM all day long..."

    Is this guy the master of the obvious statement, or what? If DRM was not needed, of course Apple can do it "all day long." If customers bought a billion plus songs with DRM, of course they would do the same without DRM.

    But the fact is, Apple would not be able to sell the same songs without DRM, because Apple would not have the contracts with the record companies without the DRM. Perhaps you can download for "free" from P2P, but Apple provides a reasonably priced option that is (1) not stealing, not to mention (2) consistent quality and (3) ease of use.

    Frankly, Apple's DRM is "invisible" to me. I use an iPod so I don't care that the music only plays on iPods. I only have 3 computers to authorize to play my iTunes-purchased files, so I don't care that the limit is 5. I rarely burn playlists to CD, so I don't care that I can only burn a specific playlist seven (or whatever the number is) times before having to make a change to the playlist.

    If DRM is necessary, I'll choose Apple's...

  1. jhorvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Download from p2p network

    And how does he know there iTunes tracks that are downloaded from free p2p networks? That's a bunch of hogwash if I ever heard it. DRM was imposed by your lovely music labels, not Apple. There to blame if it hurts anyone as they imposed the requirement that before any song or album is sold it must include DRM. This was not an Apple requirement or restriction and it seems everyone forgets this everytime they talk about iTunes. And Apple is sticking up for its consumers by keeping the pricing at 99 cents a song because if the labels had there way you would be paying 2 or 3 dollars or more a song already and they would probably want more every year if it wasn't for Steve Jobs and Apple's success. It seems everyone is quick to point the finger but is always lacking the facts when it comes to DRM. Go blame the record labels and the recording industry and the movie industry for DRM and copy protection, Apple has nothing to do with it period!

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