updated 01:05 am EDT, Tue April 3, 2007
Jobs: No DRM-free video
Despite the landmark agreement with EMI for DRM-free music, Apple may not be the same position to negotiate for video distribution without copyright protections. Based on comments at following the EMI announcement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs doesn not appear to be pushing for DRM-video, according to IDG News Service. During the teleconference, Jobs was asked about the potential of distributing video with copy protection technology: "Video is pretty different from music right now because the video industry does not distribute 90 percent of their content DRM free. Never has. So I think they are in a pretty different situation, and I wouldn't hold it to a parallel at all."
Referencing the CSS (Content Scramble System) technology used on DVDs, Jobs is essentially saying that "CSS makes the video market different than the music industry because music CDs don't come with copy protection. "As a result, Jobs' argument has been that digital music should be sold in an equivalent manner as CDs -- without copy protection," the report said.
Jobs argument, however, may only be technicality that won't sit well with the public, but it may be a necessary position while iTunes' video sales have to yet to mature. Movie studios, the analyst claims, would not support the store if Jobs pushed DRM-free video content.
"Most people believe he's taking advantage of a technicality when he says that," said James McQuivey, a principal analyst at Forrester Research told the publication. Programs that let users get around CSS are readily available and widely used, so it's not a strong argument for why the DVD industry is different from CDs.
While a major player in the music industry with over 10 percent of all retail sales, the iTunes Store has yet to become a major player in the video content sales. The result is that Jobs may need wait until Apple is in a better position to negotiate with movie studios.
"No movie studio would ever support the iTunes store if it was clear that Jobs would be pushing them to remove DRM," he said. If Jobs did start offering Disney content on iTunes without copy protection, the other studios might fear that he'd start pushing them to do the same, McQuivey told IDG News.