3 thoughts on “Boing Boing: Apple’s hypocritical slam against French DRM-interop law

  1. I totally disagree with Cory here. Cory’s whole point hinges on claims that Apple is hypocritical for shipping units capable of holding tens of thousands of albums when few people own that many. The point is dishonest at best. The iPod supports Apple Lossless, which averages between 250 and 350 megs per full CD. I can’t fit half of my own music collection on it, and save for a few iTMS singles I bought online, I own the CD for every last song in my collection.

  2. I saw his point as hinging on the fact that Apple said the French law would enable piracy, but has already said they’re DRM can’t stop piracy. That’s where I see the hipocracy.

    I too have a 40 gig iPod that is full of legal music, with lots of my collection that still won’t fit.

    I agree with you, that the point about the size of the player essentially admitting that people pirate music is jive.

  3. Apple’s argument that the French legislation will increase piracy is, of course, nonsense. And I think Cory nails the two primary reasons that Apple uses its proprietary FairPlay DRM on ITMS content and refuses to license it to others.

    One purpose of FairPlay is to placate the record companies, which are only willing to license their content for sale by ITMS if it is “protected.” Cory correctly points out that the foolish content owners still think protection is possible, whereas Apple openly acknowleges that it isn’t. I think Cory is also correct that Apple isn’t going to go after the hackers who make FairPlay cracking tools available on the net, but as Real has already found out, competitors had better keep their noses clean.

    Most importantly, FairPlay is critical to Apple’s marketing stategy in that it tethers ITMS to the iPod. While idealists pine for an unDRMed world and pragmatists hope for a unified DRM standard, Apple runs a vertical market; folks who don’t like this fact are free to buy a wide variety of other products, and the fact that they aren’t only gives Apple added clout. Trying to regulate this market is beyond bizarre, and Apple will certainly quit the French market, which analysts estimates accounts for only 2% to 5% of its revenues, before it will license FairPlay. Of course, if the full EU joins the French it’s a whole new ballgame.

    Here’s food for thought: Sun Microsystems just contributed an open source DRM system to the Open Media Commons:

    http://www.openmediacommons.org/news/03212006-omcworkshop_press_release.html

    This system appears to run in two modes: “Conditional Access System” (CAS), which enforces a one-size-fits-all license just like conventional DRM systems, and “Mother May I” (MMI), which supports a rights negotiation model. MMI would seem to make a lot of interesting new economic models possible. For example, Todd’s Record Company could disribute its content using both the ITMS single purchase model and its own subscription model, say $10/yr for unlimited download with limited copying rights or $100/yr with unlimited copying rights. What rights, if any, are be restricted in the content you download would be negotiated automagically between your client software and my server. Very interesting possibilities indeed, especially as artists begin to recognize the possibilities of doing business without their dinosaur distributors as partners.

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