Anti-DRM forces begin to coalesce

by Jeremiah Foster

Apple has taken a lot of heat for its DRM policies. But the "Defective By Design" campaign will raise the temperature a bit. I think this is both right, and unfair. Right because DRM is a really, really bad idea. Unfair because Apple, though they use DRM, is one of the least evil of DRM practitioners.


2006-09-27 14:34:44
With you apart from the boy bands bit. It's been possible for musicians and artists to bypass the distribution channels since the 70s and many have; the big companies have responded by controlling the channels of promotion, and increasing the cost of marketing astronomically.

The internet changes that, slightly (why do you think Rupert Murdoch bought mySpace???) but the audience that actively seeks out music is still tiny compared to the broad mainstream that will consume the artists broken by the web. (In that sense, blogging replaces the music press). But beyond a certain size, you see the 'myspace' bands advertised on TV or getting mainstream airplay, and that costs money, and that is the mediation the majors have always provided.

(And why artists, after a certain point, ditch the indie that has successfully brought them up to maybe 100,000 sales for the major that promises them millions).

2006-09-27 14:38:24
"disintermediated" - would you please translate that into plain English?

2006-09-27 16:02:13
"Removing the middleman"
Tom Davies
2006-09-27 16:48:08
Is the media companies' paranoia in Apple's interest?:
Virgil Anty
2006-09-27 20:41:26
v))) Vigilante
No offense and without judgement in regards to the law abiding citizens who happen by; but in accord with ideologies that parallel the likes of Thoreau's 1849 essay on the right and obligation to follow your conscience (Civil Disobedience), I haven't forked over a single dime to said Cartel since the dawn of Napster, nor will I ever again. The mere fact that the current perversion of modern media is the status quo should read like a scorched thermometer pulled from the devil's ass. The fact that the masses not only don't oppose such blatant corruptions but openly support it with their hard earned dollars, is baffling. I don't need any laws enacted to tell me who is a theif and who isn't, ski masks or DRM, it's all the same to me.

And while I've never been the 24/7 revolutionary, coop type, there's plenty to be said for V is for Vendetta.

ps I agree that Apple has done a remarkable job walking the DRM tightrope. The Cartels won't allow Apple to release any of their Artists music unless they approve of the DRM tactics, so it's true, don't blame Apple altogether. If musicians weren't starry eyed and stupid enough to sign their lives away for unfair returns, and Joe Public had better taste in music and didn't require Arista's seal of approval on their tracks, then the 21st centure music business model could begin.

2006-09-27 22:28:28
How convenient that your "V for Vendetta" stance also lets you avoid paying for music you want.

I wonder -- if it cost them money, would the pirates be so principled?

Jamie McC
2006-09-28 02:21:36
Remember how Steve Jobs revealed to the press how hard he'd battled with the 4 Mr Bigs, telling them over and over again that DRM doesn't work, it's an arms-race that can't be won, that all locks can be picked and at the end of the day there's the analogue hole anyway?

I hate the labels, but I still pay my way- some of that money goes to the artists who I actually appreciate and want to pay for the enjoyment they give me.

2006-09-28 02:39:48
Apple takes a lot of heat because they have a big market share.
And becasuse they use DRM. I don't think it is any good to compare how evil company A is compared to company B. As long as they use DRM they don't repect my freedom.
2006-09-28 03:05:50
And if he sent each artist whose music he downloaded $1 per album (which is more than they get now) directly, would you stop wagging your finger at him for supposedly "breaking the law"?

The "you just hate DRM because downloading is free" crowd never consider that the inverse -- that they just pay because you value observing certain laws (i.e., those developed by wealthy and exploitative cartels to enforce their monopoly) over the legitimate recompense of the artists who create the music from which those cartels derive their profits.

You make observance of the law the highest value, even while conceding that the way the law was created and who it serves is totally illegitmate and exploitative. And you undoubtedly break other laws every day. So your "strict" adherence to laws -- no matter what they are -- is actually quite situational, and seems to be more about capitalism (not a high value) than social order (an arguably higher value) or actual justice and fairness (even higher values).

You basically defend the existing order no matter what it is, and dress that up as a principled belief in obediance to the law -- as if obediance to the law is an absolute value, no matter how unjust a given law is. Yet you've undoubtedly applauded various people who, throughout history, broke laws that they thought were unjust, and that most people at the time defended as absolutely necessary to maintain social order.

History -- and change -- are made by lawbreakers, not by status-quo sycophants such as the "don't steal music" crowd who, like Inspector Clousea, don't recognize theft even when it's happening right in front of their eyes. They just parrot the words and enforce the social order of the powerful interests that are robbing them, but they're too daft to recognize that they're actually cheerfully paying rich corporations to steal music from poor artists -- and smugly defending those corporations right to do so, and their own role in abetting them.

Keep sending Apple your $.99, boys, and feel oh-so-good about how law-abiding you all are ...

2006-09-28 06:28:20
Don't think for a second that Apple wants to get rid of DRM. Steve Jobs may have told the record labels that is was bad, but he has tasted the poison fruit and found that he loves it. DRM is about vendor lock-in. The one who owns DRM controls everything. And Apple controls everything in the music download business. And the record labels are too stupid to see that. Their problem is they think there can be a DRM that is controlled by the RIAA. It will be magically created. I'll stick with CD's until the day there are no more CD's made. Then I'll switch back to vinyl.
Devils Advocate
2006-09-28 08:05:58
I'm against DRM because it makes my life harder, I always pay for the music that I put on my computer/ipod and I always pay for software, so I feel mistreaded.
I write software, I do know how difficult it is, how time consuming, how much work it is and I know how many people think they have the right to use something I created, just because they are too dumb to do it themselves and because the software is not protected.
Many people who complain about DRM do this because it does not make live more difficult for the rightful user, but because it makes theft a little bit more difficult.
Still I'm against DRM, but I can live with the incarnation Apple uses.
I wished that people wouldn't steal music and call it their right to download work created by others for free. If you really want to change something, don't downlad illegally and don't buy any music in whatever form for half a year or how long it takes for the majors to offer music in an acceptable way and price. Music is not needed for live. Just be abstinent for half a year.
But would the industry probably notice your abstinence ? They will not if you never pay but steal ?
2006-09-28 08:30:45
Apple takes the heat on DRM because it uses DRM. Any company that uses DRM is restricting YOU from using YOUR legally bought content in ways in which YOU want to use them.

When I buy a car, no one tells me that I can drive on X roads in Alabama but not Y roads there. Or that I can't drive through the state of North Carolina with a Ford because the wheels aren't compatible with the roads there. Imagine if automotive manufacturers tried to manage your rights with automobiles?

Sure we're talking technology, but it's not that different. If I buy something and pay the money to have it, if I want to use it to shingle my house or use it to power my toaster I should be able to do so. Of course, using it to profit without permission is wrong...but that's not what we're talking about here.

When companies understand that they will never have that amount of control on something INSIDE MY HOUSE and they stop trying to push through the front door they'll benefit. As it is now, they're pushing through the door and most people let them waltz in. Not this person though.

2006-09-28 09:02:30
That's a bad example.
There is DRM (sort of) on cars at least in Europe.
You buy the car, you own it (just like music).
You have to pay a yearly fee (they call it insurance and tax, instead of subscription fee).
You have to make sure your car is compatible (they call it TÜV in Germany instead of DRM algorithm whatever)
If you fail any of that your not allowed to use your car anymore and might have to pay a fee (Just like you know ...).
So, one difference exists, ther are not many drivers that have stolen the car they are using, they usually bought it.

The efects are quite the same as DRM.