Steve Jobs Calls For an End to DRM

He says, quite rightly, IMHO, that it simply doesn’t work.

It sounds to me like he’s trying to pull off the “killer app” for Macs, since nearly everyone’s bitching about the DRM “features” in Windows Vista. The RIAA, of course, is having none of it.

Uh, yeah, guys. Good plan, that, since you know, it doesn’t freakin’ work! Of course, instead of letting Apple come up with an industry wide DRM, you could get Sony to do it, so that everyone’s PC/Mac/iPod/iRiver/Zune, etc. could be riddled with crappy spyware which leaves their system vulnerable to identity thieves. :rolleyes:

It’s interesting, and I’d love to see him try. I think he’s a bit out there with the comment on CDs though; the reason CDs don’t get copied more is that it isn’t easy to do well on a device dedicated to playing CDs (i.e. a stereo), whereas if you’re buying music as electronic files, the chances are that you’ll already have the equipment necessary to copy them, unless restrained by DRM of some kind.

It’s a bit like the book/ebook thing - books have DRM built in because it’s a pain in the ass to copy them and it’s difficult to do well.

Still, it’s interesting and it’s refreshing to see someone in his kind of position take a stance like this.

I’ve bought CD/DVDs combo that I couldn’t play in my DVD player. The anticopy interprets my DVD player as being a “piracy attempt”, since it happens to be my computer.


OTOH, I have some vinyls that I hadn’t been able to listen to in ages. Some have been passed to CD, but why should I pay twice for music that I already own and which (accordind to Spanish law) it’s legal for me to copy for my own personal use and for protection of the initial media? Just because I can’t get a turntable for a less-than-4-figures price and connect it to the 'puter? Just because the turntables being sold aren’t just DJ-price but DJ-size and I’d need my whole living room to set one up? I’ve been able to listen to the tapes, but some of those tapes have had to be filed under G-for-garbage.

The reason I say “hadn’t” and not “haven’t” is that I just used peer-to-peer to download mp3s someone else had already made. I do own the records. It’s legal if you have the vinyl, the judges sez :smiley: Lots of them are my age or older, they were also sick of not being able to listen to their records.

This may be of interest to you…

I’m sure most people have heard this, but DRM only punishes the people actually buy the content. When you pirate something you get to enjoy some nice DRM free content, while people who paid money for it suffer.

True. Likewise, the only people who get lectured with unskippable sermons about pirate DVDs are the people who bought the real thing.

Lovely, thank you! Now I can record my “weird” stuff! (Hey, finding the complete discography for people with 20 records out is a lot easier than finding one movie soundtrack from the '70s)

Sweet Jesus, I hate those. No-one with the intent to copy a DVD has ever looked at one of those shitty deals and changed his mind. Fucking idiocy.

I think Jobs has the right idea. The only reason the RIAA objects is because an end to DRM would put an end to them, and that would be just terrible. :rolleyes:

The whole DRM issue has been absurdly idiotic from day one because it seems like 30 years of software piracy has taught the music and movie industries sweet bugger all, because there is one very simple truth at work here: If you invent a copy protection scheme, it will be broken. So it was, so it is, so it shall ever be. The more clever the scheme, the greater a challenge the hacker will view it as, and the harder (s)he will work to crack it.

Perhaps more to the point however is that those buying songs off of the iTunes store – or from any music service – aren’t doing so because they can’t find anywhere to download it for free. They’re doing it because they don’t like to pirate music. Those who are affected by DRM are not the ones DRM was meant to protect the industries from. Those who pirate music can find whatever it is they’re looking for through myriad channels. There is virtually nothing available in these DRM-protected stores that can’t be freely downloaded elsewhere. (The only possible exceptions are types of music and artists so obscure or outside the mainstream or even the fringes that no one’s really looking for them in the first place)

I subscribe to a music service. The songs I download are DRM-free, and that’s the way I like it. The service I subscribe to doesn’t have licenses from the “big 4” but they have plenty of great stuff just the same and I’m happy to pay for it, especially because the price is superb. (It’s perfectly legit, they’re the biggest indie music store around) But y’know what? If the music in the iTunes store was DRM-free, I might actually be inclined to buy from it, because I’d legitimately own the rights to play the music, and with whatever device(s) I care to do so on. The inability to do so is simply a disincentive for me to buy music from places that wrap their music in DRM.

I’m all for scrapping DRM entirely. The simple fact is: Those who are inclined to buy music are going to continue to buy music if they’re not bound in DRM, and may even buy more. Those who are not inclined to buy music, DRM or otherwise, will continue to not buy music and just download them from whatever source they will, DRM-free. DRM does no one any good.

The cynical side of me is wondering if Jobs is doing this because he is about to lose the ITunes store monopoly for Ipods, at least in Europe. It’s a bit of tortured thinking to get there but by his announcement that he thinks music should be DRM free he can go in front of various governments stating that the reason music sold from the ITunes store will only work on Ipods is that the evil music companies *insist * on DRM. Since it is the evil music companies insisting on DRM, Apple is just complying with the record companies demands by using FairPlay so the governments need to go after the music companies, not Apple.

Of course, he could also really mean it.


Lame reasoning. Plenty of manufactures make mp3 players that are compatible with Yahoo, Napster, etc. and those providers didn’t have their DRM compromised.

That actually seems pretty smart to me. The last thing Jobs wants to do is become the next Microsoft everyone wants to sue. He stands to make much more money by positioning iTunes & iPod to be the way people want to get their music, as opposed to the way people feel they have to get their music.

Yeah, but those manufactorers have a very small share of the market. Presently Apple (70% of the online market according to a Wiki article) is the one the governements of Europe are going after. I just posted my first thoughts on the issue. I just did a quick google and found this article on AppleInsider which states:

A closed systems benifits Apple the most presently. If they are going to lose that it is better to get out ahead of it and at the same time put the pressure on the record companies. Even if the record companies balk, which I am sure they will, it puts Apple on the good guy side.


Sorry, I meant that Jobs justification for not distributing the Apple DRM was lame.

Ever seen Amazon Women on the Moon? There’s a great video pirate bit in there, where the pirates see the FBI warning and go, “Oh, I’m so scared!” and then promptly burst into maniacal laughter.

DRM does nothing to stop the professional pirates. Apparently, you can buy bootleg copies of Windows Vista in Brazil for $10! Romania, BTW, credits software piracy for building their nation!


This just in, EMI looks to ditch DRM!

Chinks appear to be forming in the RIAA’s armor. :cool:

You’ve just hit on another reason for DRM. Old stuff takes market share away from new stuff. The more trouble people have finding the offbeat or weird, the industry hopes, the more will give up and just buy what they’re being sold.

What, I will buy Outkast because I can’t listen to Footloose?

The recording industry doesn’t know me very well.

WooHoo! Now I can listen to my Don Ho LP forever! :smiley:

I can’t see it. He has a valid point: The more people who know about FairPlay’s “secrets,” the larger the chances for a breach of its security. With a breach of its security, music companies will threaten to withdraw their library if the breach isn’t fixed in a certain amount of time. That breach will take longer to fix if it affects more than just Apple because Apple will no longer have control over all necessary updates and patches for software other than iTunes, its store and its players. Thus, the greater threat – that of losing the support of at least some of the “big 4” will cost them big time.

I don’t know if this is a whoosh, but that doesn’t make any sense. No one is going to just say “Oh well. I can’t find that Jobriath album. I guess I’ll just have to buy some o’ that new Rap stuff.”