Defective by Design

Doctorow on Jobs DRM Dance

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-02-23 15:42

Cory Doctorow had a great article in Salon today about Steve jobs tortured DRM position.

We couldn't have said any of this better ourselves. Here are some excerpts from Cory's piece.


I doubt Jobs' sincerity. I suspect he likes DRM because it creates an anti-competitive lock-in to Apple. I think he's trying to shift blame for the much-criticized DRM to the music industry, whose executives are twirling their mustaches and declaring DRM to be the only way forward for their industry.

Yet the dream of a copy-proof song or movie is a logical absurdity. DRM systems -- built over a span of years at a cost of millions -- are routinely cracked in an afternoon by bored teenagers. BigChampagne, the P2P (peer-to-peer) monitoring service, reports that it takes a mere 180 seconds for a DRM'ed song released on the iTunes Store to show up as a free P2P download. Anyone who thinks that companies are going to make bits get harder to copy in the future is either not paying attention or kidding himself.


Jobs' DRM stance has historically been all over the map. He's defended and decried DRM and consumer rights depending on which way the wind blows, and the spirit moves him. There was the "Rip, Mix, Burn" campaign, when Apple celebrated the idea that you could take DRM-free music off of CDs and load it onto your iPod (if you want to do the same thing with a DRM'ed DVD, you're an outlaw). Back in 2002, he went on the record with this gem: "If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own."

I especially like this:

Then there's the matter of the movies and TV shows sold through the iTunes Store. The first adopter of this marketplace was Disney/Pixar. Jobs is the single largest shareholder in Disney/Pixar. Apparently, he forced himself to add DRM to his Pixar movies, turning a deaf ear to his own impassioned arguments to leave the DRM off. Videos you buy from the iTunes Store can only be watched on Apple's products. So every movie you buy from Apple is a tax down the line of switching from Apple to a competing product.
I have often wondered about it myself!
Read the entire article on Salon...

Topic:  drm apple ipod itms
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