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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

In Web Manifesto, Apple's Jobs Calls for End to DRM

Me, in WinInfo, pointing out the obvious:
There are times when Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs seem well ahead of the curve, releasing products and services that easily trump anything the competition is doing. And then there are times when Apple is a follower, though the company tries, in such cases, to pretend that it is leading the way. This is an example of the latter case.

Steve Jobs, in an open letter to posted to Apple's Web site that was clearly aimed at the world's largest record companies, yesterday called for an end to Digital Rights Management (DRM), the technologies that protect legally purchased digital music and videos from piracy. Jobs' pleas follow years of complaints from analysts, music fans, and an increasing number of industry executives, all of whom have noted that DRM restrictions have stymied online music sales.

Regardless of the timing, Apple will always claim that it led the way to unfettered music downloads, of course. And though the company knows that record companies will never bow to this kind of pressure, Apple can also claim it's been looking out for the interests of consumers all along. If that's really true, I'll just reiterate a request I've been making for a long time now. Mr. Jobs, tear down that DRM wall: License FairPlay, seek a license to Microsoft's Windows Media technologies, and make all of these products interoperate in the world as it is, even if it's not as perfect as the one you allegedly prefer.
Translation: DRM is bad, but if we must have it, make it interoperable. Microsoft is willing to license Windows Media to Apple. Apple should be willing to license FairPlay as well. It's that simple. We can talk about imaginary worlds where everything is free (free as in non-DRM'd) and no one steals, but let's talk about reality a bit, eh?

And while we're at it, iTunes customers should be demanding higher quality music from Apple as well. 128 Kbps wasn't cool a few years ago, but it's a joke now. Heck, you can even get lossless ("HD") music from some Windows Media-based services now. As I've said all along, choice is good.

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[ Posted at 11:42 AM | Permalink ]


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