Real CEO Understands The Downsides Of DRM

from the keep-on-talkin dept

RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser says record labels screwed up “by allowing Apple to create devices that are not interoperable”, and empowering it to become such a dominant force in the digital music industry. He’s sort of missing the point, though, it was the labels’ insistence on copy protection — of which incompatibility can be seen as a major feature — that made Apple so powerful. Glaser’s comments are tempered by Real’s long-running desire to be able to sell downloads to iPod users. Glaser goes on to say how the only way users can get interoperability is by “stealing” music. There’s one other way it could happen: sell them DRM-free music. You’d imagine that given his role as the head of a company in this market, and with his apparently huge concerns about interoperability, it’s something he’d try to push for, or at the very least, be aware of. The inability to move legally purchased content across devices and platforms is one of DRM’s most significant issues, and despite Glaser’s contentions, simply making the DRM interoperable isn’t the best solution.

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Comments on “Real CEO Understands The Downsides Of DRM”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I believe you meant ‘asinine’.

Also, the article makes an interesting point about how Apple DRM doesn’t work on any other portable player but the iPod. This is called “vendor lock-in” and is considered anti-competitive practice.

See the part about Apple Computer. Apple should be sued and required to open up the format so it would work on all players. Maybe the industry should adopt an open DRM solution that all players can use to play the files.

RareButSeriousSideEffects says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Illegal to remove DRM

Re: “It is illegal to remove the DRM which is what happens when converting to mp3,” That’s right. So basically it’s a criminal choice to maintain computers free of closed & proprietary media players, regardless of the legitimate ownership of the liberated content (assuming there’s formerly DRMd content on those systems, that is).

For people who aren’t sitting the digital revolution out, the marketers of closed formats have effectively managed to outlaw the act of boycotting their wares. We purchase systems, we purchase music and movies, but theft or no theft we can’t legally use our purchases as we choose in the privacy of our own homes.

I honestly used to care about rampant piracy. I’m sad to say that I don’t anymore. The MPAAs, RIAAs, Microsofts, Reals & Apples of the world have intruded much too far into my personal space – and have sponsored infringements on my freedoms far too casually – for my conscience to be pressed into service for their benefit ever again.

Even if the economic collapse of the entire entertainment industry was at stake (it isn’t), it would still not come close to being enough to warrant the curtailing of rights that we’re experiencing now.

What other social ill provokes legislators to criminalize the legitimate, everyday conduct of millions of average citizens in the name of preventing a single breed of theft crime before it even happens? Terrorism or Child Pornography? Not even — we rightly recognize those acts as horrid & worthy of as strong an antidote as possible. But even if it helps our law enforcement agencies combat those evils, we don’t just sit back & take this kind of erosion of the Bill of Rights; we argue and protest and argue some more, and we fight it out until we’re assured that the strong antidote we get isn’t a poision to freedom itself. Just scan today’s current events for proof.

So where are the pitchfork-and-torch mobs on this one? However you might feel about it, millions of people recently filled the streets in the name of one’s right to disregard our immigration laws & be in the US illegally. So how is it then that – in the name of something as frivolous as music / movie piracy prevention – we just sit back and wait to see how much further our rights rollback is going to go?!

Forge (user link) says:

The idea of an open, industry-wide DRM platform is exciting. I’ve never had problems with DRM, per se, just with incompatible/exclusive versions of it.

Even better would be an open-source implementation, but with the source it would probably be a lot easier to write some app that takes in the DRM-laden original and ‘plays’ it into an open and DRM-free output, like an MP3 or MPG file.

markieMark (user link) says:

Pot calls kettle black, Howard Stern claims he did

Ok. now that I;ve linked two topics.

The CEO of REAL networks is COMPLAINING about PROPRIETARY file formats?

damn. and all this time I have deleted real player from EVERY single PC I build and sell and Deny myself some content because it;s ONLY viewable that way

BECAUSE they also used to include SPYWARE in their software>

This guy has as big a set of balls, as does Howard Stern!

trollificus says:

#13 stole my proprietary policy!

I ALSO have removed realplayer from every machine Ive built or sold, and when my daughter complained there was streaming content she could not see as a result thereof, I explained that the people who provided that content hated her, and didnt really WANT her to see that content.

That was a bit of exaggeration, of course, but really, any site that chose RPF (Real Proprietary Formats) was NOT making decisions based on what site visitors needed or wanted.

(on an unrelated note, my apostrophe key now brings up the search window in Firefox, though the key assignment works in all other apps. wtf?)

RareButSeriousSideEffects says:

Re: RPF (#14 trollificus)

Amen to that.

I couldn’t get my wife to stop clicking “yes” when she wanted to view something & was presented with a “you need a plugin…” or “you need a license” prompt.

After doing that on a WMV “joke video” I found some very nasty neigbors had moved into her registry. After doing that on a Sony CD, I found a bunch of system APIs had been irrepairably altered & re-appropriated for the CD publisher’s own purposes.

And after doing just that on a web-embedded .mov file, my lovely and quite well-intentioned wife was rewarded with a massive QuickTime install. Though she’s a sharp chick & she read all the dialogs, she had no awareness of the impending bundled iTunes install, or of its intention to commandeer all of her media files, or that it would load an ever accumulating bunch of junk at system startup and bring her poor little PIII 800 to its knees.

So hats off to you for your proprietary policy & your parenting approach to this; they’re both right on. I’m with you, and I’m sick enough of the invasive nature of these security-compromising formats to make a pretty consistent effort at eliminating the effects of their existence from my life.

This makes me a criminal, but if you’re willing to go off the grid in order to prevent this stuff from creeping into your household or workplace, I’ve found the following quite helpful (Warning: it may be illegal to use all the features of some of these programs, or to convert incompatible files or transcode / render proprietary streams into open formats that free & open source software will play. This may be true irrespective of whether you own the file and do so only for your own use. I am not a lawyer.)

How To Rid Your Life of Insecure, Intrusive and Restrictive Media Players with Minimal Loss of Content:

Players —–

Media Player Classic:
(More usable & secure Windows Media Player replacement with a smaller footprint; less rigorous than VLC about maintaining free code purity. My personal #2.)

VideoLAN VLC Media Player:
(Religiously open source, smooth, stable, swiss army knife of media formats; my personal default association for > 90% of existing media file types).

Codecs, codec bundles, & codec bundles with players —-

DivX Codec and DivX Player:
MPEG based high-efficiency & high quality format, very amenable to translation both ways between playable DVDs and computer files.

Real Alternative:
(Codecs for Real audio, video, etc. files and streams.)

QuickTime Alternative:
(Codecs for QuickTime .mov files and streams.)

Mega Codec Pack (includes both of the above & more):
(It would take a pretty exotic codec to be unplayable after installing this set, which includes the two codecs mentioned above. These all work in Media Player Classic at a minimum; most individual codecs in the pack work in the vast majority of other players as well.)

m3athelmet says:

Re: drm

yep…good link. I’ve used them for over a year now with excellent results.

Funny, every time thise convertion comes up at …Digg for example, someone always brings up and someone always states “it’s illegal”. It’s not…

If you don’t want DRMed music, wnat good quality (you can pick your bitrate), and a cheap price use

I think of it as outsourcing my buying habits. American companies outsource tech work to save money, i outsource buying music to save money. Why par almost 7 times the price for an inferior product I can play on my Ipod/work PC/ home PC?

NSMike says:

DRM End-Round

If I end-round the DRM on the downloaded content I already paid for so I can use it on an MP3 player/device that does not play the DRM’ed music format, I should be protected under Fair Use. I’m not doing it with the intention of illegal distribution nor have I not paid for it. I kept my DRM’ed, paid-for copy, therefore my Un-DRM’ed copy should be legal.

I feel like I’m stating the obvious, but sadly the corporations who use DRM would have us forget this handy little rule.

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