RIAA Borrows Jobs' Reality Distortion Field For Their Reponse To His Anti-DRM Manifesto

from the illiteracy dept

Steve Jobs managed to attract a little bit of attention to himself with his call for record labels to ditch DRM and sell digital files without any copy protection. The overall response to the letter has been extensive, but record labels’ reponse has been pretty muted. The RIAA, of course, weighed in, with a rather bizarre take on things, welcoming “Apple’s offer to license Fairplay to other technology companies” (via Engadget), and hailing it as a way to offer “the interoperability that [the RIAA has] been urging for a very long time.” Just one minor problem: Jobs was very clear that he has no interest in licensing Apple’s FairPlay DRM, saying that doing so would make it impossible to maintain the secrecy needed for it to work. The LA Times writer that posted the RIAA response thinks the RIAA was kidding, and lauds their sense of humor — but forgive us for being skeptical that a group that sends out SWAT teams and sues its customers has a funny side. He does, however, point out that the group could very easily solve this interoperability problem, if it’s such a concern, without Jobs’ help — by simply dropping their demand for DRM.

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Comments on “RIAA Borrows Jobs' Reality Distortion Field For Their Reponse To His Anti-DRM Manifesto”

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Bill W says:

Re: Apple lock-in

I’m sorry but I really can’t understand why you say that only DRM will “lock-in” Apple!

The other draw, and IMHO even stronger, is “user experience” .. a case in point … I strongly prefer one credit card provider (no I won’t tell you which one) because I get fantastic customer service. You can probably guess which one. When I call I get “Yes, sir” and “No, sir” and I don’t have to send in any stinking written letters if I dispute a claim. Is there any “DRM” that ties me to my credit card? Heck NO! Do I want to switch? Heck NO!

Without DRM will ITMS survive? Yes! And thrive. I do agree that DRM has helped them but I think it’s time to throw off those shackles and open the competition. I expect that iTunes and Steve Jobs will do just fine … thank you very much!!!

Bill W

Anonomous Coward says:

The RIAA is a Licensing Company. It’s the business they are in, and all they know. They are in the business of lobbying for laws to manage IP. It’s their business model. They don’t believe in Open Market!

It makes sense that the RIAA would offer up “Licensing” as a solution to the DRM instead of providing their customers what they want!

If Steve Jobs decides to stop selling iPod in France, European customers will probably revolt, then the RIAA and European equivalents will have THEIR ASSES handed to them!!

Anon says:

Not Quite

no, not quite. Unfortunately the masses have a tendency to not see too far beyond the immediate – i.e. Apple stopped selling = Apple Sucks

Its the same phenomena behind half the gripes about Windows – crappy app “X” completely borked and took Windows with it, ergo its MS’s fault not the company that made crappy app “X” (though in all fairness, MS could do a little better with the error handling)

Why do you think earlier we were seeing articles about why the labels in the RIAA hide behind the RIAA moniker instead of suing/etc. outright? Sony vs. Granny makes Sony out to be the bad guy where RIAA vs. Granny lets Sony get away scot free.

rahrens (profile) says:

lockin isn't needed

Whoever that AC is up there in #3 & 4 is a doofus. Didn’t you read Jobs essay?

There IS NO lock-in, regardless of how much the Inquirer wants to spin things. 90% of songs stored and used on iPods have no DRM. They are mostly loaded from customers’ owned CDs. Plus any illegally obtained music, which of course, would also have no DRM. So where’s the lock-in?

Apple is NOT afraid of competition, they have fared very well in an open market. The iPod was well on its way to popularity even before the ITMS (as it was then known) was launched. How did iPod customers get their music? CDs and shared downloads. Mostly Cds. That’s how I started mine. Ripped them into iTunes and then synced my iPod. No store, no DRM. Just me and my music.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: lockin isn't needed

holy cow… did people even read the article in #1… if someone posts a response to an article and you attack the response WITHOUT reading the article *you’re* the doofus.

the article says Jobs’ manifesto isn’t about making things better for the customer but about trying to further lock people into only use iPods and iTunes. it says people who are applauding his manifesto are naive and just believe what they want.

*THATS* what #3 and #4 was responding too. next time try reading before attacking people.

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:

The lockin is a myth

Apple doesnt care about placing restrictions on ipods, and never has. They agreed (under pressure) to DRM so they could make iTunes exist, not so they could make the iPod exist.

The iPod does already and will in the future do quite well without DRM. Those that can’t see past this “lock-in” restriction are obviously burnt by M$. But even M$ doesnt do lock-in with music players. They can’t. Its the RIAA that holds all the cards.

Jobs has flip flopped his stance on DRM repeatedly because he had to. He originally said he disdained DRM, and eventually, grudgingly, adopted it because he thought iTMS with DRM would be better than no DRM at all. Ever since, he has taken every opportunity possible to publicly humiliate the “big 4”. He never wanted DRM. He still doesn’t.

(yes, this was posted on a mac, so take that with a grain of distortion field salt)

PhysicsGuy says:

amazing... lockin isn't needed

the illogic abounds. the “lock in” isn’t about locking in to itms… it’s about locking itms customers into the ipod. jobs doesn’t care about the 90% of songs that aren’t from itms.

think about it, one of his services is itms which sells music… therefore HIS music that HE’S selling can only be played on HIS device… THAT’S the lock-in. jobs’ essay? public relations. if there’s one thing apple’s good at it’s the manipulation of the public’s perception of the company. look at the image they maintain while they are on par with microsoft when it comes to strong arm tactics. hmm, this essay couldn’t have come at a better time than directly after talks about antitrust issues in europe, now could it? think about, it’s almost been 4 years since itms started, don’t you think this essay would have come a little sooner if jobs really had something against drm? how convenient he doesn’t become vocal about it until after antitrust issues surface about their drm use…

i know a lot of apple sheep are slow on the uptake, but seriously… think for a second before getting in a tuff and speaking all irrationally.

as far as the riaa is concerned, to them what jobs posits is a joke… jobs knows damn well the riaa won’t allow non-drmed content, the riaa knows jobs knows this… therefore when jobs comes out with a joke about “the evils of drm” what can the riaa do but laugh about it and give a “license of fairplay” joke right back. seriously, as greedy as those from the riaa are, they’re not stupid.

PhysicsGuy says:

The lockin is a myth

“Apple doesnt care about placing restrictions on ipods, and never has. “

of course not, there have never been restrictions on ipods so why would they? what they care about is the restrictions on the music they sell through their service which only plays on their device.

it’s pretty sad when people can’t see past a blatant pr scheme… see, that’s the thing, unlike microsoft who understands the business but not the people, apple understands the people… and how to manipulate their perception 😛

Generic says:

Pffft this move by Jobs is an easy way out.

Its fairly simple, Mr. Jobs is choosing the less costlier court fee’s vs the complaint from foreign countries about the DRM from Itunes. They will all goto court by Oct 2007, if it’s not resolved.

If he can satisfy the music industries with permissions of removing the DRM wrapper from Itunes, he won’t have to go to court with 3 foreign countries that are suing APPLE, ITUNES, for monopolizing the music in which it sells.

It’s easier to convince the music industry , since ITUNES / Songs has been successful in its selling platform, it holds alot of leverage. And it’s easier to please the other 3 countries with attempts of “good faith” than getting sued by 3 countries.

The DRM has been cracked 3 times so far. its just a generic wrapper that itunes uses when the consumer downloads it via Itunes. Now that it took 3 countries to take an action, I agree with them, make the music compatible for all MP3 players. So its really up to the Music Industries, to face up. The whole DRM has been nothing but a downhill rollercoaster, dont like the DRM, go out and buy the CD, DVD, media whatever.

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

good job Europe

i just want to thank the European countries who still hold up some standards and don’t cave into the corruption of some corporations quite as fast as America does.

Job’s is doing this because of the European lawsuits. he is trying to focus the blame away from Apple and onto the music labels, saying “hey, they are making us do this, we don’t want to, but they made us.”

either way it plays out, DRM is still a bad idea, still hurts the legal customers, and does nothing to stop piracy.

weird that World of Warcraft has done a great job at preventing piracy, yet, the MAFIAA is too stupid to get a clue and make that model work for them.

Bignumone (profile) says:

Argument flaws

All of the slamming of Apple assumes apple is making tons of money from the music. Yes, they make a lot of money, but the fact is, they charge up front for the hardware.
If they COULD make the music universal iTunes more than likely would be MORE popular. I personally don’t buy music on-line because I don’t like people telling me how I may use what I have paid for and I refuse to pay several times for the same thing.
Were it not for the RIAA and their demand for DRM, Apple would not have to use “Fairplay”.
If you observe Apple’s past, it has always been fairly open, trusting that people will be fair about how they use the software. How many times have you heard of Apple sueing people for using a license on more than one computer in their house? None to my knowledge because they don’t waste their energy invading people’s privacy for that kind of information.
Note: I ALWAYS pay for my media (when I want it bad enough), so don’t think I am being a hypocrit.
If you want to attack an end of this debate, thing about this:
I don’t know how it would effect the recording industry eliminating DRM. But I see they opulance with which people in music and video live, and their complaints of how pirating is losing them money rings rather hollow. It is hard to listen to a 17 year-old point out the “poor, poor technicians who will be out of a job if you ‘steal’ the content” and then drive away in one of their >$100,000 auto to one of their $10 mil dollar beach houses they got after the high profile divorce in which they lost half of what they own and are still worth more than 10 of us would earn in a life-time. Irrelevant because stealing is stealing, but come on, how much is too much? And do they really ADD that much to our society that we should bow down before them?

Jeff says:

DRM is a joke…anyone can record an mp3 from their stereo. Labels need to lower prices of albums/songs and sell direct to consumers.

Also, The RIAA’s efforts against file sharing are soon going to be a thing of the past with all of these new softwares that offer encrypted exchanges. Look at GigaTribe for instance ( http://www.gigatribe.com ), their free software lets users exchange entire folders of albums in a few easy clicks, and not even the ISPs can spot what’s being exchanged.

The music model is changing rapidly, and consumers and small/medium artists are going to be the main winners (the large artists will have to concentrate more on live appearances and merchandising).

rahrens (profile) says:

no lock-in


You’re wrong, that’s no lock-in. That’s the point. Since most people don’t have more than an average 22 songs on their iPod, then they are not “locked in” to staying with the iPod. Plus, if you want to burn your ITS music to Cd then re-rip it using the software to your new player, there’s nothing to stop you from doing that, either. Apple’s EULA to iTunes doesn’t prohibit that, either.

Lock-in is a myth, or properly, a straw man used to attack Apple.

He’s chosen now because they are re-negotiating with the labels in May, and he’s trying to use public and governmental pressure to try to force the labels to back off. Having to develop and maintain the DRM software on the iPod is expensive and adds a layer of complexity to how the unit works. Plus, as he noted, it has been broken before, and not fixing it risks losing the entire big 4’s library from the ITS. Not a good business model. Add this to the fact that Steve just HATES not being in full control, and the DRM isn’t under his control.

All plenty of reason to pick now.

PhysicsGuy says:

Argument flaws

“If you observe Apple’s past, it has always been fairly open, trusting that people will be fair about how they use the software.”

really? so you mean they keep osx open to install on any pc without a run around process? wow… there’s a lot of web sites about installing osx on pcs that just became irrelevant because of your insightful wisdom on apple being open about how people use their software…

funny… apple’s osx locks you in to using their hardware… very similar to how itms music locks you into use… [gasp] … their hardware.

Anonymous Coward says:

people who think iTunes doesn’t lock you into iPod is an idiot. you *can* buy music from iTS, but do not use it on an iPod requires extra effort and money (for the CDs) that some people either don’t understand (can’t burn the CD) or don’t want to pay extra for. chances are, if you use iTS, you use an iPod. so, you probably wouldn’t remove the DRM right away since you don’t need to. Down the line, if you want to change, it’d require a few hours of work to use another mp3 player.

lock-ins aren’t foolproof. you can get around them. but they’re still lock-ins.

apple won’t have a lock-in without DRM. people who think they’ll have a lock-in due to ease of use, good customer service, etc. that’s not a lock-in moron. the user has a choice but decides to stay.

i thought the readers of techdirt were smarter than this…

think aout it says:

The argument that Jobs doesn’t care about DRM because the iPod was big even before iTunes no longer holds. The reason the iPod was so huge is because it was so revolutionary. There was nothing else in the market like it.

Look at the market now. There iPod rip-offs left and right, and most of them are cheaper, and have better features (e.g., expandable memory, digital recording, REPLACEABLE BATTERY). So if Jobs were to do away with these “chains” that he’s been “battling against” for so long he’ll have to compete in a totally different market than the one in which he started.

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