How The Recording Industry's Obsession On DRM Made Apple So Powerful

from the unintended-consequences... dept

Oh how we all love those unintended consequences that come back to bite those who only think one level deep. It's no secret that, lately, the recording industry is pissed off at Apple for not raising prices on iTunes songs (something we still think the recording industry has no say over -- if they want to raise wholesale prices, then they should go ahead). They've even gone so far as to threaten to pull their songs from iTunes, something it's unlikely many of them will do. However, Copyfight points to a piece by Tim Lee which notes that it's the recording industry's own obsession with copy protection technology that made Apple so powerful. Apple has tremendous lock-in with iTunes, in large part because they gave in to recording industry demands to use copy protection technology. That means that customers are unlikely to go elsewhere and the only ones who really suffer if a label pulls out of iTunes is that label. So, instead, Lee suggests the recording industry should negotiate a new deal that demands that Apple removes all copy protection as it would free people up to leave Apple and buy elsewhere -- taking away much of Apple's power position. Of course, the established recording industry will never go for it (nor would Apple) as they've come to believe the mantra that copy protection is necessary that they're blind to any possible business model that doesn't use it, or to the ways in which copy protection does more harm than good to their business. It's amazing that it's becoming clear to just about everyone outside of the entertainment industry how damaging copy protection is from a business model standpoint -- but the industry continues to insist it's the only way to go.

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  1. identicon
    jeremiah, 11 Oct 2005 @ 2:26am

    Re: DRM is not just about your damn mp3's...

    "I'm really confused about why you're so upset about this post." Mike, I'm not upset about this post, per se. And I never suggested you shouldn't have posted it.

    "It's pretty obvious that we're talking about copy protection as applied to the entertainment industry."

    ...which is the crux of my criticism. Techdirt has beat the "entertainment industry just doesn't get it" meme into the ground. We get it already. Tell us something we don't know.

    "If you want us to talk about copy protection as it applies to the medical industry, that's a totally different issue -- and not particularly relevant to this post."

    I couldn't disagree more, Mike. You can't have a conversation about DRM without discussing its impact on other aspects of our lives. To confine the discussion (yet again) as it applies to only the entertainment industry is, well, myopic.


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