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Old 02-06-2007, 04:32 PM   #1
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Steve Jobs calls for an end to copy-protected music.,2933,250576,00.html

Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs stunned the tech and music industries Tuesday with a surprising manifesto, posted on the Apple Web site, that called for an end to digital-rights management for music files.

Digital-rights management, or DRM, refers to the copy-protection schemes that limit duplication and playback of digital music or video files.

It's why songs downloaded from Apple's iTunes store will only play on an iPod, or why Microsoft's (MSFT) songs will only play on its Zune media player.

After reviewing the current state of online music retailing, and considering several possible options for the future, Jobs decides that the best solution would be to abolish digital-rights management entirely.

"Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats," he writes. "In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat."

Jobs argues that 90 percent of the music the companies release is unprotected by DRM anyway.

It's on CDs, which users can easily "rip, mix and burn," as an old Apple slogan put it, and then pass on to friends or upload (illegally) to the Internet using file-sharing programs.

"[W]hat benefits do [the Big Four record companies] get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system?" he asks "There appear to be none."

Left unsaid is the fact that, the No. 2 online music retailer after Apple, sells completely unprotected MP3 files — which work on any digital music player — from independent music labels and manages to turn a tidy profit.

Jobs does hint at Apple's legal troubles in Europe, where the governments of France and the Scandinavian countries have threatened to use antitrust legislation to "force open" iTunes so that it works with non-Apple music players.

"Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries," he says. "Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free."

He then somewhat cheekily points out that "two and a half" of the Big Four record companies are European — EMI is British, Universal is owned by the French conglomerate Vivendi and Sony BMG is a joint venture between Japan's Sony (SNE) and Germany's Bertelsmann AG.

Nowhere does he suggest that video files, such as the television shows and Disney (DIS) and Paramount movies sold by the iTunes store, also be removed from digital-rights management.'s Paul Wagenseil contributed to this report.

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Old 02-07-2007, 11:47 AM   #2
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Steve Jobbs is a genius. He´s screwing microsoft with this because most people have iPods and whatever they won´t "need" a zune in case they buy something off of microsoft and he´s also looking good in front of the consumer.

It´s still the best way to go regardless of what his intentions were. I´m sure he´s made enough money so as to ignore whatever losess this move would inevitably entail.

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Old 02-07-2007, 02:21 PM   #3
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Jobs obviously has a good point in 90+% of all music sold is DRM free because it's sold on a CD. It doesn't make sense for record companies to force digital music stores to put DRM in songs because they're scared of piracy. Piracy will happen whether DRM is there or not. There's an easy workaround in iTunes for DRM.

On the flip side, it's easy for Steve Jobs to say that DRM is bad and that Apple would happily take the DRM off of their music sold in the iTunes Store because as of right now, the record companies have ZERO intentions of letting the music be sold without DRM.

So, Jobs looks wonderful to consumers by being on their side, but really, he doesn't have to act on what he's saying.

(and, this comes from an avid Jobs supporter BTW)
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