Elephant Still In The Room

A couple of months ago, Steve Jobs posted his open letter on DRM to the web and I posted Jobs on DRM: The Elephant in the Room in response. It got me my very first set of Apple fanboy comments, which was exciting. Today, of course, Apple and EMI announced that they would start selling DRM-free tracks at a 30% markup. I want to congratulate Apple and EMI for taking this step. As someone who has purchased a fair amount of music through the iTunes Store, I’m happy to get the DRM-free tracks and the higher resolution, and I will undoubtedly be upgrading my existing purchases to the new format.

Going back and rereading my post, I’m really glad I focused on the video issue. Otherwise I too might have gotten hit with the dreaded John Gruber “Jackass of the Week” title. I thought it worth noting that Jobs did in fact address the video DRM issue at the announcement, and his point of view won’t please the anti-DRM forces in the world. Here’s one choice quote from Jobs:

Video is pretty different from music right now because the video industry does not distribute 90 percent of their content DRM free. Never has. So I think they are in a pretty different situation, and I wouldn’t hold it to a parallel at all.

He is basically saying that video DRM is OK because people are used to from DVDs. Not a very compelling argument, as it completely ignores all the questions about fair use.

Finally for the conspiracy theorists out there, could the timing of the Apple/EMI announcement be related to this news that came out the same day and got buried? (Tip of the hat to Paul for sending me the link…)

~ by Andrew Shebanow on 02Apr07.

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