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tyme

Steve Jobs: DRM doesn't work

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Steve Jobs has written an open letter regarding DRM and where it's going. From the letter:

The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. 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. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store.
Is Stevie-boy just blowing hot steam, or is he serious? I think he truly does understand technology and the futility of DRM, and we've all seen how the RIAA and it's siblings continuously ignore the facts on DRM in favor of their own bottom line. I hold, as I have, that this is something forced on us by the big record companies - it seems this letter goes to further prove that.

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I agree and hurrah....

As we discussed before this is my main objection to a iPod... and as I pointed out it doesn't work.... nor can't work while you can burn then rip a CD .... along with interoperability of music downloads.

 

This is largely why I still have a huge CD collection, just to be able to rip the CD and play it on whatever player I choose and why I didn't subscribe to iTunes or others which restrict this....

 

The bottom line is I agree and its been my opinion for a long time that the record companies are just trying to eek out a business model that no longer works... there will always be those who copy regardless and equally those who want to pay.... I just reserve my paying for something I "own" in that I can hold it and play it where I want... I'd give up being able to touch it ... if I could keep the file myself in an open format... I don't even own a standalone Cd player anymore anyway... :D

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I tend to take that statement from Jobs with a pinch of salt.

 

The thing is that DRM does a lot for Apple's business model by keeping people locked into the Apple platform. Apple don't run the iTunes Music Store because their business is selling media; they do it because their business is selling iPods. All the iTunes Music Store does is keep people using iPods, which imho is what Apple wants.

 

Remove DRM and you remove the lock-in aspects of the Apple model. This is fine for someone like me who actually doesn't mind being locked into Apple products (like I mind having to use the best media player around :cheeky: )

 

So perhaps Jobs has seen the light, but I'd be surprised.

 

The biggest threat to his model now are new services from the likes of Microsoft that use a subscription model that allows consumers to eat all they can; this means they can re-download all the music they previously bought from the likes of Apple without having to pay for them again (directly).

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I tend to take that statement from Jobs with a pinch of salt.

 

The thing is that DRM does a lot for Apple's business model by keeping people locked into the Apple platform. Apple don't run the iTunes Music Store because their business is selling media; they do it because their business is selling iPods. All the iTunes Music Store does is keep people using iPods, which imho is what Apple wants.

 

Remove DRM and you remove the lock-in aspects of the Apple model. This is fine for someone like me who actually doesn't mind being locked into Apple products (like I mind having to use the best media player around :cheeky: )

 

So perhaps Jobs has seen the light, but I'd be surprised.

 

The biggest threat to his model now are new services from the likes of Microsoft that use a subscription model that allows consumers to eat all they can; this means they can re-download all the music they previously bought from the likes of Apple without having to pay for them again (directly).

Yes and No ....

First a lot of countries are legislating againt iTunes type services where its locked to a player, secondly, it really can't work for copy protection while you can still make a CD and if you can't its less attractive to a lot of people.

iPod has already become synonimus with MP3 players... especially in popular culture and Apple will always be regarde as "The original" but the iTunes thing has put some people off so they lose some market share over this.

 

This is fine for someone like me who actually doesn't mind being locked into Apple products (like I mind having to use the best media player around :cheeky: )

As was put on the other thread... its only a lock-in if you can't burn a CD... the thing is its lock-in by making it difficult not because you can't copy and re-rip.

But I don't mind so much being locked-in through it being the best product, I mind being locked in by design which I feel is different.

I'm not sure you can say iPod is "the best" either. Its certainly technically very nice and well built, but its also very expensive for what it does. You can buy something equivalent to a $500 iPod for <$100, its not so well built, the battery life probably sucks etc. but if you take price into account then the Apples are well built but over priced.

So it depends what you want to do with it, which formats you want supported and other grey import products handle more formats etc.

 

As for iTunes being a support service not a business I don't think you can seperate the two with the current model. If Apple were not making money from it then why do it when there are plenty of other legal download services (you just can't use them with an iPod directly) ...

 

As I pointed out in the other thread I think Apple or Jobs have realised that this whole market is set to fall apart very quickly. The French already passed legislation and the recent Australian legislation on modchips is applicible to an iPod since the court summary (or what will be used from the case as a test case) actually doesn't just say "The defendent is not-guilty" but that so long as you are maing a device they removes an artificial block on the functionality of the device then it is OK.

This will very quickly change to other things because Australia gets a raw deal on DVD's being the only English speaking zone 4 country... so unless its legal for them to play zone 1 and 2 films which you are lucky to have in South Africa then they can only get what the film companies decide is worth releasing to Zone 4... and just to illustrate how stupid a large percentage of Australians, especially Sydney and Melbourne are bi-lingual but in greek, italian, cantonese, hindi or urdu, russian or ukranian but Spanish falls way down that list...

Region coding itself is technically illegal in quite a few countries its just not enforced ... but I think we are starting to see a point where govt's will start taking issue with region coding.

 

A large reason will I think be Vista and DRM ... people in general are just getting more pissed over restricting what they can do with THEIR hardware they purchased.

 

Its worth considering though HOW Apple got to be a lock-in company, pre-iPod era ...

This was largely down to device support, compatibility and drivers and quality assurance.

The idea was always you plug the thing into a Mac and it just works... and Apple were not intersted in grey budget devices to be attached to their beautiful machine. OS-X partially changed this and moving to Intel partially changed this again. Releasing iTunes for Windows changed this... etc.

 

So overall (outside of iTunes, iPod) Apple has become more open... it was only the music side which remained closed.

 

Steve Jobs is a smart guy, no denying that so I think he is more likely to have spotted a trend and decided to get ahead of the wave.... well .. it works for me :D suddenly an iPod is looking more attractive.

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Well, you don't have to buy DRM'ed titles from iTunes if you don't want to... you can play mp3's just fine... with Rockbox you could even play Ogg although myself I'm too scared to go anywhere near it :P

 

There are certain things about this ipod though that are just so damned handy:

- the click wheel which makes navigation&control very easy

- the fact you can plug it in and it acts as a USB flash drive (1GB in my case)

- the clear and crisp screen

- the backlight!

- the weight and size - not heavy and I can put it nearly anywhere

- long battery life & charging through USB cable!

 

Things that I hate

- the headphones: you can spot an Ipod user by it from a mile away! I'd prefer to be less 'recognizable'; plus the headphone wires start to curl incredibly after a couple months of use, they're also a tiny bit on the short side.

- the fact that it didn't come with an AC adapter by default. I bought one seperately. Usually I have a computer handy, but for example when going on vacation I didn't.

 

Okay, so it was rather expensive, but since I commute every day for 3 hours in total, it's worth it. It does suck the new models come at the same price but have 2GB storage though... :-x

Edited by Darkelve

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Well, you don't have to buy DRM'ed titles from iTunes if you don't want to... you can play mp3's just fine... with Rockbox you could even play Ogg although myself I'm too scared to go anywhere near it :P

Which model do you have? Installing rockbox is so simple. Just follow the instructions provided, and if you mess up, there's rollback instructions. If they don't work, then the apple updater will fix it. I doubt you'll go wrong though, the setup for rockbox isnt very complicated.

 

Rockbox is worth the few minutes it takes to setup. I installed it November last year and have not rebooted back into the Apple OS once because it just works so well.

 

There are certain things about this ipod though that are just so damned handy:

- the click wheel which makes navigation&control very easy

- the fact you can plug it in and it acts as a USB flash drive (1GB in my case)

- the clear and crisp screen

- the backlight!

- the weight and size - not heavy and I can put it nearly anywhere

- long battery life & charging through USB cable!

The Sandisk Sansa's do this too ;) And better. I wouldn't get an iPod next time. I've given in defending the ipod, the build quality is simply shit. My ipod nano's only a year old but is already having problems. My friend has had his replaced twice as two were DOA. The problems are widespread too. Nice devices, crap build, designed to fail. Just like Gowator's printer...

 

As for Job's comments, I can't take them at face value either.

 

James

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dsc_8660.jpg

 

This cost me 150 AUS$ so about 100 Euro ..its only the 1GB version but expandable with 1GB mini SD cards...

the click wheel which makes navigation&control very easy

- the fact you can plug it in and it acts as a USB flash drive (1GB in my case)

- the clear and crisp screen

- the backlight!

- the weight and size - not heavy and I can put it nearly anywhere (I don't know what it weighs but you can see the size ..it wieghs nealry nothing)

 

- long battery life & charging through USB cable!

Well battery life is crap (1-2 hours) but you can attach rechargable battery things for iPods via USB and its lasts for hours... (these are a bit clunky being 4x the size of the player but still the whole thing is less than a fullsize iPod although a different shape...

 

If you want the dial ...

http://www.chinavasion.com/product_info.ph...inch-tftscreen/

4GB for US$70 ...

 

My friend has had his replaced twice as two were DOA. The problems are widespread too. Nice devices, crap build, designed to fail. Just like Gowator's printer...

I think the fundamental problem is that once you build in obselence in one part (battery) then overall build quality goes out the window... mainly from a perspective you are either building a product to last or not... and once you decide not then the rest of the build quality sufffers as a consequence.

 

These cheapo Cinese ones are crap build quality.... but hey... the chance is in 1-2 years something much better and cheaper will come along... and they support much more file formats than iPods...

 

build quality is crap but then your only wasting $70... if you get one of the external batteries then this is still usuable even if the unit fails so you can use it on the next one...

 

My GF got an iRiver from J&B for considerably less than an equivlant iPod...and it supports ogg... even if the music indexing sucks since you need a Windows app at the moment to use some of the cooler indexing features..

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As per my earlier post:

 

As I pointed out in the other thread I think Apple or Jobs have realised that this whole market is set to fall apart very quickly. The French already passed legislation and the recent Australian legislation on modchips is applicible to an iPod since the court summary (or what will be used from the case as a test case) actually doesn't just say "The defendent is not-guilty" but that so long as you are maing a device they removes an artificial block on the functionality of the device then it is OK.

 

As per http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6338603.stm

"Apple can see that the legislative tide is turning in Europe," he wrote.

 

Creative MP3 players, AFP

iPods face competition from firms such as Creative

 

"Come the summer Apple could find itself in the untenable situation of ticking off an increasing number of markets where it could no longer sell digital music.

I might not be correct but Im not alone :D

\

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Bad build quality on the iPod? :huh:

 

I have a 60GB iPod photo, two years old and still as good as the day I bought it (barring the scratches, which buff out nicely with Brasso or toothpaste :P ). My brother has the 30GB model, about eight months older, still going strong. My boss had a 2nd Gen which he sold to a friend (still working), a third gen he gave to his wife (still working) and now a iPod Video bought at launch, still no problems in sight. My sister, wife and a lady at work all have Nanos that live in the dangerous environment of a woman's handbag and two of which get used when jogging and at the gym. No problems.

 

I have eight more examples, but this is getting boring. Quite simply, I don't believe you iphitus. I've never even heard of a dead-on-arrival iPod... I lie - I heard of a few dead batteries, but that was ironed out like three years ago.

 

We even crash tested the Nano for a magazine. I've seen them reversed over and still working! They are checked at the factory before shipping, so unless your friends bought a pair that had fallen off a ship, been digested by a shark and then fell off a building (or bought units with faulty batteries a million years ago), I find it hard to believe.

 

And if you did get a dead one, Apple would replace it immediately. It's easy to say "Well, this cheap Whoflungdung over here does the same stuff.. kinda" but what customer service do you get from them? If you can even track down the manufacturer...

 

Honestly...

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Bad build quality on the iPod? :huh:

It's odd really. Some people get one that lasts a long time, like me, for others they don't last very long. It's like most devices, there will be bad one's built in each batch and sold, but what it seems like with the ipod, is that there's a higher incidence of this. You can't possibly criticise my friend when he received two DOA, he did nothing wrong. His third one however, has worked flawlessly.

 

I was lucky, mine has lasted well over a year and still shining. I received it 5 days after the release announcement, so it's among the oldest out there. The click wheel doesnt respond occasionally, but it's not too bad yet, and may just be a loose connector.

 

I have a 60GB iPod photo, two years old and still as good as the day I bought it (barring the scratches, which buff out nicely with Brasso or toothpaste :P ). My brother has the 30GB model, about eight months older, still going strong. My boss had a 2nd Gen which he sold to a friend (still working), a third gen he gave to his wife (still working) and now a iPod Video bought at launch, still no problems in sight. My sister, wife and a lady at work all have Nanos that live in the dangerous environment of a woman's handbag and two of which get used when jogging and at the gym. No problems.

 

Well, like i said, some are good, some are bad. You've been lucky -- i'm not saying every ipod dies, but there's a higher incidence. The build is great when you get a good one, but from what i've seen, there tends to be far more which die quickly or have immediate problems.

 

I've never even heard of a dead-on-arrival iPod... I lie - I heard of a few dead batteries, but that was ironed out like three years ago.

I've never heard of France or seen france, thus it doesnt exist?

 

We even crash tested the Nano for a magazine. I've seen them reversed over and still working!

Again... they're physically very durable. It's just when you manage to get one of the bad ones in the batch. Mine's working great still, and it's got scars to show what it's been through. The back has more dents in it than the surface of the moon.

 

They are checked at the factory before shipping, so unless your friends bought a pair that had fallen off a ship, been digested by a shark and then fell off a building (or bought units with faulty batteries a million years ago), I find it hard to believe.

 

Not every test is perfect. Not every test will pick things up. The first DOA nano had an intermittently faulty next track button. The second had a hold switch that stopped working in the first day, and unfortunately stopped on hold.

 

And they did bugger all testing on the first nano. They scratch ridiculously easily. Apple ignored all complaints during the time when people realised this, and then silently include a case with all nano's sold shortly after.

 

And if you did get a dead one, Apple would replace it immediately. It's easy to say "Well, this cheap Whoflungdung over here does the same stuff.. kinda" but what customer service do you get from them? If you can even track down the manufacturer...

Apple replaced both. But it's the inconvenience of shipping it back to them, and waiting for a new one to return. As for Whoflungdung? Sandisk? Whoflungdung? I might remind you that Sandisk are one of the biggest solid state storage manufacturers, and one of the inventors of the SD card. It's no surprise they've moved out into mp3 players, as the flash storage is one of the biggest costs, and they don't have anyone trying to make a profit off them.

Support? Heck, a pile better than apple. Sandisk actually release updated firmwares for their devices and actually add new features, and fix problems reported to them. Their support is apparently quite good too.

Apple? Yeah, they release firmwares, but they don't add sweet bugger all to the device, and claim to fix undescribed problems. They've also got a history of ignoring support requests, and ignoring faults in their devices.

 

I'll probably get either an apple or a sandisk for my next device, but that's only because the apple runs Rockbox and i still have accessories.

 

James

Edited by iphitus

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Bad build quality on the iPod? :huh:

Well firstly as Iphitus said there are a lot of people who do have problems and just because you didn't hear about them doesn't make it not so. It can equally be region specific? Perhaps iPod quality testing is different dependent upon where they ship and what is costs Apple for returns or to ship defective products back top China for refurbishment?

But it's the inconvenience of shipping it back to them, and waiting for a new one to return.

From my perspective as a consumer this is the most important thing, not to mention many iPod users are using their iPod as a extended hard disk (stupid perhaps but I know lots who are)...

 

Shipping off a unit with your personal stuff on it is already a big put-off but shipping it when you don't expect to get the data back is another step.

 

As to if it happens or not then I doubt a copmpany would set up solely to recover data lost on iPods.

Also if you read it it describes what must be common scenarios? After all its trying to sell itself?

http://www.recovermyfiles.com/ipod-recovery.php

http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/data-recovery-...amaged-ipod.htm

 

We even crash tested the Nano for a magazine. I've seen them reversed over and still working! They are checked at the factory before shipping, so unless your friends bought a pair that had fallen off a ship, been digested by a shark and then fell off a building (or bought units with faulty batteries a million years ago), I find it hard to believe.

The two are not necassarily linked, crash testing a CD can be done by immersing it in hot coffee over it and passing it through a magnetic field etc. both of which will kill a HDD or those old things we used to call floppies but leave it out in bright sun for a while and .......

 

The issue doesn't seem to be over the durability of the case or the deasign of the iPods but over the quality control. You can compare this to chip manufacture where new chips commonly have very high failure rates but the question is the numbers the slip through to consumers and tolerance of these units.

 

So what this comes down to for me as a consumer is do I want to pay extra (and quite a bit extra) on top of a cheapo MP3 player when for a lot less money you can get mp4 and lots of other formats to play as well?

 

If the unit fails after a certain time its just a gamble... have you had your money's worth or not.

Its the same with cheap electronics world over and if the iPod fails outside warranty then its time to decide whether to pay to buy another anyway and unless you purchased AppleCare then if it fails after 6 months its $30 shipping and handling fee (for a product still under warranty)

 

My iPod warranty has expired. What are my service options?

Apple offers two service options for iPods that are no longer within warranty. If your iPod, iPod with color display, U2 iPod, or iPod mini requires service only because the battery’s ability to hold an electrical charge has diminished, Apple will replace your iPod for a service fee of $59, plus $6.95 shipping.

 

If you own an iPod, and it requires service for any other issue, Apple will replace your iPod for the service fee listed below, plus $6.95 shipping and handling.

 

iPod $249

iPod Nano & iPod Mini $189

iPod shuffle (1 GB) $89

iPod shuffle (512 MB) $59

 

Now seriously nearly $70 to replace a battery is ... pretty steep and if its a couple of years old then you are paying a significant proprtion of buying a brand new device with a lot of extra capability if you look into 3rd party options.

Just quickly checking Apples prices ...on the same Apple site as above

n five brilliant colors and just $79, the 1GB iPod shuffle lets you wear up to 240 songs1 on your sleeve. Or your lapel. Or your belt. Clip on iPod shuffle and wear it as a badge of musical devotion.

I just selected the first one, Apple charge more (excluding P&P) to refurbish or as they put it....

Replacement iPods may be new, used or refurbished. Service may not be available if your iPod has been damaged due to accident or abuse.

 

I don't want to appear sceptical but charging $10 extra + post and handling fee for a used refurbished unit doesn't sound like deal of the century?

One could draw a conclusion from this that Apple are trying to discourage returns?

 

It's easy to say "Well, this cheap Whoflungdung over here does the same stuff.. kinda" but what customer service do you get from them? If you can even track down the manufacturer...

Unless its still under warranty then being able to return it to Apple and pay more than a new unit seems pretty worthless to me, its not like your going to get the data back so from my consumer perspective paying an extra $10 + postage (and taxes etc.) wouldn't feel so much like customer service as a good solid kick in the nuts.

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Firstly, iphitus' friend did not have DOA iPods. Dead on arrival is very different from "one of the buttons didn't work". And I still find it strange that the same person would get two dud iPods when I can't find one, but whatever.

 

Your comment about France is both insulting to my intellect and completely tenuous, iphitus. Such abstract analogies are only used by the dimmest of wits and I know you don't fall into that category. I never said that there was no such thing as a DOA iPod, I merely said that I had never seen one and I didn't believe you - and I was right, because your friend's iPod was not dead.

 

This is turning into a repeat of the iPhone thread and I'm more interested in discussing DRM than just lambasting Apple (again) as if they insulted your mothers or something.

 

If you think it's fair to compare Apple to Sandisk than so be it. The Sandisk device are OK. They feel very plasticy to me and I personally wouldn't put them in the same category as the iPod, but it's hard to explain that to someone who hates Apple just for the sake of it. You confuse mass-functionality with quality, yet again.

 

Every time we discuss Apple, iphitus and Gowator are first to point out how crap they think they are. If Apple products are really so un-amazing why are you the only two who ever seem to take the case on? You have beef with Apple, but it isn't backed up with any sound reasoning. You're just beating the same dead horse again.

 

I'm not referring to your discussion about DRM, Gowator, but rather the usual insistence that Apple products have nothing to offer the market... I don't get it.

 

Back to DRM then...

 

Jobs is treating DRM like a necessary evil and I think part of his reasoning deals with the fact that certain Eastern-European countries are threatening action against the Apple model. Jobs is trying to show them that it is not Apple's fault, but the record labels that drive the requirement for DRM. In so doing I think part of his intention is to avert the attention away from his business and save his Norwegian business. Well, at least a little part of it is anyway...

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It seems the RIAA read Steve's letter wrong and decided Steve was saying he would sell the DRM to other technology companies. Looks like they're trying to throw the heat back on Apple...

 

And for the record, this thread was intended to be about DRM, not about whether or not you hate Apple. That was quite obviously not the point.

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It seems the RIAA read Steve's letter wrong and decided Steve was saying he would sell the DRM to other technology companies. Looks like they're trying to throw the heat back on Apple...

 

And for the record, this thread was intended to be about DRM, not about whether or not you hate Apple. That was quite obviously not the point.

Dude, that's definately not why I posting....

I welcome any move away and on top of that I am willing to look into an iPod if this goes through...

Every time we discuss Apple, iphitus and Gowator are first to point out how crap they think they are. If Apple products are really so un-amazing why are you the only two who ever seem to take the case on? You have beef with Apple, but it isn't backed up with any sound reasoning. You're just beating the same dead horse again.

Erm Iphitus was defending Apple if you wish to define it as attacking/defending in the last thread...

As he explained ... another dead one led him to revise is opinion which is no surprise, its what intellegent people do...

 

I'm not referring to your discussion about DRM, Gowator, but rather the usual insistence that Apple products have nothing to offer the market... I don't get it.

On the contrary they have a few things to offer, Im just asking id at the price they are worthwhile for everyone.

If money was no object to me I'd have a full Apple kit and not care if I was locked-in or couldn't choose a different player for my iTunes etc... it wouldn't matter because its only money and Apple kit is cool... it would plug into my Apple desktop and iBook as well....

 

However money does matter and value for money matters. When I pay more for something it has to have some extra reason like reliability but at the same time I don't want to pay extra for something because of reliability when its quickly outdated and locks me into a product cycle.

Edited by Gowator

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Mr Jobs is right this time. DRM is not the way big music publishers can save themselves.

Lets just see the two usual cases.

First by downloading a pirated copy of a record I get a fully working copy without any limitations without any problem or quality loss for free.

Or second by playing honest I get a copy full of limitations depending the DRM technology in use and I even have to pay for it.

DRM is doomed it's a no brainer.

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