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Apple blasts French bill aimed at opening iPod + iTunes

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
In its first public comment on the issue, Apple Computer blasted an effort by French lawmakers aimed at forcing the company to enable its iPods and iTunes Music Store to work with digital music products from other companies and vise versa.

In a statement republished by the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) early Wednesday morning, Apple said the French move will result in "state-sponsored piracy" by encouraging French users to seek out illegally copied music.

"If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers," Apple said in the statement. "iPod sales will likely increase as users freely load their iPods with 'interoperable' music which cannot be adequately protected. Free movies for iPods should not be far behind in what will rapidly become a state-sponsored culture of piracy."

A spokesman for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company reportedly declined to comment beyond the prepared statement.

On Tuesday, lawmakers in the National Assembly, France's lower house, voted to approve the proposed law by a vote of 296-193. The legislation now has to be debated and voted by the Senate -- a process expected to begin in May.

Analysts who provide coverage of Apple speculated on Tuesday that the company might simply abandon the French market with its music products rather than comply with a law that could prompt similar efforts by other governments.
post #2 of 48
Thread Starter 
In its first public comment on the issue, Apple Computer blasted an effort by French lawmakers aimed at forcing the company to enable its iPods and iTunes Music Store to work with digital music products from other companies and vise versa.

In a statement republished by the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) early Wednesday morning, Apple said the French move will result in "state-sponsored piracy" by encouraging French users to seek out illegally copied music.

"If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers," Apple said in the statement. "iPod sales will likely increase as users freely load their iPods with 'interoperable' music which cannot be adequately protected. Free movies for iPods should not be far behind in what will rapidly become a state-sponsored culture of piracy."

A spokesman for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company reportedly declined to comment beyond the prepared statement.

On Tuesday, lawmakers in the National Assembly, France's lower house, voted to approve the proposed law by a vote of 296-193. The legislation now has to be debated and voted by the Senate -- a process expected to begin in May.

Analysts who provide coverage of Apple speculated on Tuesday that the company might simply abandon the French market with its music products rather than comply with a law that could prompt similar efforts by other governments.
post #3 of 48
I find the following from the Apple statement quite interesting:

"Free movies for iPods should not be far behind in what will rapidly become a state-sponsored culture of piracy."

As I read that, I was inclined to intrepret the statement to mean that Apple would oppose "free movies" on iPods. If that's the case, is this an indication that Apple is on the path of a movie download service and a Video iPod? Apple has not indicated if they will offer such a service, but the sentence from their statement could mean that the service is planned.
post #4 of 48
Any reason for a double posting of the initial post?

It is interesting that Apple pointed out that they would likely make money thru iPod sales, but that the music download business (which unlikely makes them much money) would suffer.

Do the current downloads of US TV programs have DRM attached? I live in Japan where we only get the Pixar shorts; do they count TV shows as movies in this statement?

 

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post #5 of 48
Steve Jobs has often said that the iTunes store merely "breaks even", and that the way they make money is by selling iPod's.

So in other words, Apple seems to be welcoming this move, in a twisted kind of way? Or what...

By the way, Apple does not currently operate an iTunes music store in France. They only operate one in Luxembourg, which isn't affected by French laws.
post #6 of 48
Apple needs to take a cold shower.

Yes I also see this law as the worng way to go. But just because Apple is a dominent player on the market for music download doesn´t mean they should dictate everything. The french government feels the right way to ensure the rights of its citizents the right to choice is by opening all DRM formats to all players, but still keep the restrictions wrt number of players, CDs and computers you can transfer your music to. Remember the same law makes it illegal/more expensive to remove DRM.

THis press release by Apple is an attempt to rally the music industry (and presumable the movie industry as well) behind them in the protection of a very lucrative market for Apple.
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post #7 of 48
Something interesting to think about / debate...

What would happen if Apple was forced to pull iTunes out of France? Sure, at first glance you're likely to say so what, big deal Apple will stop selling songs to .02%(*) of their market (so long as you don't live in France I guess)

(*) Totally made up percent purely for discussion purposes.

But, are we correct in assuming the pull out only deals with FUTURE sales? What about all of the sales iTunes France has made already? Those songs are DRM protected right?

See where I'm going here...

If Apple is 'forced' to pull iTunes Music Store out of France what exactly will happen to all those songs purchased in France? Will the French law allow Apple to have servers continue to operate that 'authorizes' those older song purchases that occurred in France? What if France doesn't allow it... Does Apple have a way of letting the French people continue to play their iTunes paid for music without the need of network based authentication?

On the flip side what if, out of spite, Apple chooses to turn off the authorization services to France even if France allows the servers to remain? I for one wouldn't put it past em...

Sure "its only France" and I have no real love or hate the country but if it can happen in France it can happen elsewhere...

While I was once with the 'not too upset' with Apples form of DRM crowd... I'm starting to rethink my position and side with the only good DRM is a non-existant DRM clan.

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post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Bergermeister
Any reason for a double posting of the initial post?

It is interesting that Apple pointed out that they would likely make money thru iPod sales, but that the music download business (which unlikely makes them much money) would suffer.

Do the current downloads of US TV programs have DRM attached? I live in Japan where we only get the Pixar shorts; do they count TV shows as movies in this statement?

yes, tv shows are drm'd, as are music videos. you can play them through iTunes or QuickTime player (or any device that supports those two full apps), but that's it. you can back them up to offline media, but they retain the drm. for example, i wanted to edit a music video with an overlay for part of a valentine's day gift, and try as i might, i could NOT get the video to allow me to even composit it WITH anything else. i wasn't even changing the video itself, i just wanted something at the bottom saying "Happy Valentine's Day." oh well.
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post #9 of 48
"Free movies for iPods should not be far behind in what will rapidly become a state-sponsored culture of piracy."

'Free' seems like a rather poor choice of word. It reads almost as though Apple is opposing 'freedom' ('free' as in speech), or at the very least opposing 'free' legal downloads (which its store currently offers).

Also, IMO, there is a big difference between "state-sponsored culture of piracy" and AppleInsider's earlier 'quote', "state-sponsored piracy". Apple's original wording implies a culture of piracy that uses state laws to support itself whereas AppleInsider's 'quote' seems to imply piracy itself being more directly supported by the state.
post #10 of 48
very interesting article on wired about this:
http://www.wired.com/news/columns/0,...rss.technology

(i now like my previous posts on this topic even more)

o
post #11 of 48
Wow! Apple have sunk to new lows (or risen to new highs, depending on how you look at it) of reality distortion.

Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
"If this happens, legal music sales will plummet..." Apple said[/url][/c]

Really Apple? How's that then? Are you actually saying that people only buy legitimate music because it is controlled by proprietary DRM, and as soon as it's controlled by licencable DRM instead, people won't want it any more?

The statement from Apple is very disappointing. One would have hoped for a more considered and considerably more intelligent response. I'm not surprised that Apple aren't happy about the proposals, but really, there are many problems with this law, so I expected a better thought-out response than this.
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post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
Wow! Apple have sunk to new lows (or risen to new highs, depending on how you look at it) of reality distortion.



Really Apple? How's that then? Are you actually saying that people only buy legitimate music because it is controlled by proprietary DRM, and as soon as it's controlled by licencable DRM instead, people won't want it any more?

The statement from Apple is very disappointing. One would have hoped for a more considered and considerably more intelligent response. I'm not surprised that Apple aren't happy about the proposals, but really, there are many problems with this law, so I expected a better thought-out response than this.

No, the sales or DRM'ed music in general will plummet. Not because people won't buy it, but because it won't be available for sale in the first place.

The DRM isn't put there by a online distributer to let the music play nicely everywhere, it is put in as a contractual obligation to the labels to limit how far the music can be distributed. If the distributer can no longer meet the label's restrictions, they can't sell the music anymore. This won't just affect iTunes, it will affect every online music distributer that has a DRM clause in their contract.

This is basically a case of the French government cutting the nose off to spite the face. The problems aren't with the music stores, but with the labels and this does nothing to convince the labels to change their stance at all.
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post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Hiro
No, the sales or DRM'ed music in general will plummet. Not because people won't buy it, but because it won't be available for sale in the first place.

The DRM isn't put there by a online distributer to let the music play nicely everywhere, it is put in as a contractual obligation to the labels to limit how far the music can be distributed. If the distributer can no longer meet the label's restrictions, they can't sell the music anymore. This won't just affect iTunes, it will affect every online music distributer that has a DRM clause in their contract.

Except this bill has got absolutely nothing to do with allowing removal of DRM, in fact it provides stiff penalties for doing so. DRM will still be there, so the labels will still be happy.
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post #14 of 48
As I've written before in an earlier story on this, an open interoperable DRM available to everyone has real problems, which were previously pointed out at Boing Boing and by Dan Gillmor. JupiterResearch European media analyst Mark Mulligan summarizes (for full comment, see http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/a...es/014467.html):

"Secondly, the implications of opening up DRM codecs to interested parties potentially undermines the whole ethos of DRM as a tool for protecting content. If DRM source code becomes open source then why bother wrapping content in DRM at all as it will be easily breakable. If this becomes the case then you can expect to see record labels seriously reconsidering their digital strategies.

If the French parliament is hoping that an industry standard DRM will come into being, the likely result is a Balkanized situation as we see in the mobile space (with OMA 2 mired in controversy) or probably Microsoft becoming the de facto standard. Remember that the majority of Europes 200 digital stores are already WMA based.

Understandably Apple are furious;

'The French implementation of the EU Copyright Directive will result in state-sponsored piracy,'

There is a very real threat that the legitimate digital stores will become embroiled in conflicts over implementation of interoperability and the net result is that the illegal sector prospers. Or even that iPod owners and other device owners simply focus on what they do to get most of their content on their devices: ripping CDs."

Although I wish DRM would disappear, I understand the need for it given the predisposition of people to just copy stuff from friends and others. So given that DRM will stay, I agree with Mulligan's analysis.

And altho Mr.H says there are stiff penalties for piracy, I just can't see any police force spending their time enforcing these rules. Especially in France where they have enough trouble with unions, racism, and riots.
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post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
If DRM source code becomes open source

Yes, that would be a serious problem and render DRM worthless. But that isn't what the bill is about. It is about openly licensing the code. This is not the same as making the code open-source.

The bill provides stiff penalties (3 years in jail and/or 300,000 fine) to anyone who makes or distributes software that is capable of circumventing DRM. This would not rely on the Police for enforcement, as you can bet that if the bill passes and someone licences some DRM and then open-sources it, they would be taken to court by a major music label quicker than you can say "RIAA".
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post #16 of 48
As long as several online music stores are incompatible with Mac OS I'm adamantly opposed to the French bill.

If it would also force all online music stores to provide compatibility with Mac OS, well, then that's something different.

Apple doesn't make much selling music. Apple makes money selling iPods. If iPods worked with all online music stores might Apple sell more iPods? After a period of time, might Apple also sell more songs?

Apple has the lion's share of mp3 player sales and song sales. I really don't think this bill should worry Apple. I think this bill should worry iRiver, Microsoft's music store and all the other minor players.

Then again I could be totally wrong headed in my thinking.
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post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by rickag
As long as several online music stores are incompatible with Mac OS I'm adamantly opposed to the French bill.

If it would also force all online music stores to provide compatibility with Mac OS, well, then that's something different.

Well, you've kind of answered yourself there. This bill would enable people to make PlaysForSure decrypter for Mac OS. Flip4Mac would probably do it. If that happened, then all content from PlaysForSure stores would be playable on Mac OS.

Quote:
Originally posted by rickag
Apple doesn't make much selling music. Apple makes money selling iPods. If iPods worked with all online music stores might Apple sell more iPods? After a period of time, might Apple also sell more songs?

Apple has the lion's share of mp3 player sales and song sales. I really don't think this bill should worry Apple. I think this bill should worry iRiver, Microsoft's music store and all the other minor players.

Then again I could be totally wrong headed in my thinking.

Exactly. I very, very strongly believe that this would actually be good for Apple, and ultimately lead to more iPod sales, and more iTunes music sales. The fact that Steve is such a fucking control freak really holds Apple back sometimes.
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post #18 of 48
The New Microsoft.
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post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
Exactly. I very, very strongly believe that this would actually be good for Apple, and ultimately lead to more iPod sales, and more iTunes music sales. The fact that Steve is such a fucking control freak really holds Apple back sometimes.

Nah. I understand Apples rationale.

First Joe buys an iPod, like most digital music player customers.

Then the iTMS came around. "Great. Now I can buy music online for my iPod.". Joe buys Madonnas "1000 greatest huts"

Now his iPods battery gives up and Joe thinks "Hmm. I really liked my iPod. But the unchangeable battery irks me. I would love to be able to just pop 2 AAA batteries in that sucker. Maybe I should get another type of player, maybe not"

Now there is two versions. The current, where Joe realise he can´t play his $990 iTMS investment if he bought a non-iPod player and the possible future where it wouldn´t matter. The latter would of course give him more choice and be of the benefit of the customer.

The opposite is true for Apple. As the dominant leader of both internet music and player sales they benefit from the current lock in.

So of course it would hurt Apple if the current situation changed. Just like MS would be hurt if EU succeeded in making the Word format open and a benefit for the customer!
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post #20 of 48
This is a delicate issue for Apple. They have the most liberal DRM around (it is still DRM none the less) and yet like all DRM around it is only effective on systems with which control is applied.

Even if Apple did want to support this bill, they have their hands tied by the media companies who produce the content that Apple sells.The music industry would sooner stop selling to Apple, for breach of contract if they removed DRM.

I have always been with the approach that it is the music industry that has created this mess in the first place. They set the rules, yet let everyone else work out how they can do business, yet still please this cartel. If DRM is to work out then the following needs to be true:
- ownership by the industry and not by a software or hardware company with conflict of interest
- be mandated to work on ALL hardware and OSs - compatibility must be mandated by the government, since after all they are the ones who allow DMCA type laws to exist.

Note you can't let the market decide when we all act like drug users to a product.
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by rickag
Apple doesn't make much selling music. Apple makes money selling iPods. If iPods worked with all online music stores might Apple sell more iPods? After a period of time, might Apple also sell more songs?

I think Apple sees things differently: if iPod doesn't support other music stores' formats, iPod users will be more likely to use iTMS.

Adding support for another DRM and format would be like dismantling the sty to keep more swine. It'd make more room for pigs, but they'd have no reason to stick around.
post #22 of 48
The law as written is foggy, but I think the intended end result is that any DRMed media I buy from any media store should be playable on any media player (including computers).

People are interpreting this as follows:
1. If I create a media store to sell DRMed media, I must make the DRM decodable by any media player that wants it, so I must give them the code to put on their player to decode the DRM, and/or
2. If I make a media player, I must put DRM decoding software on it to decode media using different DRMs from different media stores.

I'm not sure #1 has to be true, for if the iTunes software translated Fairplay DRM into WMA/ATRAC/Real DRM, then I need not give the Fairplay DRM to any media player. I'm not sure #2 has to be true, for if the iTunes software translated WMA/ATRAC/Real DRM into Fairplay DRM, then the iPod need only decode the Fairplay DRM.

Is this latter interpretation right or wrong? Or is making people use iTunes (not iTMS, but iTunes) disallowed by the law? Do I have to allow others to make players (like iTunes.app or like the iPod) that can translate to/from Fairplay DRM? Further, do I have to allow others to make changes to the Fairplay code?

To those that think this law was good, I challenge you to think through the issues more deeply and tell me how it will work for consumers and companies. I've worked it through down the multiple paths. I bet you'll find it's going to be real messy for consumers/companies when using multiple DRMs, or that DRM will need to be dominated by one proprietary scheme, or that DRM will need to be open source (which is no DRM at all, equating to very limited media sales).
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post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
Except this bill has got absolutely nothing to do with allowing removal of DRM, in fact it provides stiff penalties for doing so. DRM will still be there, so the labels will still be happy.

Since France realizes it can't strong arm the labels it decides to strong arm the distribution platform.

With 2% of their sales, the losses are acceptable to drop France.
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by mdriftmeyer
Since France realizes it can't strong arm the labels it decides to strong arm the distribution platform.

With 2% of their sales, the losses are acceptable to drop France.

There is a lot more reason in keeping some form of DRM than keeping the closed iTunes/iPod platform. Unless if you are Apple or have a mattress of Apple stocks.
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post #25 of 48
Said it before and I will say it again: A Sony tape/CD plays on RCA decks, and an RCA tape/cd plays on sony decks.

There is NO reason that an iTunes song shouldnt play on a Creative or Dell player, PocketPC/palm, home stereo wifi integration devices, Windows Media center/free-OSS media centers and there is no reason that MS (Rhapsity Napster...) music shouldmt play on the itunes/ipod platform.


The problem isnt with protection of content, the problem is making content damn near useless.
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post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
There is a lot more reason in keeping some form of DRM than keeping the closed iTunes/iPod platform. Unless if you are Apple or have a mattress of Apple stocks.

Your statement is obfuscated!
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post #27 of 48
"Said it before and I will say it again: A Sony tape/CD plays on RCA decks, and an RCA tape/cd plays on sony decks."

Said it before and I will say it again, you have that wonderful choice today: Protected WMA songs from any WMA music store can be played on any WMA player. If you want that flexibility, stick with WMA. There are at hundreds of WMA stores worldwide, and hundreds of WMA players worldwide. Be happy, and don't worry (or complain to Microsoft if you need to play it on a Mac).

Just let iTunes/iPod/iTMS cater to all those fools who don't care about your arbitrary rule. Okay?
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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
Said it before and I will say it again: A Sony tape/CD plays on RCA decks, and an RCA tape/cd plays on sony decks.

There is NO reason that an iTunes song shouldnt play on a Creative or Dell player, PocketPC/palm, home stereo wifi integration devices, Windows Media center/free-OSS media centers and there is no reason that MS (Rhapsity Napster...) music shouldmt play on the itunes/ipod platform.

The problem isnt with protection of content, the problem is making content damn near useless.

The problem is only partly due to DRM. These devices each support different sets of formats (MP3, AAC, WMA, etc.)

If you're wanting to see all formats supported, you're using the wrong analogy; what you want is to be able to play a tape on your CD player!
post #29 of 48
A. Who here was forced to purchase an iPod? Who here was forced to download iTunes?

B. If you don't like DRM, then put your iPod on ebay and drag your iTunes folder to the trash. Sell your music to someone who can tolerate living under the hellish yoke of DRM.

C. There is a crucial difference between a government sponsored monopoly and a monopoly based upon merit; they are not equal. Apple's market share is the result of the merit of their products.

D. Hey, France! "laissez faire, laissez aller, laissez passer," !

That concludes my participation in this thread.
Merci et adieu,

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post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by ibuzz
Your statement is obfuscated!

General DRM is what made the online music business possible. Without it the music companies would never have allowed it. That would have taken the choice away from people. So you can say DRM is what gave the customer the choice between online music and hard copy CDs.

Apple restricted DRM only benefits Apple. The iPod preceeds iTMS so in worst case senario we would not have had iTMS had the French bill been the global policy pre-iTMS, but a lot of other stores to choose from when wanting to buy music for your iPod. Even if the bill makes iTMS less of a sale booster for the iPod you still have the thight iTMS->iTunes->iPod integration that no other store will be able to offer, thus benefitting the iPod sales.
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post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
... The iPod preceeds iTMS so in worst case senario we would not have had iTMS had the French bill been the global policy pre-iTMS, but a lot of other stores to choose from when wanting to buy music for your iPod. Even if the bill makes iTMS less of a sale booster for the iPod you still have the thight iTMS->iTunes->iPod integration that no other store will be able to offer, thus benefitting the iPod sales.

Anders, you are right here. If there was a single standard pre-iTMS that was suitable to the music labels, Apple would've used it. I don't think Apple has a problem with a single standard because as you said, Apple has the best integration (even with just 'free' MP3s or podcasts).

But this French law doesn't mandate a single international standard. It says everyone must support multiple schemes and make their own scheme available to everyone else. Apple's position is that's a catastrophe waiting to happen for consumers and for companies - and it will cause people to just go back to the simpler world of piracy.

Carefully think how this will need to be implemented all the way through and you'll see that Apple is right.
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post #32 of 48
Frogs and snails!
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post #33 of 48
Please explain how a single unified DRM is better than a multitude of DRMs when it comes to control. It might be a mess for the programmers but it would be transparent for the user. I have a lot of audible material and I cannot feel the DrM of that is coded differently from Apples own.

The more I read Apples statement the less clear it is. What chain of event is Apple actually fearing? If anything the ability to play your online bought music on more devises and apps will make it more desirable for the customer.
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post #34 of 48
From Paul Resnikoff who edits a blog at www.digitalmusicnews.com, he writes in "Resnikoff's Parting Shot: The Complexities of French Regulation":

Quote:
"Apple asserted that protection becomes much more difficult as a result. "The French implementation...will result in state-sponsored piracy," the company said in a statement on Tuesday. "If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers."

Apple is arguing that the great interoperability equalizer makes tracks functional on different stores, but ultimately reduces protection. Taken a step further, what is the difference between an unprotected, MP3 file, and a protected file that is suddenly interoperable? Interoperable files will probably still carry numerous protections, including limitations on sharing and checks to make sure content has been properly purchased. But a new set of problems will emerge, as technology companies and content holders will have to normalize rules between various DRM schemes, or at least figure out a way that various protection guidelines are preserved following a conversion. Sound complicated? The weeds are far more complex than the top-level promise of interoperability, and company resources are likely to be diverted as a result."

He says more at the blog. I think it's even more complicated than he says. Will the French law prevent new, possibly more innovative but proprietary DRM schemes from being introduced into the market? What if eMusic (which uses MP3s today) adds an open-source DRM scheme pushed by the EFF, and I create a player that plays only that scheme? Is Apple obligated by this law to turn Fairplay DRM tracks into that scheme for use on my player? Who's to evaluate and say that the open-source DRM scheme doesn't protect diddly-squat? Will Apple or the French government be liable to the music labels if the protection gets destroyed as a result?
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post #35 of 48
I've said too much on this - I need to get back to life. So one last thing.

Early yesterday, various articles quoted the IFPI (music industry) as saying they were behind the legislation. This one from Detroit News, which I think is just the Reuters copy, says

Quote:
"The new interoperability rules were welcomed in principle by recording companies, which have often complained that iTunes has deprived them of any control over music pricing. "It is important to consumers to have the ability to move songs between their various listening devices," said John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Recording Industry."

But after Apple's outburst, today's NYTimes article (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/22/te...gy/22ipod.html - reg. required) says,

Quote:
"The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a trade group, reacted cautiously to the French plan. The group said that while it supported the "interoperability" of different devices, the French proposal failed to define precisely what that means. It also said that any fines "should be genuinely a deterrent."

Just a tad more cautious now, eh?
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post #36 of 48
Oh my god.. What a raucous.

Personally, I think the main problem is and always has been CDs. If they had been priced better to begin with, people wouldn't have had such a strong compultion to download albums.
This whole iTunes Music Store thing was a wonderful dream, but the labels have turned it into just another horiffic and useless money-grabber from which in the end, nobody wins.

Sure, I'd love to have the convenience of downloading music directly into my library, but I'd only want to do that if it were at the same quality as CD audio, for the same price as a CD. And DRM? Come on. The whole reason it was invented was to stop people from 'stealing' music. Well they wouldn't be stealing music if there was an easier and better alternative to the system to begin with.

Something has got to be done in the near future to solve this whole problem, France is just doing what they think is best for the consumer, Apple is just doing what they think is best for themselves, and neither of them know what they're talking about.

Jimzip
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post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
The law as written is foggy, but I think the intended end result is that any DRMed media I buy from any media store should be playable on any media player (including computers).

What definitely is foggy, is the reporting of the issue. The bill may also be foggy, but I haven't read it, so I don't know. Anyone know if the bill is available to read online? Somehow I doubt that it is.

All reports have stated that the bill "forces companies to licence their DRM schemes". The reports have then gone on to interpret this is many flawed ways, such as saying this would force all devices to play back all content and all content providers to provide content playable on all devices. I do not believe that that is what the bill actually states. I believe the bill is just an effort to level the playing field so that someone could make a player capable of playing anything if they wanted to, and someone could introduce a store that sells tracks with all the different sorts of DRM if they wanted to.



Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
To those that think this law was good, I challenge you to think through the issues more deeply and tell me how it will work for consumers and companies. I've worked it through down the multiple paths. I bet you'll find it's going to be real messy for consumers/companies when using multiple DRMs, or that DRM will need to be dominated by one proprietary scheme, or that DRM will need to be open source (which is no DRM at all, equating to very limited media sales).

Messy for companies to implement - a little. Messy for customers, not really.

So, scenario 1. I want to make a hardware device capable of playing anything. Lets call it a "jFlock". I implement the following decoders: AAC, WMA, ATRAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, FLAC, OGG Vorbis, AIFF, WAV. I go to Apple and I say: "tell me how to decrypt FairPlay, in exchange for this here money", and they tell me, because they have to under this law. Ditto with whatever Sony call their DRM scheme, and ditto with PlaysForSure. Now, I can implement all the DRM decrypting too. So now my jFlock has all the necessary tools for playing all current files. I could make my player compatible with iTunes, Napster and SonyConnect, so in each program, only those files that the program recognises are visible. i.e., when I plug jFlock into my computer and launch iTunes, I see all AAC+FairPlay tracks (and probably AAC and MP3 files too) that are on jFlock. If I launch SonyConnect, I see all the ATRAC tracks, and with Napster I see all the PlaysForSure tracks. Additionally, these programs would pass the necessary keys to jFlock for the decrypting of DRMed tracks.

Alternatively, I could produce my own music library management software that can manage all the different files itself. It would just need to be given the keys for any DRMed stuff by the respective music stores. This could be implemented easily, as part of licensing a DRM scheme would have to involve mechanisms for key retrieval (i.e. instructions on how to communicate with the music stores).


Scenario 2. I want to introduce a music store capable of selling music in every format. So again, I license the DRM mechanisms and implement all the necessary codecs (in this case, I only need WMA, ATRAC and AAC). The person buying the music selects which format they want (I could provide a help section of my site listing all the popular playback devices and which formats they play). If someone has an iPod, they choose AAC+FairPlay, and the song is downloaded. If I'm nice, I even offer the opportunity to download the same track in multiple different formats for no additional, or very minor, fee. To make things easier for the user, I'd probably implement a music library manager too, but if they wanted to use something else, that wouldn't matter. I'd just have to pass the DRM keys to the customer's chosen program. This would not be difficult to implement.

Note that none of this would have any impact on the usability of the iTunes+iPod combination. It would also mean that devices such as the Roku SoundBridge could implement FairPlay and complement the iTunes+iPod combination.
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post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
What if eMusic (which uses MP3s today) adds an open-source DRM scheme pushed by the EFF, and I create a player that plays only that scheme?

DRM cannot be open-source. It wouldn't work. People could possibly be prosecuted under this law for open-sourcing DRM schemes (as it would then allow the DRM to be circumvented)
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post #39 of 48
This whole thing is a lot more complicated than anyone can openly admit, and I think Apple's response is largely a BS cover story.

I really don't understand how opening DRM to third parties or dropping DRM encourages piracy. It would be easier to casually "share" media from person to person, but online file trading is there whether or not iTunes is available. P2P existed before iTunes, and should iTunes die, it will probably still be around long afterwards. Despite the easy the availability of free tracks, what Apple showed is that there are a lot of people still willing to pay for a track. I don't see how losing or opening the DRM will make any difference in that regard.
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
DRM cannot be open-source. It wouldn't work. People could possibly be prosecuted under this law for open-sourcing DRM schemes (as it would then allow the DRM to be circumvented)

I know that DRM cannot be open-source, thus only those who sell tracks as MP3s could possibly use it. Get it?

But see http://www.boingboing.net/2006/03/21..._let_msft.html for further thoughts on open-source players and the french law.
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