Stop Complaining to Apple About iTunes DRM

I think there's a basic misperception about iTunes DRM. It's easy to browse Slashdot and find comments that suggest that it's somehow Apple's fault that music purchased from iTunes has copy protection. This wisdom in a string also says Apple "doesn't get it" and music should be free.

Regardless of whether music should be free or not, the fact is that the record companies only allow Apple to distribute their music on the condition that copy protection is in place. People, your beef is not with Apple. It doesn't even seem like the iTunes Store is a big money maker for them -- it's a sidekick for the iPod.

If you want DRM-free downloads from iTunes, you need to direct your complaints to the record companies, which will be more than happy to ignore your pleas in the most efficient manner possible.

I actually think it's pretty impressive how much slack Apple was able to negotiate with the record companies. All things considered, the iTunes DRM is pretty liberal, particularly considering what we've seen from the record industry recently.
Design Element
Stop Complaining to Apple About iTunes DRM
Posted Jan 16, 2006 — 4 comments below


Carl — Jan 16, 06 650

On the one hand, you make a good point, that it's the RIAA not Apple that's to blame. On the other hand, there are services like that are entirely DRM free. Emusic only has indie stuff, but actually, I've been surprised at how much good stuff they do have. It's not everything I want, but there is a fair amount of peripheral stuff. I'm thinking of signing up soon.

Mr eel — Jan 16, 06 651

Agree with you completely. Critisims need to go to the source of the problem, which is the labels. If anything, I think the success of iTunes should convince labels to be even more liberal in regards to rights management. Unless they're foolish enough to believe it suceeded because of DRM.

The true story of DRM is that it's a 'feature' consumers don't actually want or need.

I'm still a 'screw-DRM' guy, but as far as things go Apple has done the best they could.

MJ — Jan 16, 06 653

"there are services like that are entirely DRM free. Emusic only has indie stuff"

Which is exactly the point. If an artist wants to sign up to a service like eMusic then that's up to them. But if a CONSUMER wants to buy music from artists signed by the big record labels and if the music is only available online in a DRM'ed format, is that Apple's fault.

So, none of your "one hand, other hand" argument makes sense. It's like complaining they don't sell brand new cars at a local used car sales showroom. You know what you're going there for. If you don't want DRM but you want to buy online then you're stuck with indie music - which isn't bad by any means - but isn't going to salve your desire for the latest Christina Aquilera track.

Good lord, it's not as if you're forced to buy music.

Alf Watt — Jan 19, 06 676

If you stop to compare the package or rights that you purchase with physical media vs. what you purchase from iTunes then Fair Play really is a small price to pay.

Purchase a CD and you're allowed to make one (1) backup copy and (1) digital copy your computer & one (1) more for the MP3 player. The digital copy might even be considered the backup in this case. So that's three (3) copies plus your uncompressed original.

Purchase a track on iTunes and you're allowed to make five (5) backups to CD, play it on five (5) computers and as many iPods as you can copy it to. Which adds up to at-least ten (10) legal copies, plus your AAC original, plus the copies on iPods. Not bad for 99.


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