The Last Podcast Opinionated Web 2.0 News and Commentary


6 February 2007 @ 5pm


Steve Jobs Dreams of a DRM Free World

In an unusual statement today, Steve Jobs more or less called upon the music industry to abolish DRM, because it doesn’t work.

Clearly, Apple is trying to position itself on the side of the consumer. Jobs says that, if only the Big Four (Universal, BMG, Bertelsman and EMI) would drop their idea that DRM systems were working, Apple would sell DRM-free music in a heartbeat.

Jobs cites that 90 percent of music is already sold free of DRM restrictions. What sense then does it make for the music industry to sell the other 10 percent with DRM, while seriously encumbering their consumers.

One aspect of the “Jobs Manifesto” I don’t like, though, is that Apple positions itself as a victim of the big music companies. Have a look at this:

Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their
energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music
DRM-free.  For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music
companies are located right in their backyard.  The largest, Universal,
is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company.  EMI is a British company,
and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company.  Convincing
them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a
truly interoperable music marketplace.  Apple will embrace this

Isn’t there more Apple could do itself? It’s fair and well to call upon consumers to rebel against DRM, but doesn’t Apple have some leverage to influence here? In the brilliant movie “The Queen,” Tony Blair asks if there isn’t anybody who will stand up and protect the royal family from itself, only to discover that he is the one who will have to do it.Maybe his Jobness will come to the same realization.

Some other thoughts on this:
Read/WriteWebPaidContentBetween the Lines, Jeffrey McManus The Viral Garden, Paul Kedrosky

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