Thursday, February 15

Mr. Jobs tear down this wall!

OK, let's keep this simple.

If Steve Jobs is not a hypocrite and was indeed genuine in his open letter about his willingness to sell music without DRM then Apple needs to allow independent artists and labels the opportunity to sell their music through the Apple Music Store without DRM.

I'm not even going to discuss Apple's position on MacOS running on Intel boxes, nor the closed nature of the new iPhone, and above all the distribution of Pixar movies with DRM but I've got to call B.S. on steve Jobs open letter titled "thoughts on music".

It's not because I don't believe what he wrote. I absolutely agree with it! Indeed it is a beautiful letter full of sentiments of the majority of all digital music lovers for as far back as five years.

The cruxt of the matter is this. An *open letter* is the last attempt of a desperate customer... it is the act of a desperate person... a person who doesn't have control or power to make change.

An open letter is an appeal to the common good when no other action can be taken.

One must ask as a precursor of this letter, is Steve Jobs so powerless that all he can do is write an open letter and post it to the web like all us everyday people and bloggers... or is there something he can do more with his vast resources and power as the CEO of both a media company, Pixar, and the CEO of the largest digital music reseller in the world, Apple?

The answer to that question is YES, there is most definitely something Steve Jobs can do to back up his open letter, to put his money where is mouth is. Something quite obvious in fact.

Now that Steve Jobs has said it... now that he's declared himself anti-drm... now that he's called for the major four music labels to stop living a lie and sell digital music without DRM it's time for him to put his money where his mouth is and start allowing independent musicians and labels to sell music through the Apple Music Store without DRM.

Everything in the Apple music store is NOT from the big four labels. Steve Jobs does NOT need their permission to sell other music without DRM as his letter seems to imply or at the very least ignore. It's time for Apple to allow independent artists and labels already selling music in the Apple Music Store the opportunity to sell music without DRM.

I've been stymied as to why more bloggers have not asked this question, but now I now find that I've got some good company. Richard MacManus at the EFF and Jon Lech Johansen (famous for cracking the DVD encryption) are in agreement with me.

From the EFF post.

We agree wholeheartedly with Jobs, since EFF has been making exactly the same points for several years now. As a first step in putting his music store where his mouth is, we urge him to take immediate steps to remove the DRM on the independent label content in the iTunes Store. Why wait for the major record labels? Many independent labels and artists already recognize that DRM is a dumb idea for digital music, as demonstrated by the availability of their music on eMusic. Apple should let them make that music available without DRM in the iTunes Store now.

From Jon

It should not take Apple?s iTunes team more than 2-3 days to implement a solution for not wrapping content with FairPlay when the content owner does not mandate DRM. This could be done in a completely transparent way and would not be confusing to the users.

Actions speak louder than words, Steve.

The bottom line is it's time for Steve jobs to sh*t or get off the pot. He's said it. Now it's time for him to back it up by allowing independent artists and labels to sell their music in the iTunes music store without DRM.

I feel like this is in a very real way a Reagan / Berlin Wall moment in digital culture.

Mr. Jobs tear down this wall!

From: AppleInsider | Jobs gains support from Yahoo, Monster on DRM issue

In an immediate response to the Apple cofounder's February 6th letter, Electronic Frontier Foundation urged Jobs to put "his music store where his mouth is" by promptly stripping the company's proprietary Fairplay DRM protection from independent music on the iTunes Store for which it is not required.

Jon Lech Johansen, an infamous DVD protection cracker known as DVD Jon, seconded the motion and even did some background research on the matter.

"It should not take Apple?s iTunes team more than 2-3 days to implement a solution for not wrapping content with FairPlay when the content owner does not mandate DRM," he said. "Actions speak louder than words, Steve."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael

Interesting interpretation of Jobs' letter. I don't see them loosening the reigns anytime soon -- or opening the door to selling indie music without DRM.

I just doubt APple would sell music with different restrictions -- they seem to like this one-size-fits-all model.

There's an interesting take on it all over on Media 3.0 -- where composer Shelly Palmer posted his own "Thoughts on Music.

- Will