DRM-free video from iTunes unlikely | iLounge News


DRM-free video from iTunes unlikely

Following this week’s announcement of DRM-free music from EMI in the iTunes Store, many are calling for a similar plan to offer DRM-free video at the store. Jobs’ stance on video DRM, however, differs greatly from his views on music. During the EMI conference call, Jobs was asked about the potential for a similar DRM lift on video. “Video is pretty different from music right now because the video industry does not distribute 90 per cent of their content DRM free. Never has. So I think they are in a pretty different situation and I wouldn’t hold it to a parallel at all,” Jobs responded.

Due to Apple’s 10 percent share of US music sales, it is in a good position to negotiate with the music industry. This is not the case when it comes to video, where Apple has yet to prove itself. “No movie studio would ever support the iTunes store if it was clear that Jobs would be pushing them to remove DRM,” said James McQuivey, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.

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“Never has” - yeah right *rotflol*
I’ll think of that next time I watch a Laserdisc, which was *the* high-end consumer format for almost 30 years, also came in a HDTV-flavor for a couple of years, and had exactly *zero* DRM or other copy protection. Sure, movies were never cheap. Yet as we just saw the other day, higher quality and no protection always commands a little more *g*

(Note: Of course it was near impossible to pirate/copy a Laserdisc due to the nature the format, altough there were incredibly costly blanks and writing units available. You could not find a better “master” to copy to tape though)

Posted by Bad Beaver on April 3, 2007 at 1:43 PM (CDT)


The real answer is Steve “Mr. Disney/Pixar” Jobs is a hypocrite and he has to kiss up to Hollywood in order to get the iTunes Movie store off the ground.

Hollywood has never had a mainstream video format that has any sort of effective copy protection/DRM.

VHS Tapes: Macrovision stabilizers sold in the back of every Popular Science magazine.

DVD Discs: CSS and region coding are completely cracked.  Basically an unprotected format at this point.

Blu-Ray/HD-DVD: Time will only tell, but for now, basically unprotected. 

The closest thing they have to an uncopyable format is from the various legal online services.  But I suspect that is mostly because they aren’t very popular and DVD/HD Discs are higher quality and easier to copy.

Posted by Aero on April 3, 2007 at 2:10 PM (CDT)


“Never has.” - good one Steve!

True enough - prior to Macrovision (first used in 1985), VHS was 100% unprotected - so I guess that’s not the same as 90%.

He’s either stupid or a liar and I don’t think many will agree that he’s stupid :)

Posted by WhoCares on April 3, 2007 at 2:25 PM (CDT)


Well, I would think, DRM issues aside, that there is already an established business model for renting and subscribing to video content, unlike for audio content.  People go to Blockbuster and rent content or subscribe to a Netflix account or a Comcast account.

I’m against restrictions to content and want to be able to rip my own dvds, but I would like to be able to rent content.  That could be what he is saying.  That’s the whole argument I think.  People want to own music, but video is another story.  I want to listen to a song a zillion times, but how many times would I like to watch a movie?

Posted by Jeremy on April 3, 2007 at 2:37 PM (CDT)


That said, the iTunes store still doesn’t rent video content, which still frustrates me as a user.  I think the AppleTV would be much more compelling if it offered rental content through the iTunes store.  That’s what I think Steve might be building up to in the Fall.  HD rental content to compete with the current Microsoft offerings.  Who knows though.

I also don’t put it past him or anyone in his position not to try to allay fears of movie execs right now who think they’re next.

Posted by Jeremy on April 3, 2007 at 2:48 PM (CDT)


Jeremy, I wholeheartedly agree. HD rentals via iTunes -> AppleTV would be excellent. On the other hand, one could think that the price of rentals might be too high due to HD bandwidth consumption, at least for people with limited bw. It would be a great option though.

Posted by Bad Beaver on April 3, 2007 at 4:00 PM (CDT)


wait, i’m a little confused,

because according to this snippet from the official Apple PR statement on the matter,

videos from EMI will be DRM-free:

“iTunes will also offer customers a simple, one-click option to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free format for 30 cents a song. All EMI music videos will also be available in DRM-free format with no change in price.

(from:  http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/04/02itunes.html)

Posted by Pollux on April 3, 2007 at 5:03 PM (CDT)


In response to the first few people posting about laserdisc’s and VHS tapes having no copy protection that ma be true but I think what Steve is talking about are actual perfect DIGITAL copies not crappy analog recordings and to the other guy just because dvd copy protection has been cracked doesn’t make it legal!

Posted by carpenterdon on April 3, 2007 at 8:02 PM (CDT)


That relates to music videos, not movies or TV shows.

Posted by Japester on April 3, 2007 at 8:04 PM (CDT)


Steve may be saying that now, but I do hope that at least Music Videos are offered DRM-free.
The next step after Music Videos would be TV Shows; some TV Shows are already distributed free (as in speech) via RSS (as Video Podcasts).
Short Indie and fan Films are also distributed free through Websites and Legitimate BitTorrents

Posted by Dan Woods on April 4, 2007 at 12:07 AM (CDT)


carpenterdon, sure he does. We were talking about the now gone state of the art though, which conflicted with the “never” statement.

Posted by Bad Beaver on April 4, 2007 at 2:06 AM (CDT)


I don’t care about movies, I want DRM-free music videos.
What’s the hold up for that?

Posted by Eric on January 18, 2009 at 1:39 PM (CST)

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