Reaction to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for end of DRM
“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?”—Derek Slater, Electronic Frontier Foundation
“[Jobs’ argument to drop DRM] is without logic and merit. We will not abandon DRM.”—Edgar Bronfman Jr., Warner Music CEO
“I don’t expect the record labels to move very quickly in this direction. It would be very hard for the music industry to walk away from all the lawsuits they have filed against individual consumers, some against 15-year-olds, and say digital rights management is not a big deal.”— James McQuivey, Forrester Research
“It’s a bold move on his part. If anything can play on anything, it’s a clear win for the consumer electronics device world, but a potential disaster for the content companies.”—Ted Cohen, managing partner of TAG Strategic and former senior VP for digital distribution for EMI Music
“[Jobs’ letter was] irresponsible, or at the very least naïve. It’s like he’s on top of the mountain making pronouncements, while we’re here on the ground working with the industry to make it happen.”— Jason Reindorp, marketing director for Zune at Microsoft
“We welcome Apple taking this problem seriously, and addressing it at such a high level. It is clear that the record industry has some of the responsibility, but that does not relieve Apple of responsibility. Our concern is, of course, that Apple and iTunes Music Store should be addressing the issue of record companies and DRM themselves if it needs to be addressed. It’s iTunes Music Store that’s providing a service to the consumers and therefore has the responsibility.”—Torgeir Waterhouse, senior adviser to the Norwegian Consumer Council
“The essay ultimately comes across as more of a finger-pointing exercise than anything else, concluding by telling European governments to turn their attention to (European) record companies instead of Apple. The company’s proposal of two equally unpleasant alternatives—Apple DRM or no DRM—makes some rhetorical sense, but obviously doesn’t encompass all of the potential solutions out there, and as neither Apple option will satisfy sabre-rattlers, it won’t stop those trying to force FairPlay licensing upon the company.”—Jeremy Horwitz, iLounge
“Most technologists have always believed this and apparently now Steve Jobs is saying it publicly. He is begging the music industry to give up on all the DRM initiatives while subtly predicting they may spell its doom. He is dead right.”—John C. Dvorak, Marketwatch
“There is a less than 25% chance that the music industry will license music to online stores without any DRM. Record labels have worked hard to protect their product from theft by negotiating DRM requirements, so despite Jobs’ request, DRM free online music services are not likely to be the norm any time soon.”—Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray
“Is it a challenge to the major record labels? An answer to the increasingly hostile European governments (Norway, France, Germany) that are pressuring Apple to “open up” the iTunes Store? A message to the press to clarify Apple’s stance on DRM? A big f***-you to Microsoft? It is all of these things.”—John Gruber, Daring Fireball
“Apple’s offer to license Fairplay to other technology companies is a welcome breakthrough and would be a real victory for fans, artists and labels. There have been many services seeking a license to the Apple DRM. This would enable the interoperability that we have been urging for a very long time.”—RIAA (misunderstanding Jobs’ letter)
“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.”—Jon Lech Johansen (AKA DVD Jon)
“We’re not going to broadly license our content for unprotected digital distribution.”—Anonymous music company executive
“Last time I checked, Apple also sold TV shows, music videos, and films on iTunes Music Store, and they are all protected by FairPlay DRM. Why didn’t Jobs make the same courageous stand against DRM on video? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t very pretty: Apple doesn’t have anywhere near the same clout in the movie and TV business that it has in music, and has only signed film deals with two of the major studios as a result. Taking a stand against DRM for movies would anger the same people he is trying to make deals with.”—Andrew Shebanow, Shebanation
“We’ve been talking about the need for open formats for a very long time.”—Dan Sheeran, senior vice president for digital music at RealNetworks
“I’ve always assumed that DRM was a condition set by the record labels, not by Apple, and that Apple conceded only as a way to get the labels to sell their music through iTunes. Interoperability will drive iPod sales, and also music sales. This is what we at the Canadian Music Creators Coaltions (CMCC) have been pushing, and I’m glad to see Apple make a push for a DRM-free world.”—Steven Page, Barenaked Ladies
“In the near-term, this letter is going to have minimal impact. I fundamentally agree with much of what Jobs said. The record labels drive DRM adoption. DRM is not going away because the record labels aren’t going to let it go away. They are too paranoid about piracy.”—Michael Goodman, Yankee Group
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