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Real Network’s online petition backfires

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, August 17, 2004
News Categories: Digital Media

Update: In an effort to thwart negative comments, Real has started a new petition without public comments available. The freedomofchoicemusic.org site now points to a new URL. This new petition currently has 35 signatures.

Yesterday Real Network’s launched the “Freedom of Choice” anti-Apple ad campaign, website and online petition in its efforts to stop Apple from keeping the iPod a “locked” platform. Today, the campaign has backfired with over 500 mostly anti-Real comments appearing on the petition’s website resulting in Real removing the link to freedomofmusicchoice.org on its website.

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Comments

41

If Real wants to get in on having people buy songs from them to play on the iPod then all they need to do is put them out in mp3 format.  It’s a simple as that.  I don’t want to use their crappy application or listen to their crappy formatted songs.  Seems to me, once when I tried to reformat an rm file I made of a song using their player, I found that not only did they not give me the ability to, but that to do so with another program was ILLEGAL, or so they said.  So why would I want to fill up my iPod with files I can only use in ONE format?!

Posted by Lindan on August 17, 2004 at 10:46 PM (PDT)

42

Good on you Jay B., totally agree !!!

jbrez, I agree that iTMS is the better product, but what about saving 50% on any purchase? (ok only in the promotional period)

Everyone should think about the long therm ramifications of a proprietary DRM: Imagine, in 2 years time some company other than Apple brings out the ultimate digital music player and you want to buy it. Only problem is that you can’t play all the songs you bought on iTMS.  Bugger. I am not saying WMA is better or Real is better, I just say we need a standard.

Posted by DG on August 17, 2004 at 10:54 PM (PDT)

43

There’s no MP3 DRM format supported on the iPod or any other digital music player, so the only way Real could sell MP3s would be to sell unprotected MP3s. I for one would support them with my money if they did that. I won’t buy DRMed music, from Apple, Real or anyone else. The crap they’re putting on CDs now, is making file sharing look like the least of the evils… (before you say it, I live in Canada where it’s actually legal… for now…). But we all know there’s no hope in hell Real could ever secure distribution rights from the big labels for sale of non-DRM music, so this suggestion is ludicrous.

I agree that Real has put out some crappy software over the years, and from some of the comments, it sounds like that hasn’t changed. I agree I’d be very wary of installing any Real stuff. Although, if I believed in buying DRM and the price was right, I’d consider backing up my system drive, buy some of there music, then restoring to get rid of their software.

I think the point a lot of you are missing is that freedom of choice means you can choose not to go with a particular choice. Crappy software with fatal bugs and adware is a very legitimate reason not to choose Real. Good interface and seamless install with iTunes is a good reason to choose Apple. By why on Earth is it bad to have that choice? Real did nothing illegal. They legally reversed engineered Apple’s DRM because it was the only way they could make their product compatible. The DMCA, as evil as it is, allows for that. If Apple were to agree to licence fairplay, there would be no need for Harmony, and iTunes would get some healthy competition from companies much better than Real. Apple would still make money from the competition because their hardware still rocks, still comparing well to the best of the competitors.  And people who have any of the non-iPod players could share in the iTunes love-in. What’s so wrong with that??

The saddest thing is the labels will probably abandon the audio CD spec entirely and only sell compressed, DRMed music in the future. Thank the lord for the DVD Jons of the world. (“the lord” was added for dramatic effect and has no bearing on my believe in it.)

Posted by tinaa on August 17, 2004 at 11:34 PM (PDT)

44

what ever happened to free people?  if it wasnt for this site i would have never EVER found out about SoulSeek - 192 kb

thanks ipodlounge - p.s. agreed about the freedom to post ur dislikes on the real website - but i bet it was a bunch of nerdy have-no-life-but-kissing-steve-jobs-### people posting bad ####

Posted by gabe on August 18, 2004 at 12:32 AM (PDT)

45

I love it which big plans backfire :D Heh. Sorry, but I’ll never support Real or their player. Apple is not perfect but I know which I prefer all the same… I LOVE MY IPOD!

Posted by ivicky on August 18, 2004 at 12:35 AM (PDT)

46

Compatition?? I thought there was loads of compatition out there for the ITMS. Lets see…

There’s:

Wal-Mart
Napster
Rhapsody
eMusic

and

Allofmp3

None of these Guys have steapt on anyones Toes to get where they are! Or had to reverse engeiner any code to sell there products either. So what gives Real the right to?

BTW I never hated Real more then when they coned MLB to force local Radio Stations to Blackout the Webcasts of such Games! I sencierly wish Real would DIE!

Posted by ichijoe on August 18, 2004 at 1:27 AM (PDT)

47

ichijoe, with the exception of eMusic, not a single one of those play on the iPod, ergo, why Real did what they did.

Apple is determined to convince the record labels of the world to go with their DRM and they are determined to maintain 100% control of that DRM scheme on exactly one player.

I can’t even think of an equivalent Microsoft tactic to this.

Apple is 100% wrong on this issue, they’re not even a little bit right. What Real did was 100% legal under the laws of the U.S. and that so many people seem determined to continually slam them is a sign of just how easy it is to lure people to thinking a monopoly is a good thing for the consumer.

Posted by Code Monkey on August 18, 2004 at 2:49 AM (PDT)

48

ichijoe: You accidentally listed Rhapsody in there… that’s Real Networks bud. Rhapsody uses Harmony to convert DRM formats.

The only direct competition for iTMS is anybody that sells unrestricted files, and RealLife cds. You do indeed have to step on and break Apple’s toes to become a real competitor for iTMS.

That said, it’s Apples right to lock down their own unit. It’s the consumers right not to buy it because of that lockdown.

Posted by penguin on August 18, 2004 at 2:54 AM (PDT)

49

“While I dislike REAL as much as the rest I still think that apple could use a little competition. How long will the real songs be 50 cents anyway? I hope long enough that apple lowers their prices.”

Huh?  Apple has plenty of competition already…Napster, Real, BuyMusic, Wal-Mart…

Posted by The Raven in USA on August 18, 2004 at 3:21 AM (PDT)

50

this is all a joke…

also, itunes would be better if it supported more countries than UK, Germany and the USA..

Posted by me on August 18, 2004 at 4:01 AM (PDT)

51

I do find it humorous to see all the Apple sycophant’s comments.  Sheesh, what’s wrong with having some options?

Pssst…Your intolerance is showing - again.

Posted by Obadiah on August 18, 2004 at 4:12 AM (PDT)

52

There are 900 “signatures” on the blind petition now - closing in on the original petition with the comments section that had backfired.  Looks like Glazer is going to have something to crow about as the number of signatures (even if they are fake) goes higher and higher. 

There is so much being said about Apple being wrong locking out other download services from putting music on the iPod.  Why should Apple spend one penny to work with these other companies to get their music on the pod?  Will it sell more ipods, no.  Will it sell more iTunes, no. Is Real willing to pay Apple for the cost of their peoples time to integrate the Real DRM into the iPod OS?  I haven’t heard them offer compensation for the work Apple will need to do.  So Glazer is asking for Apple to do charity work so that Real can sell more songs - how insane does that sound? 

If Real is so concerned about Freedom of Music Choice, why don’t they negotiate with labels to have a non-DRM MP3 file like eMusic.  Then the files will not only work on the ipod, they will work on Macs as well - what a concept! 

Posted by Not Backfiring Anymore on August 18, 2004 at 4:29 AM (PDT)

53

You forgot France dude !

Posted by hhvuong on August 18, 2004 at 5:36 AM (PDT)

54

I think this is retarded… and the comparison between apple and MS doesn’t really fit (JB) because microsoft doesn’t make hardware the won’t allow anything else to work on it, and their OS does allow others to make programs for it, they just ship it with their media player installed (I don’t understand why you europeans have such a problem with this as anyone who isn’t completely lazy can install another media player—like iTunes—that you want, but that’s another more political issue I feel)

I just dislike any and all real products since back in the day of real player 3, it seems to randomly take over being the default player and ads a lot of spyware/adware to your computer.  I think for the few random songs I tend to buy the extra 50 cents of iTunes/song is well worth the saved hassle of having to clean up after real…but that’s just me.  Oh, but while I’m here, I’ll ask an opinion…what do you all think of my newest plan of taking my laptop to the local library (where they keep their CDs out in the open…not locked up) and finding the oens that I like and copying them into iTunes.  I think that sounds like a great plan, and if I were a canuck it’d be legal!

Posted by a different me on August 18, 2004 at 5:43 AM (PDT)

55

“There is so much being said about Apple being wrong locking out other download services from putting music on the iPod. Why should Apple spend one penny to work with these other companies to get their music on the pod? Will it sell more ipods, no. Will it sell more iTunes, no. Is Real willing to pay Apple for the cost of their peoples time to integrate the Real DRM into the iPod OS? I haven’t heard them offer compensation for the work Apple will need to do. So Glazer is asking for Apple to do charity work so that Real can sell more songs - how insane does that sound?”

It WILL sell more iPods. Numerous people I work with were genuinely surprised to learn that not only did my iPod work with Windows, it worked with music other than that purchased from iTunes. OTOH, many of these same people take a step back when they realise in spite of this, it *only* works with *purchased* music from iTunes.

DRM only works when you can literally take that song anywhere, just like with a real CD. While some shills may have spent $100 million on iTunes, most consumers won’t be going anywhere near any of the current online services until there’s an open standard.

Apple has such an opportunity to create that “open standard” in the form of Fair-Play and the leading consumer brand. It could only help to sell more iPods to make the platform open. Keeping it closed can only help to sell less iPods. Anyone who thinks differently must think Jobs made the right decision in the mid-80s to keep the Mac platform closed (and thereby went from the #1 Personal Computer platform to a platform that serves as nothing but a tech demo).

Posted by Code Monkey on August 18, 2004 at 6:10 AM (PDT)

56

Ditto what Code Monkey said !!!!  If you are against choice you are against the free market system - Jobs is acting l;ike the the Sun leader - my way or the highway - well Jobs doesnt have the last say at Apple, the shareholders do and they can get rid of him like they did in the past if this becomes another 80’s fiasco.  Open it or Lose it, Jobs !!!  I do like Apple,  I just hate Jobs. like I hate Gates.  Egomaniac computer geeks whos vision is the only vision.

Posted by Dale on August 18, 2004 at 6:30 AM (PDT)

57

Code Monkey—

I definitly hear where you are coming from.  There is just one major flaw in your argument.  You are not asking for Apple to allow Real files to play on the iPod or for an open standard.  You are asking for a DRM free audio file format that will work anywhere and with anything.  That is what you are asking for here - “Take that song anywhere, just like the real CD” 
Because of Piracy, the RIAA demands that music download sites use DRM.  How eMusic gets around this I have no idea, but look at the list of publishers they have, you can tell that most record companies are afraid of eMusic. The RIAA has decided that consumers can not be trusted in the digital realm, and thus you can not have music that can go anywhere just like a real CD when you have DRM encoded in the files.

Equating the Mac platform to the iPod is misguided as well - Apple may have shot themselves in the foot not allowing other hardware manufacturers to build and sell computers with the Mac OS, but Apple has already allowed HP to market their own version of the iPod - so they have realized their misstep and are taking steps to avoid it with the ipod. 

If the Gamecube figured out a way to play PS2 games, do you think that Sony would just sit by and let Nintendo do this?  Real has done something just like this, but people are crying out for open standards.  You are asking for Apple to elminate their competitive edge which is the coupling of iTunes MS with the iPod.  How dumb would that be? 

Posted by K-Rock on August 18, 2004 at 6:55 AM (PDT)

58

>> I agree that competition is good, but only if it’s done ethically. I’m still quite on the fence with this because, while I’m glad there’s competition, I don’t like Real’s hacker tactic. >>

Wow, we have a winner in the “regurgitate Apple’s talking points” contest!

I’m sure Apple and it’s 3rd parties have NEVER, EVER taken apart a windows file format to create compatibility between applications.  Why, that would be a ‘hacker ethic’.

Sigh…ignorance always bores me.

Randy

Posted by RMagruder on August 18, 2004 at 7:11 AM (PDT)

59

Wow the mac zealots come out in force.

The Corporation has great control over you.

Facts:


A.  Apple is a corporation that’s priority is trying to make a profit for its shareholders.
B.  The music selection on itunes is horrifying
C.  The addition of real to the ipod compatible fray makes the total sum of ipod compatible music selection slightly less horrifying.
D.  No one is being ‘fooled’ by any petition, nor is the petition a scam, nor is the petition a legally binding document on apple or on real.

Posted by JP on August 18, 2004 at 10:00 AM (PDT)

60

Apple (The Corporation) is simply trying to create a scenario where they create more wealth for their stockholders.

They are in this power position because they designed a good mp3 player.

The selection of music at ITMS is horrifying.  Adding the ability to play Real aac files will make online music selection only slightly horrifying. 

I signed the petition to simply demonstrate that if it were up to me, I would prefer to see my ipod be as compatible as possible.

Posted by JP on August 18, 2004 at 10:23 AM (PDT)

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