Internet: A Legal Right

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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby James » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:49 pm

It's all documented, Ranbir. Steve Jobs, from the start, was pitching DRM-free music to the music industry. He told them at the start, in meetings, that DRM would reduce interest in digital distribution. These negotiations have become pretty famous and are now used frequently in articles to demonstrate topics such as iTunes' control of music distribution, or the music industry's difficulties in understanding the digital distribution market. Apple did not want to license Fairplay (and actually, here, I don't recall ever reading that they weren't allowed to) because it would have complicated their ability to meet contract requirements (enforce Fairplay). The Amazon music store received authorization to sell DRM-free music while Apple was still required to use DRM. EMI was the first to allow DRM-free music in the iTunes store while the other music companies continued to require DRM. For months Apple negotiated with them to drop DRM from their music (this was regularly reported on). In the end Apple had to introduce variable-rate pricing to get all the companies on-board with something similar to what was offered by Amazon.

Amazon received DRM-free music around a time where the 'Big Four' were attempting to prop up alternative businesses to iTunes to break Apple's emerging control of the market. They wanted Amazon to take market share from Apple. They wanted to make sure Apple carried less weight in their negotiations. That failed.

Apple has been extremely difficult for these industries to deal with. NBC even pulled their video content from the iTunes store for a while in an effort to get what they wanted through other outlets, but eventually they came back. But their authority is not all-encompassing. When the iTunes store started pushing digital distribution of music it was still a young concept and DRM was the only thing the music industry would agree to. Apple did not start with as much authority as you seem to think they did.

Apple dropped it after finally negotiating the right to distribute DRM-free music.

Ranbir, these things aren't great mysteries. This was all thoroughly documented and quite open. Much of their negotiations with the 'Big Four' were covered extensively. I hated the DRM music every bit as much as other people did. I only ever bought one album from iTunes. Even today I still buy from Amazon because I want to use MP3 instead of M4A (simply because it allows me to play it on devices like my car deck and share with friends who use MP3 without re-encoding). I was very interested to see this happen as Amazon's music selection is dwarfed by iTunes'. I followed this closely.

Ranbir wrote:Wrote an article on it last year. :wink:

Sounds like a pretty poor article.
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby Ranbir » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:06 pm

Apple did not start with as much authority as you seem to think they did.


And they weren't angelic and helpless against it either. Let's not pretend legal pressures did nothing to harry Apple's need to drop their restrictions.
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby James » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:30 pm

Ranbir wrote:And they weren't angelic and helpless against it either. Let's not pretend legal pressures did nothing to harry Apple's need to drop their restrictions.

Apple, and Steve Jobs in particular, are both well-known for being ruthless in negotiations. They usually get what they want in the end. I'm not denying any of that. But you are completely wrong about this, and it is pretty surprising given how openly available all of this information is. Legal pressure did nothing to change what Apple wanted in terms of DRM. Apple wanted DRM-free music from the start. Apple dropped DRM from the iTunes store only as they successfully negotiated the change with labels (and it didn't happen all at once). Anything nonsensical like legal pressure in Europe would have only served as a bargaining tool in those negotiations.

Apple was contractually obligated to offer the tracks in a DRM-protected format. If the EU had required DRM-free music and the music industry leaders had refused, DRM music would have been removed from those localizations of the iTunes Store (but not replaced). Apple is no angel, but the amusing thing here is that you're bitching about a company for providing DRM music when they were actually the single greatest driving force behind bringing DRM-free digital music to the consumer.
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby Ranbir » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:48 pm

Apple was contractually obligated to offer the tracks in a DRM-protected format.


Only to the four major labels that wanted protection. Smaller labels asked to have their music without drm, Apple denied them. Many independents wanted it without, yet could not, hence growth in services like eMusic.

If the EU had required DRM-free music and the music industry leaders had refused


So when Europe was looking to prevent distributors using proprietary software and promote interoperability why did Apple oppose it one the lines that piracy would rise at the result of removing DRM. Isn't this what they wanted from the very start? Why didn't Steve Jobs go public with his thoughts then?
Last edited by Ranbir on Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:58 pm

So seriously, do you guys pay for water & electricity over there (which they label as basic human rights)?
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby Ranbir » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:11 pm

Of course. Either one amount of water/electricity used and drainage services (getting rid of your flushed contents for you).
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:18 pm

Ranbir wrote:Of course. Either one amount of water/electricity used and drainage services (getting rid of your flushed contents for you).



Then I agree with your second amendment analogy. More specifically, I just don't see this as being outrageous or different from many other rights or regulations which require business to provide X and X quality, yet still requiring people to purchase it at voluntarily.
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby James » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:25 pm

Ranbir wrote:
Apple was contractually obligated to offer the tracks in a DRM-protected format.


Only to the four major labels that wanted protection. Smaller labels asked to have their music without drm, Apple denied them. Many independents wanted it without, yet could not, hence growth in services like eMusic.

Probably just a cost-based decision at this point.

Apple rarely acts on something until they can do it correctly, and with finality. Any system they rolled out for the smaller labels would likely have to be changed when they came to an agreement with the larger labels. The cost of the conversion must have been considerable. In any case, you're splitting hairs.

Shikanosuke wrote:Then I agree with your second amendment analogy. More specifically, I just don't see this as being outrageous or different from many other rights or regulations which require business to provide X and X quality, yet still requiring people to purchase it at voluntarily.

A sound conclusion under the context.

But in any case, the argument is rather silly. It does seem like the original article used dramatic language to describe what appears to be an action to make that level of internet available to everyone for purchase.
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby Ranbir » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:03 pm

All they were asking for was to not have the Fairplay wrapper on their music.
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Re: Internet: A Legal Right

Unread postby James » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:38 pm

Ranbir wrote:All they were asking for was to not have the Fairplay wrapper on their music.

It's not just a switch they could flip. As soon as they settled on and released a non-DRM solution for the iTunes store—the one which they were pitching to the uncooperative three of the Big Four, they started making arrangements with the smaller studios as well. As soon as they got the Big Four onboard, they began the process of conversion, and actually removed all music from the iTunes Music Store which couldn't be released DRM-free (for one reason or another). Apple doesn't take baby steps in this way. They are more likely to wait, while their customers and clients are kicking and screaming, until they find the big solution, and then they roll it out. Copy and Paste on the iPhone is another example of this behavior.
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