I decided to abstain myself from commenting Steve Jobs's open letter about DRM, but since it's generating a huge buzz around it, I think it's time for my 2 cents contribution.
Here are a couple of paragraphs from the letter, written in plain English:
"The rub comes from the music Apple sells on its online iTunes Store. Since Apple does not own or control any music itself, it must license the rights to distribute music from others, primarily the “big four” music companies: Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI.... When Apple approached these companies to license their music to distribute legally over the Internet, they were extremely cautious and required Apple to protect their music from being illegally copied."
"If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music."
This is nothing new, even for Steve Jobs. Back in 2002, he publicly grumbled a bit about the record companies and their reluctance to loosen up.
"If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own."
DRM is a very sensible matter, and we will hardly see a consensus around the issue. Here are a couple of videos showing the two faces of the coin:
- the first one is a video from ZDNet Executive Editor David Berlind, suggesting that DRM is C.R.A.P.
- the second is a very recent web documentary made by McCann Norway for the Norwegian music industry, explaining the history of music piracy so far and analysing the effect it has on the industry.
RSS readers should click here to watch this movie.