Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sit under the Apple tree with me


And anybody else too, says Steve Jobs:

Apple has indicated that its iTunes store will sell music that plays on devices other than the iPod if major music labels abandon their anti-piracy technology.

Chief executive Steve Jobs urged the big four music companies to distribute their music without digital rights management (DRM) – the code that restricts users reproducing material and has an impact on the interoperability of devices.

Apple’s rights system, called FairPlay, works to prevent illegal copying of music by ensuring that songs purchased on iTunes can only be played on authorized devices Mr Jobs said consumers fighting for change should instead look to the music companies such as Universal Music, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI which he said required Apple to create a DRM for iTunes as a condition to selling their music online.

“Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace,” he said. “Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly.”

Was it something I said?

Apple’s demand that record companies do away with copyright protection for songs they sell online has set up a bitter battle between the two camps as they prepare for broad-ranging contract negotiations.

...However, several music executives on Wednesday dismissed his suggestion as disingenuous and reiterated their argument that inter-operability between devices would be improved if Apple were to license its own DRM to other companies rather than doing away with the protections altogether. They also suggested that Mr Jobs’s true motive was to defuse legal problems in Europe, where Apple is being asked to make iTunes compatible with other devices. Torgeir Waterhouse, senior adviser to Norway’s Consumer Council, said Mr Jobs was “pushing the ball as far away from himself as he can”.

John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of the IFPI, the music industry trade group, said of Mr Jobs: “I think he’s expressing some frustration at being the bad guy...and people like the Norwegian government beating him up, and he’s taking it out on us.”

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