May 11th 2006
By Mike Flaminio
Well, it's only a blog, but the rantings get crazier over at ZDNet.
What appears to be, on the surface, a fairly orthodox piece on the evils of DRM turns out (as per usual) to be an anti-iPod/iTMS/iTunes rant.
The author doesn't appear to be aware of the irony of what he's writing. Complaining Apple has 80% of the market? Cupertino earned every percentage point of that little bit of market share. Getting locked into FairPlay DRM? Get serious. The author implies that you'll get locked up under the DCMA if you try to convert iTMS music to play on another device. What? For burning a CD, ripping it and MP3'ing it? Don't think so.
And not a single word is heard about Microsoft's DRM'd .wma 'standard'. Or subscription models where if you don't pay, you can't play. Launching a broadside at spending "$1,000 on 1,000 99¢ songs" and then complaining that you can't play it on some third-party MP3 device is, well, FUD. Did we mention burning a CD? Apple also deems this fair use under their license, and converting to MP3 is specifically permitted. So you're not even breaking any laws by doing this.
So, opines the author, you "should have the right to play your content back on the device of their choosing. Period."
Not exactly. First, subscription music isn't 'your content'. At least not for good (i.e., when you stop paying). Second, Apple has not, in fact, stopped you playing that music through a CD or DVD player or, for that matter, a Creative or Samsung, once you do an MP3 conversion.
And, if you logically extend the argument, you should be able to run Windows on any device you choose. Like a SPARC. Or a Mac, for that matter (okay, now you can, but not for the last 22 years). Otherwise, howl with protest.
The point here is that Apple, having achieved some success, becomes a villain in the eyes of the brainwashed. Whereas, in reality, the real criminal (duly convicted in several anti-trust cases) is Microsoft.
Frankly, consumers have voted with their feet and bought the Apple bill of goods. They know what they're doing. No one is holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to buy iPods and purchase music from the iTMS. In fact, if the figures are anything to go by, only a very small proportion of iPod owners actually buy iTMS music...and that's their choice.