In a remarkable entry yesterday on the Apple, Inc. website, icon Steve Jobs has made some surprising statements. He was discussing the world of digital rights management [DRM] and how it pertains to music purchased in the iTunes store. He speaks distastefully of the “secrets” required to make DRM work, and offers up this as one of the alternatives:
The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. 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.
On a related note, the BBC reports that Sony/BMG, one of the “big four” record companies Mr. Jobs refers to, was ordered by the FTC to pay out up to $150 to users that were victims of that label’s Rootkit DRM placed on CDs that were purchased in stores. This nasty bit of software installed itself on your computer when you tried to play the CD in your computer. It prevented copying it, but it also fouled up many folks’ computers in the end.
Things are changing, and the big players are being called on the carpet to answer to their past transgressions. As consumer use evloves, by neccessity so will the laws around the use of that content.
Who knows, perhaps Mr. Jobs reads Superfly…