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Will People Really Boycott Apple Over DRM? 664

Posted by kdawson
from the for-tuppence-and-a-pretty-interface dept.
Ian Lamont writes "DefectiveByDesign.org is waging a battle against DRM with a 35-day campaign targeting various hardware and software products from Microsoft, Nintendo, and others. On day 11 it blasted iTunes for continuing to use DRM-encumbered music, games, TV shows, movies, audiobooks, and apps with DRM, while competitors are selling music without restrictions. DefectiveByDesign calls on readers to include 'iTunes gift cards and purchases in your boycott of all Apple products' to 'help drive change.' However, there's a big problem with this call to arms: most people simply don't care about iTunes DRM. Quoting: 'The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use, and marketing. ... Apple regularly features exclusive live sets from popular artists, while Amazon treats its digital media sales as one more commodity being sold.' What's your take on the DRM schemes used by Apple and other companies? Is a boycott called for, and can it be effective?"
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Will People Really Boycott Apple Over DRM?

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  • Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:16AM (#26199153)

    It will never be effective. The average Joe coulden't tell you what DRM stood for let alone boycott it.

    • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eebra82 (907996) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:50AM (#26199445) Homepage

      It will never be effective. The average Joe coulden't tell you what DRM stood for let alone boycott it.

      The average Joe must not know what DRM means to experience the implications of it. I hate car analogies, but you don't have to be a greasemonkey to understand that something is wrong with your car.

      The average Joe will run into DRM restrictions, and;

      ..ask a friend about it (or)
      ..google it (or)
      ..curse and never use the service again

      • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by M-RES (653754) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:20AM (#26199749)

        ...and their friend might well tell them just to burn their music tracks to CD and rip them back in to strip the DRM. They might think it's a pain in the arse, but they'll at least know how to get around the restrictions.

        IMHO this is a damn sight better than SOME of the DRM employed by other companies which even lock out other operating systems (Windows MediaSlayer I'm looking at you)

        That being said, Apple made a big hoo-hah about their DRM-free tracks (and the increased price tag... grrr), and I seem to recall they were claiming that they were going to offer more and more tracks without DRM which prompted many to assume they'd be dropping the practice not long after, but here we are many moons later and it's still the dominant practice for iTunes purchases. In fact, I'm not even sure how many tracks you can get on iTunes without DRM now.

        Given enough bad press DRM will eventually go away, but it has to be made as public as possible in a sustained campaign for this to have any effect at all - or a cheap mp3 download service making a BIG deal of not having DRM and getting decent media coverage. Competition from a serious contender that the public begin flocking to (and away from iTMS) will be a more effective engine in driving Apple to drop the DRM in the long run. I don't think people are stupid enough to believe that mp3s they download from other sources can't be used with their shinyPod (despite the BBC's best efforts to repeatedly claim the iPod can ONLY play tracks from the iTMS and vice versa that tracks from the iTMS can only be played on the iPod).

        • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PriceIke (751512) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:05AM (#26200295)
          Apple has a golden delicious reputation with most of its customers, even in spite of the very mild DRM attached to its music downloads, for two reasons: 1) the DRM is pathetically easy to remove, Apple knows it and anyone with half a brain will figure it out in approx. 2 seconds, and 2) Apple hasn't f*cked over its customers to a level anywhere approaching what Sony or Microsoft has done with their absolutely outrageous efforts at DRM. To this day I refuse to buy Sony products of any kind due to the rootkit bullsheet [wikipedia.org] back in late 2005. And don't get me started on Microsoft and "Palladium".
          • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Monday December 22, 2008 @12:56PM (#26202083) Journal

            Well if all DRM was of the very mild variety I wouldn't have any problems with it.

            Mild DRM such as watermarking and such which doesn't actually reduce the functionality of the product can help deter most who would casually infringe and if handled properly could build a reputation that the industry has ways of figuring out who really bought what (even if they have to tell us in the fine print that the drm is there and yes we all know it can be removed). However that isn't enough for many in the industry so they go for strong drm, drm that doesn't seek to build a reputation but rather tries to force compliance and be as its proponents claim unbreakable; even though it is every bit as bi-passable as its weaker counterpart to those who would criminally break copyright laws.

            It all boils down to the enforcement and practice of copyright laws has become unjust because non-governmental agencies like the RIAA have taken upon themselves governmental powers and the law has been stretched to cover such extreme lengths of time.

            Don't rage against the concept of copyright, it is sound. Rage against its abuse in the law and commercial enterprise.

            I say we need to get to something like 25 years from publishing date with 25 years additional after registration(must be completed before the first 25 expires w/no exceptions) and the registration process should involve submitting a copy to a national or state copyright library and should be payed for by the holder(the first 25 are free).

            • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Hatta (162192) on Monday December 22, 2008 @03:10PM (#26203869) Journal

              Don't rage against the concept of copyright, it is sound.

              It was sound 20 years ago, the world has changed. Every household in the country now has the capability to undertake massive copyright infringement without being detected or punished. Copyright is quite simply unenforceable. It makes no sense to have a law you cannot enforce. It does nothing but damage peoples respect for the law.

              Yes, the content creation industry will suffer. They will have to adapt to the new information economy. Casual copying is not going away, deal with it. If the content creation industry has to scale back to what they can make on donations, that's life.

              If you want even the slimmest chance of stopping a significant portion of copyright infringement you'll have to lock down every general purpose computing device tighter than an Xbox 360. In the end, you'll have to make it impossible to play any unauthorized media. This would be such a tremendous step backwards, essentially we'd be taking ourselves out of the information age. I'm pretty sure that would be worse than the death of the content creation industry, and it still wouldn't work. You'd just end up creating a black market for unrestricted electronics.

              If I'm wrong, let me know where this analysis falls short.

      • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Angostura (703910) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:44AM (#26200033)

        You know what, I don't think the average Joe actually will run into the DRM restrictions in iTunes and so won't give a flying whatever. I do know what DRM is, and it doesn't raise it's ugly head day-to-day.

        I buy music, I put it onto my iPod and burn it to CD. Now what am I meant to be protesting about again? ... That's a rhetorical question.

        • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Lachlan Hunt (1021263) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:02AM (#26200253) Homepage

          You may not care right now, and nor might an average user. But just wait till the day you want to switch from iPod to some other MP3 player, or for the day when Apple threatens to switch off their licencing servers (as has happened to several others already). Unfortunately, that's when most users will find out about DRM: when it's already too late!

          Thankfully, Requiem is available to strip Apple's FairPlay DRM, for those who care to look for it. Although, not everyone does.

          • Re:Sorry... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:58AM (#26201143) Homepage Journal

            But just wait till the day you want to switch from iPod to some other MP3 player

            So then you burn your music to CDs and then rip it. It's an inconvenience, not a hindrance. So, even fully-aware buyers are left to balance the convenience of the music store, etc., against the inconvenience of creating MP3s, or whatever. Which wins? It's a judgment call and I can see many people shrugging and sticking with iTMS.

            or for the day when Apple threatens to switch off their licencing servers

            As long as the service is profitable -- and it's doing very well -- that won't happen.

            Thankfully, Requiem is available to strip Apple's FairPlay DRM, for those who care to look for it.

            Ah, right, there's that option as well.

            Bottom line: Apple's DRM is too leaky to be really annoying to people, other than those who stand on principle (like me).

          • Re:Sorry... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by SydShamino (547793) on Monday December 22, 2008 @12:56PM (#26202095)

            My old MP3 player wasn't an iPod, so I very carefully transferred any iTunes purchases to MP3 via rewritable CDs. Fortunately I don't buy much music so it wasn't very tedious.

            Since I've bought an iPod, I've continued the process. It is, admittedly, more difficult, which is why I buy from Amazon MP3 first if a song is available there, and only buy iTunes if not. I experimented with Wal-Marts's store when they dropped DRM, but I can't shop there regularly.

            (You hear that, Apple? I like your products enough to own your stock, but I still don't prefer your music store.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stewbacca (1033764)
        Actually, the average Joe will most likely NEVER be pestered by FairPlay--or at least not until the average Joe gets his 6th computer and wants iTunes on it. That, however, won't be for years and years (we are talking average Joe, right), and even then, they'll have to simply look online for help and realize they can deauthorize all the old computers they should have deauthorized when they got rid of them and start with a fresh new 5.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Hopefully, having to re-buy any video related iPod accessories every few years will give Joe something to consider...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dragonjujotu (1395759)
        Not likely, people have been trained to believe that newer is better anyways, so why not just upgrade it all. It really only affects the people who can't afford to upgrade, but they're already trained to believe it's not really necessary to be up-to-date.
        • Well, it has with me (Score:5, Interesting)

          by KingSkippus (799657) * on Monday December 22, 2008 @12:15PM (#26201415) Homepage Journal

          Well, it has, at least with me.

          I got an AppleTV a couple of years ago, and I had a video iPod already. Of course, the first thing I did was buy a whole bunch of my favorite shows so that I could use the AppleTV kind of like a Tivo, sans commercials and at higher quality video.

          I still have my AppleTV, but it didn't take long to exceed its capacity. So I started storing my television shows on my computer. A couple of computers (and iPods, for that matter) later, I've moved my stuff around so much and dropped and reauthorized stuff to the point where the shows I bought when I first got my AppleTV are, for all practical purposes, gone forever unless I want to re-buy them.

          So nowadays, I buy all of my stuff on DVD, period, and I rip it to my computer. I put the discs away forever, and I can watch it on anything I want any time I want. If I get a new computer, I copy the files over, I'm done. No reauthorization, no fuss, no chance of losing my stuff or having to re-rip them. Don't get me wrong, I still love my AppleTV. I rent movies on it once a week or so, and I watch a lot of the stuff I rip on it. I just don't buy video media from Apple iTunes any more.

          Apple has always been a master of ease-of-use. I just think it's a shame that they, along with other companies in whose vested interest it is to make things as easy for the consumer as possible, can't use their retail power to shed all of this silliness. The technical capability is there for any video or song that you buy from Apple or anyone else to be extremely easily portable and transferrable. If they made it so, would piracy go up? Sure, no doubt. But you know what else would go up? Sales. And isn't that really the goal?

          The reason BitTorrent and other illegal means of acquiring video and music is so popular is because it fills a gap that Apple and other RIAA/MPAA-colluding companies never will be able to, the ability to let people watch what they want, where they want. I'm sure the "free" thing is a factor too, but really, for me, it's not. If Apple announced tomorrow that they were dropping DRM on all music and all video, they'd have a loyal customer for life, and I would spend gobs of money in their store. As it is, though, they're losing my business to stores like Amazon.com that sell all DRM-less music and physical DVDs.

          • by Sancho (17056) * on Monday December 22, 2008 @12:29PM (#26201661) Homepage

            I still have my AppleTV, but it didn't take long to exceed its capacity. So I started storing my television shows on my computer. A couple of computers (and iPods, for that matter) later, I've moved my stuff around so much and dropped and reauthorized stuff to the point where the shows I bought when I first got my AppleTV are, for all practical purposes, gone forever unless I want to re-buy them.

            How does this happen? I thought that content purchased from the iTMS were tied to your account, which you can pretty much authorize to 5 computers at a time. You can deauth at any point, either from the computer itself, or from their website.

            Unless you've switched accounts, I don't see how your content would be unplayable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nursie (632944)

      People are dumb, enlightened self interest only works where people are actually enlightened, news at 11 etc.

      Companies with a decent marketing department can get away with anything.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by timeOday (582209)
      Many iTunes tracks can only be played with Apple hardware... is that really such a difficult thing to understand? I would never invest in a music collection locked to a single brand of player.

      But on the other hand, I wouldn't hesitate to get an Apple player, or even non-DRM tracks from iTunes. (Granted I never actually have, but that's because I like devices with more features, and don't care all that much about the UI so long as it's passable).

      • Bullshit! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Builder (103701)

        All iTunes media can be played through iTunes on Windows. Windows is not normally run on Apple hardware.

    • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hal2814 (725639) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:27AM (#26199831)

      I don't think you can blanket statement DRM. It's been implemented in too many ways. The average Joe probably hasn't even noticed the Apple DRM because they probably haven't tired to do something that's not allowed by it. On the other hand, I imagine at least a few average Joes have noticed the horror that is SecureROM.

      Even if I'm wrong about the average Joe's run-ins with DRM, I don't think an Apple DRM boycott will be effective because the number of people who dislike Apple's DRM, use it anyway, and are willing to boycott it is probably very small. I'd wager it's very near 0. If they'd be willing to boycott it in the first place, they're probably not using it now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShannaraFan (533326)

      Both of my kids know what DRM is - my son uses several "no-cd" cracks to play various games. They both have iPods, and my daughter is getting an iPhone for Christmas. In spite of my best efforts to get them to purchase from Amazon, they both insist on buying from Apple. Reasons I've heard:

      - it's easier
      - I'm never going to play them on anything buy my iPod anyway
      - I'm not going to give my friends music that I paid for. That's illegal anyway.

      So... They understand the restrictions, they understand that th

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jgtg32a (1173373) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:17AM (#26199159)
    No
    • Re:No (Score:4, Funny)

      by Samschnooks (1415697) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:28AM (#26199243)

      No

      You got that right. Apple, being the marketing gods that they are, will get by this easily. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple actually charges extra for the DRM, selling it as service and feature.

      I can just hear it now from the Apple Fans, "Apple has DRM! Do the other services? Nooooo! That's why I buy Apple for these extra value added services! That's why they charge more!"

      Currently, I wondering if I should really take the Karma hit. Is there a way my Karma hit can go to starving orphans or something? Starving orphans that need Apple products?

      Yep, I'm going to Slashdot Hell for this. Windows 3.1 as my OS on a 386, Balmer as my boss, and no stock options to compensate...

      • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

        by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:37AM (#26199317)
        It requires no marketing on Apple's part, because most people do not care about DRM. In terms of the restrictions DRM imposes, Apple and other DRM makers have done their research on how people use their music, and have tried to craft their DRM to have minimal interference with those use cases. Apple has a trust factor going -- people assume that Apple will "do the right thing," so it is hard to convince people that there is any risk of Apple disabling their music later on. Worst of all, many people I speak with seem to think that they deserve DRM, because of all the peer-to-peer copying.

        So yes, this boycott will fail, and Apple will be able to simply ignore it.
        • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cabjf (710106) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:56AM (#26199509)
          Not only that, but a boycott of Apple would play right into the record companies. They demanded DRM in the music store to begin with, so Apple came up with a solution. But then, as the iTunes store grew, the record companies realized that Apple was in control because of the very thing they demanded was in place. Why do you think Amazon can sell DRM-free tracks? The record companies are trying to break Apple's stranglehold on the downloadable music market. Although, given that iTunes does have some DRM free tracks from one record company, I am willing to bet Apple would rather just sell them without the DRM as well.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jabithew (1340853)

          ...have tried to craft their DRM to have minimal interference with those use cases.

          I love how you list this as a criticism. If DRM doesn't stop your normal use of your music, is it really a bad thing?

          I don't like it, because I don't like vendor lock-in. But if people don't care about DRM isn't it possible that they're doing it right?

      • If you think that's something Apple would do, I don't think you've ever had anything to do with Apple.

        Right now they're talking to the labels to get more DRM-free music in the iTMS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ephemeriis (315124)

        No

        You got that right. Apple, being the marketing gods that they are, will get by this easily.

        Marketing has nothing to do with it. Most folks don't even know what DRM is, and even if they're aware of DRM they seldom care.

        Folks buy a song on the iTunes Music Store and try to play it...it works. They put it on their iPod...it works. They burn it to a CD...it works. As far as they're concerned the music works just fine.

      • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cgenman (325138) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:23AM (#26199787) Homepage

        What you're looking for is iTunes Plus [apple.com]. Bog standard AAC files in high bitrate, for the same cost as DRM-encumbered files.

        If you really want to show that you care about a lack of DRM, skew the sales numbers so that non-DRM files are obviously outselling the encumbered ones.

    • RDF > DRM. It's a scientific fact.

    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:36AM (#26199941)

      If you are going to have a strong anti-DRM movement you also need a Strong anti-piracy movement to go with it. Otherwise the companies, government, and people who don't care as strongly will just see you as a bunch of Wackos who want something for nothing AKA "The Pinko Commie who Hates America". If they offered a strong voice against piracy and worked hard to discourage such behavior then their message about easing and finally removing DRM will not be heard on deaf ears.

      Activist love the idea of being this little group fighting a big evil and heartless corporation. However if you want action you need to treat your opponents as people too and understand and work with their concerns as well, then you can create change. Otherwise you are in a battle of wills who's ever will is the strongest or has the extra buck to fight back will win, not because of intellect or greater good. Why do you think Marten Luther King was more effective in history then the Black Panthers, The Black Panthers worked on creating a divide while MLK tried to create unity. Yes it is much more exciting to be in a Moral Battle of Right and Wrong however war (even with words) isn't the answer Open Dialog with the willingness to accept and respect your opponents concerns, works much better.

      So you don't like DRM neither do I. However if you are going to get a broad cooperate acceptance of removing DRM you are going to create a culture where illegally downloading free music and not paying for them ever is no longer considered socially acceptable.

      • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nursie (632944) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:58AM (#26200195)

        "If you are going to have a strong anti-DRM movement you also need a Strong anti-piracy movement to go with it."

        "if you are going to get a broad cooperate acceptance of removing DRM you are going to create a culture where illegally downloading free music and not paying for them ever is no longer considered socially acceptable."

        I think you're wrong. You can easily show people that:

        1. DRM doesn't affect availability to pirates.
        2. DRM costs money to implement

        And therefore it's just not worth it. I can understand their concerns just fine, but their actions are expensive and counter-productive. They make the end product less valuable to users, who are then more likely to turn to piracy.

        I don't "pirate" music, but I won't buy anything DRM'd either, because ripping my CDs and storing/playing them on various devices is my goddamned right.

  • Their fault? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JickL (1398643) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:17AM (#26199163) Homepage
    Is it their fault that the music companies are willing to let Amazon sell DRM-free music to have a bargaining chip against Apple when discussing pricing?
    • Re:Their fault? (Score:5, Informative)

      by chrish (4714) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:53AM (#26199483) Homepage

      If only Amazon would sell MP3s to people who don't live in the US. Are the Canadian arms of the American music companies really that different?

      I buy my music online from the likes of Magnatune [magnatune.com] and the "iTunes Plus" store (DRM-free, and higher-quality files than the regular iTunes store). When I can, I buy directly from the artists online.

      Sure Apple is enabling idiotic behaviour from the music companies, but I'm not sure we should blame them; would the music companies have even allowed them to sell music without the DRM? You could show your "appreciation" for the DRM'd music by buying something from the iTunes Plus store...

    • Re:Their fault? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DurendalMac (736637) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:50AM (#26200113)
      THIS! Defectivebydesign has shown themselves to be just another group of ill-informed asshats. Apple does not have control over whether or not they put DRM on music. The labels do. EMI has DRM-free tracks. So do a lot of indie labels. The other big three would need to greenlight DRM-free tracks for Apple to sell them. This has been known for a long time, but of course DBD chooses to ignore it in favor of sensationalist crap. DRM sucks, but they're blaming the wrong person here. Now, Apple has some DRM crap that's no fun, but they need to stick with stuff that's legit.
  • It's optional! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RMH101 (636144) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:17AM (#26199165)
    What about the huge numbers happily using iTunes and an iPod to playback their MP3 collection? You don't have to buy your media from the ITMS...
    • Re:It's optional! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:20AM (#26199183) Journal

      You don't have to buy your media from the ITMS...

      Even if you do, you can buy the DRM-free tracks. Apple's ready to sell anything that the labels will let them sell.

      -jcr

      • Re:It's optional! (Score:5, Informative)

        by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:26AM (#26199231)

        Exactly. When I want a song I first check if ITMS has it DRM free. If it does I usually buy it there. If not, I head to Amazon. The good thing about Amazon is that they also offer a lot of tracks at 89c and frequently offer specials for $5 song sets.

        For me ease of use is a tie since the Amazon downloader takes the song and loads it into itunes just fine. Some people complain about Amazons search function, but I find it works just like it should and the service is often faster when it comes to previewing songs.

      • You don't have to buy your media from the ITMS...

        Even if you do, you can buy the DRM-free tracks. Apple's ready to sell anything that the labels will let them sell.

        Unfortunately, that's not that much. Only one of the big labels (EMI) offers DRM-free music via iTunes.

        There were rumors Apple was going to offer all tracks publiced by Sony, Universal and Warner DRM-free beginning on December 9th, but that was rapidly claimed to be untrue [cnet.com].

    • by bogado (25959)

      ITunes sucks it don't play ogg by default and it refuses to play ogg from the network even after the quicktime coded is installed. I have setted up a daap for my home and itunes simply does not work, while rythmbox work perfectly.

      I also tried to configure songbird to see my daap, but had no luck, and my wife want something that is as easy as itunes.

      Also I loved the "Dr. Horrible sing along blog" I tryed to buy the files from itunes, it is impossible, because you know you have to have a itunes installed, so

  • Unlikely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:18AM (#26199169) Homepage

    Most internet users can't tell the difference between firefox and IE, it's unlikely they'll understand what DRM even is. Those who do understand DRM, probably never bought from the itunes store in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iammani (1392285)
      Bingo, what is needed is, more education about alternatives and how better the alternatives are. These smear DRM/IE campaigns rarely work.
      • Re:Unlikely (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Epsillon (608775) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:16AM (#26199711) Homepage Journal

        But what if the recipients reject the education? One response I regularly come across with the norms is "This really doesn't matter to me at all. Why should I need to be aware of an issue that I couldn't care less about?" This generally appears on topics such as this, along with net neutrality, Phorm, Nebuad and the likes and just how much power and information Google has. Really, hardly anyone cares.

        The bottom line is that some of us will eschew DRM because it limits our rights. That's our group and we can realistically only change OUR behaviour and decisions because we're a minority and, the way things are going, we will remain such. Then there will be those that protest against DRM because they think it makes piracy more difficult. This is the hardest of the three groups to understand because DRM does not make piracy harder, it simply restricts the rights of those who try to play fair. The norms will consume without a thought simply because they don't care. That's the vast (and, looking around me, I really do mean VAST) majority of people. There are advantages to both of the sane points of view, most notably that we tend to have lower blood pressure despite the stress of trying to swim upstream ;o)

        My solution to DRM is and probably always will be to buy polycarbonate frizbees and rip to FLAC for my music collection. Not only do I get a very acceptable quality recording, I also have something tangible to wave at the copyright policeman when he starts giving me hassle. I really don't see a better alternative despite the Internet's potential to revolutionise music distribution. I either put up with a crap recording on a lossy, proprietary codec and pay nearly the same as I would have for DRM-free, lossless audio with a nice master backup if I lose my collection, regardless of whether it's DRM free MP3 or not, or put a little effort in to do it this way. The advantages are clear. I also refuse to use P2P applications and share the results. Sorry, I paid for these. You want them, you know how to get them: The same way I did.

        Before anyone points out that audio CDs are mostly copy protected these days, not when you don't use Windows and autorun, they're not. A track is still a track on a standards-compliant CD. There are also some rather nice FLAC enabled, inexpensive personal media players coming out of the Far East right now, for example this [ricco.tv] is a rather nice little gadget if you're more interested in quality audio than being seen with white earbuds on the bus...

        In other words, the revolution that replaces the current music industry will probably not be based around the Internet at all unless some folks change their ideas. Piracy is NOT acceptable, regardless of the Robin Hood wannabe crowd. Accepting low quality crap that removes your fair-use rights is also not acceptable. People need to realise these facts. The likelihood of that happening, as the GP poster suggests, is slim.

    • Re:Unlikely (Score:4, Insightful)

      by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:06AM (#26199593)
      "Those who do understand DRM, probably never bought from the itunes store in the first place."

      Not even remotely true. Lots of people who understand DRM have bought from the iTunes store. Understanding DRM doesn't necessarily mean opposition to it. Or, more specifically, understanding it doesn't mean opposition to it in every and all forms. Some DRM sucks and should be avoided in protest. Some DRM is sufficiently light that people don't mind. Yes, some oppose DRM in any and all forms but some, even though they understand DRM perfectly well, don't object to it in the same way.
  • iTunes Plus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Geraden (15689) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:19AM (#26199173) Homepage
    Apple DOES offer iTunes Plus. Yes, it is sold at a premium price. However, for those concerned about DRM, it at least affords an alternative that is higher quality and DRM free.
    • Re:iTunes Plus (Score:5, Informative)

      by larry bagina (561269) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:24AM (#26199215) Journal

      iTunes plus has been $.99 (same as iTunes minus) for quite a while now.

    • Not true. They originally sold for more, but all songs, AFAIK, are now 99c.

    • Re:iTunes Plus (Score:5, Informative)

      by De Lemming (227104) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:30AM (#26199269) Homepage

      Apple DOES offer iTunes Plus.

      Yes, it is sold at a premium price.

      No, it's not. It was when Apple introduced iTunes Plus, but now the DRM-free tracks are sold at the same price as those with DRM.

      However, for those concerned about DRM, it at least affords an alternative that is higher quality and DRM free.

      Unfortunately, still only part of the catalogue is offered as DRM-free tracks...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And people should try to remember that Apple would like to do away with DRM, but the RECORDING LABELS won't let them. All the while letting Amazon etc all go without DRM. There should be a lawsuit in there somewhere imo, but I'm not a lawyer.

        So basically boycotting Apple over DRM, something they don't want either, is stupid. Boycot the recording industry for forcing them to keep it.

  • Part of me wonders if this is not-trivially for publicity, like Greenpeace goes after Apple a couple times a year. But either way, not many people will care and I certainly doubt that they'll convert anybody. iTunes does, IIRC, sell non-DRM'd music (at a premium but also at a higher bitrate), and the DRM they do have is fairly unobtrusive as DRM goes. I don't like DRM'd media any more than the next person, but I can think of much worse offenders to go after than Apple.
  • Just 1 or 2% (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:21AM (#26199195) Journal
    It will just make a drop in sales of 1 or 2%, almost not noticeable. If Apple feels like it can do without, good for them. Would they loose more profits if they ditched DRMs completely ? I doubt it and 1% is still 1%. I think there is another problem : a lot of the people willing to boycott are, IMHO, blue-chip consumers, those who helped Apple follow trends in the tech world. If Apple loses them, it may cost them more than a little drop of sales.
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768 AT comcast DOT net> on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:22AM (#26199209) Journal

    Seriously. How many "boycotts" have people had against iTunes at this point. And didnt it just get announced a couple months ago that iTunes is now #1 in all music sales? Not for nothing but I hate DRM, I really do, and when I can avoid I do, which is why I dont by anything but indie music that comes as DRM free. But going up against iTunes is kinda a waste when ultimately its the studios behind the DRM, and they are now using it to leverage better royalty rates on music against Apple (thus despite having stores who have all DRM free music, Apple still has to put up with having DRM from some of the major players)

    The only real way to get rid of DRM is to just STOP BUYING CRAP MUSIC. But then that was the only way to stop it years ago and you people still dont get it through your skull to stop supporting any artist on a major label.

    • by pressman (182919) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:55AM (#26201103) Homepage

      Not buy any music from any artist on any major label? Wow. That's a bit extreme.

      True, the majors sign a lot of crap that they can sell at high prices for short term profit, but they also sign bands that will survive in the long run.

      Not buying from the majors means not buying Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Ramones, Motorhead, Slayer, Mr. Bungle, etc.

      Support quality, not ideology.

      I pity people who limit themselves based off of ideology. True, there is a ton of great music on the indies and that is the majority of where my music dollars is spent, but denying myself the greats, the legends from the past because of a deluded idea that labels are inherently bad is just plain stupid.

      Vote with your dollars. Don't buy the new Britney, sure, but denying yourself Led Zeppelin's Presence, Metallica's Master of Puppets.... just plain stupid.

      The problem with the /. perspective on the music industry is that the crowd here only considers the technological perspective on the industry and not the financial realities faced by artists who sign to the majors. Good bands who sign bad deals. Hell yeah I'll buy an album by a good band on a major. If they don't get that sale, chances are they will end up in major debt to the label. Believe me. Way too many of my friends have suffered from this. Psychefunkapus. Limbomaniacs. Fungo Mungo. All peers of Primus from back in the day who dreamed of big time success and wound up only with big time debt due to their lack of business experience and cock-eyed optimism.

      Great albums ruined by naivete and ruthless business practices. I felt duty bound to buy their albums to help my friends and to have copies of this stuff after it was shelved by the labels.

      Signing with the majors does not immediately mean the music is sub par. Many indies sign a lot of crap as well. The whole shoegazer and emo movements of the late nineties early 2000's was largely fueled by the indie labels.

      This entire notion is based on a false premise.

      Buy what is good. Period.

  • I have (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tamarik (1163) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:24AM (#26199219) Homepage

    I, for one consumer, already have. I don't buy Apple products because of the DRM. Creative Zen MP3 player, Dell, and Fujitsu laptops, and Samsung i760 cellphone. My ex uses a Mac Mini. My best friend sweears by his iPhone and a couple Macs. Nice machines! Apple looks like a good OS but this danged DRM is the showstopper.

    Bah! Come on Apple, lighten up. You seem to think all yer customers are sneaks and thieves, like Sam's or Best Buy.

    • Re:I have (Score:5, Informative)

      by intheshelter (906917) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:33AM (#26199287)
      I think people need to understand that the DRM on Apple's music is NOT put there at Apple's insistence. The music labels are the ones who mandate this DRM on iTunes, so boycotting iTunes does NOTHING to change this situation. Apple was the first company to call for an end to DRM in a public letter issues by Steve Jobs. It's not Apple that doesn't get it, it's the music industry.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rsmith-mac (639075)

        Just to add to this, the labels are mandating DRM for Apple to cause exactly what DfD wants: the labels want people to boycott Apple. Apple is too big and too strong for the labels taste; the labels want to raise prices and use variable prices, they want to do away with individual tracks on hot items, they want to increasing the amount of advertising and payola at digital music stores. Apple will have none of this, and they're big enough to keep the labels from getting it.

        Divide and conquer, that's the labe

    • Re:I have (Score:5, Insightful)

      by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768 AT comcast DOT net> on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:40AM (#26199347) Journal

      First off, your kidding yourself if you think your laptops dont have DRM on them. Go play something HD on a older digital monitor with a older connection and talk to us. Hell scre that you using XP? Yeah I thought so.

      Second you think Apple actually WANTS DRM? Apple isnt in the music making buisness, nor or they in the video making buisness. They sell machines to do it, tools to do it, but ultimately they are not making movies and music. So where is it for them to WANT DRM? They want to sell you shit. Its the people they deal with, the major labels who WANT to make sure you get their crap and dont steal it. Apple practically makes nothing off the stuff they sell in the store. So little that the labels play to raise their rates a while back basically was countered with Apple saying "fine we will close the store then." They didnt even flinch when NBC left them, which says a lot about how much money they are really making with these deals that 1-2 especially when you consider that Apple is the one paying the hosting fee and maintenance fees for running the store, not the labels who just provide the song or video.

      So really what you think your doing in boycotting them is just being stupid and showing your lack of knowledge of the situation. Because Apple really isnt in the business to DRM crap, and your saying they are just shows you to be a idiot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by W2k (540424)

        First off, your kidding yourself if you think your laptops dont have DRM on them. Go play something HD on a older digital monitor with a older connection and talk to us.

        "Something HD", as in the HD rip of $movie that I downloaded from $favourite_filesharing_site? Yep, works just fine.

        If you don't buy crippled media, you won't have any problems with DRM. And filesharing is just another way of voting with your wallet.

  • DRM is an evil concept.
  • by thegoldenear (323630) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:25AM (#26199225) Homepage

    "The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use"

    Why should it be surprising that people are willing to pay for ease of use? it can mean the difference between actually being able to use something and not being able to.
    Most people can't use most of most software.

    • by TrueDego (1214140) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:44AM (#26199399)

      Most people can't use most of most software.

      Most uses of the word most I have ever seen in one sentence.

    • Dear thegoldenear,

      Please send your recent post to every project on Sourceforge.

      Kind regards,
      robot_love
    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      "The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use"

      Nonsense. DRM doesn't improve ease of use. The average user is more than willing to pay for hobbled music because the music he/she wants is only available in DRM-restricteds formats. If the popular artists were only releasing new songs on 8-track tapes, people would buy 8-track tapes. The format in which music is sold has little to do with convenience; it has much more to do with the recor

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:28AM (#26199249) Homepage

    1) The iPhone is the biggest selling single phone on the market, hell they've a 1/3 of the whole market with one device
    2) The iPod is the biggest selling digital music player by a mile
    3) iTunes is one of the easiest to use ways of managing your digital music collection

    So will the vast majority of people give any sort of hoot about DRM when all they can see is their ability to share the music between their PCs and their digital music player? No they will not.

    All this will do is demonstrate how pointless the actual demonstration is, thus meaning that Apple will be less likely to be concerned.

    For most people the question isn't DRM-free its "playable on my iPod".

    • by EnglishTim (9662) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:06AM (#26199589)

      1) The iPhone is the biggest selling single phone on the market, hell they've a 1/3 of the whole market with one device

      Bullshit! They're nowhere close to 1/3 of the market. In 2007, over 1 billion cellphones were sold. Assuming a similar rate over the last year, we can compare that to Apple's iPhone sales (roughly 4 million) and it becomes evident that Apple has 0.4% of the market.

      Even in the U.S, they only have around 5% of the market.

      I think it's the U.S. touchscreen smartphone they've got 1/3 of the market of.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pridkett (2666)

        1) The iPhone is the biggest selling single phone on the market, hell they've a 1/3 of the whole market with one device

        The OP misspoke slightly, but sometimes stuff can get confusing. The iPhone is the biggest selling phone in the United States, yes, even more than the freebie RAZR (cite [appleinsider.com]). They had 28% back in February of 2008 and now have 30% as of December 2, 2008 -- although the later figure seems more suspect (cite [arstechnica.com], cite [cnn.com]). The supply drop of iPhone-2Gs in the 1Q diminished their numbers quite a bit. Also, the market is smart phones, not just touch screen ones. The largest player in smart phones in the US is Blackbe

  • Right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Pfft, who actually purchases music anyway??
  • exclusivity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wall0159 (881759) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:36AM (#26199303)

    "Apple regularly features exclusive live sets"

    I think this sort of thing prevents the uptake of Free Software in general. People want to be part of an "in crowd", and seek ways to believe it's true (eg. Da Vinci code, fashion, nerd snobbishness, etc). People will pay for this feeling, and I reckon it was used to help prop up the monarchies (and now demonarchies*).

    I mean, how "exclusive" is a live set on iTMS? Anyone can buy it, right? This is where marketing comes in. Grass-roots arts and software producers don't want to come across as "here's some scones that my mad-great-aunt made (they make great hearth-stones), all proceeds to the parish..."

    *typo intended, exscuse the piss-take ;-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Darth_brooks (180756)

      How about "exclusive to us, iTunes, rather than the umpteen brazillion other online outlets."

      If only one store is offering the product or service, that makes it exclusive to the store.

  • Uphill battle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bignetbuy (1105123) <r0ck@oLAPLACEperamail.com minus math_god> on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:37AM (#26199307) Journal

    DefectiveByDesign would have better luck picking on Microsoft or some of the game publishers. Apple has managed to find the sweet spot between user freedom and DRM. Yes, Apple still uses DRM but it doesn't encumber a majority of Apple iTMS users.

    Let's run through Apple's DRM:

    1. Can play music on up to five different computers. So, home, work, laptop, and two other places are covered.
    2. Can play music on iPod. So, can take music with us and play almost anywhere.
    3. When de-authorize / re-authorize computers as needed.
    4. Can rip music to Audio CD and *STRIP OUT DRM ENTIRELY* from the music track.

    I hate DRM as much as the next /'er but the above "restrictions" are pretty darn loose. When iTMS and its uber-convenience is added into the equation, Apple's DRM becomes a minor annoyance. Point-Click-Purchase? One-click purchases? Recommendations based on previous purchases? It becomes pretty easy to overlook the little bit of DRM that is involved.

    I'm not an Apple fanboy either:

    [me@mydesktop ~]$ uname -a Linux my.rhel.desktop 2.6.18-92.1.18.el5 #1 SMP Wed Nov 5 09:00:19 EST 2008 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:37AM (#26199321) Homepage

    They have a whole host of options for playing it back, and the iTunes ecosystem is very well suited for the average person. Half the TV that my wife and I watch, while not saying much since we don't watch much TV, is on our Apple TV. I've ripped a big chunk of our DVD collection to MPEG4 and put it into our iTunes library. If we want to take movies with us when we travel, we just sync up our iPhones and that's it.

    There's also the fact that you can burn the music you download to CD. So what if you can't do that with movie downloads. They're overpriced enough as it is, and so you might as well buy the DVD media at the same price. That's also a problem that affects every online movie distributor.

  • accessibility (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThePhilips (752041) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:40AM (#26199353) Homepage Journal

    The average user is more than willing to pay more money for hobbled music because of user interface, ease of use, and marketing.

    There is an escape from Apple's DRM: just burn tracks on music CD.

    On other side, many companies really disregard the time. The time user has to spend on doing something silly and stupid. Apple was always good on removing the artificial barriers and negotiating compromise where it doesn't hurt users. (But it's not that Apple is clear on all DRM charges.)

    From my personal experience, I would easily overpay for something what requires little of attention and just works. Though most of my friends prefer to spend time searching for better deal, spend time getting into the deal and then spend even more time trying to make it work in the end.

    IMHO, good accessibility is also feature and I do not mind paying extra for it. Though you never find accessibility on official list of features.

    Right now iTMS holds really little of advantage over other stores, so the point of RTFAs stands. Yet, now the time Apple invested into building user loyalty is simply paying back. iTMS competitors shoot themselves so many times in all the possible foots and they would need considerable time to gain the trust back.

    P.S. And thanks to misleading **AA campaign many believe that Apple's DRM is norm of life. And that I believe is bigger problem.

  • They can DRM all they want. I haven't played their pop music game since they killed Napster. Anything I want to listen to I play myself on the guitar. I'm no Jimi Hendrix but I do well enough and the satisfaction of doing well enough is as great as hearing the virtuoso himself.

    And I often forget to flagellate myself for not paying performance fees.

  • DRM is only an issue when it gets in the way of the customer using the product the way they want. Apple 1) does offer songs DRM free (for a slightly larger fee) and 2) the DRM is so trivial to get around that any user who would be bothered by it can easily ignore it. So, in Apple's case, their DRM is only an issue for people who want zero DRM, no matter what - people who have taken a firm stance against DRM in any and all forms. For the vast majority of other people out there, however, the DRM isn't an issu
  • Misinformed (Score:2, Informative)

    by pphoenix (737080)
    Sounds like DefectiveByDesign.org is misinformed. DRM is pushed to Apple iTunes (and other online media Shops like Rhapsody) by the record labels e.t.c. Even if the boycott is successfull, unless if it hurts the record labels they will continue to push this policy to all online content. iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster only sell what they are authorized to sell and what is in the contract. By the way, i dont believe Apple makes a lot of money from iTunes, it is simply a means to help sell the iPod. Record labels
  • How is it "hobbled"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday December 22, 2008 @09:54AM (#26199491)
    People don't care about DRM per se, they care about whether they can use what they buy any way they like.

    In the case of music with DRM bought from the iTunes store: I can play it on my computer with no problems at all. I can burn it onto CDs without any problems at all. I can play it in my car (by copying it onto my iPod) without any problems at all. I can't give it away to friends to play on their computers (which would be illegal, which I might or might not care about, and I can give CDs with the music on them to friends, which is just as illegal, which again I might or might not care about), and I can't convert it to MP3 which would allow me to put it onto a cheap 4GB memory stick which can be played in many places, or onto a DVD which my DVD player can play.

    Most computer users that I know would have no idea how to put _any_ music onto a memory stick or a DVD, so I don't think there is very much of a limitation at all. On the other hand, the music is easy to buy, and looking in other places is effort as well.

    In the case of movie rentals, DRM might very much keep people from using a movie in the way the intend, but it's not in their way when they try to get what they paid for out of a movie (at least with the Apple store).

    On the other hand, years ago I tried to buy some eBooks, which came with DRM. Paid for four books (but only a few Euros), had to download bloody Adobe eBook reader software, the software crashed during the download, and all in all I was able to read one of the four books I paid for. I don't dare thinking about what hoops I would have to jump through to make these books readable on my current computer. So in that case, DRM was most definitely in my way and kept me from giving them any more of my money for years. They now sell the same books in unprotected PDF files, which means I can read them on a Mac using Preview, and they will be usable forever.

    So the summary: I am not going to boycott DRM if it is implemented well and I trust the company doing it. And if it is implemented badly, you don't need to ask me to boycott it.
  • Files on my ipod (RIP, Neuros II...): 20GB

    ITMS purchases: 0

    And going to stay that way.

    Maybe the average joe can't be arsed to learn about DRM, but that's just one more person for me to laugh at when the next company pulls a wal-mart.

  • My household uses Macs, an Airport Express, iPods and an iPhone.

    The DRM on music doesn't bother me because, if a track isn't a DRM-free iTunes Plus track, I can simply burn an Audio CD (using a CD-RW) and rip the CD to MP3s. I'm not an audiophile, so any "loss" due to the conversion isn't something I notice. The day Apple announces a date for their iTunes authentication server to go down, I'll burn some CDs.

    The DRM on videos doesn't bother us because we simply don't buy them. We simply rip our DVDs
  • It just works. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ari{Dal} (68669) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:06AM (#26199591)

    Here's a major difference between Apple's iTunes DRM and other companies:

    it lets people do what they want with it.

    No, not what YOU want to do with it, what the average iPod/Mac owner wants to do with it.

    Most people who are buying songs through iTunes have an iPod or iPhone, many have a mac, and the songs and shows are designed to work just fine on both. They don't want to sync with anything else, so why would they care about the DRM?

    Something that restricts you from putting music on your iPod, yes that's going to piss the users off, but something designed to integrate with it? Not so much.

  • by gsslay (807818) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:06AM (#26199595)

    I'm confused. If 'boycotting' means simply not buying what you don't like from some place that doesn't supply what you wish, then I guess I've been boycotting certain retail outlets all my life. With minimal effort on my part.

    Should I be starting websites of my own to tell people what I won't be buying? Cos that could get pretty time consuming and frankly I have better things to be doing. Obviously these people don't.

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