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OS X Businesses Operating Systems Apple

O'Reilly Holds DRM Debate at Mac OS X Conference 59

suzanne writes "A panel discussion was just added to the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference, moderated by Dan Gillmor. He and Cory Doctorow, J.D. Lasica, Victor Nemechek, and Tim O'Reilly debate the expansive, pro-customer stance on DRM built in to Mac OS X. (Oh, and in case you don't have enough toys to play with yet, the complete conference schedule is available via iCal, Apple's latest groovy app.)"
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O'Reilly Holds DRM Debate at Mac OS X Conference

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  • Apple... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by littlerubberfeet ( 453565 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @07:50PM (#4315835)
    Apple should continue providing the tools to use and manipulate media, after all, isn't thatr what the mac is? a desktop multimedia machine. I hope they don't kill the functionality of the system. They are finally recovering from the Scully years, and gaining market share.

    If they do go the way of the evil empire, I suppose Linux will have to do.....hopefully functional media programs like Nuendo and Maya will be ported sometime....
    • Re:Apple... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pauljlucas ( 529435 )
      ...isn't that what the mac is? a desktop multimedia machine.
      No, the Mac is a desktop Unix machine that, among many other things, just so happens to be good at manipulating digital content.
      • No, the Mac is a desktop Unix machine that, among many other things, just so happens to be good at manipulating digital content.

        From the persective of UNIX geeks, that is correct.

        However, a lot of people buy Macs for no other reason than that they are the very best consumer machines for manipulating digital multimedia. I never would have become a Mac user in the first place had it not been for my music studio. Now that I have a few Macs, I love all the chewey UNIX goodness under the Aqua candy shell, but it was not what brought me to the platform.

    • Re:Apple... (Score:2, Informative)

      by wilseven ( 610336 )
      um, they ported maya already...

    • Apple has strong political ties to Hollywood, as evidenced by the pervasiveness of Macs in movies, not to mention that Steve Jobs' other company is Pixar. I see cause to fear that Apple will take the side of the anti-consumer corporate tyrants in Hollywood...
      • So far, Apple has done NOTHING to give consumers any reason to fear they will start implementing DRM and becoming Nazis like M$. Want to know the single most drastic measure I can remember of Apple taking against piracy? It was the little sticker on my iPod that said "Don't steal music." That's it, a damn sticker. Meanwhile, they have provided iTunes to let people rip mp3's, iTunes to burn CDs, and iDVD to burn DVDs. Quit spreading baseless FUD.

        Also, Apple does not have strong political ties to Hollywood. The reason why Macs are used so much in movies is because they are easy to license; you only need to go to one company for the whole hardware/software setup. Also, they do tend to look a lot better than ugly beige boxes. ;)
  • by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:15PM (#4315997) Journal
    ...who drew back in fear at the sight of this article. There is hope ;)
    Mac OS X is becoming, whether by design or by accident, a Digital Rights Management operating system where the rights in question are the user's rights--and they are expansive. Apple's Digital Hub concept continues to take shape in the OS, the add-on applications and third-party products such as EyeTV, typically enhancing the user's ability to do what he or she wants.

    This makes me very pleased--if anyone finds real evidence that this is merely a pr move and that Macs will take a turn for the worse, by all means let me know a bit later on from now--I want a few hours to enjoy my bliss.

    • by tupps ( 43964 )
      This is a discussion at an O'Reilly conference, I don't think it is going to change Apple's strategy in consideration of DRM. I hope Apple continues down the same route that they followed with the iPOD, eg stick a big bright sticker on the box saying: "Don't Steal Music" It is probably just as effective as all the other measures put in place.
    • Re:For mac users... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Melantha_Bacchae ( 232402 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @12:32PM (#4319951)
      GreyWolf3000 wrote:

      > This makes me very pleased--if anyone finds real
      > evidence that this is merely a pr move and that
      > Macs will take a turn for the worse, by all means
      > let me know a bit later on from now--I want a few
      > hours to enjoy my bliss.

      Be at peace and enjoy your bliss. This is for real.

      Steve Jobs took the occasion of Apple's recent Grammy win to make an acceptance speech that pretty much blasted the recording industry for its DRM stupidity:

      "Apple strives to protect the rights of both intellectual property owners and consumers alike and believes there is a 'middle path' in digital music distribution which actively discourages the theft of music, while at the same time preserving consumers rights to manage and listen to their legally acquired music on whatever devices they own,"
      Steve Jobs, 2002 Grammy Awards, as reported on

      Jobs has been known to say that piracy is not a technological problem.

      When asked what Apple was going to do with their shopping acquisitions (the various media production tools that Apple recently bought), Jobs said "democratize them".

      Apple has to take this position, fight this fight, and win. Their future is at stake here: the combo of the Hollings bill and Microsoft's DRMOS patents could force Apple to pay huge licensing fees to MS or be forced out of business.

      Yes, there is indeed hope. The sun with a bite out of it over Cupertino on December 14th, and the recent antics of sunspot #69 (heart shaped, then apple logo shaped, followed by a solar flare on the day Jaguar was released) are proof enough that the power that once resurrected a charred Apple sapling loves it still.

      For the media sharks she has no love, only a hurricane force fury at their greed and cruelty.

      On December 14, 1996, Mothra resurrected a charred Apple sapling ("Mosura", days before Apple announced Jobs' return).
      On December 14, 2001, Mothra returned to see its fruit ("Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Ghidora: Daikaiju Soukougeki").
      OS X Jaguar: truly the Apple of Mothra's Aqua eye.
  • With pallidum installed, I will ebay all of my macs, and get a linux/alpha box.

    I don't care if I have to live without my computer, DRM as it's currently setup is so 1984 it makes me sick.

    Next thing you know, we can only listen to "Trusted News sources" because slashdot reposters are eating into NYT's market share. Or we can only say pro-establisment phrases, because acting against the goverment might cause unwanted change.

    ~On slashdot everything is a slipery slope
    • Why wait? Join the penguin side now. Get away from the closed, proprietary, DRM, ??AA enforced fluff.

      All kidding aside, just because a NEW mac comes out with DRM and other assorted crap, doesn't mean that your machine instantly becomes subject to the same.

      • True, but it does mean that support for your machine instantly becomes subject to the DRM crap. You won't be able to get software updates. There won't be security fixes.

        You will have the choice of upgrading to the DRM version, or become obsolete. Or switch to something that is unencumbered.

        And, kidding aside, just because he puts it up on ebay, doesn't mean it will instantly disappear. :)
    • by vitaboy ( 610992 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @12:04AM (#4317126)
      Uh, excuse me, but isn't Palladium a Windows-based DRM technology? I very much doubt we'll see Palladium on the Mac. Secondly, I think the purpose of the conference is to underscore the fact that Apple is taking a PRO-CONSUMER stance with regards to DRM, from iTunes use of MP3s to the ease with which one can burn CDs and DVDs. The debate is whether Apple will continue taking this pro-consumer position or whether they'll cave in like Microsoft and Intel to the forces of the RIAA and Hollywood. At least that's how I read the announcement.
    • because acting against the goverment might cause unwanted change.

      No, acting against the government would be double plus ungood.
  • Why...? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...didn't this make it to the main Slashdot page? Especially when it's full of DRM stories about Windows and x86. You don't think Mac users care about their rights?
    • Re:Why...? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by coolgeek ( 140561 )
      Probably so a semi-objective discussion could ensue, with people who use Macs (and therefore people who have a better chance to actually know WTF they're talking about) participating, instead of the three-ring circus which has become the /. norm.
  • by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @10:50PM (#4316872) Homepage Journal
    If apple goes the drm route all my posts lauding the PPC/OS X platform will die a quick death.

    This could be the application that gives apple the needed boost from 5% to 10~15%.

    Personally I'm betting on Apple. I know it's a risky venture but I believe they can grow beyond a niche market. My companies software is being developed concurrently for Apple/Linux/Windows and will be offered at the same time on all systems. It is specialized s/w that would never appear in BestBuy or Fry's but if Apple proves to be worthy (which I believe it will), my company will continue to develop products for it and support our clients using Apple. All that being said I'm still hedging my bet by developing for Windows and Linux (fyi the apple development is done in Cocoa/Java/Interface Builder, the linux development is all Java/JFC (cannot wait for 1.5 and cleaned up Swing, they really need to trash it and just start from scratch), and windows is .Net/CLR/VB/C# this is because the classes converting to C# from Java are almost identical! Lol, MS thieves).

    Personally if I had to dictate to the world what to use I would say go with Mac & OS X, but choice is also a good thing (keeping the megacorps on their toes).
  • Good ol Apple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 )
    I don't think anyone has to be too worried about Apple implementing DRM on their computers. If there are two things Apple has stood for through the years, it has been a progressive, user-friendly philosophy and sticking it to M$ any chance they get (well, just so long as they don't stick it TOO bad to where they lose Office heh). Going against DRM would be in line with both of these ideas. It would still allow Macs to be the "digital hub" they are touted as without forcing the user to jump through hoops to use iTunes or anything like that. Also, don't you think it would make a very nice "Switch" commercial to have someone talking about how they can finally rip mp3's, burn DVDs/CDs, etc.?
  • by clontzman ( 325677 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @12:49PM (#4320099) Homepage
    Yeah, Apple's DRM stance is so consumer-friendly that I deleted all the music on my iPod by -- get this -- plugging it into another Mac! No warning, no dialogue, no music.

    Happened to a friend of mine too... 6 GB of music wiped out. That's not what I call user-friendly.
    • > No warning, no dialogue, no music.

      when I plug my iPod into a different Mac, I get a dialog box asking if I want to associate this iPod with this new Mac. If you click yes, it will delete all your music and then autosync with the new Mac. If you click no, you're safe. Apple's Knowledge Base has more info [] on this.

      You must have accidentally dismissed the dialog box without really reading it.
      • Actually, I had used the iPod in my PC at home via EphPod, which didn't require me to "lock" it to the computer. So when I brought it back to work, it said, "Hey, I know this iPod!" and proceeded to wipe it clean because it thought the iPod "belonged" to it.

        Maybe I'm an unusual case, but it seems like the software should be a little smarter than that. At any rate, it's Apple's default sync behavior that screwed me. You could say it was "my fault," but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has made the "mistake" of thinking I could use my iPod on a Mac and a PC without having it erased without warning.

        • At any rate, it's Apple's default sync behavior that screwed me.

          You're using unsupported software with an iPod for an unsupported platform (Windows), and you think Apple screwed you? Wow, talk about delusional...

          • You're missing my point. iTunes cared not what was on the device and ERASED EVERYTHING ON IT WITHOUT WARNING. Regardless of what I was doing, my opinion is that good software shouldn't wipe clean a device attached to it.

            People make mistakes and it's the job of a good programmer to plan for them, I think? I mean, the same thing happened to a friend of mine, so it's not like I'm uniquely foolish here. I didn't do anything unusual with the device -- I just added music from a different computer.
            • I didn't do anything unusual with the device -- I just added music from a different computer.

              Which Apple clearly states you cannot do if you had read the information provided.

              "Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation." Clarence Darrow

        • You're blaming Apple for problems with EphPod? iTunes thought that you had attached an iPod that had been synced on that computer and since then you'd changed your iTunes Library to have different songs, so it synchronized the iPod as it should have.

          You do know that you can manage songs manually as well, right?
  • I hope this is a correct perception of Apple's future direction (to become known as a consumer-friendly, DRM-free environment). However, apart from Apple's "Rip... Mix... Burn..." ads, they haven't really said anything publicly about this.

    Meanwhile, I give Gateway credit for coming closer to explaining things to consumers than any other company so far (I'm referring to the commercial with what's-his-name and the singing cow... and the explicit statement beginning Gateway believes you have the right... [].

    I'd sure like to see Apple have a similar statement out there in the open, in black-and-white (or translucent-blue-and-white if you prefer).

    Now if someone could just convince AMD not to go along with Palladium...

    • Re:Apple and Gateway (Score:3, Informative)

      by gerardrj ( 207690 )
      AS another poster mentioned, Steve (the undeniable voice of Apple) at the Grammys stated that Apple believes consumers should control their own content while being discouraged from illegal copying. Not the word discouraged, not prevented.
      Apple has put that philosophy in to action with the iPod... no DRM. You CAN get the songs from an iPod to another computer, they just don't support it, and contorted things a litte. They discouraged copying, but did not prevent it.

      With Rendevous they encourage streaming version of MP3 and video sharing while generally preventing copying by default. Any two Macs with AiirPort and Redevous enables will be able to listen and watch each other's content, but unless specifically shared as a folder via the sharing panel, it will not be copyable.

      So pretty much at every point where Apple has to decide between enabling or restricting consumer choice, they choose to enable consumer choice while discouraging abuse, but not eliminating it. I think this goes simply beyond just spouting a tag line.

      • "With Rendevous they encourage streaming version of MP3 and video sharing"

        Pardon me for being picky, but aren't you describing features that have not yet been released? Rendezvous doesn't seem to do much of anything now, with the exception of the nifty iChat.

        I am fairly certain Apple has more uses planned for it in the future though.
      • Disclaimer: I'm not a Mac owner, but I'm hoping to purchase one *real soon now*.

        Last weekend I was playing with a friend's brand spanking new PowerBook, and I was trying to copy a music CD. Now the OS X UI is in general astoundingly simple, but it was not simple to copy RAW CD audio from one disc to another, the best I could do was create a CD-ROM full of *.aiff files, OR I could convert all the music to Mp3 with iTunes and then burn those to a music CD, with an accompanying loss in quality. These seems to be another case of Apple not making it simple to copy full quality digital audio. I'm sure it can be done, but it seems to require a bit of contortion.

        At any rate, if anyone knows how to do this, I'd be very interested.

        • Yes, this is yet another example of them not preventing something, but also not encourging it. All the tools are there but there is no direct audio CD copy function in the Mac OS X.

          Here's a procedure to do it with iTunes:

          1. Set the preferences to encode in AIFF (uncompressed format)
          2. RIP the CD
          3. browse by the title of the CD by entering the title in the search field
          4. create a new playlist
          5. drag all the tracks from the left library search pane to the playlist (use CMD-A to select all)
          6. click the 'burn' button

          Or use Roxio's Toast that has a direct CD copy function that I think works on audio CDs.
      • How in the name of Lando Calrissian does it matter 1 tinker's cuss what Gateway says on a webpage when every single box they ship comes with the single greatest (worst?) DRM software yet produced (Windows RentMe)?

        That's like Ford saying that the single greatest threat to the planet is the SUV as 500,000 more SUV's leave Detroit.

        Gateway - that has put themseves at the 100% behest of Microsoft - has no business talking about the rights of consumers when its actions speak much louder by saying "You are a pirate. Take the ring out of your ear and call Microsoft after you upgrade your ethernet card."

        Give me a fscking break.
  • Think past the playback device and think more about the content creators.

    Jack Valenti and his cronies want DRM *BAD* and will align themselves behind whomever gives them the tools to "protect" their interests.

    Right now, that's Microsoft.

    If Apple stays on their current path of no DRM (I think I read an interview with Steve Jobs somewhere that says they want to trust their users -- novel idea -- instead of enacting DRM), then they might have an awesome platform for playback.

    But what will they have TO play back if everything is provided in WinMedia 9+/Palladium?

    QuickTime 6 and MPEG4 are great for creating content, but it's distribution that'll determine a lot.

    The Mass Consumer who doesn't know how their rights are being curtailed will go for "secure" systems. They're Lemmings who follow the MS PR line. Unfortunately, they outnumber those of us with Brains. They're not going to want to buy any open systems if all the latest Hollywood goodies are only available on Windows DRM kits.

    I fear that Apple is going to have to implement *some* kind of DRM -- let's just hope they're going to be Smart about it.

  • Apple should come out with a Mac that has a shiny metal finish and a tiny little bit of palladium in the alloy and call it a "Palladium Mac."

    (Now that cold fusion has fizzled, the price of palladium should be dropping, right?)

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus