More On Jobs And DRM

More On Jobs And DRM

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, sounding oddly like a Vegas odds maker, says there is less than a 25% chance the major labels will drop DRM. I think this completely misses the point. I’ve read and re-read Job’s open letter and I don’t think he intended to convince the labels of anything. I think he wanted those who weren’t talking about it to start talking, and I think he wanted to heighten the visibility of the conversation. In these regards, he’s certainly succeeded (if you don’t count the RIAA who, for some reason, took his letter as an indication that Apple is willing to license FairPlay). But I think his ultimate goal is to get the European governments to back off Apple and start pressuring the major labels. Several European governments are pressuring Apple to license FairPlay or open the iTunes store to competing devices (i.e., non-iPods). Jobs wants them to pressure the labels to ditch DRM, at which point FairPlay goes out the window and “competing devices” becomes a moot point. Norway isn’t playing along and neither, I suspect, will Denmark, Sweden, Finland, France or Germany.

On the humerous side of things, CARS rings in with responses from Jack Valenti, Steve Ballmer and Cory Doctorow, while MacUser has an interview with Fake Steve. Both of these are well worth the read. Meanwhile, iLounge has a good collection of quotes from around the web. Macenstein is calling for Apple to lead the way and set the example by ditching their software copy protection. As I said earlier, Apple could set the example by only using DRM for those labels who request it. If a label or artist doesn’t want DRM, don’t force it on them. Stop treating it as an all-or-nothing proposition. Until Apple puts its money where its mouth is, Jobs’ essay will have little to no impact beyond starting the “conversation of the week”. Actions speak louder than words.