Music Freed, Waterhouse Still Stupid

Music Freed, Waterhouse Still Stupid

Our concern is of course that it’s Apple and [the] iTunes Music Store [that] should be addressing the issue of record companies and DRM themselves if it needs to be addressed - and as we’ve stated earlier it’s iTunes Music Store that’s providing a service to the consumers and therefore has the responsibility to offer up a consumer friendly product.

Senior advisor Torgeir Waterhouse of the Norwegian Consumer Council, circa February 2007, (via MacNN).

My concern is that Mr. Waterhouse doesn’t have a clue as to how things work. Apple has already addressed the issue of DRM with the music labels and the labels have insisted on the inclusion of DRM. This issue is so well-documented as to be common knowledge. The music labels own the rights to the music. Apple is simply the licensee. As such, Apple has to meet the requirements of the music labels. If the labels want DRM and make it a condition of the license, Apple has two choices: (1) not license the music, or (2) include DRM.

As witnessed with today’s announcement, EMI – the world’s third largest music label, behind Univeral and Sony – has agreed to allow their music to be sold without DRM. While the rest of the world is cheering, Mr. Waterhouse spake thusly:

It’s important to note that this move does not take the heat off iTunes for the end of September deadline … By the end of September they need to alter the terms of service and DRM used in the iTunes Music Store to provide a fair deal to the consumers who legally buy music. Still, this move by EMI and Apple today should serve as proof that it really is possible to fix the problems the industry has chosen to introduce with DRM.

Huh? Yeah, it really is possible to fix the problem provided the music labels agree to stop requiring DRM. The music labels are the ones who have insisted on DRM, and as long as they continue to make it part of the licensing agreement, DRM will be with us forever. How the hell is this Apple’s issue to solve?

Maybe Mr. Waterhouse is confusing Apple, Inc. with Apple Corps.