As the largest distributor of DRM infected technology, Apple has set a new low in the mistreatment of our freedoms.
-- Defective by Design

[Updated May 2007, see point 3]
Why Apple's DRM is good for consumers

Apart from a couple of completely confused comments (for example, iTunes doesn't limit the number of copies of a track you can burn at all - it limits the number of copies of a playlist you can burn, and it takes about three clicks to make a new playlist), this protest has completely missed the real villain of the peice. The largest distributor of DRM-infected technology isn't Apple, it's not even Microsoft (though they beat Apple on several counts), it's the movie industry. Every DVD player, every DVD, is infected with DRM. Why aren't you up in arms over that? Because you don't notice it? Because it doesn't effect you?

Here's two HUGE advantages of having Apple in the DRM market that more than make up for all the disadvantages of FairPlay.

1. Competition in the DRM marketplace is good for consumers, because the more complex and difficult DRM is to use, the less acceptable people will find it. I like the fact that I have to jump through extra hoops to unlock my music to play on a generic player, because if it's extra work for a geek it means it's a lot of extra work for a typical user... so they won't be inclined to put up with it. If they used Microsoft's DRM and everything Just Worked, then people would ignore it the way they ignore the DRM on DVDs.

Protesting Apple's DRM plays into the hands of the Intellectual Property Misers. If you want to gripe about DRM infested music, Protest PlaysForSure instead, because if Apple actually caves in that'll be the only alternative... and with everyone using it it'll be invisible and surprisingly easy. And easy DRM is a boot stamping on a music-lover's face, forever.

2. Apple's DRM is practically "honor system". They even ran ads telling you how to bypass it, if you paid attention. When they were telling you to "Rip Mix Burn", and telling you to make backups, you should have listened. Just change the order to "Mix Burn Rip". Oh, sure, there may be a detectable loss of quality when you re-encode it if you're not careful... but the CD itself has every bit from the original file.

And if that's not good enough don't forget that they have no Microsoftian "Trusted Audio Path", so you can use Wiretap on the Mac or equivalent programs on Windows to save the cost of a CDR.

And to top it all off, iTunes Music Store downloads the file in unencrypted format and encrypts it when you download it...

Protesting Apple's DRM plays into the hands of the Intellectual Property Misers. Protest Microsoft's Trusted Audio Path instead, because it's more effective. And effective DRM is a boot stamping on a music-lover's face, forever.

Oh, just one more thing...

3. Apple is using their position in the market to phase out DRM. With the EMI deal and the offer to other labels, Apple has managed to cut the legs out from under DRM. If they hadn't (under protest) implemented weak DRM in iTunes they wouldn't be in a position to get a major label to support DRM-free online distribution. And this is not Apple flip-flopping on DRM: read this article from 2003 if you think DRM was anything but a tactical concession to the labels when Apple put it in iTunes.

IO
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