The Shorter Steve Jobs on Digital Rights Management

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has a 1,870-word missive up on the Apple site calling for music companies to eliminate digital rights management. For those of you without the time and patience to read the whole darn thing, here, courtesy of Microsoft Word, is the 1-sentence summary:

Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Got it. If it’s good for Apple, it’s good for the country.


  1. And it’s good for the world, especially Europe, where the muckety mucks are particularly up in arms over the DRM thing against Apple.

  2. Wow, who would have thought, Steve Jobs, asking someone else to open up their closed system? This from the guy who only builds closed systems (mac – limited hardware support, ipod – unlicensed fairplay DRM, iphone – no 3rd party apps) and is so paranoid about any leaks coming out of his closed company. Of course, he’s right. There’s no way music can continue to be closed with DRM. What he doesn’t do is follow his suggestion to its logical conclusion, the one that the music companies fear so much. Once you get rid of the DRM, it will be practically impossible to charge any money for digital music. You may be able to charge a very low fee for bandwidth and production costs, on the order of cents or less per single, but that’s it and even that’s unsure. The future is another razor and blade model. You give away the digital music for free in order to make money off of your concerts. This idea has been floated for some time, it’s time for everybody to realize that it’s the only viable option.

  3. “mac – limited hardware support”
    What are you talking about? Macs use standard hardware interfaces now, and can run Windows. If a company doesn’t feel like writing a driver for OS X, that’s their business, but they probably don’t write drivers for PCs running Linux, BSD, or Solaris, either, and those certainly aren’t anyone’s idea of “closed systems”.

  4. I was talking about one of the 3 reasons why there’s limited hardware support for all the platforms you cite:
    1. They’re all niche systems with a small user base.
    2. Many linux distributions require that all code is open-sourced, which hardware companies like nvidia and ATI don’t want to do.
    3. The perception that Apple has long been unwilling to work with hardware manufacturers much, preferring to keep to the small selection of hardware that they want to support. Perhaps this has changed recently but I doubt it. This last reason for limited hardware support was what I was referring to. Of course, there’s also their DRM initiatives to keep Mac OS X only on computers you buy directly from them.

  5. Well I suppose it will mean two things for me:
    1. Not having to find out that the rare CD I buy in Europe will ‘play on a Windows PC’ but cannot be ripped for love of God or money
    2. Stupid things such as the entire Rod Stewart Great American Songbook Series, which cannot be ripped on my Windows PC, can be ripped on the Mac in my house, may reduce somewhat in frequency…
    PS: Anybody recently upgraded their Windows Media to ver 11.0 and found that the EULA has changed to include odd conditions? I simply made iTunes my default audio application..

  6. I love using the summarize tools.
    Here’s the one sentence summary coughed up by the Mac version:
    “With the stunning global success of Apple’s iPod music player and iTunes online music store, some have called for Apple to “open” the digital rights management (DRM) system that Apple uses to protect its music against theft, so that music purchased from iTunes can be played on digital devices purchased from other companies, and protected music purchased from other online music stores can play on iPods.”
    turn it up two notches append these 3 sentences:
    “…Since Apple does not own or control any music itself, it must license the rights to distribute music from others, primarily the “big four” music companies: Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI.
    …However, a key provision of our agreements with the music companies is that if our DRM system is compromised and their music becomes playable on unauthorized devices, we have only a small number of weeks to fix the problem or they can withdraw their entire music catalog from our iTunes store.
    …If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store.”