Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay

“A recording industry group fired back Wednesday at Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, suggesting his company should open up its anti-piracy technology to its rivals instead of urging major record labels to strip copying restrictions from music sold online,” Alex Veiga reports for The Associated Press.

Veiga reports, “Mitch Bainwol, chairman and chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America, said the move would eliminate technology hurdles that now prevent fans from playing songs bought at Apple’s iTunes Music Store on devices other than the company’s iPod. ‘We have no doubt that a technology company as sophisticated and smart as Apple could work with the music community to make that happen,’ Bainwol said in a prepared statement.”

“In an essay posted Tuesday on the Cupertino-based company’s Web site, Jobs called on record labels to abandon their requirement for online music to be wrapped in Digital Rights Management, or DRM, technology, which is designed to limit unauthorized copying,” Veiga reports.

Full article here.
The music cartel sure loves their ineffective, easily-bypassed DRM, don’t they? They’re just digging their own graves. Put the shovels down while you still can, boys, the party’s over!

The situation is crystal clear: Apple is anti-DRM and the major music labels want to continue trying (and failing) to restrict their paying customers with DRM-laced products.

DRM is so easily removed, that it’s pointless. The mass pirates, about whom the music labels claim they are so worried, aren’t going to let a little DRM get in their way, so the only people that DRM is affecting are regular, law-abiding consumers who just want to listen to their music. The music labels want to restrict paying customers in such a way as to force their paying customers to buy multiple copies of the same material.

Thankfully, Apple’s iTunes Store does allow music to be burned without DRM to music CD to be played in CD players and/or transferred to any device they desire. We are all for selling music without DRM.

Related articles:
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Dvorak: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dead right about DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007
Apple Inc. and The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. enter into new agreement – February 05, 2007
Norwegian Ombudsman: Apple’s FairPlay DRM is illegal in Norway – January 24, 2007
Major music labels ponder DRM-free future – January 23, 2007
Clash, Pink Floyd manager: ‘DRM is dead’ – November 06, 2006
Study reports the obvious: most music on iPods not from iTunes Store – September 17, 2006
Warner’s Middlebronfman: ‘We sell our songs through iPods, but we don’t have share of iPod revenue’ – October 05, 2005
Warner music exec discusses decapitation strategy for Apple iTunes Music Store – September 28, 2005
Warner CEO Bronfman: Apple iTunes Music Store’s 99-cent-per-song model unfair – September 23, 2005


  1. Don’t they realize they are playing with fire denying the edicts of the Exhaulted Ruler of the Earth?

    If they are not careful, he will go beyond his written warning and appear, in person, in uniform, in full hubris, on a stage in front of an auditorium full of lemmings, and announce that he has now canceled all DRM in response to the industry’s irreverent reaction to his treatise.

  2. If SJ can get the RIAA to understand that licensing FairPlay makes it more susceptible to being compromised, and they’re okay with that, then I say okay! If they agree, and licensing FairPlay doesn’t really help to deter piracy, then it might be one more step closer to DRM-free music. And if DRM does stick around, then FairPlay as a great shot at becoming the de-facto standard.

    License away!

  3. That’s exactly what I was thinking, hairbo.

    The RIAA says “License Fairplay” because they believe it’s the last thing Steve Jobs will do.

    I say license it just to shut them the f*ck up when piracy goes undeterred.

  4. Obviously the morons at the RIAA need a translation. Unlike Microsoft, Apple doesn’t have billions to waste supporting useless DRM in the hands of other firms. Of course Microsoft was hoping that Janus DRM would become the defacto standard so that MS could control the morons at the RIAA, etc.

  5. Hmm.. The RIAA wants Apple to license out Fairplay to other companies. Then all the other companies can play the iTunes bought music. End result, Apple dominates everything and there is one defacto standard for DRM and DVD Jon can license his tool to others and then there is only one way to remove the DRM and guess what.. we’re back to square 1.

    Operative word here is “Control”. I think SJ’s essay worked to give Apple the keys to the kingdom and the eventual demise of the RIAA’s powers. The only problem I see with this is all the anti-trust that Apple will inherit for the RIAA’s stupidity.

  6. Apples’ contract with the Big 4 says if FairPlay fails, it has to be fixed within a matter of weeks or they can pull their music from the iTunes Store.

    Does MS have the same contract?

    Warning: Conspiracy Theory Ahead! Many of the Big 4 don’t like Apple’s pricing structure. What if Apple licensed FairPlay and one of the “independent” licensees fails to correct a FairPlay exploit within the contractual terms. Then a major label pulls their music from the iTunes Store and demands new terms, citing FairPlay weaknesses?

    Just guessing here, bit I don’t think Steve is ever going to license FairPlay if there’s a chance some third party holds the fate of the iTunes Store in their hands.

  7. If Steve Jobs can get one major label to agree to DRM-free sales on iTunes and then that label makes a spectacular number of sales, DRM will die. All the labels care about is money and if one label gets a significant competitive advantage, others will want the same.

    As has been mentioned previously, the ideal candidate would be the Beatles. They’re now all cosy with Apple, they’re not currently on iTunes and their music is nearing the end of it’s UK copyright lifetime. They don’t have anything to lose and if they released their singles one at a time, they could write more musical history by topping the charts all over again. Renewed interest in Beatles music would also generate renewed interest in Beatles DVDs, which would very profitable. Furthermore, Paul McCartney has supported new musicians in the past and he may view dispensing with DRM as a way to help musicians to sell more music.

  8. The response by the RIAA is exactly what Jobs is looking for. For at least the past couple years, Apple was unfairly criticized for selling songs from iTS (formerly iTMS) with DRM as if it was Jobs’ decision to do so. With Jobs now on record as being in favor of selling songs and albums without DRM, the onus is now on the RIAA and (hopefully) any public pressure to remove DRM will not be placed on Apple, but the RIAA where it belonged in the first place.

  9. I’m glad the majors came out and gave their predictable retorts in vitriolic fashion. They end up looking like stupid douches.

    I do not know much about how DRM licensing works, but it seems like consumers using non-iPod portable players are going to have a bumpy ride. The player software has to be updated too when Apple tweaks the DRM, which happens periodically. Apple does a good job of making this fairly seemless, though hiccups do occur (iTunes 7). These companies have not shown they can do this with Plays For Shit.

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