RIAA VP calls Apple CEO Steve Jobs a ‘hypocrite’

Apple Store“A few days ago, I received an e-mail from Arizona State University about the RIAA coming to campus to give a talk about copyright and the state of the music industry as part of ASU’s Security Awareness Week. I went this morning, and it was fairly interesting. [David Hughes] is the Senior Vice President of Technology for the RIAA,” Anthony Garone blogs.

Garone reports, “David’s argument was basically that we should feel sorry for the fact that his business is quickly becoming irrelevant and they don’t know how to change. It’s expensive to find new artists and they’re releasing bad music because they know it’ll sell and it’s expensive to change a business model. So, instead, they’re going to use what he calls ‘education through litigation,’ which disgusted me and other people in the room. Basically, it’s our fault that the record companies sell music from Britney Spears and it’s our fault that Wal-Mart is the #1 music retailer in the country. We’ve forced the ‘lowest common denominator’ on ourselves. And if the RIAA can’t find new talent because of us, then ‘that’s a shame.'”

Garone reports, “David brought up that was interesting is Steve Jobs’ open letter to the music industry about removing DRM from electronic sales of digital media. David brought up a meeting and some e-mail exchanges he’s had with Jobs and called Jobs a ‘hypocrite.’ When asked if Jobs would be willing to sell Pixar movies through iTunes without DRM and DVDs without CSS encryption, there was no response. When asked about interoperability of downloads from the iTMS, Jobs responded, ‘Ask me again when we have less than 50% of the market share.’ He thinks Jobs posted that letter to get the attention off of him and the bad press he’d been getting regarding Norway’s tying laws, which I think was a really good point that most of the tech blogs has missed. Jobs knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s one of the world’s most wealthy businesspeople for a reason.”

Full article here.

[Attribution: The Inquirer. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]
Hughes needs to take a break from watching his industry being taken apart, rebuilt, and realigned single-handedly by Apple’s Steve Jobs and look up the word “hypocrite.” He obviously has no idea what the word means.

Steve Jobs is, of course, providing DRM-free tracks via iTunes Store starting in May (EMI is the first domino to fall). This was announced a few days after Garone’s article quoted Hughes, which shows Hughes was totally wrong in his assessment. Jobs is doing this with, oh, about double the market share Hughes said Jobs supposedly would require for interoperability. Plus, Jobs has already explained that the music industry is selling 90% of their music sans DRM already, on CDs; the film industry is doing no such thing. And, yes, by the way, DRM on any type of content is meaningless to the real pirates and only really hinders paying customers.

The main reason there will continue to be a music industry is because of Steve Jobs. No, it won’t be the same old broken model epitomized by the thinking seen inside outfits like the RIAA and certain music labels, and that’s a very good thing.

David, did you know that every single time we hear the phrase, “education through litigation,” it makes us itch to fire up our BitTorrent client?

Lastly, if you think Steve Jobs is bringing DRM-free music to the world in order to placate Norway, please visit your nearest mental health provider immediately.

Related articles:
EMI’s Nicoli on DRM-free iTunes: ‘We have to trust our consumers,’ Apple’s Jobs: ‘right thing to do’ – April 02, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007

54 Comments

  1. I do think the guy is over-reacting in many respects but he does have a point about Steve not selling Pixar movies without DRM. At the end of the day it is the difference between being the buyer and the seller, I suppose….

  2. It’s been said over and over… movies are a different beast than music. You buy DVDs with DRM on them all the time, so why expect that to change? Even VCRs had anticopying on some tapes. Music hasn’t. That’s the difference. So this crap about Pixar is just that: crap.

  3. I don’t think any right minded individual would argue that a company/industry has the right to protect itself from being ripped off by having their products stolen, however, the way the RIAA have gone about it with such overly restrictive DRM is what has alienated them.

    Obviously in a digital world it is very easy for someone to get a music file and send copies to everyone they know, there is a possibility that the producers will lose out. The thing is that the vast majority of people don’t want to do that, they’re not sending everything they get back and forth to everyone they ever met on the off chance someone will want it or they’ll want what they’re sent. The other thing is that it’s not really any harder to get music off a cd onto a computer then “pirate” it than it is to download it from a legitimate store than do the same – CD’s don’t have DRM on them and any experiments of that nature have failed. The DRM free movement may fail, people may rip off music companies, but we won’t know until it’s really tried.

    In terms of movies I think the argument is different, DRM perhaps isn’t justified regardless but I think that it’s a medium wherein DRM is less of a bother because people aren’t shifting it to multiple devices (at least not yet). Also I would suggest that the pirate dvd market is far bigger than the pirate cd market. Regardless off the rights and wrongs, I think the video market is in a different place and you can’t really compare restrictions in the same way, thus selling music drm free can’t be directly compared with doing the same for videos.

  4. Response to Steves Job.
    Jobs had said that movies are different than music, in that CDs are sold without DRM but movies (DVDs) have always been sold with DRM. The model is different.
    Also, Steve Jobs no longer owns PIXAR and, although he is the largest Disney shareholder, that only amounts to 7%. Not exactly ownership of the company or ability to dictate terms.
    The fact that this guy gave his speech calling Steve a hypocrit several days after Jobs announced with EMI that DRM would be removed, just as Jobs was advocating, shows that Hughes is either a lier or doesn’t understand the meaning of the word hypocrit. Perhaps because the RIAA are the actual hypocrits.

  5. I believe the reason the iTunes Store is not selling movies without DRM is because that will scare the hell out of movies and tv studios and they won’t put their catalogs on iTunes. In a few years from now, and all movies and tv studios are in iTunes, probably we’ll see another open letter from Jobs about selling videos DRM free. Is this happens, it’ll be when Jobs believe the time is right. Maybe when one of the studios is ready to do so, like EMI just did. Just my 2 cents.

  6. I actually agree with the VP of the RIAA on this one. Why is it ok for music not to have DRM, but its ok for movies to have it? But I’ll give Steve Jobs the benefit of the doubt. Fight one battle at a time. Lets get it off the music and then we can concentrate on the iTunes stuff. I won’t ever buy a movie or TV show off iTunes because of the DRM. I’ll stick with buying the DVD and ripping it with handbrake into a format that I want. It isn’t about stealing. Its about convenience for me, the consumer.

  7. Heck, even VHS had rights management. Jobs said it correctly when he spoke about 90% of music is sold without DRM. DVDs have DRM. If you can’t see the difference, “please visit your nearest mental health provider immediately.”

    Jobs did mention the POSSIBILITY of interoperability with Windows Media if iPod’s market share became less than 50%.

  8. ladies and gentlemen … get your pitchforks. We march at dawn. I’ll bring the torches.

    Macaday: The guy does have a very depressing job, I’ll give him that.

    You are totally right. He’s the Nick Naylor of the music industry, without any of the wit or charm.

  9. http://www.riaaradar.com/

    if i hear some new music i like, i check to see if the label is part of the RIAA. if it is, I DON’T BUY IT. i don’t download it illegally either. i just live without it. i try to direct my money to independent labels, or to labels that support the anti-RIAA movement.

    the RIAA needs to go away. or go get sodomized by a Great Dane.

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