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July 28, 2004
Guess I'm Going to Have to Buy the White Album Again
The Register runs an interesting meditation on Apple's DRM strategy (DRM begins to work its magic). The article basically accuses Apple of playing the ol' "format upgrade - buy everything over again" game:
"Wouldn't it be great if you could take a dozen of your favorite songs with you," [on your cell phone] Jobs told the crowd.
Wouldn't it, just? For millions of users however this is already a reality. Much like a burglar giving the burgled householder first opportunity to buy their own stuff back, Apple is promising a right we already enjoy as a bonus. An innovation, even...."If people accept [DRM], the logic for the music industry is to apply the wonders of the Internet to the old vinyl-tape-CD upgrade gag, and to start selling different versions of playback rights (want a shedload of one-time play music for tonight's party? we can do that for you)," wrote John Lettice.
Having set the bar so low at 128kbps encoding - and the price at 99 cents per song, so high - one of the premiums that the music industry will now be able to offer is 'fair use'. In order to get the public to accept this proposition they must first forget that they ever had the right to make a copy of music they'd bought. And that's the true significance of today's announcement.
Actually, I don't really agree with all of the Register's analysis, but it is something to consider.
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