AJ Ericksen's Blog World

Sunday, January 14


Randall Stross writes an interesting article in today's New York Times discussing why Apple adds its digital rights management software to iTunes downloads, even when the record label doesn't request it. In fact, most labels allow their songs to be downloaded from other pay sites in MP3 format without any DRM. Why does Apple do this?
[W]hen the same tracks are sold by the iTunes Music Store, Apple insists on attaching FairPlay copy protection that limits their use to only one portable player, the iPod. Terry McBride, Nettwerk’s chief executive, said that the artists initially required Apple to use copy protection, but that this was no longer the case. At this point, he said, copy protection serves only Apple’s interests .

Josh Bernoff, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, agreed, saying copy protection "just locks people into Apple." He said he had recently asked Apple when the company would remove copy protection and was told, "We see no need to do so."

Apple’s statement is a detailed treatise on the subject, compared with what I received when I asked the company last week whether it would offer tracks without copy protection if the publisher did not insist on it: the Apple spokesman took my query and never got back to me.