Tuesday, May 10, 2005

WELCOME ABOARD

In that godawful new Huffington Blog thing - it's like Tina Brown's Topic A, only with ghostwritten blog entries - one of the superior dinner party guests is angry about the iTunes music store DRM, and how it stops people doing what they choose with the music they've paid for:

But keeping the iTunes system a proprietary technology to prevent anyone from using multiple (read Microsoft) music systems is the most anti-consumer and user unfriendly thing any god can do. Is this the same Jobs that railed for years about the Microsoft monopoly? Is taking a page out of their playbook the only way to have a successful business? If he isn’t careful Bill Gates might just Betamax him while the crowds cheer him on. Come on Steve – open it up.

What's absolutely extraordinary, of course, is the poster here is, um, Hilary Rosen - yes, the woman who led the RIAA to the DRM moral highground. And as if that wasn't confusing enough, she seems to think that Bill Gates - a man whose monopolistic impulses have seen him censured in the US and Europe on multiple occasions (bundled browsers? Windows Media lock-ins?) - as a crusader for open source music:

MSN.com, Rhapsody.com, aolmusic.com, even walmart.com. There are little players to make your favorite music even more portable than ever starting at as little as 29 bucks. Most every player device works at every one of these “stores” and it is pretty easy to keep all the songs, no matter where you got them, in a single folder or "jukebox" on your computer.

... although, of course, a lot of these you can't shift to another one of your computers, or share with your mates. Indeed, if Hilary is really keen for people to be able to be able to move their music between devices with ease, she might like to investigate this groovy new format we've been hearing about - it plays on iPods, it plays on Microsoft players; hell, it even plays on Sony machines now: MP3.

Meanwhile: iTunes starts to sell videos (apparently without any DRM encumbrence).

Also meanwhile: here's a moral poser for Hilary. I Love Lucille borrows her friend's iPod to listen to music ripped from a mix CD Lucille made for a friend. Now, the mix CD, clearly, is unlicensed music - but does the music suddenly become legal again when it's Lucille listening to it? And, since it would be illegal for Lucille's friend to transfer her music to Lucille's iPod, is it also illegal for her to allow Lucille to listen to the same songs on the friend's iPod?


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