Hollywood wants to change iPod DRM

Hollywood wants to change iPod DRM

Summary: Hot on the heels of Microsoft's deal with Universal Music (a unit of Vivendi) to pay a US$1 royalty on every Zune player sold in exchange for licensing its recordings for Microsoft's new digital music service, Hollywood now wants in on the action.


Hot on the heels of Microsoft's deal with Universal Music (a unit of Vivendi) to pay a US$1 royalty on every Zune player sold in exchange for licensing its recordings for Microsoft's new digital music service, Hollywood now wants in on the action.

Why in the world would Microsoft agree to such a dangerous precedent? The obvious reason is that MS needed to get access to the Universal catalog. My favorite (and more dastardly) reason comes from Macalope who claims that Microsoft did it "to try to screw up Apple's business model."

It could have merit. MS knows full well about the iPod juggernaut and just might do something so devious to nip away at Apple. After all, we're talking about the same company that changed the name of the xBox 2 to "xBox 360" just to make it sound more like a third-generation console.

Anyway, now Hollywood is trying to wield some power against the almighty Infinite Loop.

The Financial Times is reporting that Hollywood bigwigs Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Brothers are asking Apple to change their DRM policies and implement tougher restrictions on feature films sold from the iTunes Store.

After months of discussion, a sticking point has emerged over the studios’ demand that Apple limit the number of devices that can use a film downloaded from iTunes.

The studios want to avoid the experience of the music industry, which has yet to recover from years of illegal digital piracy. Apple must introduce a “new model” for feature film content delivery, said one studio executive involved in the talks.

I'm guessing that Apple still has the upper hand in the negotiations with labels and studios ("fine, don't sell your content to our 70 percent market share") but the negotiations have to be getting tough.

Apple should hold firm on their existing DRM structure and play hardball with the greedy labels and studios on fees. The labels and studios feel like they're owed something when they constantly hear about the success of the iPod, when in fact it was Apple who innovated and single-handedly saved the music industry from collapsing under the weight of illegal file sharing.

Is it me or is anyone getting tired of hearing about the labels whining about their commission from iTunes? iTunes revenue is found money for them. If they don't like it, they should build their own online distribution system and do it themselves. Which is probably what Apple is telling them.

Topic: Apple

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  • Is that even feasible?

    Can you lock a file to a specific number of portable devices, devices that don't connect to the internet? Apple limits the number of computers for your files by having the computer phone home one time to get an account approval. But your iPod doesn't phone home, and never has to be connected to the internet. Is there even a mechanism built in for identifying specific iPods? Would this DRM work for existing models?

    Apple has no reason to cave here. There's no huge demand for movies on the iPod anyway.
    tic swayback
    • Not for the iPod but...

      [i]There's no huge demand for movies on the iPod anyway.[/i]

      No, not for the iPod, but if Apple eventually introduces that set top media box for the living room that they have been touting, Dowloading movies may become a more important issue.
    • And what is the justification for such a fee per iPod sold?

      After all moives have been watched on TV's for many a year now
      and I don't recall the movie industry getting a piece of the TV pie?
      Nor do the studios get a piece of the VCR (past) or DVD (present)
      players as far as I know so why would the iPod be subject to
      such!?! Yeah and the record labels are raking in the Zune

      Pagan jim
      • Justification is that they will make more money.

        Microsoft is like a scab. while others are trying to keep the cost of media down with reasonable rates. Microsoft crosses the picket lines with "Sure I'll work for nuttin. when do I start?"
        They either aren't smart enough to think through all of the ramifications of this, (which I don't believe) or else they are willing to ruin it for everyone, just so they can elbow in.

        Don't forget, every other MP3 service may not be able to afford swallowing the cost of a per item sold fee. If Microsoft ever becomes market leader, they won't be swallowing it any more. We will.
        • Yes I understand the greed motivation from the studios and MS.

          But since their is no established legal or otherwise precident I
          don't understand how they the studios think this idiotic deal
          with MS means that the likes of Apple will go along or should go
          along. The studios had no such deal with the likes of Sony who
          sold millions of TV's, VCRs, and DVD's over the years nor did the
          studios have any such deals with any manufacturer of TV's or
          other entertainment devices like DVD players. So not that MS is
          tring to snake into the market and makes a deal with the Devil
          (studios) they think Apple should go along......I can't see their

          Pagan jim
          • Apple may need movie studio support

            Well, as I posted elsewhere, I hope they don't, but if they want to push their living room media hub which is supposed to wirelessly access the movies and on your Mac (purchased from itunes), A deal with movie studios maybe be required.
            My fear is that this surcharge will be passed directly to the cost of purchased media.
          • Their rationale

            I believe their rationale is, you want our movies/songs in your store, then give us a cut of device sales. In the case of MS, who were trying to catch up to Apple, they needed to provide at least the same material for purchase (although they have fallen way short, 2 million songs to 3.5 million), so Universal had them over a barrel. For Apple, it's a question of who needs who more. Does Apple really need to have a given studio's music or movies in the store? Who does that hurt more? Since there are already so many gaps in the iTunes store offerings and iPods keep on selling, I'd say the studios need Apple more than Apple needs them.
            tic swayback
      • "Yeah and the record labels are raking . . .

        in the Zune money....right?"

        (heh-heh) Yeah, right. ; )
  • Music companies gain money from file sharing.

    A number of studies have demonstrated the file sharing increases sales. Even the studies paid for by the industry show that only about a third of sales declines can be traced to file sharing.

    A Judge looking at the evidence commented that he found it difficult to believe the industry did not suffer some damage. But that was an assertion based on his feelings, and not strong evidence.

    So please don't just makie the assumption that the music industry has suffered because of file sharing. That only helps the industry obtain laws to its liking.
    Anton Philidor
  • RIAA wants there mafia money

    Since Microsoft is anti up, Apple will need to pay the mobsters also so they continue to stifle artists and their music.
    • What has Microsoft started...?

      Microsoft gave them an inch (for no reason!), now they want a mile.

      Thanks a lot, Microsoft. Thanks for jacking up the price of everything.
      • It's what they always do.

        [i]Microsoft gave them an inch (for no reason!)[/i]

        There was a big reason. (and it's more than an inch)
        The fee to the record company was more or less a bribe.
        They knew they couldn't compete with the quality of their product or service, so they gave them money too. Money that their competitors may not have.
        This Microsoft. This is what they do.
      • RE: Hollywood wants to change iPod DRM

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  • They can change it all they want

    If the industry continues to secure music where the artists have no talent, it will not matter anyway. I will not buy it for this reason. Not to mention the low bitrate. The rest of the negatives don't matter to me after that. Just buy your CDs second hand and you have a hardcopy.
    • Movies, not music

      This is about movie DRM, not music. But many of your points are still valid.

      And hey, but the way, you'll be very proud, I sent out my first DMCA takedown notices this week.
      tic swayback
      • Talked about Zune

        So I figured it applied. Music and movies have merged somewhat. Maybe more people will protest and hang onto their money.
        • Zune, like the iPod, plays movies

          I'm with you though, don't buy DRMed music, don't buy crippled low-res movies! Be a smart consumer!
          tic swayback
          • I imagine that ipod plugs into a normal viewing screen.

            Because watching movies on that little display would be a no go for me. That is why I was thinking of music. DRM would not be bad if it only restricted you from uploading. But the media has to be worth something first before I worry about DRM. Turn off autorun. I once had a program install without permission a long time ago and keeps the nephew from loading something. I also heard it stops Sony's rootkit. If caught it is done for security reasons, which it is.
    • But the not to long term plan is for EVERYTHING and I

      do mean everything to be rented to us and we own in fact
      NOTHING. In the end it is the surf or sharecropper plan all over
      again but modernized to make it appear we are still free when in
      fact we are just the same old surfs living off the graces of the

      Take you "second hand" cd's idea. Well what happens when the
      do away with CD's in favor of downloads or they make CD's that
      play for so long and then self destruct? In one form or another
      perhaps both it will happen. Don't be fooled people once the
      entertainment industry works out all the bugs it will spread
      further and further down the food chain. Everything will be
      rented to us like our monthly pharmacutical drug purchases and
      once they have established this modern form of slavery they can
      reduce services and raise prices as they see fit.

      Pagan jim
      • Rental software One more example

        Couldn't agree more I thought I bought Quicken 2004 but apparently I just rented or at least some of the features.

        Well add one more to the list. Quicken recently removed the ability to download transactions, and import QIF files. Since when did it become acceptable for companies to remove functions from there software when they feel it is time for you to upgrade.

        We need a software protection agency