Steve Jobs recommends we get rid of DRM. A good suggestion, but his letter includes some rather odd bits:
Jobs comes up with a a few numbers — possibly pulled out of his butt, I don’t know — and concludes, on average, only 3% of the music played on iPods is from iTunes (but who knows what the actual percentage is on iPods — could be more, may actually be far less since iPods cost a lot and iTunes is free):
Itâ€™s hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future.
No, it’s not. If I’m going to lose some fraction of my music if I switch to a different kind of player, even a small fraction, that will make me less likely to switch. Something that works as a deterrent will, not surprisingly, deter at least some fraction of users. I suspect Jobs (and Apple’s accountants) know this very well.
Jobs and Apple won’t license Apple’s current DRM to other companies because “icensing a DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak.” And they haven’t, already? Also, just about any software-based DRM is crackable, leaks or no leaks. The major music companies must know this already.
For second, it looked like Jobs knows this, too: “The simplest answer is because DRMs havenâ€™t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.” But then he says: “No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player.” I’m pretty sure some CDs have some kind of rights-protection, protections which often mean they don’t work on Macs. And didn’t Sony put DRM on some CDs?
I liked this one as well: “Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries.” You know the countries which keep suing Apple?
So, Jobs, I think your ultimate suggestion is a good one. But I think you’re going to have to offer it first. Are you that brave?