p2pnet news view DRM | Music:- Talk about closing the gate after the horse has gone, “Apple has cut deals that will finally enable iTunes to offer songs free of copy protection software from the three largest music labels, according to two sources close to the negotiations,” said p2pnet, yesterday, quoting CNET News.
And it, “could prove to be a death blow for the music industry’s attempts to control how consumers buy and listen to music,” says the Globe and Mail.
Death blow? Hardly.
For the first time in history consumers -[read 'customers'] are in control, thanks to the P2P networks and independent download and sites and services, and iTunes has nothing to do with it, except in the minds of the corporate press.
These days, online, music lovers are in firmly charge. And that’s the trouble from the points of view of the Big 4 labels, Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG who, until the net came along, could dictate exactly what ‘consumers’ could consume, and from whom.
But not any more. Not by a long chalk.
Apple, “is calling the new format Itunes Plus and it is based on the AAC format at 256 Kbit/s,” says The Inquirer, “So if your player can handle that format, you’re in business.
“The other interesting change is that the Ithingey can handle the Itunes Plus format so it will now be possible to download tracks direct from the Itunes store over 3G rather than over Wi-fi as was the case previously.”
Now, “you can choose from millions of iTunes Plus songs from all four major music labels and thousands of independents,” says Apple.
“With iTunes Plus, you get high-quality, 256-Kbps AAC encoding. All free of burn limits and digital rights management (DRM). So iTunes Plus music will play on iPod, Apple TV, all Mac and Windows computers, and many other digital music players. It`s also easy to upgrade your iTunes library to iTunes Plus. You don’t have to buy the song or album again.
Cool! But wait. If you thought you’d already paid for the tune, you’d be wrong.
You’ll have to fork out another 30 cents for each track under what Apple is calling an “upgrade price,” with music videos going for 60 cents, and albums for 30% of the album price.
Nothing is free at Apple and meanwhile, according to the Globe and Mail, there will be three prices: 70 cents, $1 and $1.30, with most full albums at $10.00.
“A spokesman for Apple in Canada said the new pricing structure will also apply to the company’s Canadian iTunes store,” says the story.
Gee, Apple, thanks, but no thanks, because in Canada, anyone can download anything s/he wants for free, provided it’s for personal use. Only uploading is illegal.
Fair play in Norway?
None of the stories we saw say if Apple’s new ‘No DRM, Sort Of,’ marketing plan will also apply in Norway.
The country’s consumer ombudsman Erik Thon gave Apple until November 3, 2008, to, “respond to demands that it break the exclusive link [read DRM] between its iPod music player and iTunes iPod loader, p2pnet posted.
Response from Apple? Nada.
“Norway has made it official,” said the iPod Observer. Thon will, “take Apple to court, or to the ‘Market Council,’ to be more precise, over Apple’s refusal to open up FairPlay to third party digital media devices.
“The announcement follows the passing of a November 3rd deadline that Mr. Thon had given Apple to comply with his country`s demand that Apple open up iTunes downloads to all players.”
We went on »»»
Unless Apple gets its act together and dumps the DRM, (at least for Norway), it`ll be subject to fines in the six figure (Euros, mind you) range, says CrunchGear, and:
That`s not exactly something Apple wants to deal with, I`m guessing.
And it gets worse.
Should Norway win its case and actually start fining Apple, there`s a good chance that the European Union will get involved, says the story, adding:
It`s one thing to upset the Norwegian consumer ombudsman, but it`s a whole different matter when you`re dealing with Brussels. Just ask Microsoft how pleasant it is dealing with those guys.
p2pnet – Apple iTunes deal, January 6, 2009
CNET News – Apple to expand DRM-free music, pricing, January 5, 2009
Globe and Mail – Apple cuts the digital locks off iTunes, January 7, 2009
The Inquirer – Itunes Plus opens up download leader to all, January 7, 2009
p2pnet – Norway escalates iTunes DRM battle, September 30, 2008
iPod Observer – Norway to Haul Apple to Market Council Court Over iTunes, November 6, 2008
CrunchGear – Norway to Apple: Get rid of the iTunes DRM, or else, November 7, 2008
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