While I was tied up, Mr. Jobs stirred the intellectual-property business pot. Even after three days of discussion, there are things worth saying.

First, while I don’t at all hate to say “I told you so”, I’ll contain my glee to the extent of not inserting links to the places where I did. The music biz may be pushing back but the end-game is obvious. Edgar Bronfman can bluster all he wants, but he’s swimming upstream.

Second, Steve’s arithmetic is bogus. He calculates 22 iTMS songs per iPod on the basis that they’ve sold 90 million of them. Well, first of all, how many of those are still in use? Most people I know are on their second or third. Also, the 22 number is useless, whether it’s the mean or median. My feeling is that there’s a large number of people with no, or very few, iTMS tracks on their iPods, and a smaller number with a whole lot. I feel sorry for the latter group.

Steve may let his rhetoric get out of control, but in the other corner is the music biz, and well... my goodness. Via John Markoff, we hear about one senior executive saying “we’re not going to broadly license our content for unprotected digital distribution.” Speaking as one who is the owner of well over a thousand shiny silver disks full of unprotected digital music that they distributed to me happily, I have to say “Get a clue.”

Best of all is the RIAA, saying they’d welcome Apple licensing Fairplay and thus proving that they didn’t actually read what Apple wrote. You know, I used to think that that gang couldn’t possibly be as clueless as they were acting, what with wholesale lawsuits against their customers, that it had to be an aspect of some crafty grand plan that I wasn’t smart enough to get.

I don’t think so. The RIAA? If it had gunpowder for brains, it still wouldn’t be able to blow its nose.



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From: Andrew Phoenix (Feb 09 2007, at 12:45)

Your second point is eerie - it could have been lifted wholesale from something I said / loudly ranted about just this morning (almost word for word, right down to "arithmetic is bogus" and "mean or median").

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From: Norman Walsh (Feb 09 2007, at 13:39)

I got none on mine. Won't never neither as long as it's wrapped in DRM.

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From: walter (Feb 09 2007, at 13:43)

Tim; I couldn't agree more about the Cluesless Eddy "got no mojo" Bronfman, along with the other Music CEOs. They need to get on the Clue-Train. As consumers we buy musical digital assests, as the CEO of Nettwork Records rightly says he sells, and we are going to move those assests to our players of choice: CD, backup CDs, iTunes, iPods, HD, whatever... our choice. Now as for SJ... he needs to free up the iTunes store to be non-DRM or the europeans are gonna lay a big owie on him! He is rightly (has no choice realy) pushing, and has to push, for the elimination of DRM. As we all know CD's are never DRM'd. What the music Nabobs are really dreading is that we can now buy songs for a "song"... gone are the days of buying a CD for just one or two songs, but having to pay for songs that i may not want. Of course there will be many times that i will want all of the songs on a cd, and will gladly pay up to 20.00 for that CD. But then i move it to where i want to store it!

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From: Rob (Feb 09 2007, at 18:20)

I have been very carefully not bringing up all my old posts on the topic too, much I want to sing along with them in the car. Gosh it is hard to resist.

Anyway, why quibble with his silly math? He knows the reality perfectly well, indeed no doubt better than you do since he has all the raw data and a crew of really smart guys working for him. The point is that this screed isn't addressed to you or me or boingboing readers or pirates. He's talking to the Big Four and their shareholders, in language that their tiny dim minds can comprehend, just maybe, and that means making sophmoric points and simplistic analogies.

I've had to do the equivalent many times myself, and bear the resulting scorn from my well-informed colleagues.

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From: Ralph Pollock (Feb 10 2007, at 11:48)

The whole 'intellectual property' deal has missed most points here, as many other places. All the arguments and fighting in this sphere are mostly amongst distributors arguing over which one of them get to screw the creators of the music in the first place. And, of course, Warner Records would prefer to be the one, rather a computer company. Who wins doesn't really matter, because the creators and performers have already been screwed.

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From: k s (Feb 14 2007, at 10:08)

So it goes down like this.

I needed money so I made a pact with devil. Why don't you go ask devil to reform itself? (replace devil with music companies, I will Apple).

Of course. We would. We should. But why should we care about somebody who took devil's money?

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From: Ryan Cousineau (Feb 15 2007, at 08:43)

The reason for dealing with the devil, of course, is that he has a hell of a band.

Less poetically, when the iTunes Music Store opened up, putting the music people actually wanted (I suspect the back catalogs here were considered even more important than the mere new releases) meant signing contracts with the four satans. And the major labels would not go online without DRM at that time.

Jobs is guessing that for several reasons (some of them very Apple-serving), now there's a chance they'll change their minds.

And they might. How about if the Norway store suddenly sold music only from the one company willing to go DRM-free, and then a real market like France pounced and wanted that too? Suddenly Apple accepts some short-term pain (inventory down to a quarter of its former self in those markets) in exchange for a sort of pilot project demonstrating that people don't turn into pirates (arr!) when you sell them DRM-free music.

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author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
February 09, 2007
· Arts (11 fragments)
· · Music (94 more)
· Business (108 fragments)
· · Intellectual Property (48 more)

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