Before you get too excited about Apple’s recent decision to give up DRM on its iTunes music service, be sure to read Apple Shows Us DRM’s True Colors by Richard Esquerra. It appeared January 7, 2008 on Electronic Frontier Foundation’s blog. Esquerra lists all the remaining uses of “DRM” being made by Apple.
Some may quibble about whether all the listed examples are, technically speaking, examples of “digital rights rights management.” I think the author hits the nail on the head when he writes that DRM is not really about stopping piracy, it’s about the legally- and congressionally-backed industry attempts to maintain control over media distribution. The two are not the same.
An interesting question is, given that Apple will now be able to pass through music companies’ higher per-track prices to iTunes customers, will composers and performers see increased royalties? Will sources such as Amazon and eMusic (I subscribe to the latter) react, if at all?
Copyright (c) 2009 by Dennis D. McDonald. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.