Mar 28, 2006

Apple in DRM soup

Digital Rights Management (DRM) laws are still very much in their infancy today. This may be partly because laws just can't seem to keep pace with technology and partly because technology itself is in a state of constant flux. Apple's experience in France is a case in point.

The French Government has proposed a law that would force Apple to open up content from its online music store iTunes so that they can be played on any digital music player. Currently, songs downloaded from iTunes plays only on Apple's own hugely successful music player iPod.

The law would require DRM developers to reveal details of their technology to rivals that wish to build compatible systems. Apple uses FairPlay DRM in its iTune store and iPod players. The law could wreck Apple's current system since it can not control music on players other than iPod. Apple has reacted to the government's move by terming it "state-sponsored piracy".

Experst feel that Apple would be better off withdrawing the iTunes service from the French market completely than give in to the pressure and suffer. If Apple executives had been thinking of this strategy, their worries would have been compounded by news that Denmark will soon be following France in implementing similar legislation. If more countries decide that Apple is locking in customers by abusing its dominant position in the market and follow suit, the entire digital rights managment issue will come under intense scrutiny and companies and customers will soon be needing a universal yardstick to measure what is acceptable and what is not. Shutting down operations in every country that implements the legislation just doesn't seem to be a viable option for Apple right now.


Maya Cassis said...

liked the caption;)

rankwil said...

Whatever makes my readers happy.. ;)
Thanks Maya...