Two frogs

by Volker Weber

Apple builds a DRM system that locks the customer in. Customer is happy, because he can buy music from the Apple store.

Customer has music and can share across the internet to his office. Listen to the music he paid for and that sits on his home computer while he is working in the office. Not good, says Apple. You can no longer share across routers. Have to be in same subnet. The next version of iTunes breaks the sharing but is required for the latest and greatest iPod.

Customer can still listen to his music as long he is not sharing with more than 5 computers. The chain is a bit shorter but at least he can move about the house.

Apple decides, five computers at the same time is not short enough. Has to be five computers within 24 hours. Next version of iTunes brings this new limitation, but customer never knows since he is on the older version that suits him just fine. If he bought the latest and greatest iPod that comes without a display, he would have to. But he has not.

Ooops. There is a hole in the fence. People can buy music from the store, but they are not locked in. Must mend fence, so force customer to use latest and greatest version of iTunes. The one with the even shorter chain.

Just one day later, a new hole in the fence. Who is going to suffer?

If you throw a frog into boiling water he will jump out. If you throw him in cold water and then slowly start to boil it, he will die. Would you buy locked music if you knew your rights five years down?

I told you this before: If your music is locked, burn it to CD and rip it back into MP3 files. Get off the chains as long as you can.

Comments

the nanocrew site is slashdotted. why? O:-)

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2005-03-23

more and more people seem to be quite pissed off from unnecessary fences.

(comment preview did not get updated correctly, so the second post...)

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2005-03-23

A good story. But see this debunking of the boiled frog myth.

Peter Marquis-Kyle, 2005-03-23

I am by no means a DRM fanboy - but let's face it: the probability that the music industry told Apple to tighten the screws (after realizing that you can actually make money selling songs online - what surprise!) is far higher than Steve waking up one morning thinking "gee - how about making this worse for the users?".
It's still one of the easiest DRM schemes to get around, so as long as that's the case, let's not complain too much.

Frank Koehntopp, 2005-03-23

Peter, I was only figuratively speaking. ;-)

Frank, Steve does not need any help for being a control freak. "One of the easiest DRM schemes" is like saying "these aluminum chains look rather nice and stilish". I am only suggesting you take the chains off. And you won't see me promoting "free" tracks from the iTMS. I'd rather get standards compliant CDs or free MP3s. If you must buy from the iTMS, then burn to CD and rip the tracks back as MP3.

In case anyone argues about the quality of AAC when compared to MP3: The tracks you are buying have been recoded from MP3. Because that's what the majors deliver to Apple.

Volker Weber, 2005-03-23

>> In case anyone argues about the quality of AAC when compared to MP3: The tracks you are buying have been recoded from MP3. Because, that's what the majors deliver to Apple.

vowe - does that mean the round trip (burn to CD, rip back to iTunes) is effectively lossless? I've been burning to CD, but not ripping back to iTunes on the assumption that I can always rip later, and I will have better quality in iTunes in the mean time... (not that I expect I could hear the difference)

John Keys, 2005-03-23

So you "bought insurance". That is good. I would suggest you will not be able to hear the difference. iTunes makes a best effort and converts to WAV and burns the CD. If you rip to 160 or 192 kbps I certainly could no t hear the difference. We were unable to find anybody who was able to "survive" a double blind test with WAV and MP3 160.

To those who think they can hear the difference: I am in total awe. But what do I know. I even need glasses just to see. :-) I also recently discovered I cannot hear 16 kHz sounds any more. At the age of 16 I was able to head 19500 kHz. Now I don't even hear a CRT tube.

Volker Weber, 2005-03-23

Wir Greenpeacekinder lieben die Fabel vom gekochten Frosch: Aber stimmt's?

Rainer Wasserfuhr, 2005-03-26

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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