Let's not go to the video

TJ takes exception to the Macalope and Daring Fireball’s (apologies to John if the Macalope is incorrectly characterizing his stance) belief that you can’t argue about video DRM with music DRM.

Overall, TJ’s absolutely correct in almost everything he writes, but what it comes down to is the old saying about trying to teach a pig to dance.

Here’s the nut graf from TJ’s post:

Just because Steve wouldn’t hold them in parallel, doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t.

That’s fine, but the point the Macalope was trying to make is that you can do that aaaallll daaaaaay loooong and you aren’t going to gain an inch with the MPAA. The Macalope and Daring Fireball certainly weren’t arguing that there should be a difference between the two, just that one is currently under successful siege and the other is not.

The Macalope’s advice? Wait for music DRM to fall. Then let’s talk again.

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  • James Bailey:

    >The Macalope’s advice? Wait for music DRM to fall. Then let’s talk again.

    You are just saying that because you aren’t a spoiled 10 year old.

    “I want DRM free music.”

    Here you go son.

    “But I want it as MP3 too.”

    “And I want DRM free movies or I won’t ever pay for DRM free music.”

    “And I don’t want 256 Kbps AAC, or yes I do but I want it to be the same price as 128 Kbps AAC or MP3 or I want DRM free 128 Kbps AAC except that music quality sucks but I still want it available even though I won’t buy it because it sucks.”

    “I want Apple to give me everything I want RIGHT NOW!!!”

    “Steve Jobs is such a liar…”

    That pretty much sums up the anti-Apple DRM removal “analysis” on the blogs I’ve read.

  • James Bailey:

    Oh I forgot,

    “And I want a PONY”.

  • baxtrice:

    If we lived in an idealistic society, I would be shouting “NO DRM” from the rooftops-but it’s not an idealistic society. So shut up and realize that this is a step in the right direction. Eventually the technology and industries will evolve to find a better solution. Until then, stop b*tching about something this trivial. One more thing, Nothing in Life is free.

  • Gary Patterson:

    So many of these self-styled pundits fail to understand that making changes in stages is realistic, while making every change at once is unrealistic.

    It’s a softly, softly approach. First DRM is removed from music. When the customers can be shown to prefer non-DRM music, there’s a strong argument for all music to be non-DRM. When that happens, there’s a strong argument for video to be non-DRM.

    Trying to convince everyone in two seperate industries at the same time is a bit of a silly approach. Seems like some pundits have no good understanding of business.

  • Don:

    “When the customers can be shown to prefer non-DRM music…”

    And when the recording companies can be shown to gain sales and/or profits.

    Gotta remember that part, too.

    If customers prefer it but EMI shows a loss, then guess who wins? Certainly not the customers. EMI is still a business, and it still has to be run like a business. Of course, the best businesses are about making customers happy, AND making a profit, AND being willing to take risks. So I’m not saying “It’s sure to fail”, nor am I saying “It’s sure to succeed”, I’m just saying “It has to be profitable”.

    “Seems like some pundits have no good understanding of business.”

    Snorked Jolt out my nose laughing at the obviousness of that.

  • I think the key thing to remember is that ponies take a lot of work to care for properly. Ponies are not toys. A pony is for life, not just for Christmas.

  • Well, it seems to me that we can talk about whatever we want to in whatever way we want to as long as we don’t spook the ponies.


    You got it.

  • “The Macalope and Daring Fireball certainly weren’t arguing that there should be a difference between the two, just that one is currently under successful seige [sic] and the other is not.”


    Have you ever seen videos of buildings being leveled? You don’t just take some C4 and throw it against the wall. You strap it to where it will do the most damage and weaken the whole structure so it can collapse on itself.

    After reading his article I too felt cheated and taken advantage by these content owners. I realized that I just want to do what I want with the content I purchase also. I don’t want to pirate it. I just want the system to be easy and elegant and not so goddamn difficult.

    Simply: I want a box that can 1) play content from DVDs I already bought (somehow) 2) record content from my cable company like my VCR used to and 3) allow me to put said content from #1 and #2 on my iPod/PSP/[insert portable device here]

    How hard is that?

    Can some expert please for the love of Christ tell me why such a simple device doesn’t exist. Even if I had to rip my DVDs to my computer once that would be fine as long as it wasn’t so complicated. Don’t make me search for the software to do that, let me just rip it to iTunes. Such a system is pretty much the Holy fregen Grail. No more convoluted bullshit, just a simple box, your computer, TV and portable media device.

    I sincerely believe that is what Apple wants to make. I think they want the Apple TV be this device. Look at how elegant and simple the Mac and iPod are. You’re (TJ) frustrated? Don’t make me laugh. Steve Jobs KNOWS he can make a perfect media system. They probably already HAVE one somewhere at an Apple R&D center! Steve just can’t sell it until all this legal crap is taken care of with the greedy/sociopathic content providers who he has to PERSONALLY deal with. And you think you know frustration?! God that’s funny.

  • George:

    It’s a question of investment, folks. Music is all in promotion and paying the band, usually peanuts. For a movie, the money input is all up front – big difference, and big money. Half a bil’ will keep you in milk and cookies for quite some time. That money is put in by investors who expect a return, and who will not fund you if they make no money.

    Music is largely based around milking a relatively cheap medium, creating a fan base and stardom and cult status – but really blockbuster music can be made by small groups of people and small amounts of money. Digital distribution has made this even easier. The same is NOT YET TRUE of movies, where the stars cost a lot – but the hundreds of crucial people that do the work and the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in material – even for a small film – can’t be ignored, and must be paid in advance – even for a bad, stupid film.

    Different objective conditions are real, guys, and you need to pay attention so as to not sound like jackasses. There may be a time where movie DRM needs to be dropped, but right now several considerations militate against it:

    1) There are no unprotected movie formats being sold
    2) The electronic trade in pirated movies is relatively small, though of course worrisome to the MPAA, beacause of their enormous memory and bandwith requirements. Pirated disks are far more trouble, but require physical presence.
    3) The CSS DRM is unobtrusive enough that 99.999% of the installed user base never thinks about it.
    4) The legal video download business is new and small enough now that the companies are a bit gun-shy. There will be a good long wait (as there was with music) before execs feel comfortable enough to do something like EMI did, and I think it will take still longer.

    People like me get bit by region coding, which was a foolish travesty, but that’s easy enough to get around. Education through litigation seems to be smaller as well from the MPAA’s side.

    Really, the point is this – the markets are completely different, and really can’t be held in parallel.

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