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Apple Defeats RIAA and France In Same Day 311

Posted by Zonk
from the i-hear-the-boss-level-is-really-hard dept.
gnat writes "The subheading of the CNN article says it all: 'Four largest record companies defeated in behind-the-scenes battle to charge different prices for songs; downloads still 99 cents'. This comes the same day as France backed down on the posturing over demanding iPod interoperability." From the France article: "Apple, which did not return repeated phone calls, and other DRM holders doing business in France, are likely elated. While the law must still be voted on, the alterations in the legislation signify willingness by some in the French government to honor the rights of companies that don't wish to share their technology with competitors. Senate debate on the bill begins Thursday."
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Apple Defeats RIAA and France In Same Day

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  • France backs down? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @06:51AM (#15252659) Homepage Journal
    *sighs*

    Why didn't the submitter go with the more trollish (and lets face it, the comments will decsend to this level in a few seconds) headline the inquirer took: French committee surrenders on DRM law [theinquirer.net]

    Let's all remember that while we would normally blindly follow Apple's lead in this, it is a Free software issue [itnews.com.au] as well as being an Apple (yay) vs France (boo) issue.

    Like Microsoft (with word documents, SMB, etc), or Adobe (with encrypted PDFs), Apple should not persecute F/OSS users for attempting to interoperate with their products.
    • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:00AM (#15252704) Journal
      I don't think it's a Free Software issue at all... even in France. It's Apple's product and technology - they can do whatever they please. If their product became a monopoly.. then, maybe the specs for inter-operation to be dislosed. And unlike MS, Apple hasn't used any illegal means to obtain leading market share.
      • I don't think it's a Free Software issue at all... even in France. It's Apple's product and technology - they can do whatever they please.

        Interoperability with DRMed content is a Free Software issue. People want to be able to read Word files, Protected Adobe PDFs, watch DVDs, listen to WMAs or Fairplayed AAC, etc etc etc.

        If their product became a monopoly.. then, maybe the specs for inter-operation to be dislosed. And unlike MS, Apple hasn't used any illegal means to obtain leading market share.

        Saying they
        • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:28AM (#15252857) Homepage
          Yes, but you know what you are getting into when you buy iTunes. With MS Word, there's no choice, because of monopoly. If you want to buy movies, then you have to buy DVD. Protected PDF, WMA and Fairplay fall into another category. There are other solutions. You don't like iTunes? Go buy the CD. Buy music from Real, or Napster, or listen to the radio. I don't think Corel released their specs for wordperfect files either. The monopoly status is what changes the rules.
          • by babbling (952366)
            WE know what we're getting into when we buy from iTunes, and that's why most people who know about it are opposed to it. I'm willing to bet that all the kiddies who have gone out and bought iPods and started buying music off iTunes don't realise or haven't considered the fact that the music they're now buying won't work with other portable music players which they may buy when iPods aren't "cool" anymore.

            Consumer groups should be issuing warnings to the public about DRM systems.
            We should be writing to consu
            • by jocknerd (29758) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:47AM (#15252996)
              But proponents of Apple's DRM will argue that the music CAN be played on other players. You just have to convert it. Its a pain, but Apple does give you that option.

              The real problem is that the RIAA, in all their infinite wisdom, is screwing themselves. They demanded DRM, and now its biting them in the ass. Without DRM, Apple wouldn't have the leverage to dictate the pricing on songs.
          • Yes, but you know what you are getting into when you buy iTunes.

            I do, you presumably do, but not everyone does.

            With MS Word, there's no choice, because of monopoly.

            No choice? What about OO.org? What you mean is no choice if you have existing documents (the same as someone with an ITMS AAC collection who decides to convert to freeBSD)

            Oh - and word was not the MS monopoly, Windows was.

            If you want to buy movies, then you have to buy DVD.

            Or a video. DVDs do not constitute a monopoly.

            Protected PDF, WMA and Fai
          • by oahazmatt (868057)
            With MS Word, there's no choice, because of monopoly
            Unless you use OpenOffice, NeoOffice/J, or to a lesser extent, TextEdit.

            If you want to buy movies, then you have to buy DVD.
            Unless you want the VHS copy (still available) or UMD.

            You don't like iTunes? Go buy the CD.
            Or buy the CD through iTunes for cheaper and burn the disc as MP3s (which iTunes allows)

          • Are you saying that the Apple iPod, which makes up over 80% of the MP3 player market and the *ONLY* legal online music service that it will work with (iTunes) don't represent a monopoly?

            Name one other legal music service that will work with iPod.

            Name one other MP3 player that will play iTunes files besides the iPod.

            If that isn't a "We've got you by the balls and you're going to buy FROM US OR NO ONE!" monopoly, then brother I've never seen one.

            -Eric

            • That's bad reasoning. Apple invented the iPod and iTunes to work together. If you want your iPod to play stuff from napster or real, that isn't Apple's problem to solve. They can't be required to support every format under the sun. It's like expecting MAC OSX to run on your Sun Sparc machine. The two products only work with eachother, and if you don't like it, you can buy another product. Apple owns 80% of the market because they are the only ones producing good products and marketing them well. There
      • If it prevents Free Software from interoperating with Apple stuff, it is at least partially a Free Software issue.
      • I don't know. It is at best anti-competitive. Tying the ipod to the Itunes store means you can only buy music on line for your IPod at the Itunes store.
        I hate to admit it but I just bought an IPod so I could use Itunes for Podcasts.
        I am not thrilled with the Itunes interface at all. I don't find it an easy way to organize my music.
        The IPod's interface is the best I have used on any MP3 player.
        Now if RIO would just open source all the info on my Karma... I would be a happy man.
      • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @10:09AM (#15254032)
        I am legally prevented from writing, distributing or using Free Software that can play music encoded with Apple's Fairplay DRM. Therefore it is a Free Software issue. It may be one that you don't care about, but it is one. That said, Free Software and DRM Software are inherently incompatible as DRM is an encryption scheme that requires you to both widely distribute the key and keep it secret at the same time. The only way to do this is by obscuring the key in software or hardware. Therefore, the only way to implement DRM as Free Software and follow the letter of the law, is if the keys are in hardware, and there is no way to do so while following the spirit of the law. So the only solution to the Free Software issue is no DRM.

        It is also a free market issue - unlike most other media formats and DRM schemes (CSS, HDMI, WMA) which can be licensed by any party under RAND terms, Fairplay is not available for license. This is helping Apple to create a monopoly, by sheltering it from competition due to legal restrictions, rather than basing it's success solely on the merit of the product (which is does have).

        Lastly Microsoft didn't get to be a monopoly (in it's OS) through illegal means. Like all other OSes at the time, they lived and died with the system it was written for. The IBM PC had the advantages of people wanting to use the same machine as at work and later of low costs due to commoditization. The other PC's couldn't compete with this, and thus died. Microsoft rose to dominance because the IBM PC rose to dominance. Everything else (even their very real illegal acts) is noise.

        Frankly, I have always thought our antitrust laws were pretty stupid. We give companies huge amount of anti-competitive powers through "IP", and practically unrestricted mergers, and then wait until they inevitably become monopolies (or oligopolies) to enforce a bunch of hollow antitrust laws that do little more than waist time in court. Why wait until someone is a monopoly to start caring about promoting a free competitive market?

        Lastly, and most importantly, it is a consumers rights issue. If I have legally obtained documents, I will view them as I please - whether the person trying to restrict me from doing so is a monopoly or not is of no consequence.

        </rant> (haven't had my cherios this morning :)
    • by GundamFan (848341) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:05AM (#15252729)
      Apple should not persecute F/OSS users

      It's not persecution... I don't think Steve has a taskforce specificaly to chase Linux users around with sticks (sorry the over use of that word gets to me).

      If you choose to buy from ITMS you know exactly what you are getting, and while the argument that there should be Linux support for Apples products is valid that does not mean that everyone gets to whine about it... iPods play .mp3s and there are plenty of places to buy unencombered .mp3 music files... you may have to make some sacrifices in selection of products but anyone who is without any windows box should be used to that.

      I don't mean to be harsh but we are talking about a recreational item here it's not like iTunes music and iPods serve a vital purpose.
      • Apple should not persecute F/OSS users

        It's not persecution... I don't think Steve has a taskforce specificaly to chase Linux users around with sticks (sorry the over use of that word gets to me).

        Apple does not idly persecute F/OSS users, but your quote did not include the rest of my sentence:

        Apple should not persecute F/OSS users for attempting to interoperate with their products.

        Apple most certainly persecutes [macslash.org] F/OSS users who attempt to interoperate with their products.

        If you choose to buy from ITMS you

    • Why didn't the submitter go with the more trollish (and lets face it, the comments will decsend to this level in a few seconds) headline the inquirer took: "French committee surrenders on DRM law"

      Apple: Frown. "And next time, we'll scowl."
      France: "Oh non ! We surrender to you, la Pomme."
      News outlet headline: "French committee surrenders on DRM law"
      Slashdot comment: "Apple shows France as the surrendering weasels that they are."

      This'll never cease to be funny...

      Xavier, French by birth and Apple (computers

    • Let's all remember that while we would normally blindly follow Apple's lead in this, it is a Free software issue as well as being an Apple (yay) vs France (boo) issue.

      Actually, the law in question ("Loi DAVSdI") is seriously lame, in that, trying to be all things to all people (IP-based corporations, consumers), it tries to do so in all the wrong places (forced interoperability, DMCA-like provisions).

      Xavier

    • I'm not sure why we're down on one of the few intelligent things that came out of France lately. Apple is in the wrong here...but I guess we like our pretty, overpriced boxes more than we like personal freedom.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @06:51AM (#15252662) Journal
    A breakdown in profits of the 99 cents per song from MacNN [macnn.com]:
    "But figures from the US show that Apple, the dominant legal download business in Europe and the US, retains just 4 cents from each 99-cent (55p) track sale while 'mechanical copyright' holders - generally the record labels, who own copyright in the song's recording - take 62 cents or more. Music publishers take the rest - about 8 cents."
    I remember reading this article [slate.com] back in December of '05. In it, there is a little blurb of the same nature:
    But what price is "fair"? Apple says it is 99 cents a song. Of this, Apple gets a sliver--4 cents--while the music publishers snag 8 cents and the record companies pocket most of the rest. Even though record companies earn more per track from downloads than CD sales, industry execs have been pushing for more. One option is a tiered pricing model, with the most popular tunes selling for as much as $3. After all, the music honchos reason, people pay up to $3 for cell-phone ring tones, mere snippets of songs.
    I found that interesting. Executives that have nothing to do with the end product (probably haven't ever even picked up an instrument) are constantly arguing that they should be charging more and padding their pockets.

    Being a bass player, I'm concerned about what's left over for the musician. Very concerned.

    Weren't all the commercials and marketing schemes out there to make me feel guilty for the musician [nytimes.com] when I illegally share music? Perhaps they should have been showing me pictures of an executive in his Lexus ... unable to afford a Lamborghini Diablo becuase I was file sharing ... *runs to his room crying in shame*
    • by Znork (31774) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:24AM (#15252839)
      "Weren't all the commercials and marketing schemes out there to make me feel guilty"

      Copyright or other intellectual 'property' has never been for the artists and creators sake. The creators have merely been the excuse, once owning a printing press and being friendly with the crown was no longer considered reason enough to get a monopoly.

      Remember, copyright was created to protect publishers from cheap books, not to ensure payment to creative talent.
      • by Garwulf (708651) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @09:19AM (#15253640) Homepage
        Um, not quite, but close.

        The earliest copyright-type of protection I know of is the Stationer's Log, which was used in England in Shakespeare's day, and it existed to protect publishers against other publishers. A publisher would buy a manuscript from a writer, and then register it in the Log, so that another publisher couldn't then publish their own version of it. The author had pretty much no rights whatsoever, but there was protections for the author in other ways. This was a time where most authors, poets, etc. were supported by wealthy patrons.

        Around the time of the American Revolution there seems to be a change in the way copyright-style protections are being considered - the focus moves to the artist or creator, rather than the publisher. If you look at the American Constitution, there's a section that has the original version of this in the United States (I'm not sure how it manifests itself in Britain and Europe), and it's a limited span. This is very progressive for its day, as there's still patronage going on. The important thing in my mind is the recognition of the creator's rights to their work, something taken for granted in other industries.

        Now, as time goes on and patronage disappears, the copyright span becomes longer, and this is logical, if you think about it. Without patronage, all that is left to support the artist is the artist's work. Controversy over copyright span after death aside, if you look at the Berne Convention just as a document outlining creator's rights, it really is quite logical and adaptive, and suitable to the here and now.

        (Please note, I'm not talking about the DMCA here. The Berne Convention is quite old and fine-tuned, and it shows. It's a very elegant and logical document. The DMCA is brand new, trying to deal with new technologies that the legislators are still coming to grips with, and it shows too. Given time, I think it may develop into a very good piece of legislation that fits the technology, but it's not there yet by a long way.)

        In my mind, the big problem right now isn't the creator's rights, but how they have been co-opted. It's not so big an issue in print publication, but look at who actually owns the rights to music and film. The film studios and record labels have basically co-opted the creator's rights by getting the artists to sign their rights away, and then exploiting those rights, cutting out the creators in the process. In many ways, it's a situation where what should be a just and fair system has been co-opted and abused beyond belief.
    • Perhaps they should have been showing me pictures of an executive in his Lexus ... unable to afford a Lamborghini Diablo becuase I was file sharing

      While I agree with your sentiment, that these execs are not treating many of their musicians properly (though some do get treated really well) I wouldnt use "his diablo" as a way to make your point. My name is not Robin Hood and i cannot justify stealing from the rich because they are rich. Especially when I am not giving it to the poor.

      Do I think the fa
    • Being a bass player, I'm concerned about what's left over for the musician. Very concerned.

      I hate to break it to you, but odds are very much against you for sitting in a studio for a couple of weeks and making a lifetime's worth of pay.

      You have to a) be good, b) play live music, and c) be lucky.

      There are _tons_ of musicians that play 60-100+ shows a year. Its a lot of work. And most of those do not "make it big".

      As Jerry used to say, "Keep your day job, until your night job pays!".
    • "I found that interesting. Executives that have nothing to do with the end product (probably haven't ever even picked up an instrument) are constantly arguing that they should be charging more and padding their pockets."

      I work in the computer peripheral industry. I've never designed a mouse or a speaker -- I don't even have an EE -- but I set pricing for those products.

      If you want to join a label run by artists, for artists, you can. There are tons of indie labels out there started by guys who've pu

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @06:55AM (#15252674)
    apple still get to rip off the uk

    99 cents 79 pence

    we should be paying 55p a track in the uk.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) * on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @06:57AM (#15252689) Homepage Journal
    France has a long history of industrial protectionism. Their entire televesion system was designed to be different from everyone else's to promote their local industry.

    So, as much as I dislike DRM, I think theirs was just such a move.
    • Their entire televesion system was designed to be different from everyone else's to promote their local industry.
      Good old SECAM! Apparently it stands for "Something Essentially Contrary to the American Method".
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You have cited the SECAM standard as an example of "industrial protectionism".

      I suggest you to read the SECAM history :
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SECAM [wikipedia.org]

      SÉCAM development predates PAL.

      So I am affraid your post was only "french-bashing" ! Yet and again...

      And even if it was pushed for "national pride" reason, who can blame them ? I mean, read the story about Concorde at JFK or the A380 story about US airport beeing reluctant ... c'm'on, every single gov would preffer their own industry to succee
      • read the story about Concorde at JFK

        As someone who has relatives in Rockaway Beach, near the Kennedy approach, I can tell you from firsthand experience that the Concorde is Fucking Loud. It's not a big deal to tune out a few dozen passenger jets coming in over the course of a day (I lived for years right under the southeastern approach path to LaGuardia as well), but the Concorde makes (well, made) a sound like the end of the world is nigh. It didn't even compare.

    • False (Score:4, Informative)

      by aepervius (535155) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @11:15AM (#15254599)
      wiki secam
      Why SÉCAM in France?
      Some have argued that the primary motivation for the development of SÉCAM in France was to protect French television equipment manufacturers. However, incompatibility had started with the earlier decision to uniquely adopt positive video modulation for French broadcast signals. In addition, SÉCAM development predates PAL. NTSC was considered undesirable in Europe because of its tint problem requiring an additional control, which SÉCAM and PAL solved.

      Nonetheless, SÉCAM was partly developed for reasons of national pride. Henri de France's personal charisma and ambition may have been a contributing factor. PAL was developed by Telefunken, a German company, and in the post-war De Gaulle era there would have been much political resistance to dropping a French-developed system and adopting a German-developed one instead.



      In other word, yes it was a questionof national pride, but no not against the US, more against the "north-east" neighbourgh which only 7 years before they had a war with... Not much to do with protectionism IMO. Would you , as an US ressident , have accepted the PAL standard ? Well apparently NO, sicne you use NTSC.
  • Cool! (Score:5, Funny)

    by irn_bru (209849) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @06:59AM (#15252699)
    Can we get Apple to deal with Iran as well...?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:07AM (#15252736)
    I know that it isn't fashionable to not cheer on /. when Apple wins something, but in this case they clearly won against consumer rights, so maybe, just maybe, this time around we shouldn't cheer for Apple.

    For a very good overview about the subject and a much better article than the one in the /. blurb, head over to arstechnica:
    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060501-6715 .html [arstechnica.com]

    "The legislation in question originally contained consumer-friendly provisions that would force technology companies to make their DRM schemes interoperable. This would have a potent effect on the dominance of Apple and iTunes, of course, since the Cupertino company has so far proved unwilling to license its Fairplay technology to anyone else. The non-interoperable nature of Fairplay has been crucial to the success of Apple's online music store, which has leveraged the popularity of the iPod to become the biggest seller of digital downloads on the Internet. ...
            * Previously, "information needed for interoperability" covered "technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a copy in an open standard of the copyrighted work, along with its legal information." Now this has been changed to "technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a protected copy of a copyrighted work." But a "protected" version of the work can't be played back in a different player, which means interoperability won't be attained with this clause.
            * Previously, the only condition for receiving information needed for interoperability was to meet the cost of logistics of delivering the information. Now, anyone wanting to build a player will have to take a license on "reasonable and non discriminatory conditions, and an appropriate fee." When using information attained under such a license, you will have to "respect the efficiency and integrity of the technical measure."
            * DRM publishers can demand the retraction of publication of the source-code for interoperable, independent software, if it can prove that the source-code is "harmful to the security and the efficiency of the DRM."
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768.comcast@net> on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:10AM (#15252748) Journal
    Jobs: *hands fold together in front of him* Excellent...
  • 99c ... good, the record companies don't get their foot in the door to use price to play games with popularity.

    Franch law ... bad, instead of being a law that would have been a small wall aaginst the rising tide of DRM, it's become part of that flood.

    Not everything that's good for APple is good for Apple's customers.
  • by GundamFan (848341) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:15AM (#15252783)
    Apple = Closed restrictive standard. France = Forced interoprability. (good for us bad for apple) Music companys = Greedy. Apple = defending there price point. (seen by many as "defending the consumers") Um.. is slashdot trying to blow up fanboys' heads by putting this in one story? If so good.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Gallic Wars: Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.

    Hundred Years War: Mostly lost, saved at last by a female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare - "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchmen."

    Italian Wars: Lost. France becomes the first and only country ever to lose two wars when fighting Italians.

    Wars of Religion: France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots.

    Thirty
    • Wow...you seem to have a quite weird/twisted view of european history...

      > French Revolution: Won, primarily due to the fact that the opponent was also French.

      I actually found this line funny...but....hey, I'm french ! :D

      As a lover of ancient times, I will use this opportunity to greet our nice and friendly italian neighbours (that were a little abused in this topic), whose history I really admire (the roman republic/empire, it's 1000 years of history, it's impact on modern society).

      I send greetings to so
    • by TortiusMaximus (719234) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @08:58AM (#15253502)
      Funny stuff. But you should give credit where credit is due, ya cheese eating plagiarist. http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/france.html [albinoblacksheep.com]
  • Everyone pirate Alizee music videos so that they have more money for tissues!
  • http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/ [digitalmusicnews.com]Digital Music News

    Paul Resinkoff has a very good commentary on Apple's negotiations.

    Snip:
    Looking through the business lens of Apple, any other result would be foolish. Apple is ultra-protective of its consumer, and that approach has resulted in rich dividends. The major labels, on the other hand, have a highly contentious and acrimonious relationship with many music fans and artists. Sure, generalizations can be dangerous, though the characterizations are not too far o
  • the rights of companies that don't wish to share their technology with competitors.

    We are talking about proprietary formats here, remember ?
    What is next ? "Apple's right to own software patents ?"
    Plus, the French law has been changed in senate. It now no longer requires interoperability, which was the only GOOD thing this pack of law had (from a OSS point of view)

    • Why shouldn't Apple keep control of their encryption scheme? It exists exactly so they can exert a little control on how the music is used. I'm not saying the intent is right, but insofar as the RIAA and the music licensors wanted it, it works.

      To put it another way, Fairplay belongs to Apple, while the music you purchase belongs to you; the CD format belongs to Philips, while the music CD you purchase belongs to you.
  • misleading (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VoxCombo (782935)
    The 4 cent Apple figure is PROFIT, while the record label share they give is GROSS. After all the expenses that go into making a record, and all the people that get paid out of that share, i doubt the record label profit is much higher than 4 cents.

    Geez, I never thought I'd see a misleading article attacking record labels on Sladshdot...............
    • After all the expenses that go into making a record, and all the people that get paid out of that share, i doubt the record label profit is much higher than 4 cents.

      The savings in packaging and distribution costs (after bandwidth) for the record companies - which they pocketed rather than pass to the customer or the artist - amount to more than 4c on their own. That was the purpose of DRM: to allow the labels control to fix the prices when a free market would have forced them down as the savings of the mod

    • I'm pretty sure that Apple is the one paying for maintaining servers, consuming bandwidth, etc. I doubt that there's really all that much profit in there.
  • How does this effect Microsoft in the EU rulings, because if I remember right, France was a big pusher for Microsoft to open it's technology.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @10:24AM (#15254163)
    First of all, the bill was probably diluted out of fear for yet another uprising of French youth. After all, if they rose up against a job bill what would happen to the government that screwed with thier music?

    Secondly, Apple's use of DRM is helping the anti-DRM crusade. In a bit of DRM judo, Apple has basically hijacked music DRM from the industry that meant to controll it and is using that power to dictate exactly how the online music market is to be run. Eventually studios will wake up and realize that they would be fine selling music without DRM, and indeed it's the only way to break free of Apple's grip over distribution. Then we'll not need DRM anymore as studios just sell FLAC and MP3 online, what we all wanted in the first place. Also at that point you'll be able to use any player you like again and not just iPods (so extra pressure on teh labels to move to a DRM free model will eventually come from Microsoft).

    So smile when Apple mentions FairPlay, 'cause they are the ones saving you from the REAL DRM world we might all have been living in without them.

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