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Translation of Macrovision Response to Jobs on DRM 284

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the worth-a-read dept.
BoboB-69 writes "Daring Fireball has posted a humorous, and accurate PR-speak to Plain English translation of Macrovision's CEO's response to Steve Jobs' Open Letter on DRM. Highly recommended reading for slashdotters everywhere."
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Translation of Macrovision Response to Jobs on DRM

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  • Great.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:10PM (#18060408)
    This is one of those great times where I wish I could vote on the story. Translating executive speak to common speak is *always* priceless. Example:

    CEO: "We are not going to lay off 500 workers."
    English: "We are going to lay off 510 workers. Or 490. Just not 500."

    Its all about making you FEEL a message instead of actually hearing and understanding the words. (They want to imply a very positive message, without ACTUALLY lying.)
  • by i_should_be_working (720372) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:16PM (#18060448)
    I believe that most piracy occurs because the technology available today has not yet been widely deployed to make DRM-protected legitimate content as easily accessible and convenient as unprotected illegitimate content is to consumers.

    So, piracy will go away when DRM-protected legitimate content is available for free, from many sources, comes in many formats, can be copied without restrictions, and works on many devices. Brilliant! We are finally on the same page. Now get working on that.
  • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:18PM (#18060474) Journal
    Because it is too hard to change your mind later. With the corp/marketing speak, they can just claim confusion and blame the change of mind on the lesser inteligent people like you and me who didn't understand what they said. That way they all look good in front of the camera!
  • by DingerX (847589) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:48PM (#18060666) Journal
    Cute little "translation", and it almost gets it.
     
    "Black is White" is certainly the case of "DRM increases consumer value". But the point to:
     

    Similarly, consumers who want to consume content on only a single device can pay less than those who want to use it across all of their entertainment areas.

    Isn't simply: "Abandoning DRM will prevent us from forcing our customers to keep paying us over and over again for the same movies and songs they've already paid for."
      It's more pernicious than that. It reveals the fundamental difference in philosophy: we don't buy things anymore, we "consume content", and they "own content". Ownership is a social convention: in theory, we more or less agree what constitutes "property". Now they are trying to change the rules, claiming they own all the things we use, and we pay them whatever they deem fit. So we become intellectual sharecroppers: we own nothing and owe everything.
     
    The beauty of the letter, however, really lies in how it reveals that the DRM proponents' own ridiculous notions of intellectual property prevent them from having their "DRM-laden paradise". For DRM to truly work, it has to be transparent to the user, interoperable, and add value, not remove it. And, wait! Today's technology can do that! But hold on: that technology is itself "High-value content", and as such needs protection through trade secrets, patents, and proprietary deals, and the resulting product is subject to the same market forces as the content it is supposed to protect. Dammit! The same logic we use to defend DRM shows us that DRM cannot work!
  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:55PM (#18060706) Journal
    If you accept what Steve was saying was true, about how the risk/reward simply wasn't worth it for Apple, it's clear that both parties were simply explaining their respective positions without giving ground. There is no need for your "saw through it" bias.

    What Norway was saying is "it is illegal for you to do business in the way you are"
    Jobs replies "this is the only way that makes sense for us"
    Norway replies "it's still illegal, you're going to have to fix it or withdraw"
    [expectation: Jobs replies "Ok then, we'll stop doing business in Norway"] ... and Jobs gets to blame it on the various label companies - it was a pre-emptive strike at managing the fallout when Apple stop selling iTunes in Norway. He added a sufficient number of things to make the "story of the day" not be this, of course. Now it's firmly in the subconscious that DRM is not Apple's fault, I expect the next salvo to be "and we made it as easy on the customer as the labels would let us" - that is, if the labels have the stomach for the upcoming fight.

    Jobs' vision is of making consumers products (and computers, for that matter) that people lust after, while making money of course. He's not interested in getting in their way - a few years ago, I think the iTunes DRM effectively helped Apple, but now I genuinely think the market is theirs to lose, and they have a track-record of making very *very* attractive and successful products in the music market.

    I don't think he cares about DRM any more, in fact I think he'd swap the DRM for the risk of running iTunes as it is right now (with the sword of Damocles over his head if FairPlay is ever seriously broken). And I think he'll be more than happy to give up the tiny percentage of iTunes sales that Norway represents in order to remove that risk - "goodbye Norway, thanks for playing, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out"

    Simon.
  • Re:Steve Jobs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SolitaryMan (538416) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:55PM (#18060708) Homepage Journal

    Maybe it would spur him on to fight even harder.

    The thing I'd expect the least is Steve Jobs (whose company makes the most DRM-fucked up mp3 player in the world) fighting against DRM. Talk is cheap and I will not believe a word, unless I see the results.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday February 18, 2007 @01:58PM (#18060734) Homepage Journal
    My friend jc42 makes a joke, but there's insight there too.

    We're going to see a lot more of this kind of misdirection now that the first serious cracks in the DRM-club's armor. Major players in the production and delivery of content are starting to actually question the wisdom of DRM. Guys like Steve Jobs are not Defective by Design or Freeculture.org, but important bricks in the wall that has kept DRM the default and a more sane approach to copyright out of the discussion entirely.

    I'm afraid that the battle over DRM is about to morph from a guerilla action to mutually assured detruction, and the Copyright Industry may prefer the latter in the end to actually sitting down with their enemy (the customers) and coming up with a reasonable solution.
  • by Shrubber (552857) <pmallett@@@gmail...com> on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:04PM (#18060768) Homepage

    The thing I'd expect the least is Steve Jobs (whose company makes the most DRM-fucked up mp3 player in the world) fighting against DRM. Talk is cheap and I will not believe a word, unless I see the results.
    People need to stop spouting this nonsense. The iPod is not DRM laiden. The iPod does not create DRM. The iPod does not do anything but play the files YOU give it. If you do not purchase music files that have DRM then you do not have to play music files with DRM. You can put any MP3s you want on the iPod, they won't magically become something different than they were before you put them on there.

    Complain about the iTunes music store all you want, but direct your complaints where they belong.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:09PM (#18060792)
    He slightly mistranslates it.

    "Similarly, consumers who want to consume content on only a single device can pay less than those who want to use it across all of their entertainment areas -- vacation homes, cars, different devices and remotely. Abandoning DRM now will unnecessarily doom all consumers to a "one size fits all" situation that will increase costs for many of them."

    He translates to this:
    "Abandoning DRM will prevent us from forcing our customers to keep paying us over and over again for the same movies and songs they've already paid for."

    Instead of this:
    "Abandoning DRM will prevent us from CONVINCING YOU THAT YOU HAVE A HOPE of forcing your customers to pay again and again for the same movies and songs, even though they won't pay once for them because of our DRM."

    It's the 'can = hope' he missed, Macrovision want to convince the record companies there is *hope* of huge profits by pissing off their customers. They have to suffer the piss poor sales and annoyed customers now for some big payoff (in heaven? In Japan? How? No sales is no business, cult leaders are rich people, the idiots who follow them are poor.).

  • Explain? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by springbox (853816) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:12PM (#18060810)
    Macrovision says:

    DRM increases not decreases consumer value

    I know their entire business relies on DRM's success but every encounter I have had with it ended up being some sort of pain in the ass. How does DRM increase consumer value. Like, why should I be excited that I can't copy media from one format to another without it being a hassle? I wish Macrovision explained that statement.
  • Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JPMaximilian (948958) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:26PM (#18060884)
    I think that whole PR can be summarized as, "What Steve Said, if followed, will put us out of business, he was wrong, media companies really do still need us to protect their content."
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:33PM (#18060952) Journal
    I dunno. Maybe it is just an American vs European viewpoint thing, but I'd say someone who managed to understand the marketplace so well that they build a product that comes to dominate that market, and offer services that support only that device - well, that's a successful business person.

    Yes, if Apple went to music distributors and said something like "distribute your songs exclusively over ipods or we'll ban you" that would be unreasonably using market dominance. But to claim that there's some unreasonable market behavior just because you make your products and services work with each other to the exclusion of others? That's just goofy.
  • by roscivs (923777) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:35PM (#18060964) Homepage

    Now get working on that.

    Exactly. That's pretty much the gist of what I wrote in response [indessed.com] to Amoroso's letter:

    With such an enjoyable and revolutionary experience within our grasp, we should not minimize the role that DRM can and should play in enabling the transition to electronic content distribution. Without reasonable, consistent and transparent DRM we will only delay the availability of premium content in the home. As an industry, we should not let that happen.

    Reasonable, consistent, and transparent DRM is an impossible pipe dream. Telling content producers and content owners to wait to license their content until this pipe dream is available will only delay the availability of premium content in the home. We, as an industry, and as the people who support that industry, should not let that happen.
  • by neongrau (1032968) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:40PM (#18060996)
    "comes in many formats"

    i would say thats not even necessary.
    imho most important is convertibility. so whenever a new format comes available you should be able to convert it to the new media yourself. not being forced to re buy or keep "antique" hardware players just to see a movie/song/album you bought these days again in say 10 or 20 years.

    since this is the crap that the content industry wants to make us believe all the time we don't buy a physical product but the license to "consume the content".

    if that would be true then we should be able use vinyl and cd's as a license to get the digital versions of the songs for free. and not such crappy codes inside for some bad-website to get weird proprietary drm'ed files that only plays on non-standard players that will just cease to exist someday anyway.

    and how the hell are you supposed to lend and album to a friend who wants to listen to it? or bring an album to a party? like generations did before with vinyl and cd's ?

    how should that be ever possible with various proprietary drm formats controlled by the industry?
  • by calstraycat (320736) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @02:57PM (#18061106)
    Of course, you could also argue that Steve Jobs' letter [theregister.co.uk] said little in plain English apart from "Hey Europe, don't get upset with me, the content producers make me do it". Norway saw through it ...

    Over the past couple of weeks, I've seen this assertion made many times and I still don't get the logic. The implication is that Apple secretly wants to continue using DRM and is wrongly pointing the finger at the record companies to deflect blame. But the facts don't support that point of view. When he says the that the recording industry is to blame for the situation, he is, in fact, telling the truth and justifiably pointed the finger in that direction.

    I understand that people who subscribe to the view that Jobs's statement was a cynical ploy believe that Apple secretly wants to keep DRM alive to "lock in" customers, but the evidence simply doesn't support that viewpoint. Ninety-seven percent of the music on iPods is DRM-free. Customers are not locked in. The lock-in argument is bogus. Furthermore, DRM is a pain in the butt for online music retailers and consumer electronics manufacturers. It is of no benefit to them. It increases the complexity of product development, increases support costs and makes for a poorer customer experience.

    So, please explain to me why Apple would want to continue utilizing DRM when it of no benefit to them. Also, I'd be interested in what your response would have been had Apple announced that they would license Fairplay to third parties rather than calling for the end of DRM. Would you have preferred that? I just don't get it. A good portion of the ubiquitously anti-DRM Slashdot crowd seems to be implying that it would be better if Apple proliferated their proprietary DRM than call for the end of DRM. Is that what you want? Would you rather Apple appease Norway's regulators and further entrench DRM than getting rid of it completely?

  • Just go DRM Free. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twitter (104583) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @03:15PM (#18061210) Homepage Journal

    If I could implant all my media devices with a unique-to-me identifier and then transfer any content I have paid for *from any source* to any of my devices then I'd be happy with such DRM. Trouble is, this implies all companies with a vested interest in DRM cooperating and the system actually working.

    It's not just impossible, it's an undesirable loss of control. For any DRM to work you have to surrender your ability to copy files. Each and every time you try, the DRM would have to check and grant you permission. Any limit you put onto the power of that copy is arbitrary and won't really protect the user from abuse. Imagine you could restrict the copy control to files of a particular type in a particular location. For this to work, each time you tried to copy or move a file the computer would have to make sure your file was not of that type or in that location. Further restrictions could be added at any time, so you should never accept even the mildest set.

    Until that time, I am forced to live in a [DRM world where I can't copy between devices]

    That's only true if you buy into DRM systems, so don't give up while things are looking good. Right now, you can buy commercial music on CDs, and most music on players still gets there that way. You can also get more free music than you can ever listen to at archive.org or magnatune.com, which should be good for music sales by the artists there. If enough people reject DRM, DRM won't happen because people making money will all be DRM free. That is why the majors are all thinking hard about it.

    The ultimate dream here is greed. DRM is about control by a few big dumb companies who want to "transition from physical to digital distribution" with their broadcast monopoly intact. Without lots of bad laws, that's the really impossible dream.

  • Re:No you can't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toba82 (871257) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @03:21PM (#18061258) Homepage
    I think capitalism works pretty well. That's why it's been in use for the majority of recorded history.
  • So... Cable TV? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday February 18, 2007 @03:25PM (#18061288) Journal
    I bring this up because even if your solution works, it takes control out of our hands.

    I don't mind Google, because if they ever start being obnoxious in their search ads, I can easily switch to some other search engine, or even attempt to build one myself.

    What you're talking about implies a lot of industry cooperation, which also implies that there'd be a monopoly on this service. Which means it would be overpriced and under-featured. They'd arbitrarily move normal content to "premium", and you wouldn't be able to do anything other than cancel and slowly try to save up and re-buy the stuff. They'd be able to set prices wherever they want, with the same result. They'd advertise just as much as Cable TV -- have you seen those fucking things? Can't even let you enjoy the 5-10 minutes of the show you get between ads without sliding in some little ad that takes up a quarter of the screen, animates, and makes an occasional sound or two. Except that with Cable and Satellite, if I get sick of it, I can cancel my subscription and go buy a DVD, which won't have ads...

    Which brings up another thing: DVDs can have unskippable ads. You can skip them in VLC, but only because VLC cracks the DRM.

    So, the only way I would ever subscribe to something like this is if they gave everything to me DRM-free. If they could manage a distribution system which is faster and better than the existing networks (think BitTorrent), and if they would actually just give me the DVD in, say, a matroska file, I'd subscribe and stay subscribed. Yes, of course this means I could just share the file with all my friends, but I can do that anyway -- have music execs even looked on peer-to-peer networks lately? DRM ISN'T WORKING! It also means I could just subscribe and download as much as I could in a month, then unsubscribe -- which is, after all, what they deserve; they should be making enough new content to keep me interested -- I would subscribe to cable or satellite TV to watch a show I like, so what makes them think I wouldn't do the same over the Internet? MythTV already makes it ludicrously easy for me to share that show of cable or satellite, why do they think the Internet will make it any easier?

    And if you really have zero affiliation to any company, why are you posting as Anonymous, you Coward?!
  • by maxume (22995) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @03:35PM (#18061370)
    RIAA declares war on music, clones Britney, releases voice destroying virus!

    The likely real world outcome of drm is that a bunch of time and money ends up being wasted. People won't put up with doomsday scenarios where they can't sing Happy Birthday(and get away with it like you can now) and laws will be changed.

    People don't care about the drm on dvd's; lots of people are going to be really pissed off with the coming 'not on that screen' drm.
  • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel AT bcgreen DOT com> on Sunday February 18, 2007 @03:39PM (#18061398) Homepage Journal

    Magic interoperable DRM would give people all the features and capabilities they get with DRM-free media.
    Magic interoperable DRM would give people some of the features and capabilities they get with DRM-free media.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 18, 2007 @03:45PM (#18061428)
    Bill Gates wants to be THE DRM vendor, he was the original pusher of DRM as the solution to piracy. Now he wants 'interoperable DRM' and if he can't get that, he wants them to buy CDs, but only because Windows is the major platform for ripping CDs into more useful formats.

    What's more manipulative and greedy than that?

  • Re:Great.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gutnor (872759) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @03:55PM (#18061482)
    Remind me when the new CEO at my previous company went all the way accros the ocean to explain us how our department has been magnificent and how proud he was of every one of us.
    Thanks to us, he saw the great wisdom of Software development and how a proper team will lead his company from Stone Age to World Domination.
    In conclusion, one week later (or maybe more, but less than a month later) the department was closed, everybody fired and the software development was outsourced to a specialised development house in India: that would would bring to the company even more flexibility and satisfaction for a cheaper price than our brilliant team could ever provide, but the CEO has to thank us for all this new wisdom.

  • by arctan1701 (635900) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @04:28PM (#18061702)

    and how the hell are you supposed to lend and album to a friend who wants to listen to it? or bring an album to a party? like generations did before with vinyl and cd's ?

    that's the point, the media companies don't want you to have these "privileges"

  • by Elad Alon (835764) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @05:08PM (#18061980)

    Because then you'd understand them.
    And because they themselves would have to understand what they're talking about.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 18, 2007 @05:47PM (#18062238)
    Mod parent up -- I like your response better than the one cited in the article. Less glib, more substance.
  • Re:Great.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jthill (303417) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @08:26PM (#18063104)

    Problem is, it's the truest statement in his whole screed.

    Fairplay's rules are DRM, well maintained and reasonably implemented.

    Before flaming, I plead "truest", not "true": people pay for iTMS content, to the extent that they do, because if you have to crack Fairplay to do what you want to do with the music, you're behaving either criminally or idiotically (i.e. if you want to play it on something besides iTunes or an iPod, wtf did you buy at iTMS in the first place?) -- and thus iTMS rules... the DRMed market.

    Here: let me fix his statement so it's actually "true", not just truthy:

    Macrovision: Well maintained and reasonably implemented DRM will increase the electronic distribution of DRM'd content, not decrease it.

    But of course that's not the message Daring Fireball is parodying, and not the message Amoroso wants to get across. In Amoroso's fantasy world, he gets paid everytime anybody hears or sees or says anything at all, so he's going to speak as if that's the real world. Being a bigshot, he can get lots of people dancing to that tune, and hurt small fry that refuse to. Aren't lies fun? And so profitable, too! Must be nice being low-level royalty.

  • by Ath (643782) on Sunday February 18, 2007 @09:05PM (#18063334)
    DRM is nothing about piracy and all about reselling the same content over and over again to the same consumer. The promise is that consumers will have more "choice" (that they don't want) and "flexibility" (that they used to have) at lower prices (that they won't get).

    Does anyone really think that a consumer wants to buy the same song or movie more than once without there being some added value to the second purchase? If you buy a movie on DVD, should you have to pay again to play it on your computer? On your portable media player? According to this guy, this is what consumers WANT to do. Uh huh. So if I buy a CD, instead of having the fair use right (which I still have) to convert that music to a format I can use on my iPod, I would actually be better off buying the same content again in a format that already works on my iPod?

    I know Macrovision is in the DRM business and so they are hardly neutral on the idea of whether DRM should become the industry standard, but they really need to work harder on their arguments about why DRM is good. I guess the marketing department rejected using terminology like "resell the same shit".
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:48AM (#18065848) Journal
    The problem is that there are places - like allofmp3.com - which offer everything iTunes does, at 1/20th of the price.

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