Sci-fi author slams Steve Jobs over Apple’s DRM

Cory Doctorow, science fiction author and Boing Boing editor, has laid into Steve Jobs’ infamous Thoughts on Music posting, with his own views on DRM (Digital Rights Management), and Apple’s policy of protecting music downloaded from the iTunes store with FairPlay.

Sci-fi author slams Steve Jobs over Apple's DRM

Writing in Salon magazine, Doctorow describes FairPlay as a tax on switching away from the iPod.

‘Although Apple’s DRM is wholly ineffective at preventing copying, it does manage to raise the cost of switching from an iPod to a competing device. Every iTunes song you buy for 99 cents amounts to a 99 cent tax on switching from an iPod to a Zune. That’s because your iTunes songs won’t play on your Zune – or on any other player, save those made or licensed by Apple,’ he wrote.

Doctorow describes himself as ‘a lifelong Apple fan boy’, to the extent that he even has a 27-square pixel of a sad Mac tattooed onto myself. He is also well known as a supporter of Creative Commons, and releases much of his published written work under Commons licenses.

He uses similar licenses for his podcasts, so riles at Apple for applying DRM to them once they are downloaded to an iPod.

‘Apple even applies the no-copying measure to audio released under a Creative Commons license (for example, my own podcasts), which prohibits adding DRM,’ he writes. ‘The Creative Commons situation is inexcusable; because Creative Commons licenses are machine-readable, iTunes could automatically find the C.C.-licensed works and make them available for copying back to your computer.’

‘If you buy DRM[-licensed music], you end up being part of someone’s business model,’ he concludes, ‘and a slave to the lock-in.’

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