iPhone Shackles Users to Apple's Walled Garden
p>As "iPhone euphoria" slowly wears off, replaced with sobering reality, some of iPhone's less shiny aspects are beginning to come into view. Wilmington North Corolina's StarNews (I didn't know they had newspapers in NC. Wonder if they have internets as well ;) ) pointed out the unfairness of Apple's FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) technology which locks users into Apple's walled garden by limiting playback of songs purchased through the iTunes Store only on Apple authorized hardware. Since Apple doesn't license FairPlay to any other vendor, that means you can only listen to these legally purchased tracks on an iPod, or iPhone in this case.
Needless to say a good many users, and competitors to Apple, are not happy with this arrangement. Some are seeking legal recourse, accusing Apple of being a monopoly.
As consumers become more aware of how copy protection limits perfectly lawful behavior, they should throw their support behind the music labels that offer digital music for sale in plain-vanilla MP3 format, without copy protection.
Apple pretends that the decision to use copy protection is out of its hands. In defending itself against Ms. Tucker’s lawsuit, Apple’s lawyers noted in passing that digital-rights-management software is required by the major record companies as a condition of permitting their music to be sold online: “Without D.R.M., legal online music stores would not exist.”
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