Apple has issued a statement damning a proposed French law that would force it and other music-crippleware companies to license its technology to anyone who wants to build a music player.
Apple condemned the proposal as "state-sponsored piracy" and warned that it would result in its customers filling their iPods with "pirate" videos and music. This is intensely hypocritical. Apple ships millions of iPods holding up to 10,000 songs. Most customers for 60GB iPods have fewer than 10,000 songs' worth of CDs and no one is buying $10,000 worth of iTunes. While there's a certain amount of public domain and Creative Commons music likely to end up on iPods, and some video these days, there's no question that Apple's iPod business is built on the average customer's need for a way to take her/his unauthorized music downloads on the road.
What's more, as Steve Jobs explained to Rolling Stone in 2003, iTunes DRM doesn't stop people from making and sharing unauthorized copies of their music:
None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have Ph.D.'s here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content. . . . . [There is] this amazingly efficient distribution system for stolen property called the Internet --- and no one's gonna shut down the Internet. And it only takes one stolen copy to be on the Internet. And the way we expressed it to them is: Pick one lock -- open every door. It only takes one person to pick a lock. Worst case: Somebody just takes the analog outputs of their CD player and rerecords it -- puts it on the Internet. You'll never stop that. So what you have to do is compete with it.If Apple doesn't think iTunes stops "piracy," then why include it? Because it lets them send legal threats to competitors like Real when they make players for their own DRMed music that run on Apple devices. Real's effort to put a Real player on the iPod wouldn't have helped anyone commit "piracy" -- nor would the French law. All it would do is give iPod owners the option to buy their crummy DRM-crippled music from someone other than Apple, maybe getting a better price or better features or both.
In a response issued after the law won initial approval, Apple said: "If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers."Link (Thanks, Herve, Dave and Peanutbutter13!)
But, it added, the law could prove a boon for Apple and its popular iPod music players.
Said Apple: "iPod sales will likely increase as users freely load their iPods with "interoperable" music which cannot be adequately protected. Free movies for iPods should not be far behind in what will rapidly become a state-sponsored culture of piracy."