The DRM Train Wreck on National TV

by on November 16, 2006 · 32 comments

This is brutal:

The hosts seem surprised that you can’t email or download music from a server. And they’re not impressed with the “clunky” design of the Zune. “Why don’t they get some decent design people?” Miles O’Brien wonders.

From my perspective, though, the most interesting comment was when Andrew Ross Sorkin emphasizes that “If you have bought songs on iTunes, on Apple for example, it doesn’t play here. And even worse, if you bought songs on Napster or some of the former Microsoft-compliant devices, it also doesn’t work here. So you have to start your library all over again, unless you have it all on CD to begin with.”

I spent an afternoon the week of the Sklyarov arrest passing out flyers about the DMCA to my befuddled fellow students. So I take a certain satisfaction in seeing the problems we warned about five years ago being discussed on national TV. In 2001, explaining the DMCA required me to speak in mostly hypothetical terms. I got a lot of blank stares.

Now when I say that DRM is what prevents you from playing your iTunes songs on a non-Apple MP3 player, anyone who pays any attention to the technology industry will immediately know what I’m talking about. Of course, there’s still a lot of education to be done to help more people connect the dots from iPod compatibility problems to the DMCA. But at least it’s no longer a big challenge to explain what the issue is.

Hat tip to iLounge, which also has a clip of less-than-glowing coverage on NBC’s Today Show.

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