Cory Doctorow, he of Boing Boing fame and one of the most well known proponents of the Creative Commons scheme, has rather surprisingly attacked Steve Jobs and Apple over DRM. Whoa, hold on a minute there, surprising that someone who speaks out in favor of Creative Commons should be arguing against DRM, predictable surely?
Well, yes, apart from the fact that Doctorow is something of a self-confessed Apple fan boy. How much of one? Does having a tattoo of a Mac answer your question?
Anyway, according to a piece in Salon Doctorow has had enough and claims that he doubts Jobs’ sincerity. “I suspect he likes DRM because it creates an anti-competitive lock-in to Apple” Doctorow states, adding “Apple even applies the no-copying measure to audio released under a Creative Commons license (for example, my own podcasts), which prohibits adding DRM." This being particularly hard for Doctorow to swallow, especially when Creative Commons licenses are machine readable so not particularly hard for iTunes software to locate and prevent the FairPlay DRM from applying, were the will there.
The description of the way that Apple protects music downloads from the iTunes store with its FairPlay system as being a tax on switching away from the iPod strikes me as being wholly accurate in the circumstances. Doctorow argues that the Apple DRM is ineffective at preventing copying, and there is no dismissing that as nonsense because the evidence is out there for anyone who cares go Google for it, which leaves the fact that your iTunes music downloads are tied to the iPod as being a disincentive to switch to another MP3 device. Perhaps the fact that such a well known Apple advocate is saying it, instead of the usual Anti-Apple suspects, will make a difference.
I suspect not, however.