RIAA Responds To Jobs' Open Letter Applauding Him For Agreeing To License FairPlay, Except He Didn't

There is something deeply wrong with the RIAA. Deeply. Deeply. Wrong. Yesterday, Steve Jobs wrote a little essay on the state of DRM and why Apple will not be licensing FairPlay or getting rid of it, even if Norway is pissed at him. In this essay he said the following:

However, a key provision of our agreements with the music companies is that if our DRM system is compromised and their music becomes playable on unauthorized devices, we have only a small number of weeks to fix the problem or they can withdraw their entire music catalog from our iTunes store.
Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies.

If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

And what was the RIAA’s response to this?

Apple’s offer to license Fairplay to other technology companies is a welcome breakthrough and would be a real victory for fans, artists and labels. There have been many services seeking a license to the Apple DRM. This would enable the interoperability that we have been urging for a very long time.

Either they have an excellent sense of humor, or they can’t read. You be the judge. —MEGHANN MARCO

Jobs to DRM: Drop Dead [LA Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Xkeeper says:

    I’m pretty sure they’re just 100% Grade A Stupid.

    Between this perfect example and their previous blunders, it’s hard to figure out how the hell they’re still breathing.

  2. Aaron Harnly says:

    Perhaps the RIAA is simply adopting the George Ball Cuban Missile Crisis approach, hoping that a warm reception of one alternative will cause Steve to forget the others…

  3. Mr. Gunn says:

    Great. He should proceed with the licensing and drop the guarantee. After all, it was their idea.

  4. Zeruel says:

    It took you this long to realize that RIAA stands for Ridiculously Idiotic Assembly of Apes?

  5. crayonshinobi says:


    Working with the RIAA = Living with a 2 year old.

    My god…You cannot be any more obtuse than that. It’s like the RIAA isn’t even trying anymore.

  6. thejbs says:

    cassette tapes didn’t kill music, the VCR didn’t kill the movie industry and DRM-free digital music won’t hurt anything either. Allowing new technology to function the way CONSUMERS want it to is the only way to SELL THINGS TO CONSUMERS and more of it.

  7. grant0 says:

    HELLO?! They are a huge organization that totally controls the music industry. Are they being sarcastic? Since when are legal organizations sarcastic? It seems to me like they are just being run by grade two students who can’t read. Where is the original message that they sent? Was it a press release, or on their website, or what?

  8. weave says:

    So are RIAA giving Microsoft a hard time about not opening up the Zune Music store to work with other vendor’s devices as well?

  9. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Well, you can certainly rule out the RIAA having any sense of humour, so the only thing left is that they can’t read (or they’re just incredibly lazy).

  10. GroceriesCart says:

    Job’s essay is clearly just an effort to pass the buck regarding Norway’s issues with DRM (not that I support DRM at all). But clearly Job is saying, “Hey guys, I’m cool but it’s totally the evil music companies’ fault that we have DRM, I seriously don’t care about this proprietary nonsense at all, honest injun!” Pffffffffft, good marketing move though.

  11. nick says:

    My brain hurts. I don’t know what else to say.

  12. radiofree says:

    I wake up and this is the first post I read. Why do I do this to myself?


  13. tz says:

    Sometimes the little gal wins against the RIAA mafia:


    But as the above poster noted – maybe they are offering to not require Apple to GUARANTEE the system won’t be cracked.

  14. batasrki says:

    Whatever their motivation is, one thing is clear. The dinosaurs of RIAA will not give up DRM on digital music. The same can be said for MPAA. Look, they influenced Microsoft to fill Vista to the brim with DRM technology, only to have it broken within a week of the Vista release.
    Check this out, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/31/vista_drm_hacked/
    When they realize that DRM cannot and will not work ever, it will be too late. I agree with Jobs, music should be sold DRM-free, even if it’s a clever ploy on his part to take the focus off of FairPlay.

  15. r3m0t says:

    weave: “So are RIAA giving Microsoft a hard time about not opening up the Zune Music store to work with other vendor’s devices as well?”

    I don’t know if you were being rhetorical, but the answer is no. Steve Jobs was talking out his ass. There is nothing difficult about licensing Fairplay DRM. Microsoft were using the Plays4sure DRM for a very long time (licensing it out to dozens of third parties) with roughly the same number of breaks as Fairplay. None of the breaks used insider information, despite what Jobs thinks.

    batasrki: One day, when internet connections are sufficiently common, they will require an internet connection to play content. This is already in BD+ (in a slightly less annoying form). BD+ is already implemented on Blu-Ray movie players but none of the Blu-Ray movies published use it (yet).

  16. r3m0t says:

    batasrki: The other option for working DRM is Trusted Computing + disabling analog ports and broadcasts. Not so far away.