apple DRM by analogy

Some DRM analogies that popped out of my poor brain a while back and never got properly elaborated. These are still mostly in the ‘thinking out loud’ stage, so thoughts/comments/constructive criticisms appreciated, and don’t take them too seriously.

Model T:’any color you want as long as it is black’::ipod:FairPlay

Hypothesis: this works fine now, but people will eventually tire of it and demand more/better. We’re still realistically very early in the digital media game. Alternately, 100 years into the automative age we’re still pretty mediocre at buying on actual quality v. perceived quality.

ipod:DRM skeptics::car:American fans of mass transit

Hypothesis: DRM skeptics, despite being ‘right’ in some senses, are maybe doomed to be ignored by 99% of their compatriots, because utility trumps all other considerations. Possible flaw in the analogy: cars enhance personal autonomy, which overrides their social disutility; ipods diminish personal autonomy, which may at some point override their personal utility.

jobs letter:EU DRM antitrust concerns::MS + Novell agreement:EU patent/format antitrust concerns

Like Microsoft’s agreement with Novell, Jobs’s open letter on DRM was largely about urging European antitrust regulators to look elsewhere, not about actually helping customers. Just as MS tried to make Red Hat and the rest of free software look unreasonable by licensing with Novell, knowing that Novell is not a serious threat to their business, so here is Apple primarily urging the EU to place the blame for DRM’s anti-competitive nature at the feet of the labels, rather than on Apple, knowing that the labels are very unlikely to actually let go of DRM anytime soon.