Audio News for February 10, 2007

by | Feb 10, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Apple’s Steve Jobs Urges Dropping Copyright Protection – Apple CEO Steve Jobs has posted an essay titled “Thoughts On Music” on Apple’s web site, stimulated by criticism of Apple’s FairPlay DRM (Digital Rights Management) scheme used to protect music sold and downloaded from iTunes. He said when they were to launch iTunes in 2003 they wanted to sell the music without DRM, but the major record labels insisted their music be protected from illegal copying. Apple has not licensed FairPlay to others, and with the success of iPods and iTunes Apple now owns the major share of the market for player and download stores. Many, including some foreign governments, have complained about the lack of interoperability. Jobs explained that Apple’s agreement with the record labels states that if their DRM is compromised and not quickly corrected, the labels can withdraw their entire catalog from iTunes. That is why Apple does not want to license FairPlay to third parties: because they would have less control over it.

Jobs provocatively suggested that the music industry should entirely remove the technologies that protect their copyrights, and evolve toward a market where people can easily use any online music service, and can download tunes from iTunes and play them on any MP3 portable player, not just Apple’s iPod. He said this would be clearly the best alternative for consumers, and compared the situation to that of standard CDs, which have no DRM (although some labels made an ill-fated stab at it, causing technical chaos). Jobs calculated that out of 1000 songs on a typical iPod less then 3% were purchased from iTunes – the rest were from CDs with no DRM. He wrote that the music industry would actually benefit from abandoning DRM – it could experience an influx of companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players.

HDMI Education and Certification Effort
– Get ready for some alphabet soup: Agreements have been reaching among seven different industry organizations for an entry-level education and certification effort on behalf of the HDMI (High Definition Multichannel Interface) standard for the consumer electronics market. Among the organization are the SBCA (Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association), the ESPA (Electronic Systems Professional Alliance), the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association), and CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association). Leslie Chard, president of HDMI Licensing, said “…we want to broadly communicate HDMI’s one-cable simplicity and the superior digital audio and video capabilities of the HDMI 1.3 specification.”

Alternative Spectrum Allocation Proposal Attacked – The CEA and the High Tech DTV Coalition hope to persuade lawmakers not to accept an alternative reallocation of the 700 MHz spectrum used for public safety communication, which was proposed by a private firm, Cyren Call. Their report found that the proposal would place public safety agencies at risk to get the spectrum and funding they require for interoperability. The DTV and Public Safety Art ensures that after the complete transition from analog telecasting in 2009, public safety agencies will have an additional 24 MHz in the 700 MHz band to provide critical interoperability and to meet future voice and data needs. In addition it provides for $1 billion in fund thru the auctioning of commercial spectrum. More than $300 million will be used for other important public safety programs, including establishing a unified national alert system.

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