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Appeared on: Friday, February 09, 2007
IFPI and Sandisk Chairmen Criticize Apple's Stance on DRM

Steve Job's calls for a world without copyright restrictions or DRM have not met the enthusiasm of the music industry. John Kennedy, Chairman & CEO of IFPI and Eli Harari, Chairman of SanDisk Corporation commented on Apple's stance.

"We respect Apple's commercial modus operandi," IFPI chairman

John Kennedy of IFPI said that he respected Job's vision on interoperability of devices and multimedia formats, but he disaggres with the way Jobs describes the side effects of consequences of interoperability.

"We are pleased that Steve Jobs now wants to address interoperability, but he appears to be saying that interoperability has draconian side effects. We don't believe that that need be the case," said Kennedy.

"After such a long period without interoperability, it seems to me that the right thing to do would be for Steve Jobs to sit down with the industry and say "I believe these are the consequences if I allow interoperability" and for the industry to explain how we believe that some of the side effects that he believes are inevitable are not inevitable," Kennedy continued.

"There would be a sensible discussion of the pros and cons, a risk/reward assessment and a discussion to make sure we are not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and, most importantly, to preserve the right of all rightsholders, big and small, to decide whether they want to implement DRM on their intellectual property."

Kennedy concluded saying that "it is incorrect to give the impression that you cannot have interoperability and DRM."

"Until now Steve Jobs has not advocated interoperability; perhaps now the door is open to find a combination of interoperability and DRM to have a win/win scenario for Apple, the music industry and the consumer."

"We support freedom of choice for consumers," Sandisk Chairman

Eli Harari, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SanDisk Corporation believes there is another way to address this issue-an approach less confrontational than that voiced by others in the industry.

"Consumers deserve fair use of the digital entertainment they purchase, with the freedom to enjoy content on any device they own. SanDisk's approach is to let consumers decide how and where they acquire and play back their music," said Harari.

"Proprietary systems, in short, aren't acceptable to consumers. In recent months, there has been a rising chorus of complaints in Europe about the anti-competitive nature of closed formats that tie music purchased from one company to that company's devices, and tie that company's devices to its music service"

"What's more, the decision on using digital rights management (DRM) should rest with the music industry, not with device makers," Harari added.

"The "walled garden" approach may offer a smoother user experience in the short run, but ultimately restricts user choice. Protecting music doesn't require confining consumers to a single company's service or devices. It's time to tear down the walls"

The chairman of the executive board of Die Deutschen Phonoverb?nde, the German section of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), also commented on Apple's ideas: "Steve Jobs' proposal is as transparent as it is hypocritical. Apple is trying to turn the difficulties it has with copy protection into a problem for the industry as a whole."

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