Macrovision spins its web courtesy of CNET
Whilst a little criticism of Macrovision could be justified on any normal day, we're not here to sing a simple song of "DRM is just bad business" right now. Macrovision's Chief Evanglist, Richard Bullwinkle, has a somewhat skewed post on CNET today, under the title "Perspective: An Apple fanboy's lament'. In it, he discusses one of the hottest topics of 2007: DRM and media players. A contentious topic close to our own hearts here at Download Squad HQ. A choice quote from Mr Bullwinkle:
"When devices are standards-based, the best solutions will still win."
Before I go any further, Bullwinkle makes a few good points, and here he's absolutely right. Standards are a good thing, and innovation being based upon feature-sets, not lock-ins, is the way the digital media player market should be. Yet he's talking as though these mythical standards don't already exist: has he never heard of MP3 or MP4? All the main players offer support for those two standards (MP3 / AAC / MP4 / M4A):
Apple? Of course - they've almost-single handedly driven MP4 content onto the world stage - but Apple-bashers I remind you of this common misconception: it's not an Apple codec. They, like everyone else, licence it.
Microsoft? Indeed: Zunes will happily take your AAC content.
Sony? Surprisingly yes. The sloth amongst these cheetahs of the digital realm has brought AAC on board with its devices.
Mr Bullwinkle continues: "Consumer electronics manufacturers and entertainment giants need put the consumers first. They need to realize that "we" consumers don't want to repurchase our media for each new device that comes along." And again he's absolutely right. Big business needs to learn to treat its customers properly. But he's forgotten something, and this is where the web he's trying to spin really begins to unravel: we already own the content we want to put on these devices. It's called CDs and DVDs: DVDs that are protected, for the most part, by Macrovision copy protection. The very DVDs we have already bought, and been treated like criminals for buying thanks to the copy-protection you evangelise, Mr Bullwinkle. Never mind the hideous Digital Millenium Copyright Act the studios and labels forced into the constitution (and seem intent on introducing elsewhere in the world).
For all the talk of perspective from an apparent Apple fanboy, the article seems (when you look closer) to be a push for open standards that you'd believe don't exist. By the end you can't help wonder if we're to expect a Macrovision press release announcing a solution with one of these mythical new standards. What's even more ironic is that any such Macrovision proposals would not have the best interests of the consumer at heart, but the shareholders of Macrovision - and of course Mr Bullwinkle's salary.
So much for perspective, huh?