Steve Jobs Discusses DRM, Record Labels in Video Deposition

Steve Jobs Discusses DRM

In a deposition recorded six months prior to his death, Steve Jobs addressed questions regarding Apple’s involvement in an iPod antitrust class action lawsuit. The case accuses Apple of implementing strategies that prevented music from rival services from being played on iPods, thereby allegedly maintaining inflated prices for the devices.

Last Friday, a video of Jobs’ deposition was shown in court, with CNET providing coverage of the notable moments.

Steve Jobs Discusses DRM

Jobs echoed sentiments previously expressed by Eddy Cue, highlighting that record labels’ concerns about piracy led to stringent DRM requirements in their contracts with Apple.

Jobs noted that these contracts were explicit: if Apple’s DRM system, FairPlay, was compromised, music labels had the right to pull their catalogs from iTunes immediately.

When RealNetworks introduced software in 2004 that circumvented FairPlay, allowing their music store purchases to be compatible with iPods, Apple quickly responded to what they viewed as a threat.

Addressing the competitive tactics of digital music stores like RealNetworks, Jobs discussed the company’s Harmony software, which attempted to make its music compatible with the iPod. Apple’s strategy to continuously update iTunes to block Harmony was seen by plaintiffs as anti-competitive, arguing it diminished user experience and demonstrated Apple’s monopolistic behavior.

Jobs contended that Harmony jeopardized Apple’s comprehensive product ecosystem.

“The promise of future compatibility by companies like Real was something we couldn’t ensure,” Jobs stated. “This could lead to significant legal challenges from disappointed customers.”

Jobs portrayed the contracts with music labels as crucial agreements that Apple was committed to enforcing to protect the integrity of the iTunes Music Store.

“The threat of hackers was a constant concern, with potential to put us in breach of our agreements with music companies,” Jobs explained.

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Frank is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest news and insights about Apple products. With a keen eye for detail, Frank covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest updates on macOS and iPadOS. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex tech topics accessible to everyone. When he’s not writing, Frank enjoys exploring new features on his Apple Watch and testing out the latest MacBook Pro. His commitment to staying up-to-date with all things Apple ensures that TUAW readers are always in the know.