Implications of Microsoft’s Zune Buy-out of iTunes Music
The current rumour has it that to compete with iTunes, Microsoft’s pending Zune service will scan the users’ computer for a list of all songs purchased from iTunes and then repurchase the songs in Zune’s proprietary format for new Zune customers – effectively buying-out iTunes. In this “Rethinking DRM Dystopia” piece, David Robinson is optimistic about the free market’s ability to overcome the lock-in affect of iTunes “Fairplay” DRM system. I am not!
Dale’s Comment: I am decidedly less excited about this prospect than Mr. Robinson. If copyright law does require a competitor to “buy-out” users from a competitive service, that only does a disservice to consumers. Once a consumer purchases a song, copyright law should protect that consumer’s right to play that song on any device. A system of copyright laws where ONLY the behemoths of an industry can compete hardly leads to innovation and competition. The very fact that, owing to the DMCA, Microsoft may have to resort to such extreme measures in order to compete with iTunes is one of the reasons I created this iMedia law website. This is bad policy, bad for consumers and ultimately bad for the music industry.