Apple and Sony attack digital freedom

There are further attacks against the digital freedom of users. Apple and Sony are taking freedom from their customers and users of their products.

Apple has released new version of their IPods (nano, iPod Classic, iPod Touch) which restrict user freedoms.
Up until now it was possible to synchronize (e.g. get music from the iPod and putting music into it) with the iPod’s with many different programs. So you didn’t need the iTunes program to use your iPod. This was a good thing, because iTunes is not available on every platform (i.e. GNU/Linux, …) and secondly in created a vibrant environment of competing programs.

But now, this has changed. As Cory Doctorow is explaining on BoingBoing

The latest iPods have a cryptographic “checksum” in their song databases that prevents third-party applications from synching with the portable music players. This means that iPods can no longer be used with operating systems where iTunes doesn’t exist — like Linux, where gtkpod and Amarok are common free tools used by iPod owners to load their players.

This means… New iPods can only be used with iTunes… Restricting usage and a try to monopolize this environment.
It is not the first time Apple tries to demolish users freedom: Boycott Apple and show them that you have the right to use their products in every way YOU like.

But now to our second beloved company Sony. As you may know, Sony had used rootkits on their CD’s to prevent copying of these CD’s. Not only that these rootkits are putting you at risk to be compromised through security holes. No, Sony installed the software on your computer without informing the users. And, of course, it had a lot of other problems too (like not allowing burning OTHER data).
They got a lot of criticism for their behavior and removed the software from their CD. Again showing that non-free software can’t be trusted.

Like Apple, Sony probably will never learn: They sell USB sticks (MicroVault) which include driver that.. who would have thought of these… include another rootkit. Only after getting media coverage they have cleaned the software from the rootkit. Which leads me again to… yes I know the sentence gets old. But it is true: Non-Software can’t be trusted…

So remember.. Buying Apple and Sony products mean that you are supporting companies who believe in taking freedoms and criminalizing customers.

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7 Responses to “Apple and Sony attack digital freedom”

  1. thegeekgirl Says:

    Sorry to say this since I normally hate companies doing this sort of thing, but apple has every right to do so. It is their product. If you don’t like the restrictions they place upon using the product then don’t buy it. You have other choices of MP3 players out there.

    I’ve had I-pods since they came out and they’ve always worked best with I-tunes. It makes sense that they would design a program that would best suit the product. Plus I-tunes is a free product, its not like they’re making you buy another program or installing the sort of underhanded software sony does.

    I doubt Apple will go after people that ‘get around’ using i-tunes. It might be a few months before a program is out that allows using of non mac and microsoft os to use i-tunes or a program that will allow you to sync up, but really is getting the newest i-pod that important to people?

    Sorry for using your comments as a sounding block. Best of luck to you with the boycott.

  2. stefon Says:

    Thx for your comment. You don’t have to apologize for criticizing me.

    You are right, it is there product. But does this allow them to force restriction on users? In my opinion: No!

    What would you say if you buy a TV which only works with ONE kind of VCR.
    Would you ever buy a medium which can be played only in ONE hardware from ONE company?

    If people allow this behavior and support them by buying this things.. They will see less competition, more monopolies and higher prices.

    I don’t thing thats something we want.
    Of course, it’s not ILLEGAL what Apple does.
    But I find it certainly immoral.

  3. thegeekgirl Says:

    This might be my age showing my a remember when there were some TVs that often only worked with one type of VCR, but that could just be my memory going.

    The important thing to focus on is making sure that people are informed. If they want to buy the ipod knowing that they can only use i-tunes or what have you then that’s their choice. Apple will responsed to market forces. If people don’t care about the what program they have to use to load up their ipod, Apple will not change it. If people don’t buy the product and/or complain loudly and negative press is generated well then something will change.

  4. stefon Says:

    Right, I’m totally your opinion…
    And thats what I want.. inform them THAT Apple is doing so and showing why this is bad..

    So they can make an informed decision…

  5. Biyang Hansen Says:

    It really gets fun when iPods don’t work with iTunes either! (happened to a friend).

    I agree completely with you Stefon – it is highly immoral business policy and only an attempt to monopolize the market. It is also true that what apple is doing is not illegal – it is perfectly legal to sell a product aimed at a special group of users (the iTunes users), but in reality, most people may not be aware of the fact until after they bought the ipod. And then they *have* to get iTunes.

    On the other hand, what sony did was downright illegal – installing software on the user’s computer without informing the user. That is called hacking.

    One of the problems with the whole ipod/iphone/itunes thing is apple’s massive marketing campaigns. In the eyes of a lot of people there *is* no other music player than an iPod. It’s not called an mp3 player anymore – it’s called an ipod. Anywhere you go (both in reality and on the internet), you get flooded with apple commercials and mentioning of their products. Coincidence? I think not.
    Seen from one perspective, it is called successful marketing. Had it been political – it had been called malicious propaganda.

    I can assure you that I’m never going to buy an ipod or a sony mp3 player that is “driver-locked” (can you say that?).

    Keep up the good work! 😉

  6. How green is the iPhone? « Stefon’s Blog Says:

    […] green is the iPhone? Beside my continuing efforts to explain why the iPhone is bad concerning users freedom, even greenpeace has taken off to bash the […]

  7. Apple restricts user rights… again « Stefon’s Blog Says:

    […] attacks on user rights from apple Apple and Sony attack digital freedom Screw you […]

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