Dan Gillmor on Apple and Digital Rights Management

Dan Gillmor writes about these interesting times for consumers’ digital rights, and how Apple seems to be the only major computer company not rushing to choke them off.

The era of Digital Rights Management, commonly called DRM, is swiftly moving closer, thanks to the Intels and AMDs and Microsofts. They’re busy selling and creating the tools that give copyright holders the ability to tell users of copyrighted material — customers, scholars, libraries, etc. — precisely how they may use it. DRM, in the most typical use of the expression, is about owners’ rights. It would be more accurate to call DRM, in that context, “Digital Restrictions Management.”

But Apple has taken a different tack in its rhetoric and its technology. As I said in an introduction to a panel I moderated Tuesday at a conference in Santa Clara, Mac OS X, Apple’s modern operating system, is becoming, whether by design or by accident, a Digital Rights Management operating system where the rights in question are the user’s rights — and they are expansive.

Let’s hope that Apple is treading these waters carefully and purposefully, and not because they’re just behind on their To Do list. Link