NBC Wants iTunes to Police Your iPod

So in news today, NBC Universal chief digital officer George Kliavkoff said he thinks that Apple should have iTunes checking your iPod for pirated content.
As an engineer and programmer, I’m scratching my head at this. How is this supposed to happen?
Recognizing that a piece of media has DRM on it is easy. DRM is additional secure information attached to media. But without DRM, you just have raw media. In other words, audio or video in a standard format like mp3 or mp4.
You can only assume that if a piece of media doesn’t have DRM, that it must be illegal. But you can purchase DRM-free music from a variety of sources, including Amazon. You can also import music from CDs in non-DRM format. You can do the same with video, though companies like NBC like to think you can’t.
So, if you are like me, you don’t pirate media, and you also don’t support those who use DRM. So I only buy music from sources that are DRM-free. Mostly, I buy CDs. So how does NBC think iTunes can tell the difference between my legal DRM-free mp3s, and illegal mp3s? They can’t.
I hope that Kliavkoff said this as part of some sort of strategy to justify NBC’s absence from iTunes, and allow them to come back to iTunes soon. Because otherwise, it just shows that NBC has someone in charge of this that doesn’t understand technology.

Comments: 3 Responses to “NBC Wants iTunes to Police Your iPod”

    4/20/08 @ 7:38 pm

    I knew there was a good reason not to like NBC. Other than sports like some football games and the olympics, I don’t watch very much on NBC, and I will continue to with this type of mentality!

    Bob Wiemers
    4/21/08 @ 4:18 pm

    I haven’t done it in a while, but I remember once, when I asked iTunes to “Get Album Artwork”. an authorization popped up, explaining that I would be sending album info to Apple… indicating it was necessary to find the cover art.
    So it is possible. Say you click to download an NBC show from iTunes and as a result, are prompted to “allow” iTunes to verify that there is no pirated material by cross checking your video metadata to their database. Legal? Hmmm. Perhaps, if they put it in the 18 pages of “Terms and Conditions” that I’m sure everybody reads before clicking “Agree” to initiate the download.

    Moo Cows
    2/21/09 @ 4:22 pm

    I like NBC. But because of this…. it makes me mad.

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