Apple v. Real v. Microsoft

Law and IT
35 minutes, 12.2mb, recorded 2004-09-02

Mike Masnick, Rafat Ali, Jason Schultz and Derek Slater

The online music store marketplace is seeing intense competition between companies such as Apple, Real Networks, and Microsoft. Real has tried to make music downloaded from its store playable on the iPod, actions which Apple has called the "tactics and ethics of a hacker." What are the legal issues with what Real had done? What is this competition all about?

Despite Apple's legal bluster, Jason Schultz of EFF thinks Real is on fairly solid legal ground. Derek Slater, a student at Harvard, agrees and believes that the recent Chamberlain v. Skylink court decision may provide even more legal cover. This is good news for Apple, actually, as both industry analysts, Rafat Ali and Mike Masnick, believe Apple is better off if Real's music downloads can be played on the iPod. Slater, adds a cautionary note, however. All agree that Real's "Freedom of Music Choice" is a dismal failure as a marketing campaign, and Microsoft's decision to encourage people to rip music into the MP3 format makes much more sense.

There is much more in this interesting discussion regarding business online music business models and why consumers should care.

Rafat Ali, a business and technology journalist and founder of the digital media news and analysis website,

Mike Masnick, founder and president of Techdirt, a research firm focused on keeping business executives informed about technology issues that impact their businesses.

Jason Schultz, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Derek Slater a Harvard University senior and affiliate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

This program is one of a series, The Importance of...Law and IT, hosted by Ernest Miller.

This free podcast is from our The Law and IT with Ernest Miller series.