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Chinese Users Get Nokia Music Service Sans DRM 67

Posted by timothy
from the market-paradox dept.
angry tapir writes "Nokia has launched a version of its Comes With Music download service without digital rights management (DRM) for the Chinese market. Currently, the service is available in about 30 countries, but in those countries the music, unlike in China, is copy-protected."
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Chinese Users Get Nokia Music Service Sans DRM

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  • Why would Nokia waste time implementing a non-DRM scheme just for China? It seems like a problem that would have worked itself out on its own.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      DRM is pure retardation, where ever it is.

    • ... we /. users still getting the 503 errors !

      • Those 503 errors are not restricted to areas outside China ;)

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ... we /. users still getting the 503 errors !

        yeah...me (thomasdz) too. I like the Guru meditation thing (isn't that from old Amiga days)
        But at least I'm looking into "Varnish" now..

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @08:56AM (#31799246) Journal

      >>>Why would Nokia waste time implementing a non-DRM scheme just for China?

      I would think it would be quite simple to dump songs online without DRM. Adding the DRM is the major PITA. So - Why doesn't China have copyright laws? Sounds like the US in the 1800s - copyrights didn't apply to foreign nationals like Charles Dickens. His works were widely distributed by US printers without giving a dime to Mr. Dickens for his labor. (Perhaps that's why 1800s US literacy was 99% - lots of free, cheap books available for reading.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Dachannien (617929)

        (Perhaps that's why 1800s US literacy was 99% - lots of free, cheap books available for reading.)

        Also, TV was a lot less popular then.

        • by FatdogHaiku (978357) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @11:50AM (#31799984)

          Also, TV was a lot less popular then.

          Funny. But the "TV" of the day was the cheap thrill stories that could be bought or traded, and that meant reading.
          Also kids got their ass whipped for fucking off or behaving like morons. Even in the depression era, my Dad went to a one room school for the first 6 grades. If you messed around they punished you then and there in front of the whole class... that meant every kid in town, basically. And then when you got home the real punishment began... because the whole town knew you had embarrassed your family.

          The end result was you payed attention and studied. If you really didn't want to be schooled then there was work waiting for you, not pay (the parents get the pay), just work, until you run away, become an adult and move out, or finish school. My Dad ran away at 15.

          • by gomiam (587421)

            The end result was you payed attention and studied

            It would seem you didn't get the same punishments ;)

            • Nope. Also a bit dyslexic and way too trusting of my spell check.

              payed != paid
              but Firefox likes 'em both because of the "payed out a line" usage I guess.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Aladrin (926209)

        [citation needed]

        On the other hand, there are lots of "free, cheap books" today, too. Many, many more than there were in the 1800s. Why has literacy gone done, if all that was needed was free books?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by gzipped_tar (1151931)

        > Why doesn't China have copyright laws?

        We do, and I've met ppl punished for copyright violations. Heck, "severe" copyright violation is even a criminal offence in China (I believe this has something to do with WIPO treaties, but IANAL anyway).

      • The other side of the coin is that US copyrights might as well not apply to Chinese. They ignore them with impunity. I'd bet my last dollar that the ones (few at that) who are busted for copyright violations in communist china are busted because they did not pay off the right people or because someone else did pay off the right people. Nokia knows that DRM music is not going to sell, and that DRM free music is not going to sell that well, but any piece of a pie that you get when you were not going to get an
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by gzipped_tar (1151931)

          There are WIPO treaties with the goal of recognizing copyright across jurisdictions, but they're more about diplomacy & political bargains than about judicial cooperation between member counties. My feeling is that the USA is perfectly fine with trading IP loss in China for other things such as Chinese credit/investment/whatever.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Where's your 99% statistic coming from? I doubt many slaves and former slaves had much access to education.
      • +1 Insightful.
    • perhaps because china accounts for more than a fifth of the world population...
  • While they might have no DRM, China is willing to go the extra mile (e.g. far beyond the US) in monitoring / enforcing their policies against their own citizens. Think of what they already have to fulfill the RM part of DRM.

    They don't need DRM, when the Rights Management has a suitable real-world equivalent in their government. All they have to do is wait for the right moment to use it on their target.

    • by klingens (147173)

      So you say China has a harder copyright laws and enforces them more stringently that western nations? Is that really what you want to say?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What he is saying is that the harshness and invasiveness of American copyright law is a political tool for the government.

        Using "police investigation of copyright infringement" they get to spy where they previously didn't, and using "copyright infringement" as an excuse, they can throw dissidents in the can when it is convenient.

        What he is saying is that, with dissent itself being a felony in China, the government doesn't have an incentive to impose a harsh copyright policy.

        • ...copyright law is a political tool for the government.

          And you are among the very few to understand its real intent. Its original intent may or may not have been more honorable, but now it is simply a sledgehammer. Very sad that we tolerate it.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday April 10, 2010 @09:15AM (#31799334) Homepage Journal

      China is willing to go the extra mile (e.g. far beyond the US) in monitoring / enforcing their policies against their own citizens.

      Excuse me, but do you realize that copyright violation is a nationalized industry in China?

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        China is willing to go the extra mile (e.g. far beyond the US) in monitoring / enforcing their policies against their own citizens.

        Excuse me, but do you realize that copyright violation is a nationalized industry in China?

        Only if you apply US/EU copyright law to China.

        Oh wait, China gets to make their own rules. It's not (yet) part of the New World Order.

        Your copyright does not exist in China, hence it cannot be violated.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @09:16AM (#31799336) Homepage

    The US pharmaceutical companies overcharge the US market for their drugs because they know they can get away with it, with all their lobbying power with the government (both in the Whitehouse and in Congress). You think the music industry and movie industry is any different? They pay more than we can, so they get a government more to their liking. Then they can gouge us for the money to buy even more of our government.

  • ./ != researchers! (Score:2, Informative)

    by anarche (1525323)

    wtf are you all on about

    nokia are doing this because they realise that China pirates as much as possible and it is difficult to make money Western-ways in China: "an acknowledgment of the difficulty in monetizing music sales in a region overwhelingly (sic) dominated by piracy." http://www.digitaleastasia.com/2010/04/10/nokias-comes-with-music-service-hits-china-drm-free/ [digitaleastasia.com]

    this is an attempt by nokia to make some money in china in the face of overwhelming piratanical odds.

    • by Skapare (16644) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @09:39AM (#31799450) Homepage

      So what you are saying is, if we were to increase our level of music piracy in "Western" countries, then we, too, could end up without having to deal with all that DRM.

    • "Monetizing (I hate that word -- me) music sales" may well be a red herring here. Nokia is yet to saturate the *device* market in China, I guess.

      • by anarche (1525323)

        yep, thats pretty much what nokia are getting at here.

        their lack of market saturation ties their hands. lure the pirates in to buying the handset, or not penetrate the handset market at all

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Are you sure "nor penetrating the handset market" (of which Nokia has 40% wordwide...and that's all mobile phones, not only "smartphone") goes together with China lack of saturation?...

  • by Bert64 (520050) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Saturday April 10, 2010 @09:33AM (#31799432) Homepage

    If DRM is supposed to combat piracy, then why no DRM in the country with one of the highest piracy rates in the world?

    Perhaps because DRM has nothing to do with piracy, and everything to do with screwing every last cent out of law abiding customers. Seems the chinese are smarter than that and simply won't stand for being screwed like that, so they are forced to actually offer a better product at a competitive price.
    So what the west needs to do, is follow china's example, pirate more and eventually the record labels will be forced to stop treating us with such utter contempt.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gzipped_tar (1151931)

      For the corporations it really doesn't really matter if piracy is fought or not. They exist for profit, and if there's profit in fighting piracy (or screwing customers, if you say so), they'll do it. As you've pointed out, given the high piracy rate in China it is probably too costly to fight piracy right now, and going drm-free is likely to yield richer profit margins.

      Corporations are not naturally the enemy of our rights. They don't screw us for some ideological stuff like "rights". They screw us (or lick

      • by sjames (1099)

        Unfortunately, there's profit in bribing U.S. legislators into having the government fight piracy on the taxpayer's dime (talk about a massive subsidy!).

        In China, the government is too busy pushing it's own ideology to be willing to push some western corporation's interests.

        That's why their economy is so busy expanding. Such expansion is against the interests of large corporations (they prefer that they expand and aren't about to willingly make room for competition).

        Really, large corporations ARE the natura

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If DRM is supposed to combat piracy, then why no DRM in the country with one of the highest piracy rates in the world?

      You just answered your own question.

      It's because piracy is so high that they need to remove DRM.
      If you can get the same product from any street vendor but without DRM, why would you put up with the restrictions of DRM and pay more for the privilege?

      • Maybe this is why my friend emigrated to China.

        For the slow witted, yes, a couple I know did emigrate from the UK to China, but I doubt its anything to do with piracy.

    • by kimvette (919543)

      If DRM is supposed to combat piracy, then why no DRM in the country with one of the highest piracy rates in the world?

      Professional courtesy?

    • by mordejai (702496)

      Actually it doesn't have anything to do with the music itself, but with the PLAYERS.

      I know ipods and other brand-name, DRM-happy players are popular in the US and parts of Europe, but in China and pretty much everywhere else, 90%* of the market correspond to chinese-made players that DON'T support any form of DRM.

      So, selling music without DRM is the only way to get into those markets.

      *: I made the number up, but just have a look at the local stores in non-central countries and compare the amount of chinese

  • Ah, China... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @09:39AM (#31799452)

    Land of the free and home of the brave!..

  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @10:12AM (#31799578) Homepage

    Piracy is readily accepted as a fact of life in China. Just about anything that is sold on CD or DVD media is available in pirate form. Small pirate vendors outnumber legitimate stores by a wide margin. It's actually harder to buy legitimate media than the pirated stuff.

    Knowing this, Nokia anticipates total rejection of DRM by Chinese consumers. Using DRM to compete with pirates is business suicide. So they don't do it.

    For whatever reason, Nokia thinks they can get away with DRM in other countries. Because consumers are stupid. If they don't need DRM in the world capital of piracy, why do they need it anywhere else?

    How dumb are western consumers? Spam exists because a tiny percentage of morons are still opening the messages and buying herbal Viagra. DRM exists because a tiny percentage of morons is willing to by crippled products.

    The copyright industry has made it clear: Only by adopting piracy on the scale of China will DRM will go away.

    • > For whatever reason, Nokia thinks they can get away with DRM
      > in other countries. Because consumers are stupid. If they
      > don't need DRM in the world capital of piracy, why do they need
      > it anywhere else?

      As I said in another post above, Nokia isn't trying to sell more music by this move. It is all about selling more devices in a market that has not yet reached its saturation. In other countries such as the USA they face dominating opponents such as Apple, and there's not that much that could be

      • If the goal is to sell more devices, then a non-DRM strategy should work even better in a market where they face a dominating opponent. Apple not only has a dominant position with the devices, they are selling music DRM-free through iTunes.

        How did Nokia expect to sell more devices or more music by offering an inferior product? What MBA genius thought DRM would help them compete in the US vs. a non-DRM competitor who already has commanding market share?

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      It's the same story why PC games costs less then Console games. In order to compete with high piracy they need to lower the price.

      The message is pretty clear to me. Don't like the price? Pirate more.

      • Or because the console manufacturers take a cut of every game sold on the console, but not for the PC. It's not a piracy competition.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually Nokia has Decleared that it plans to drop DRM in every country. Nokia is just implementing its new "no DRM" strategy to all new markets it is now entering. Nokia will probably drop DRM away from other countries soon enough:

      more on this:
      http://www.channelnewsasia.com/cna/cgi-bin/search/search_7days.pl?status=&search=Nokia&id=411983

  • by Anonymous Coward

    i'm a Nokia Music India user, and just before end of february, they sent out a email, the first part of which i have pasted below

    "Nokia Music is becoming part of Ovi

    Nokia Music will soon become Ovi Music. This means all the tracks you download will be DRM-free, MP3 files that you can now play on a PC, Mac or any personal music player! Plus, as part of the change to Ovi, we’ve enhanced our search capability so it’s easier than ever to find the music you want."

  • Chinese citizens may have less human rights but they have more digital rights. And leave piracy for real pirates! GRRRRRRRRRRR
  • a book, a movie, a recorded tune: impossible to control in the internet age

    of course, artists will still make money off of media, via ancillary means (live concerts, cinema houses, paperbacks), its just that the traditional media companies aren't necessary any more as distributors. there job now is to simply die, though they obviously aren't doing it quietly

    there is a tendency in the west to extend corporatism as much as possible. when the truth is, owning a monopoly on an intellectual product stifles true

    • by binkzz (779594)

      a book, a movie, a recorded tune: impossible to control in the internet age>

      Unfortunately, that won't stop companies from trying their utmost and give it all they have to try anyway.

  • As I read in the press and the 'net, China does not respect copyrights. So, using DRM would only mean that the Chinese will employ ways to defeat DRM. And since the market is so large (double that of the USA), it makes more enconomical sense to dispense with DRM.

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