Amazon app store for Android welcomes DRM

Molly de Blanc: In 2007, Amazon announced their music store. It would, they promised, deliver DRM-free music to U.S. Amazon users. And they did just that. With much fanfare, they rolled out Amazon MP3, touting music downloads for any device. On their website, they explain what’s special about their music sales. “DRM-free means that the MP3 files you purchase from do not contain any software that will restrict your use of the file.”

In January of 2010, Amazon began to talk about apps for the Kindle. This came as a bit of a surprise. Previously, the proprietary operating system made the Kindle forbidden territory to developers. The Kindle, notable for its DRM-heavy operating procedures, was going to be changed by apps. Changes in the Digital Text Platform brought on by this announcement affected how publishers interact with DRM in the devices by allowing them the chance to sell ebooks DRM-free. According to Brighthand, Amazon claimed that it had always been possible to release DRM-free texts for the Kindle, but the changes made the option explicit and easy.

With the Wall Street Journal’s October 7th confirmation of rumors that Amazon is now going to be opening up an Android app store, one of the first questions I had to ask was about DRM. While Amazon MP3 is pretty awesome, the Kindle itself is not a good example of free use. The rumors of Amazon’s Android App Store were littered with claims that Amazon would be forcing DRM onto apps. Amazon helped clear up rumors when they sent out a welcome packet to prospective developers. All apps must go through the “Amazon App Packaging Tool,” which gives developers the option of “protecting [their] app by utilizing DRM, or distributing [their] app without DRM.”(1)

Amazon will not, in fact, be forcing people to put DRM on their apps, but they’re still giving the option. When they first introduced Amazon MP3, there was a major change in how digital music was being legally distributed. Record labels and Amazon wanted to challenge what was then Apple’s growing monopoly on the market. Individuals and spokespeople for companies like EMI(2) spoke about something inherently wrong in the nature of DRM in music. At the time, Amazon was lobbying record labels Sony BMG and Warner in hopes of selling more DRM-free music.

In trying to find a seemingly happy medium between forcing DRM, as they originally had with Kindles, and supporting DRM-free, Amazon offered DRM-optional, starting with Kindle apps and expanding to their Android App Store. This, unfortunately, is not good enough. Their commitment has been to making money at the expense of the rights of people purchasing from them.

Amazon is backsliding. Amazon MP3 is something special because it’s different. It’s not a perfect solution to digital music sales, because it does not use free formats like Ogg Vorbis. Instead, it sells files in the MP3 format, which is encumbered by patents that have led to court cases against free MP3 encoders. However, Amazon MP3 did take an important step. We didn’t need another digital music retail source—we needed a DRM-free digital music retail source. Similarly, we don’t need another app store, for Android or any other device. We need a DRM-free, free software one.

Related Posts

Animation in Honeycomb One of the new features ushered in with the Honeycomb release is a new animation system, a set of APIs in a whole new package (android.animation) that...
Benefits of the MeeGo Software Platform The MeeGo open source project is unique in that it offers benefits to everyone in the ecosystem starting from the developer all the way up to the oper...
Why We Need An Open Wireless Movement If you sometimes find yourself needing an open wireless network in order to check your email from a car, a street corner, or a park, you may have noti...
Social Media and Law Enforcement: Who Gets What Data and When? This month, we were reminded how important it is that social media companies do what they can to protect the sensitive data they hold from the pryin...
Is the Wuala cloud storage service truly private? Wuala is a cloud storage service by LaCie, a computer storage and display outfit. Like all cloud storage services, Wuala makes it easy for you to back...
He can steal your smart phone’s and tablet’s encryption keys If you think that the encryption keys that your smart phone or tablet computer uses to protect data you want to keep others from accessing is secure, ...

We Recommend These Vendors and Free Offers

ContainerizeThis 2016 is a free, 2-day conference for all things containers and big data. Featured, will be presentations and free, hands-on workshops. Learn more at

Launch an SSD VPS in Europe, USA, Asia & Australia on Vultr's KVM-based Cloud platform starting at $5:00/month (15 GB SSD, 768 MB of RAM).

Deploy an SSD Cloud server in 55 seconds on DigitalOcean. Built for developers and starting at $5:00/month (20 GB SSD, 512 MB of RAM).

Want to become an expert ethical hacker and penetration tester? Request your free video training course of Online Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking

Whether you're new to Linux or are a Linux guru, you can learn a lot more about the Linux kernel by requesting your free ebook of Linux Kernel In A Nutshell.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Amazon app store for Android welcomes DRM — --

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *