It Is Estimated That NBC Could Not Have Screwed This iTunes Thing Up Any Worse

There’s a lot of jackassery to pick apart in this short statement from NBC Universal executive vice president Cory Shields, responding to Apple’s “don’t let the door hit you on the way out, idiots” statement yesterday, but I’ll focus on this curious tidbit for now:

In addition, we asked Apple to take concrete steps to protect content from piracy, since it is estimated that the typical iPod contains a significant amount of illegally downloaded material.

Love that passive voice: “it is estimated”. Estimated by whom? Based on what evidence? This is straight out of the music industry’s playbook: assume your customers are criminals and treat them with contempt.

It echoes the curious-but-way-too-short-on-details final paragraph of this Associated Press story on the NBC/Apple rift yesterday:

NBC Universal also wants iTunes to stiffen anti-piracy provisions so computer users would not have easy access to illegal downloads.

I’d love to hear more about exactly what NBC wants Apple to do, but the only two things I can think of are (a) disallowing iPods and iPhones from playing anything other than DRM-protected video; and (b) adding spyware features to iTunes to search for and attempt to identify bootleg video files on users’ computers. Needless to say, it’s no wonder Apple told them to go fuck themselves.

As for per-episode pricing, look at it this way: The rough price for a TV episode has already been established at roughly $2 a pop. It’s called the DVD box set. Most network shows have 24 episodes per season. Most season-spanning box sets cost between $40-60, at most. At $5 per episode, it would cost about $100 to watch an entire season of a typical show via iTunes.

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