Dump the DRM? Sign me up!

Summary:I'm forbidden to do something that is otherwise perfectly legal -- access my own music in a fashion that is convenient to me but that does not otherwise violate the copyright.

I can't disagree at all with David Berlind's Declaration of InDRMpendence.

Personally, I buy from iTunes just because I don't have to pay a monthly subscription fee to retain access to the music I have bought -- and because registration of up to five computers is free. But, I had not considered that I am still dependent on Apple's benevolence -- which could dry-up tomorrow and I would find myself having to pay a subscription fee to keep the music I've already got!

In many respects, though, DRM or no DRM, the cat is already out of the bag. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act guarantees copyright holders the right to keep me from accessing the materials I have purchased if I don't buy (or lease) the tools to decode those materials from the copyright holders -- or their agents. It does so by forbidding me (or any third party) from figuring out a way to access the material without their tools. In short, I am forbidden to do something that is otherwise perfectly legal -- access my own music in a fashion that is convenient to me but that does not otherwise violate the copyright.

Congress gave away the store when they made it illegal for the buyer to access their purchased material with tools provided by unlicensed third-parties. (Read: hackers!) Unless someone successfully challenges the legitimacy of the DMCA, I don't see a solution that doesn't require the acquiescence of the copyright holders or their technology partners -- who have discovered that DRM is a cash cow of potentially remarkable proportions. As you point out, even with an "open standard" I would still be forbidden to "break in" to my own music in order to make it more convenient to access.

While I don't expect to give up my iTunes (as long as its use is free), I would gladly join the fight against DRM. Sign me up!

Topics: Legal

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