Dump the DRM? Sign me up!

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.

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TOPICS: Legal
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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!

Topic: Legal

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11 comments
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  • DMCA is the keystone to the whole thing.

    I can only hope at some point that it will be thrown out. I posted this in the previous DRM blog but I'm going to post this link again.

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/ptech/10/04/music.copy.reut/index.html

    Ironically musicians could potentially be violating the DMCA by posting instructions on how to get past the protection of their own music.
    Zinoron
  • Gotta love it.... vendor permission to play music

    The whole idea behind trusting a vendor to continue giving you permissions is idiotic.

    I never have and never will buy into anything that requires vendor involvement after I purchase a digital product. I bought it, I'll use it, and I don't want to deal with them again until I'm ready to buy something else.

    Getting to be pretty much the Corporate States of America. First the DMCA, now DRM being jammed down our throats. I guess in ten years we will have to pay a daily fee to someone and get their permission to change our underwear. Pathetic.
    shawkins
  • Cash cow

    [i]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.[/i]

    They still haven't faced up to the fact that it's not [b]their[/b] cash cow. Consumers only spend so much per year on entertainment, although they may move it around between boating, local strip clubs, concerts, and purchased media.

    What the Content Cartel have done is:
    1) Reduced the value of their products compared to other forms of entertainment (pr0n, for instance)
    2) Invited more parties to share the remaining take (Intel, Microsoft, Apple.)

    The more that consumers have to spend on high-dollar consumer electronics to listen to "their" music, and especially as that electronics has shorter and shorter lifespan, the less they'll spend on music.

    Now consider that Microsoft's required annual [b]increase[/b] in profits will suck up the RIAA's entire collective revenue stream in a few years. The RIAA reminds me of King Herod, who "solved" a domestic problem by inviting the Romans to "help" him.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Now is your chance to make a difference!

    The US Copyright Office is holding its third set of hearings on
    anticircumvention exceptions. This is something you can
    participate in by submitting, in writing, your thoughts on what
    should and shouldn't be allowed as far as exemptions for
    circumventing copy protection. The EFF has an article on this
    process and notes:
    http://sethf.com/publications/dmca-guide.php
    But unlike letters to congressional offices, these public
    comments are truly read by the people who make the policy.
    That is in fact one of the most astonishing aspects visible in the
    text of the earlier rulemaking results. The policy-maker may not
    have agreed with the arguments, may in fact have dismissed
    them; but there's enough referencing and mention of the
    reasons for the results so as to make it clear that the viewpoints
    of the public were heard. And this consideration doesn't even
    require a large bribe, I mean, campaign contribution. Not all
    parts of the government are equally inaccessible. It turns out
    these policy-making determinations are surprisingly amenable
    to informed citizens making a difference.

    So if you feel strongly, join me and write a letter and let them
    know your thoughts:
    http://www.copyright.gov/1201/
    tic swayback
  • Tempest in a teapot

    As long as the DRM is outside the sphere of use for most people, there will be no push to change it. Dave Berlind is no longer typical with his $20,000 audio system and refusal, bordering on zealotry, to drop another $500 to integrate a Mac mini into his configuration. Therefore he is pushing up against DRM.

    If and when Berlind becomes typical, there will be enough of a push to shove DRM back outside the sphere of use for the typical user once again.

    It's really no more complicated than that.
    baggins_z
    • So we should just passively give up our fair use rights?

      Great, everything's hunky dory, except for a few wierdos like
      Berlind, so let's all stick our heads in the sand as the media
      companies continue to erode our legal rights.

      Hate to be overly dramatic here, but:

      First they came for the Jews
      and I did not speak out
      because I was not a Jew.
      Then they came for the Communists
      and I did not speak out
      because I was not a Communist.
      Then they came for the trade unionists
      and I did not speak out
      because I was not a trade unionist.
      Then they came for me
      and there was no one left
      to speak out for me.

      Pastor Martin Niem?ller
      tic swayback
      • Yes, but....

        Arbitrarily let the weirdos keep their rights. That's how DRM works, isn't it? It's arbitrary.
        dberlind
  • Unintended consequences

    The RIAA payed good money to Congress for the DMCA, and I don't think there will be enough "citizen funding" to bribe Congress to repeal the law. As we can see from today's announcement, the Supreme Court is probably not going to "actively" oppose Congress either.

    The only possibility that I see for DMCA repeal is a counter-effort by companies who are hurt by DMCA restrictions, and who are willing to fund a new set of bribes to Congress. These are companies like consumer electronics manufacturers and OEM manufacturers who are being locked out of business opportunities. When DRM is used to justify restraint of trade, it will become difficult for Congress or the courts to hide from the issue. Too much money will be at stake.
    terry flores
  • DRM

    Add me to any "sign-up to overthrow DRM
    nelson.robert@...
  • So What

    I found the epistle by the Microsoft minion amusing, he seems to think what Microsoft and the others companies do in the computer/software and ad nauseum entertainment field are important. Don?t get me wrong, as far as vital services go they have importance; computers and software enable activities to run faster and more efficiently. In some cases they even provide life saving technology, at a very good price I might add. Bill Gates, the Arab Oil sheiks, and all the others of their ilk did not become super-rich by being magnanimous, they found a product people really desired, created a monopoly on it, and then charged them through the nose for it; capitalism at its finest. Those who can?t pay, well to bad, as one scrooge once declared: ?If they be like to die they ought to do it, and reduce the surplus population?.
    But entertainment is different, in this regard Microsoft, Sony, Apple are on the same level as the stripper in the local dive: they are an amusement, and we don?t need, mp3?s, cd?s, dvd?s, mpeg?s etc.. This doesn?t fit their monopoly business model and that?s what drives them nuts, they are so used to squeezing the suckers for every last dime, they keep trying to find a way. DRM?s are just another example. I also found amusing the idea that some entity has a patent and then may withdraw licensing. Really? What is a patent worth that is not licensed? Zero! And the market will decide what its worth, not the patent holder, and that?s what the Microsofts, the Sonys and the Apples of the world find so frustrating. Good.
    jobert48@...
  • AllOfMP3.com is the model

    When there are options that do not make the user jump through inane hoops, those are the options the user will take. For example, AllOfMP3.com has legal music downloads that are not burdened with ridiculous DRM, and they are cheaper than iTunes besides! It is only a matter of time before DRM goes the way of "protected" floppy disks.
    bblackmoor@...