October 3, 2006: DRM lovers' day of reckoning?

October 3, 2006: DRM lovers' day of reckoning?

Summary: Through its domestic and international Web sites, the Free Software Foundation is calling those who oppose digital rights management (DRM) technologies (eg: technologies found in products that are put out by Apple, Microsoft, and others) to arms in hopes of making Oct 3rd a global Day Against DRM.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Through its domestic and international Web sites, the Free Software Foundation is calling those who oppose digital rights management (DRM) technologies (eg: technologies found in products that are put out by Apple, Microsoft, and others) to arms in hopes of making Oct 3rd a global Day Against DRM. Under the guise of a campaign the FSF has dubbed Defective By Design, the FSF is encouraging those who are concerned about the harmful effects of DRM to globally unite for one day and take the sort of action that sends a clear message to the purveyors of DRM technology that it's not welcome here (or there, or where ever you may be). The site encourages visitors to get involved in one of four-pages worth of anti-DRM "actions" that are planned to take place around the world tomorrow, Oct 3. Or, if they don't see an action that appeals to them, to start one of their own. 

In essence, the call is giving rise to what can best be described as loosely organized anti-DRM "cells" each of which is encouraged to take whatever action they deem necessary.  The actions range from the relatively benign (add a badge to your Website) to activities that are certain to get some people arrested. For example, for actions that will be taking place in many cities (as can be seen from the list), members of the campaign plan to distribute and strategically place Defective by Design warning labels (see photo, above left) on the packaging of new products on the shelves of retail stores like those run by Apple. Personally, I don't condone that practice and I believe there are more constructive ways than vandalism to get the dialogue going. But I get the sense that those who vociferously oppose DRM feel as though they are out of options and that time is running out before a certain point of no return (where DRM leaves an indelible stain on the world's culture) comes and goes. On that point, I definitely agree.

Topic: Apple

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  • Simple one

    Website designers can (thanks to MS) detect whether clients connecting to them support some of the greasier DRMfoolishness such as remote attestation.

    Those infected get redirected to a "security fault detected" page with removal/repair instructions.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • It ain't free to make - it ain't free to take

    Digital music costs money to produce and thus the people who make it have every right to charge for it and protect it from theft with DRM or whatever other mechanisms they devise. If you don't like it, don't buy it, but you have no right to steal it.

    Millions of people earn their livings from digital music: from the diabolical and much reviled record company executive to the struggling guitarist who makes that underground hit that drives the kids nuts. Why should these people be compelled by threats of violence to give away the fruits of their labor for free just because some people are too cheap to pay for it?

    Nobody is forcing you to download digital music and you do not have an absolute right to do so for free.

    The surest way to kill music would be to prevent people from earning a living making it. If the future in music is digital, then the people who create it are compelled to protect it from theft to protect their economic livelihoods whether you like it or not.

    I, for one, will stage my own little counter-offensive against this nonsense by purchasing some DRM ridden songs from iTunes tomorrow. Perhaps something in honor of these miscreants: "Why Don't You Get A Job" by the Offspring might be nice, or maybe Brian Setzer's "Drink Whiskey and Shut Up" or Built To Spill's "Get A Life" would be more appropriate.
    scottspinola
    • We don't want free...

      Do you live with your head in the sand?

      [pre]The surest way to kill music would be to prevent people from earning a living making it.[/pre]

      People opposed to DRM are in no way opposed to the people involved in the acutal production of the music getting their money, and even making a little as well.

      The biggest opposition to DRM is how it is (attempting to be) implemented. I own all my music in iTunes, all 2,000 or so songs. Great, it gives me that warm feeling that helps me go to sleep at night. But, the second I have had to restore my computer more then five times - that warm feeling is going to turn to something very nasty.

      Countless studies have shown that many people who download music without paying for it - then also purchase the album. It has also been proven by the record companies own figures that illegitimate internet downloads have not hurt the industry at all.

      I work in the entertainment industry, and it would be nice for artists and the people that help them produce their art to get what they actually deserve for their work however DRM is not the solution.
      f0rge
      • "Countless studies" huh?

        I don't know a single individual who ever illegally obtained digital music who then whent and bought it. It would be a financially stupid thing to do.

        Most of the kids I see in my youth group barely own any CDs and yet their iPods are full of music they downloaded illicitly. Why would they spend their money to buy the music when they already got it free?

        Nothing is "proven" by these studies. Just about anybody can perform a "study" and make it come out any way they want.

        And as for digital music not harming "the industry", wait until digital music is the norm and not just a niche which is what it is now; then you'll see the real harm from illegal downloads. One illegally downloaded song has an incremental impact, however small. The bigger the digital music world gets the larger that impact will be. It's simple math.

        The point to all this is not how much the artist makes vs. the record company or what impact illegal digital media has on the industry. The issue is protection of property. Owners of digital music have the right to protect it.

        You do not own the music you buy and never have: not with LPs, not with CDs, and not now with mp3s. You own a limited use license to use it. That is all.
        scottspinola
        • Beware: Low flying jet aircraft over head...

          [b]I don't know a single individual who ever illegally obtained digital music who then whent and bought it. It would be a financially stupid thing to do. [/b]

          Granted. On the surface, this is more or less a valid point. However, by downloading say, one or two songs from some band/group/artist, you can get a feel for what all they have to offer. That CAN spur sales for complete albums or future releases.

          [b]Most of the kids I see in my youth group barely own any CDs and yet their iPods are full of music they downloaded illicitly. Why would they spend their money to buy the music when they already got it free?[/b]

          I do know a few kids who hardly own any CDs and yet, have full iPods. Their parents are fall into the filthy rich catagory and can afford to give them a broad enough allowance to fill their pods with all they can ever want.

          [b]And as for digital music not harming "the industry", wait until digital music is the norm and not just a niche which is what it is now; then you'll see the real harm from illegal downloads. One illegally downloaded song has an incremental impact, however small. The bigger the digital music world gets the larger that impact will be. It's simple math.[/b]

          Niche?? Perhaps to a degree, it is still in the niche phase. But DRM will only serve to keep it as a niche product. As long as you lock people into ONE device or a limited selection, and not allow digital music to be a bit more freely moved between devices, that's about all it will ever amount to being.

          As far as one illegaly copied track goes... The impact largely depends on it's popularity. A copy of something from say, Britney Spears has a greater potential for financial disruption than something from some obscure band hardly anyone's ever heard of.

          On the other hand... The one illegal copy CAN serve to bring added attention to an unknown artist. If you're on some service or other and happen to be browsing someone's collection and he's got a LOT of Band X, you might be tempted to check them out and if you like Band X, you might be tempted to recommend them to your friends. Given enough underground buzz, Band X could become bigger than a local flash in the pan.

          [b]The point to all this is not how much the artist makes vs. the record company or what impact illegal digital media has on the industry. The issue is protection of property. Owners of digital music have the right to protect it.

          You do not own the music you buy and never have: not with LPs, not with CDs, and not now with mp3s. You own a limited use license to use it. That is all.[/b]

          And that IS the crux of the problem. With LP's, tapes (of all persuasions) and CD's, you as a consumer HAD a sense of ownership. It was "MY CD", "YOUR LP", "OUR 8 Track", "THEIR Cassette" copy of Band X's album. There was something tangible. There was an object. It was something that could be defined as REAL property - regardless of how it was licensed. With digital music - regardless of the format - MP3, AAC, etc..., et al, ad nasueum..., there is no such tangible mass.

          The irony of it all - Sony, and MOST other electronics manufacturers went out of their way to make piracy - YES, PIRACY - as easy as it could be - back in the day... How many Sony boom boxes out there have dual cassette decks that make it easy to dub tape A to tape B (or CD to tape)? How many came with Line In ports - so you could make copies of whatever was playing on the radio, or for that matter, the turntable or CD player??

          Ok... So the sound quality on the copies weren't so hot. But they were still copies. Illegal ones, at that. And yet, NO ONE at the RIAA or studios gave a damn. In fact, they were probably HAPPY you did it - it meant more people got interested in the bands you represented. And that was always considered good for sales.

          So along come three things that changed the game - the multimedia capable computer, the MP3 player and the Internet. Now you can rip a track from a CD, put it on a portable player and share it with a few thousand of your closest "friends" by way of Napster (the original, not the current incarnation) or one of the other P2P services out there. And all of a sudden, the RIAA are soiling themselves. Of course, these copies are almost as good as the original (depending on who ripped the track and what bitrate they used to do it at).

          The VERY same people who gave us easy "one touch" piracy are now jumping up and down, freaking out because someone went beyond the realm of their reality and out-pirated them. In a nutshell - they lost control.

          Now, the RIAA and their willing accomplices are trying to make things difficult for everyone. It used to be that you could, back in the day, take your LP's, cassettes, CD's and such over to a friend's house and play those albums without so much as a blink from anyone.

          Now, you have to hope the host of said party has compatible hardware - and THIS is the REAL objection most people have over modern DRM systems. If I have an iPod and you don't, it's difficult for me to bring my music collection (or fraction thereof) over and plug it into your Microsoft Zune or any other system. They aren't compatible. To make it so, I'd have to go through the hassle of burning a CD that may or may not play depending on whatever DRM is on the target system.

          And then you've got your rootkits and other DRM systems that want to even lock in CDs to ONE possible player.

          And they (the RIAA) wonder WHY record sales are down?

          They've gone quite daft in retaliation for a problem THEY themselves created and allowed to prosper for YEARS prior to the invention of CD ripping, MP3's and other modern "evils"... They've insisted on the most draconian interpretation of existing laws and have added new ones that make it more and more difficult to enjoy the music you wanna listen to. And THAT is the real problem.
          Wolfie2K3
          • This absolutely is not true

            [b]You do not own the music you buy and never have: not with LPs, not with CDs, and not now with mp3s. You own a limited use license to use it. That is all.[/b]

            This is absolutely not true as the scope of copyright is limited to only the fixation ;

            [i]? 114. Scope of exclusive rights in sound recordings46

            (a) The exclusive rights of the owner of copyright in a sound recording are limited to the rights specified by clauses (1), (2), (3) and (6) of section 106, and do not include any right of performance under section 106(4).

            (b) The exclusive right of the owner of copyright in a sound recording under clause (1) of section 106 is limited to the right to duplicate the sound recording in the form of phonorecords or copies that directly or indirectly recapture the actual sounds fixed in the recording. The exclusive right of the owner of copyright in a sound recording under clause (2) of section 106 is limited to the right to prepare a derivative work in which the actual sounds fixed in the sound recording are rearranged, remixed, or otherwise altered in sequence or quality. The exclusive rights of the owner of copyright in a sound recording under clauses (1) and (2) of section 106 do not extend to the making or duplication of another sound recording that consists entirely of an independent fixation of other sounds, even though such sounds imitate or simulate those in the copyrighted sound recording. The exclusive rights of the owner of copyright in a sound recording under clauses (1), (2), and (3) of section 106 do not apply to sound recordings included in educational television and radio programs (as defined in section 397 of title 47) distributed or transmitted by or through public broadcasting entities (as defined by section 118(g)): Provided, That copies or phonorecords of said programs are not commercially distributed by or through public broadcasting entities to the general public.[/i]

            In addition copyright separates the copy versus the underlying rights.

            [i]? 202. Ownership of copyright as distinct from ownership of material object

            Ownership of a copyright, or of any of the exclusive rights under a copyright, is distinct from ownership of any material object in which the work is embodied. Transfer of ownership of any material object, including the copy or phonorecord in which the work is first fixed, does not of itself convey any rights in the copyrighted work embodied in the object; nor, in the absence of an agreement, does transfer of ownership of a copyright or of any exclusive rights under a copyright convey property rights in any material object.[/i]

            so in fact you do own your copies.

            in addition under doctrine of first sale the copyright holders rights to distribution end on that copy once said copy is sold.

            [i]? 109. Limitations on exclusive rights: Effect of transfer of particular copy or phonorecord40

            (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, copies or phonorecords of works subject to restored copyright under section 104A that are manufactured before the date of restoration of copyright or, with respect to reliance parties, before publication or service of notice under section 104A(e), may be sold or otherwise disposed of without the authorization of the owner of the restored copyright for purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage only during the 12-month period beginning on ?

            (1) the date of the publication in the Federal Register of the notice of intent filed with the Copyright Office under section 104A(d)(2)(A), or

            (2) the date of the receipt of actual notice served under section 104A(d)(2)(B), whichever occurs first.

            [/i]

            in addition with music the consumer is specifically exempted from infringement for making non-commercial copies.

            [i]? 1008. Prohibition on certain infringement actions

            No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.[/i]

            there is also the preemption issue with TOSes, which is why they use the term deliver, instead of distribute electronically by making a copy, and place on portable device instead of copy to portable device.

            [i]? 301. Preemption with respect to other laws2

            (a) On and after January 1, 1978, all legal or equitable rights that are equivalent to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of copyright as specified by section 106 in works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression and come within the subject matter of copyright as specified by sections 102 and 103, whether created before or after that date and whether published or unpublished, are governed exclusively by this title. Thereafter, no person is entitled to any such right or equivalent right in any such work under the common law or statutes of any State.[/i]

            The TOS or as you call it license(I call it an unconscionable contract of adhesion)grants you absolutely nothing because they all include clauses at the end that allow the seller to modify, including take away allowing you to play your copy, unilaterally and without further agreement from you for any reason/no reason at all.

            With iTunes it is here;

            [i]
            d. You acknowledge that some aspects of the Service, Products, and administering of the Usage Rules entails the ongoing involvement of Apple. Accordingly, in the event that Apple changes any part of the Service or discontinues the Service, which Apple may do at its election, you acknowledge that you may no longer be able to use Products to the same extent as prior to such change or discontinuation, and that Apple shall have no liability to you in such case

            ...

            b. Removal of Apple Content or Other Materials. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, Apple and its licensors reserve the right to change, suspend, remove, or disable access to any Products, content, or other materials comprising a part of the Service at any time without notice. In no event will Apple be liable for the removal of or disabling of access to any such Products, content or materials under this Agreement. Apple may also impose limits on the use of or access to certain features or portions of the Service, in any case and without notice or liability.

            ...

            b. Termination of the Service. Apple reserves the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue the Service (or any part or content thereof) at any time with or without notice to you, and Apple will not be liable to you or to any third party should it exercise such rights.

            ...

            20. Changes. Apple reserves the right, at any time and from time to time, to update, revise, supplement, and otherwise modify this Agreement and to impose new or additional rules, policies, terms, or conditions on your use of the Service. Such updates, revisions, supplements, modifications, and additional rules, policies, terms, and conditions (collectively referred to in this Agreement as "Additional Terms") will be effective immediately and incorporated into this Agreement. Your continued use of the iTunes Store following will be deemed to constitute your acceptance of any and all such Additional Terms. All Additional Terms are hereby incorporated into this Agreement by this reference. [/i]

            So in fact you have to give up a ton of rights, including your ownership of the copy and your right to resell your copy and agree to only use it in the USA (For the US store) in exchange you are given a set of "grants" of "rights" (You already would have those rights under a traditional music record/CD sale until you signed the contract) which can be taken away at anytime at their leisure without any liability to them.

            As digital music grows less and less will be offered through physical objects, several labels already offer some artists select works only through digital means.

            Sounds like a good deal to me.
            Edward Meyers
          • I stopped

            I have not and I will not buy any music with DRM or an EULA. If it is not in my collection or on the radio I just don't have it. It has been that way for four years. Before that I spend about $50 - $100 per month not counting the hardware to play it. Now the DRM and EULA have all stopped that.

            I am not the only one. In my circle of freinds many have stopped buying. The music companies are doing this to them selves. They need to wake up. Trying to lock the link between a video card and a montor is just going to far. This is what Orwell was writting about.
            OldMarine
          • Goes Double For Me

            That Goes Double For Me.
            Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
            Ole Man
        • The Issue Is Extortion

          That's what the RIAA and recording industry is trying to do (successfully, to some extent).
          You can holler foul, theft, and piracy all you want. That don't make it so. Anyone who legally purchased a cd has every legal right to play it on any legal device he owns or purchases, at any time he chooses. That includes any of his friend's devices, too. That's the subject here.
          Ole Man
    • Oh please...

      No-one is saying that money shouldn't be made from it! Why is it I can play certain DRM-infected original CDs purchased off the high street in my home hi-fi, but not my computer, or even my car cd player? (Apparently, car CD players' are similar to PC CD-roms, I don't know why) The way things are going, Sony will be trying to get themselves in the position that Sony music won't play on non-sony hardware.
      dan_flower9
    • Three problems with your argument

      1. DRM is crackable. The ones looking to get stuff for free have the ability to do so. In the case of iTunes Apple actually provides the method to circumvent the DRM by alloeing you to burn to unprotected CD. Not to just pick on Apple here many Microsoft Sure Won't Play stores also leave this option on and to add insult to injury the worst a pirate would have to do with any current DRM scheme is to plug a recorder into the audio output jack as of right now.

      2. DRM main purpose is to enforce non-copyright related business models. The studios want to cheat on their end of Globalization by price discriminating in some markets but not allow those goods to imported into the US and Europe to play these digital goods for example DVDs where they sell for different prices in some countries but the DVDs won't play on your DVD players as they are using region encoding in the DRM. This is also true of Digital music.

      3. The copyright holders want to make up the rules themselves eg; The [url=http://www.boingboing.net/2006/09/15/amazon_unbox_to_cust.html]UnBox TOS[/url] enforced through DRM forbids playing movies on oil rigs, army barracks, and hospital rooms. The sickest part is DRM renewability and the portion of the TOS that allows the seller to change the terms at their leisure. In short the buyer has to give up rights and subject themselves to restrictions and the seller gets to change the terms and what the buyer can choose to do at any time.

      [i]Section c. If Amazon changes any part of the Service or modifies license terms applicable to Rental Digital Content or Purchased Digital Content, which it may do in its sole discretion, you acknowledge that you may not be able to access, view, or use Digital Content in the same manner as prior to such changes, and you agree that Amazon shall have no liability to you in such case.

      Section d: Amazon reserves the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue the service at any time without notice to you, and Amazon will not be liable to you should it exercise such rights.[/i]

      Does that sound fair? Does that even sound like an agreement.
      Edward Meyers
      • Fail to see the problems

        These are not problems with my argument but merely differences of opinion that you have with them.

        1) Perfection is not necessary for action. Did anybody suggest DRM wasn't crackable? DRM stops more piracy than open digital media would all other things being equal.

        2) Again, not a counterargument, just your opinion. "DRM main purpose is to enforce non-copyright related business models" is not fact it is your opinion.

        3) I can assure you that this is by no means a DRM only phenomenon. I once decided to actually read the T&C for 1&1 Web Hosting because I was thinking of using it and it contained virtually identical language as what you describe. It is a scary document. This is a lawyer problem not a DRM problem.

        So, you see, these were not flaws in MY argument, just simply three new arguments you were making.
        scottspinola
        • Only becuase you are blind

          [i]1) Perfection is not necessary for action. Did anybody suggest DRM wasn't crackable? DRM stops more piracy than open digital media would all other things being equal.[/i]

          iTunes has the method to circumvent the DRM built directly into it. iTunes prevents 0 piracy and you know know it and so does big Champaign as they note that an iTunes exclusive song is on iTunes an average of 180 seconds before it hits the P2P services.

          The DRM is not there to prevent piracy. It is there to control the user.

          [i]2) Again, not a counterargument, just your opinion. "DRM main purpose is to enforce non-copyright related business models" is not fact it is your opinion.
          [/i]

          If this is not the case the why oh why are all the Media companies Fighting the DMCRA. The DMCRA would allow the user to circumvent the DRM to perform any lawful activity.

          Also if it isn't part of the reason then why do we have DRM enforced regional encoding.

          Furthermore which DRM scheme allows Doctrine of First Sale? Which DRM Scheme is designed to expire, when the copyright does?

          I'll give you a hint- None of them.

          [i]3) I can assure you that this is by no means a DRM only phenomenon. I once decided to actually read the T&C for 1&1 Web Hosting because I was thinking of using it and it contained virtually identical language as what you describe. It is a scary document. This is a lawyer problem not a DRM problem.[/i]

          You didn't read the whole thing did you? The DRM enforces the license. In fact the license specifies if you don't upgrade the DRM to enforce the new terms of the license they will make it so your movies won't play. And yes it is a huge problem.
          Edward Meyers
        • DRM encourages piracy

          I buy a CD and it won't play, thank's Metallica, and I'm out 12 dollars. can't return it, can't play it so what option is left to me? I guess I hit google looking for Torrent to get the music I paid for.

          Say I want my songs from I-Tunes to play on another player. I could burn and rip but why bother. It's easier to download them off any P2P service out there. I paid for the songs after all so why not, I feel justified.

          That's just couple of examples how DRM encourages piracy. DRM is STUPID.

          You're right I'm not buying but I'll still point out how stupid they are being.
          voska
        • More than an opinion...

          [b]2) Again, not a counterargument, just your opinion. "DRM main purpose is to enforce non-copyright related business models" is not fact it is your opinion.[/b]

          This is just plain WRONG... Let's simplify it a bit. You go out and buy a Pod. You plug it into your computer and load up iTunes. You buy and copy a bunch of songs onto it.

          Now then, Someone comes out with a new service - one that's a LOT cheaper than iTunes... Say, Microsoft's new Zune service.

          Now, you don't really LIKE having to pay Steve Jobs 99 cents per track (or for that matter, let's say the studios have their way and force Steve-o to jack up the price to 2 bux a piece)... So you log into Zune's service and you want to buy some tracks. Well.. You can do that, but they're NOT compatible with your Pod. You have to go through a LOT of contortions - namely cracking the DRM (which btw, IS illegal under the DCMA) and reencoding the tracks into something a bit more iPod friendly.

          What's really needed here is a UNIVERSAL flavor of DRM - one that EVERYONE can implement equally. This would put Apple on an equal footing with EVERYONE else. But that is NEVER gonna happen until the sheeple buying into the iPod or Zune or any other proprietary platform wake up and smell the coffee.
          Wolfie2K3
          • Blow Themselves Up, Eh?

            So, instead of some people taking arsenic and some others strychnine, everybody should just blow themselves up, huh?
            Ole Man
        • Can't See The Forest For The Trees

          Take your blinders off and take a look around. You MAY see something.
          Ole Man
    • And a fourth problem

      The artist, the creator of the digital file, sees only a small fraction per download 5-14 cents. And that is when the Label "remembers" to pay it or can "find" you. http://www.downhillbattle.org/itunes/
      Edward Meyers
      • Again, not a flaw, just a different opinion

        Again, this is not a problem with my argument but simply a different one you are making. I made no mention of the royalty percentages of anyone along the distribution or production chain.

        That the artist makes the smallest percentage on digital music makes sense since they expend the least amount of money in the process.

        You can complain about "evil corporations" all you want (and I do not nor do they need me to defend them either), but it would be a very rare artist indeed (and none that I can name off the top of my head) who could achieve massive popularity and success without some corporate record company backing him. You going to fire up your basement printing press and CD burner and go platinum? Didn't think so.

        If record companies are reneging on their royalty contracts (as it seems you are implying) then that is a legal matter wholly unrelated to the discussion of DRM.
        scottspinola
        • A huge problem with your argument

          You claim DRM is required to make sure the artist is compensated for their work. This is a blatent lie. In Digital copies the artist makes [b]LESS[/b] than they do with traditional media.

          Take for example Weird All:

          http://digitalmusic.weblogsinc.com/2006/06/14/weird-al-yankovic-says-digital-is-a-raw-deal-for-some-artists/

          He makes $0.31 for each song on a CD but only $0.045 per digital download.

          The new argument is that not only are you wrong, that the DRM protected Digital files are there to help make sure the poor artist don't starve, but that it is a bold faced lie that DRM helps the artist recoup anything.

          With DRM digital files not only is the artist getting a raw deal but so is the consumer.

          BTW- You must work for the labels if you think $0.045 is better than $0.31.
          Edward Meyers