Artists revolt against DRM

Artists revolt against DRM

Summary: My Morning Jacket, the artists who recorded the copy protected CD "Z" I mentioned here, are doing more than protesting Sony BMG’s use of DRM spyware. They are revolting.

TOPICS: Security

My Morning Jacket, the artists who recorded the copy protected CD "Z" I mentioned here, are doing more than protesting Sony BMG's use of DRM spyware. They are revolting.  Yesterday I read that My Morning Jacket was doing their own recall of the affected CDs.  Now I see they are burning unrestricted copies of their CD and mailing them to users. Hmm...  I wonder if they are breaking the law under the DMCA. 

US band My Morning Jacket has responded to fans' complaints about copy protected Sony BMG CDs by sending them DRM-free copies of its album.

The group began burning unrestricted CDs after fans found that they could not transfer their album 'Z' (pictured) to their iPods. Their manager, Mike Martinovich, told Rolling Stone that Sony BMG should drop DRM on CDs entirely.

The Rolling Stone article says Sony BMG is reconsidering their plan to use copy protection on all their CDs. If a lot of artists refuse to sign with Sony BMG and other companies using copy protection and go indie, perhaps the big labels would get the message. Wikipedia has an extensive list of indie record labels.

More here about My Morning Jacket's revolt.

MMJ are by no means the first act under the Song BMG umbrella to express their displeasure over the corporation's attempts to curb piracy via copy-protection software — the Foo Fighters, the Dave Matthews Band and Switchfoot have also done so — but they're likely the first act to publicly offer to burn individual copies of their album for fans.

Sony BMG had no comment on MediaMax issue or My Morning Jacket's response to it.

Initial link and inspiration via VitalSecurity.

Topic: Security

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  • The Artist Don't Want It

    The consumer don't want it either.

    So why is it there... simple some rat of a label executive wants to DRM everything.

    The DRM isn't really being used to quell piracy. Real pirates, the onese selling illegal CDs out the back of trucks, just ignore it.

    So what is it really being used for;

    1. To stop what the record executives call "Casual Piracy". This in of itself is an odd choice of terms. They are refering to noncomercial infringement by consumers EG; you get a CD then burn a copy and perhaps share it with a friend. There is of course already an exemption in copyright law for this... Section 1008 :

    "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."

    The same rat record execs will argue that a burn is not a recording... not so under the law becuase the law defines a recording in section 101 as;

    "?Sound recordings? are works that result from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds, but not including the sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as disks, tapes, or other phonorecords, in which they are embodied."

    2. First sale rights. US copyright law differntates between ownership rights of a copy versus ownerdhip of the work itself. Section 202:

    "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."

    There is this thing called First Sale. The concept is thus. Once the copy has been transfered, you buy your copy, the distribution rights of the copyright holder end there (You can resell it without permision). This is codified in section 109:

    "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. "

    You are not allowed to say purchase an iTune download it to a removable disk, say a USB drive, and then sell the USB drive with the iTune. According to Apple you can't transfer the iTune to someone else and they use DRM to enforce that. All of the services have the same rules. In effect DRM is being used to stop First Sale... something the record companies have tried to do for years. The MPAA also has developed a Biometric DVD player which only plays DVDs for the person who purchased the Movie and the software industry has activation to prevent people transfering their copies.

    3. They want to enforce weird playback rules such as you can't playback a DVD sold in Mexico in a US/Canada DVD Player. The studios want to price discriminate. The entire CSS country region encoding system is not an anti-copy device but rather an access-restriction device. Nowhere does US copyright law allow the rightholder the right to restrict access however section 1201 of the DMCA , the section titled "Circumvention of copyright protection systems" uses this language:

    "No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. "

    So even though the law does not grant access control as a right it makes it a crime to circumvent access control. The DeCSS case was about this as CSS does not have to be stripped or broken to make an illegal copy of the DVD. In fact CSS does nothing to prevent copying of a DVD... it only keeps DVDs coded to play in one region from playing in another.

    This is also where the DRM companies are able to lock you into a certain player or device. Likewise it sets up the groundwork for Pay Per Play. The MPAA introduced legislation in October of this year that would also allow them to prevent rewinding and pausing... I kid you not. Read for yourself:

    4. The RIAA has created a special filter that is able to detrmain if a song sound like a members song and then blocks it. Snocap developed this technology and other companies have simular technology. In Australia KAZA was ordered to include this technology.

    The problem is that many bands allow fans to record live performances and trade them. etree has a list:

    This is legal becuase the band can sign a contract and fixations other than the fixation made during the CD recording sesion are considered seperate.

    Section 114:
    "(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. "

    This filtering technology would block the self recorded songs. Likwise if a band decides to distribute a track our two from their website it would block that also if the filter is in place.

    5. They want to block fair use. Fair Use again is;

    From Section 197:

    "Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include ?

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."

    The MPAA is going after people who post clips of movies on websites. They also claim that the Movie the "Hulk" sales were lowered becuase clips of it slipped onto the internet. The sales of the Hulk were impacted becuase several sights posted clips and screenshots critizing the poor special effects, many were of the opinion they looked like they were from a Nintendo game, and general opinion of the crapiness of the movie. This is certainly critisim.

    Fair Use allows copies to be made of work without the permision of the right holder but DRM restricts all copies.

    6. They are using DRM to extend protection to materials in the Public Domain, to extend copyright forever, and to control works which are not copyrightable (Either it is a listing of facts, text decoration [fonts], mesures and tables, or works of the US Government). In the MGM v. 321 studios the 321 studios pointed out 11 titles that were in the public domain but which were copyprotected. The court ruled that even though the works were in public domain that the DRM scheme could not be broken. The reasoning is that the works are still in the Public Domain but in order to use the works you have to get a copy without DRM. The problem with that is that DRM scshemes have been around since the 1980's. Anything released straight to video or DVD will not have a version without DRM of some sort.

    The case can be found here

    Another intersting developement is companies are claiming copyright on Works of the US Govt. In paticular they are claiming copyright on OSHA publications.

    Most often they claim copyright on the Required OSHA workplace posters and they I have seen DRMed versions of the OSHA training requirement publication OSHA 2254 . Loads of companies have taken the OSHA PPTs most often the OSHA 10 Hr PPTs
    stripped the references to OSHA, changed the background, claimed copyright on them, and then added them to a CD with Copy protection. I have seen the same thing with DOT, BSL, EPA, and other government publications.

    7. They want to use DRM , through the broadcast flag, to force you to purchase DRMed material which is specifically required not to have DRM.

    From section 1201:
    "(2) Certain encoding restrictions. - No person shall apply the automatic gain control copy control technology or colorstripe copy control technology to prevent or limit consumer copying except such copying -

    (A) of a single transmission, or specified group of transmissions, of live events or of audiovisual works for which a member of the public has exercised choice in selecting the transmissions, including the content of the transmissions or the time of receipt of such transmissions, or both, and as to which such member is charged a separate fee for each such transmission or specified group of transmissions;

    (B) from a copy of a transmission of a live event or an audiovisual work if such transmission is provided by a channel or service where payment is made by a member of the public for such channel or service in the form of a subscription fee that entitles the member of the public to receive all of the programming contained in such channel or service;

    (C) from a physical medium containing one or more prerecorded audiovisual works; or

    (D) from a copy of a transmission described in subparagraph (A) or from a copy made from a physical medium described in subparagraph (C)"

    Broadcast TV is not suppose to have DRM. However through the broadcast flag and through the ABC iTunes shows they are DRMing broadcast TV shows.

    8. Exclusion of certain platforms, most notably Linux and Macintosh, from materials. Many of the DRM formats are not avalaible on any platform but Windows.

    A Music Exec is quoted as saying "quit whining and dump Mac, Linux"

    Anyhow there are other abuses besides this.
    Edward Meyers
    • Biometric DVD player & Pay Per Play? They're crazy!

      Excellent post! You definitely did your homework on DRM. The biometric DVD player you mentioned reminds me of the recent rumors Sony quashed about the PlayStation 3 having a console-locking feature that locks a copy of a game to the first console played on and nowhere else.

      And as for the Mac/Linux exclusion, I can tell you that as a Linux user myself, given the secretive, cloak & dagger approach of DRM and the openness and freedoms in open source, it's only natural that DRM stays away from open source. I believe if Sony targeted it's XCP DRM rootkit at Linux, it would have been discovered much quicker than with Windows(eight months), and fixed by a few Linux hackers(Linux users tend to be knowledgeable enough to fix problems on their own:)).

      It is clear from Suzi's blogs, Sony's screw-up, and the links in your post, DRM has gone seriously too far. Nobody, whether with Windows/Mac/Linux or TV, should put up with Digital Restrictions Management.

      Again, thanks for the excellent post Mr. Meyers!
      Tony Agudo
    • who said "quit whining and dump Mac, Linux"

      As I heard that an Executive at one of the Linux distro companies was quoted as saying "we'll place it in our OS when we can reach a deal with a monetary value we think is fair."
      John Zern
  • 4 bands speak out while the rest remain silent.

    Kudos to MMJ and the other 3 bands listed in the blog! I think many have been anxious to project this kind of courage to all bands since the Sony rootkit fiasco started, but now we actually have names which bands have the backbone and integrity to actually stand up.

    One error in the article though. She didn't mention Van Zandt taking a tough stand against "the man", I've read from their fans in many places that they are really troubled by the fact that their name more than any has been associated with the Sony Malware. Must be a technical glitch; maybe their microphone cut out while they were ready to announce to the world their brave stand against the corporation which sullied their names. I'm sure their courageous act of defiance against Sony will come any minute now.
    • thanks

      "One error in the article though. She didn't mention Van Zandt taking a tough stand against "the man"."

      Hmm... I'll have to find a link for that. I read it a while back and can't remember where. Thanks for the reminder.
  • The media conglomerates' worst nightmare

    This is, of course, precisely the sort of thing that scares the big media companies the most: the notion that artists will decide they provide no useful services and start marketing directly to the fans.

    It's probably no big deal is My Morning Jacket does it. But what happens if the business manager for some mass-market star gets wise and says "You know, we could cut the middleman out completely, sell your stuff ourselves, cut the prices to the fans and still make more money"?

    If you're a Suit at BMG/Sony (or wherever), that's a pretty scary scenario.
    • Nightmare for the bands, as who would run it?

      It's easy to think any band could do it and cut out the middle man, but that's assuming the bands have close to the kind of money and expertise needed to go it on their own.
      The second they hire someone to do it for them, they have a middleman again.
      John Zern
      • Just put it on iTunes

        Yeah, there is DRM with iTunes, but it's humane, not like the other
        forms of DRM. Plus, you can burn very good copies.

        Besides, most anyone with an iPod (who doesn't have one at this
        point?) really doesn't want to rip and burn anyhow, just get it in
        iTunes and on the iPod.

        What's to manage? Let Apple take over where the labels have
    • Re: media conglomerates' worst nightmare

      What if Shania Twain had the guts to do it?

      Or Celine Dion?

      Or Pink Floyd?

      Sell directly to the fans. No waiting in line.

      Goodbye record shops.....

      Goodbye second-hand record shops, at least for those who can burn their own.

      Goodbye BMG, Columbia, et al...

      Michael Moore had the right idea.

      Post it on the web! Let those who want it get it and enjoy it.

      As for the others... They're probably enjoying other things, and wish them happiness.

      As for DRMs, they're on the way out after this time. The first shot has been fired...

      I'll wait until the dust has settled...


    Ken Hoke
    • Re: copyrights

      Let's refine that a bit.

      The ownership of the rights to a piece of intellectual work, whether a book, an essay, a song, or a symphony, or an opera, belong to the author, or composer.

      The coppyrights these companies are fighting for are actually the exclusive rights to market the works in question.

      I don't believe in exclusivity, and certainly not in perpetual exclusvity as these companies seem to want. I'm surprised that the U.S. who embody and represent free enterprise and say they want a free market let such a restrictive law get onto their books.

      So yes, 7 years of exclusve marketing for a particular album, although, I'd be more inclined to cut that to 24 months, after which the distribution rights should be reverted back to the authors.

      That way any band or artist could go indie quickly enough.

      But as for the copyrights to the work itself the original law of the life of the artist plus 50 years after his/her death, for surviving heirs to reap the benefits of someone else's hard work, is more than enough. I hear this section was amended to extend to 75 years.

      Not really necessary in my opinion. 50 years was enough.
      • Copywrongs

        It is a contract. Ownership remains with the creator unless they sell those rights to someone via a contract. Although it is a stupid move, many young musicians will sign away ownership of their music for promises of money and glory. All will lose their music, a tiny few will get glory, the lucky few will also get some money out of it.

        There is no reason heirs should reap direct benefits. Copyright should be restricted to no more than 10 years. Artists can keep working just like everyone else. And so can their children.

        The US allows anti-competitive extensions of copyright periods. They've also created loopholes to allow drug companies to artificially extend patents. It is all about protecting wealthy vested interests.
  • RIAA proponents of DRM evil

    Sony is NOT the ONLY one associated with the RIAA.
    Sony IS the only one SO FAR to be busted using Rootkits.

    Here is a list of ALL those associated with the RIAA:

    BOYCOTT them ALL!!!!!!!! Put the RIAA OUT of business!!!!

    Also, cruise that site extremely carefully to find out what sort of price fixing and fascist tactics they are using to bilk the general consumer all over the whole world. Pay special attention to the physical address that is given when you click to 'join the RIAA'
  • Ridiculous laws!!

    You know, back in "the day" before everything went digital -- we all were able to copy whatever the heck we wanted from albums onto tapes, from tapes onto other tapes, making mixes for all our friends -- I don't recall the music industry going broke. I would think that if I was an artist I'd want as many people as possible to hear my music. And yes, it should still be illegal to offer music for free on websites, I agree with that -- or to sell cds full of music. But most of us are only interested in sharing. Will there be a few bad eggs? Probably, but I guarantee you this: I have NEVER bought music online because of the licenses (I tried it once and lost use of the songs because I had no idea where the licenses were -- I probably deleted them -- whatever) too much of a pain. But I guarantee you that from now on I'd buy just about ALL my music online if there were no licenses to deal with. I bet a lot of people would. As long and I can copy it onto a cd for and make mix cards for my SD-card reader. Hopefully this will become the new trend. I wish everyone would boycott purchasing drm protected music online. I just worry that all cds will have this protection in the future so we can never make "mix tapes" again. Goodbye seventies, as Yaz would say.