I’d like to share a true story with you in an effort to enlighten readers on the obstacles encountered when a company decides to DRM.
Just the other day, at work, my boss tells me he bought the new NickleBack CD from iTunes. Odd sort of band for my boss, but, ok, I can make the stretch.
He knows I am a macophile, and have been attempting to convert him for about 6 months now. He knows I file-share on our own proprietary engineered ‘application’, so he comes to be with ‘tech-y’ questions. He’s no slouch in the intelligent department, believe you me, he’s my Senior and Architect in database and software engineering where we build our own ‘dogfood’, so he’s smart.
“What the f*ck happened to iTunes?” he exclaims one morning. “I just bought the new NickelBack from iTunes and it won’t let me burn the songs to an MP3 cd for the ‘vette!” (He’s kewl, he drives a badass convertible Z06).
I told him that Apple has increased the DRM known as ‘FairPlay’ at the behest of the music industry lobbying (read crying). “What?!, I used to be able to burn these to CD, I bought the damn thing!” This was his first encounter with a digital purchase, and the draconian DRM that comes along with said consumer activities.
He goes on, “So I go to play them anyway, and iTunes says that my computer is not ‘authorized’, what does that mean?. So I authorize the computer then it comes back and says, ‘you only have 2 authorized devices left’. Authorized devices?!?!?, oh, I get it” he states, going on, “iPod, iPhone and the computer is 3, and iTunes will only ‘authorize’ 5 devices? Since when did this happen, iTunes never did that before!”
Here’s when I realize I have mentioned to him in the past to NEVER upgrade iTunes.
Like other software, such as Roxio Toast, at the behest (read threatening lawsuit) of the music and movie industry, the ‘upgrade’ is actually designed to circumvent proper operation that already existed. This is listed as an UPGRADE not a crippling of the software, THAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR!
So, my boss’s FIRST encounter with DRM, and it sorely pissed him off, the customer, the paid customer that bought the album, who should OWN the content, and doesn’t. (Personally I don’t like NickelBack, but who am I to scrutinize his taste in music?)
“Ok, can you get this sh*t on a CD for me?” he asks.
Suuuuuure, np, put the songs on a thumb drive and I will ‘fix’ them for you. Just then, another colleague chimes in, “Just burn them as data to CD, and then rip them back into iTunes.”
Apparently, these nitwits behind DRM are incredibly short sighted when you can use their own software to circumvent their own DRM.
Seems like the NETOPS guy was right. If you burn them to CD as just data, which wont play as an mp3 CD in typical players, but then use that data CD to import mp3s via iTunes, it extracts the music and foregoes the ‘FairPlay’ DRM.
Honestly, we got some attention during our conversation. We work in a Dilbert-like cubicle world, so anyone can eavesdrop on our conversation. Before the banter was over, we had around 8 to 10 different solutions for him to circumvent the obnoxious, ineffective DRM placed on his justly bought content, so that he could actually enjoy what he purchased.
This kind of enlightenment is typical today in the digital age. 1 out of 3 people in the world have heard of the RIAA/MPAA and DRM, and they know how to circumvent it easily.
Approximately 100 million US citizens are aware of how to bypass this draconian protection scheme. So when the MAFIAA claims that file-sharing is a ‘moral lapse’ I beg to differ. This is a ‘moral certitude’ that will only continue to expand and advance itself faster than the protection schemas they invent.
File sharing may have started out as a ‘blackhat’ operation, but thanks to all the motivational lawsuits brought about by the copyright police, it was forced into becoming a mainstream utility like a word processor, or graphic editor, or CD burner.
You have a better chance of being sued for BUYING music legitimately than you do by obtaining the same content thru a file-sharing protocol.
And according to TorrentFreak, “If we assume that 70 million active BitTorrent users is an accurate estimate, this means that close to 5% of all people on the Internet are using BitTorrent monthly, which is quite impressive.”
Some ‘moral lapse’.
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