DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE:  Ever come across something that only gets stranger and stranger the deeper you delve into it? That was my experience when I almost purchased a new CD — a DRM crippled CD — this weekend. 

This tale is part of a larger struggle within the recording and digital download industry — not of P2P or piracy — but one of innovation and competition. As you follow this odd story (broken into 4 increasingly strange parts), you will note that as it gets weirder, Artists and Consumers are the collateral damage. It makes one wonder just what the hell the Recording Industry is thinking about these days:
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Part I
A friend with whom I frequently swap Music and Film suggestions (as well as mixed CDs) asks me if I have ever heard of the band "My Morning Jacket." I have not. She suggests checking out the album Z. The album is very well reviewed. So I fire up iTunes, go to the music store. The band is rather interesting, not your typical pop fare. Sounds like a cross between Morcheeba and The White Stripes. (Rolling Stone heard elements of Radiohead, The Who and Lynyrd Skynyrd). Lush, ethereal, offbeat music, mixed with some electronica, but mostly straightforward fuzzbox-driven rock-n-roll. My kind of stuff.

I hop over to Amazon to read some reviews (mostly positive). I am about to purchase the disc, when I notice the DRM info. (See Amazon DRM reviews below.)

The reviewers note that Sony has crippled the disc with Sunncomm’s latest DRM software. (You may remember Sunncomm’s infamous shift key incident). The key restriction of this particular DRM is that it renders a disc nontransferable to the iPod.
Nor can you make a backup copy, or travel discs, or a copy for the
weekend house, or use any of the songs on a mixed disc. Oh, and it won’t
work with my iTunes Music software (and that also means no shuffle
play).

Since the CD is incompatible with Apple iTunes, and the music cannot be transferred to an iPod, it eliminates about half of my legal uses for it. So I don’t buy the CD, ’cause it won’t do what I need it to do. Chalk up a lost sale to DRM.

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Part II
Here’s where our tale takes a turn for the bizarre:  According to the Band/Label’s website, these DRM restrictions were put on the CD without their knowledge or permission:

Information Regarding Our Artists’ Music, Copy-Protected CDs and your iPod
We at ATO Records are aware of the problems being experienced by certain fans due to the copy-protection of our distributor. Neither we nor our artists ever gave permission for the use of this technology, nor is it our distributor’s opinion that they need our permission. Wherever it is our decision, we will forego use of copy-protection, just as we have in the past.

That’s simply a stunner.

The loss of good will and fan support must be significant to the band. That’s a very real monetary damage to the band. (I wonder what their legal options are). It becomes even more absurd when you consider that "ATO Records permits audiotaping at our artists’ performance." So this is a very forward looking, copyright-friendly bunch of folk.

I would hope that in the future, music agents and attorneys remember to address this in label contracts on the band’s behalf.

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Part III
As odd as the story is so far, its about to get a whole lot weirder: It turns out that all Engadget (quoting Variety) notes that this DRM is not at all about making the CD immune to piracy. Instead, its part of a pissing contest between Sony and Apple:  Variety writes that "the new copy protection scheme — which makes it difficult
to rip CDs and listen to them with an iPod — is designed to put
pressure on Apple to open the iPod to other music services, rather than
making it dependent on the iTunes Music Store for downloads."

You mean to tell me that this isn’t even about P2P and unauthorized downloading? How annoying is that? Sony has their panties in a bunch cause Apple has been kicking their arses all over the innovation and digital music schoolyard? So the mature response from a major global conmsumer electronics corporation is to take their ball and go home?

DRM is now being used as a competitive economic weapon — not as an anti-piracy tool.

As a music consumer, I find this ridiculous. Why I cannot use a
legally purchased CD — because Sony is miffed at Apple for creating the
2000′s version of their Walkman — is beyond absurd. I am very, very annoyed at this. 

In fact, I am so perturbed at this act of wanton stupidity, that two imminent purchases — a Sony Bravia LCD big screen TV and the Sony Vaio notebook — are now put on hold.

So far, Sony’s lost business with me is now one CD ($10.99), one flat panel TV ($3,499) and one laptop ($3,199). That’s  lost sales of approximately $6,710. If you are a Sony shareholder, you should be as annoyed as I am.

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Part IV
I saved the absolutely weirdest part for last.

I write Suncomm to complain about this DRM. Their website encourages people to write Apple and request them to "Open up their proprietary technology."

Yeah, spare me your lectures. Just because your client failed to create a digital music player and legal downloading store, doesn’t mean that I have to get conscripted in your lobbying ploy. 

Just tell me where CD purchasers should send this crippled disc back for a refund, I ask them.

UPON RECEIPT, THEY SEND ME AN EMAIL TELLING ME HOW TO WORK AROUND THE DRM:

"If you have a PC place the CD into your computer and allow the CD to automatically start. If the CD does not automatically start, open your Windows Explorer, locate the drive letter for your CD drive and double-click on the LaunchCD.exe file located on your CD.

Once the application has been launched and the End User License Agreement has been accepted, you can click the Copy Songs button on the top menu.

Follow the instructions to copy the secure Windows Media Files (WMA) to your PC. Make a note of where you are copying the songs to, you will need to get to these secure Windows Media Files in the next steps.

Once the WMA files are on your PC you can open and listen to the songs with Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher. You may also play them in any compatible player that can play secure Windows Media files, such as MusicMatch, RealPlayer, and Winamp, but it will require that you obtain a license to do so. To obtain this license, from the Welcome Screen of the user interface, click on the link below the album art that says If your music does not play in your preferred player, click here. Follow the instructions to download the alternate license. PLEASE NOTE: This license is only necessary for playing the copied songs in a media player other than iTunes or Windows Media Player. If you are just trying to use iTunes, simply continue with these instructions.

Using Windows Media Player only, you can then burn the songs to a CD.  Please note that in order to burn the files, you need to upgrade to or already have Windows Media Player 9 or greater.

Once the CD has been burned, place the copied CD back into your computer and open iTunes. iTunes can now rip the songs as you would a normal CD."

So this entire rigamarole won’t even protect the CD contents — its merely a very annoying interference with my ability to enjoy the legal uses of a product I actually wanted to purchase.

But wait, there’s more! As if that’s not absurd enough, they remind me that none of this is necessary at all. As noted above, its nothing more than a swipe at Apple: 

"Please note an easier and more acceptable solution (to who?) requires cooperation from Apple, who we have already reached out to in hopes of addressing this issue. To help speed this effort, we ask that you use the following link to contact Apple and ask them to provide a solution that would easily allow you to move content from protected CDs into iTunes or onto your iPod rather than having to go through the additional steps above."

http://www.apple.com/feedback/ipod.html

If you think that this cannot get any dumber, you would be wrong. The coup de grace of this exercise in corporate stupidity is this:

"If you have a Mac computer you can copy the songs using your iTunes Player as you would normally do."

Words simply fail me . . .

 

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POSTSCRIPT:   October 31, 2005 6:08am

I am a buyer of CDs, and only rarelydo I download tracks from Apple’s iTunes Music Store due to sound quality.
I didn’t spend an obscene amount of money on a home audio system to
listen to the mediocre audio quality of MP3s. The
not-even-remotely-as-lossless-as-advertised-compression algorithms are
hardly any better. MP3s and iPod quality music is fine for the beach or
my commute on a train, but its something else entirely in my living
room.

My fair use: When I get a new CD, I rip it to iTunes,
then transfer the music to my iPods; I make a backup copy (in case of
loss). If I really like a disc, I make a copy for the car or the
weekend house. If the disc is "youth-friendly," I’ll make a copy for my
wife’s classroom. She teaches art, and I refuse to let her take any
more original discs to school — they have all gotten destroyed.

Incidentally, I am what the marketing people like to call an "influencer"
(i.e., think of Netflix, TiVo or Macintosh). I do not copy entire CDs for people,
but I like to expose frinds to news music — I will give them a song or two, with the recommendation that if they like
it, they purchase the artist’s disc. I use P2P to check out stuff not available
elsewhere, or to see if I want to purchase a full CD.  I also like
to make mixed playlists, which get burned for the car or for
friends who are looking to hear new music, now that radio is dead.

I believe all of the above is well within my rights as a consumer of the
CDs that I legally purchased; If someone wants to try to convince me otherwise, please take your best shot.

 

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UPDATE:  October 31, 2005 7:02 am

This morning, I did a Google News search on "My Morning Jacket: Z," and I found 147 mainstream news articles from the past 30 days.

One — only one — mentions the DRM issue:

MUSIC:  Burning the Faithful
New copy-protected CDs screw over the only honest customers the music industry has left.
Eli Messinger
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/Issues/2005-10-19/music/music.html

There is a large and potentially fascinating story here that you folks in the tech press/music media are overlooking . . .

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UPDATE:  November 10, 2005 1:38 pm

Here’s the biggest joke of all:  I actually got the disc, and ripped it to iTunes and the iPod — on my G5 iMac . . .

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The Amazon reviewers DRM comments are below . . .


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Amazon Reviews of My Morning Jacket: Z CONTENT/COPY-PROTECTION

Reviewer 1:          GRT (New York City) October 25, 2005

Buy it on iTunes

Whatever the merits of the music, I tossed this disk in the garbage. Why?

1. Upon insertion in the computer, requires you to agree to a contract that restricts usage to approved devices etc and inserts software on your hard drive to monitor usage.
2. After agreeing it launches a goofy proprietary application to play the music instead of a media player.
3. You cannot play the files in iTunes
4. You cannot rip the files to you computer
5. You cannot play the songs on you iPod.

This attempt to restrict legal usage of the music is outrageous and should be tolerated. Is the band aware of this? Do they support it? It is bad business, bad publicity and done in bad faith.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

What a rip-off

Reviewer 2:          redbank2 (Red Bank, NJ) October 26, 2005

Repeating one other reviewer, if you want this on your iPOD, do NOT buy this…Plus on a PC the only way to play it is with it’s own built in CD player…I like Winamp, sorry, it doesn’t work with Winamp…Oh well…

the music is fine, but does not make up for the nonsense of putting up with this egregious display of lack of marketing skill…If someone wanted to copy and distribute it, they could, what foolishness on the part of Sony/BMG/ATO and RCA Music…And they wonder why corporate music is dying…

~~~~~~~

DO NOT buy this if you own an iPod

Reviewer 3:    David Klingenberger (Chicago, IL) – October 17, 2005

   
I’m not some 20-year-old music thief. I’m a 46-year-old guy who spends thousands of dollars a year on CDs. Thousands. (It used to be vinyl, 8-tracks, real to reels). And I’m being treated like a criminal. How wrong. How wrong.

Don’t support the criminals who sell you "copy protected" CDs.

Don’t buy this CD. Get it some other way.

And how sad. This may be the best CD of the year. (It’s absolutely amazing.)

~~~~~~~

BEWARE – Copy Protected

Reviewer 4:    Scott Dyer (San Francisco, CA) October 4, 2005

Note that this CD is copy protected. The most significant implication of this is that you can only rip it to WMA which will not play on most portable music players including the iPod. There is no way around this. This CD relies on a much tigher version of copy protection than other CD’s so tricks such as the ole’ holding down the shift key to avoid autoplay do not work. If you want to be able to listen to this album on your iPod, purchase it from iTunes. The other advantage to this is that you get a bonus track not available on the CD version.

Category: Intellectual Property, Music

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

185 Responses to “DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts”

  1. Chad K says:

    Normally I might email this, but…. I’ve been using this site for ages, and occasionally publish many of my collection of (legally) recorded live shows. A quick search for “My Morning Jacket” turned up 6 live recordings. No DRM. Also, a good link to an excellent example of people using torrents legally.

    eTree:
    http://bt.etree.org/

    link to “My Morning Jacket” shows:
    http://bt.etree.org/?search=&cat=212

  2. Chad K says:

    On another note… What were your reasons for not purchasing those other Sony products?

  3. wcw says:

    He’s voting with his wallet, as do I when corporate entities piss me off. It’s the only power a consumer has.

    Let’s say (to pick a recent example) that Target supports its pharmacists who refuse to fill morning-after pill prescriptions. (They do.) If you write Target a nasty letter, Target will fire off a boilerplate letter and add yours to their pile. If you fire off a nasty letter delineating the $1,000 you spent at Target last year, the $0 you shall spend until their policy changes and the 100 friends and acquaintances you plan to influence to do the same..

    Well, your letter goes higher on the pile. Corporations are hard to influence. Still, if enough people do something that hits the bottom line, perhaps you help, on the margin.

  4. AC says:

    I just want to say thank you for making me laugh out loud reading your post. As a high $ audio tech spender, I sympathize with your trauma.

  5. ann says:

    I’m not a historian, but what I think we are seeing is a “decadent” institution. In this case entertainment, but I think examples abound across industrial civilization. Like the late Austrian empire or many others, such as us in Iraq, it’s as though they chose the worst possible choices.

    We know that the media companies actually dream of technology that will let them examine all storage devices for copyrighted material and disable the system if any is found. Conservative (ownereship society) Republicans support this.

    But of course these and iother measures are impossible to mantain. Basic digital technology is to fluid. Military grade encryption is availible all over the place, alternative formats easily devised. All that will emerge is underground standards. And those most devoted to various media and who currently buy the most will increasingly look upon the media companies as enemies.

    Many of us who do not bother with the tricks will simply confine ourselves to what we have and to material that is offered freely.

    Companies like Sony seem bound and determined to create the crisis and then try to inflict sterner and sterner measures. They do so from a position of weakness.

  6. Bryan G says:

    With the full corporatization of radio limiting 98% of music to viral marketing, crippling CDs through the use of DRM further limits music from reaching a wider audience. Given the immense quantity of music available, if an album is prevented from making it onto the networks than its visibility would be severely reduced.

    I feel that P2P is moving music consumption in a new direction, towards a ‘try before you buy’ paradigm. Just as you’d want to try out a TV set in the store to see its picture quality, or take a car for a test drive, I want full information before I commit to a purchase. As time passes, and as my discretionary budget allows, the digital copies of albums I find remarkable are slowly being paired by physical copies on my shelf.

  7. Josh says:

    I’m confused. Are there multiple editions of this album? I bought this album in the store (Borders in NYC) and have successfully ripped it to my iPod using iTunes on a Mac. No problems here.

    I can play the CD in my Sony DVD player or on my Mac (iMac G5). Haven’t tried it on a PC however.

    Nothing but agreement from me here on both the long term impracticality and misuse of DRM. Ever since the record companies shutdown the original Napster – best creation ever for a music fan – instead of co-opting it and using Napster’s huge subscriber base to their advantage, they’ve done nothing right.

  8. read towards the end of the post:

    If you think that this cannot get any dumber, you would be wrong. The coup de grace of this exercise in corporate stupidity is this:

    “If you have a Mac computer you can copy the songs using your iTunes Player as you would normally do.”

    Words simply fail me . . .

  9. investor says:

    One thing I find interesting is that as communication savvy corporations increasingly scan blogs and make responses; the music industry has not noticed or has pretended not to notice you. Yet you are an individual of some influence and you have made a consistent critique over time.

    You are also open to reason as opposed to “the record companies are all ripoffs!” creed that I am sure appears elsewhere.

    For this reason I will short Sony. The next few decades are going to be traumatic and we are seeing resistance not response to the change.

    This is similar to the reason I shorted SBC. When I want to the Cingular web site (and I believe cellular is a big par of the future) it was very badly done. So how can one expect a decent evolution to our advanced Star Trek I communicators? Already in Asia they are doing stuff Kirk nevr dreamed of, but Cingular can’t design a conventional webpage.

    If Sony and other media companies chose to block themselves off from customers rather than engage in dynamic potentially product creating dialogue the odds of their thriving go down. And I expect this will be reflected in Sony’s hardware products.

    No Sony stock for me. I hold long term.

  10. donna says:

    Hubby works for Sony Playstation, and I gotta say he’s as pissed off at Sony music for their stupidity issues as anyone. Sigh. Hopefully they’ll get the next round of makeovers that Sony Electronics is currently undergoing…

    This is what happens when good engineering companies get taken over by the marketeers. Time for an engineering revolt…

  11. donna says:

    … and I’m also on the Target boycott. And Walmart. Running out of places to shop rapidly. Thank goodness for Costco!

  12. royce says:

    “I make a backup copy (in case of loss). If I really like a disc, I make a copy for the car or the weekend house. If the disc is “youth-friendly,” I’ll make a copy for my wife’s classroom. She teaches art, and I refuse to let her take any more original discs to school — they have all gotten destroyed.”

    Don’t know where to come out on this. You’re arguing in favor of buying a kind of unlimited personal use license, which I sympathize with, but Sony seems to be following what every business does with their property: try and extract the maximum possible revenue stream from it. Within the strictures of fair use doctrine and copyright, you get the license they give you, a license that you obviously should reject if you absolutely have to have four copies of the CD.

  13. I don’t need 4 copies: Just a back up (that stays filed away) and one I can use that I don’t care if it gets destroyed or lost.

    Meanwhile, when I get lazy, those are the discs that disappear / get damaged (ie., my Jack Johnson CDs)

  14. Boing Boing says:

    Suncomm encourages people to break its DRM

    Barry bought a CD by the band My Morning Jacket, only to discover that it was crippled with Suncomm DRM, apparently as a ploy by Sony to make keep its music from being played on iPods (which compete with Sony’s own proprietary players). The band appare…

  15. D says:

    Running out of places to shop rapidly.

    And that is the inevitable problem with our modern retail landscape. Boycotting Wal-Mart? They don’t care. In a lot of regions, there isn’t an alternative. You’re going to shop there regardless of whether or not you despise the company…it’s the only place in town to get diapers.

    And those that have choices? Well, then that’s Target. And if you hate target…

    ;o)

  16. john says:

    I own My Morning Jacket’s “Z” and had no issue at all with importing it into iTunes and onto my iPod. I read other sites about the DRM and was worried, but I love the band and bought it anyways. And I had no issues. Are there others like me?

  17. Shizlak says:

    This is why i steal music.

  18. says:

    I thought you might like to know about this.

    http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights.html

    So, if the software on the MMJ is the same (being a Sony brand) then anyone who has bought the CD and gone through the normal get-to-play-it steps might actually have been installing a ROOTKIT.

    Lovely.

  19. I do love that Sony computer buyers can’t rip the disc, but Mac owners can. Crazy. (Me, I have a Mac, but still won’t buy these things; David Gray lost a sale to me because his latest album is infested with this stuff. Oh well.)

  20. Adam says:

    Downoad from iTMS (if you enjoy the sound quality like I do) and do a Google for “jhymn”.

    Or, buy a Mac! OS X is a wild experience – try it out!

  21. Danny says:

    “I feel that P2P is moving music consumption in a new direction, towards a ‘try before you buy’ paradigm. Just as you’d want to try out a TV set in the store to see its picture quality, or take a car for a test drive, I want full information before I commit to a purchase. As time passes, and as my discretionary budget allows, the digital copies of albums I find remarkable are slowly being paired by physical copies on my shelf. ”

    These arguments are just silly. Many stores used to have samples of songs – amazon has many samples of songs. If you are able to download a song via p2p you have no economic incentive to buy the CD. If you do, that’s just you being nice and obeying a law.

    Further, I think there are major stretches of the fair use law. For instance if you have a laptop and a desktop, you can install the same software on both machines. But, if your wife uses the laptop 100% of the time and you use the desktop 100% of the time (and at the same time) you need two lices.

    Lastly, you think that you have special ‘privillages’ because you are ‘an influencer.’ No, you are not in marketers’ eyes. You are a regular customer that spreads good WOM. If you were an influencer, you would get comps to pass out to people. Just because you spread good WOM doesn’t mean you are above the law.

    Sorry
    Danny

  22. Dr. Luba says:

    So, in effect, Sony is telling you that the way to get full use from their CD is to buy a competitor’s (Apple) computer?

    Doesn’t sound like good marketing to me……

    But a good suggestion, none the less.

  23. Kevin says:

    Seems like the best way to teach record labels to not pull this crap is to buy the CD – attempt to rip the music to the player of your choice – and if it doesn’t work because of DRM copy protection – return the CD to the store where you bought it and say “it doesn’t work”. And if they refuse to take the CD back – they quickly see things my way when I tell them that I will be disputing the charge with my credit card company if they don’t refund my money.

    Then, the CD will get shipped back to the label.

    Anybody have any luck over-riding the copy protection with a package called AnyDVD (http://www.slysoft.com)? It’s what I use to make backups of DVDs – and it’s supposed to remove copy protection from CDs as well…

    Kevin

  24. When I first heard of this DRM stupidity, I wrote directly to the band. They responded with pointers on how to evade the copy-protection, and noted that they use Mac computers, and had no problems importing the disc into iTunes/iPods.

  25. nzruss says:

    Its all about education of the consumer. We aim to educate the average consumer, the big record companies aim to hide and blur the issue and muddy the water. (I’m surprised the record companies havent managed to get the use of DRM circumvention slipped into some obscure anti-terrorism legislation – but i’m sure they’ve considered it.)

    The argument boils down to this: How long will it take for the average consumer to figure out they are being ripped off.

    It is the gamble the Apples, Sony’s and BMG’s are playing while they claw for market share: Just how stupid are their consumers?

    Will they continue to buy DRM’d music because: A. they dont know any better, B. because they dont have a choice, or C. Because its good for the consumer?

    We have a choice, and DRM is not good for the consumer, so the answer falls back to A. The mainstream consumer will buy it because they dont know any better. (Think Tara Reid, or What Would Ashton do?)

    There will always (and needs to) be smaller companies out there willing to fill our NEED for open format music and players, and willing to sign up new Bands. The customer is there, and the market is only getting bigger as people become educated.

    How many bands sign up with the major labels because they HAVE DRM? – (Metalica doesnt count)

    Sure, I might end up listening to some 15YO kids garage band on my “Somy Opid”, but I’ll happily tailor my tasts while the music giants fight….

    Its an education game, and the mainstream consumers will eventually get wise and start spend their money where the freedom is… open formats.

  26. Karmakin says:

    Try before you buy isn’t a 30 second snippit.

  27. Skip says:

    What makes the rip in WMA, burn, rip in iTunes thing even more unpalatable is that the files you end up with go through compression TWICE and will sound like crap.

    I’ve stopped calling discs with DRM-riddled CDs — and indeed, they don’t fit Redbook standards. Someone should think of a snappy name.

  28. Thank you for taking the time to document this process. I, too, am a hardcore music lover with 3000+ CDs in my collection, and am constantly recommending new stuff to friends and co-workers. I refused to buy both this CD and the recently-released Harmonies for the Haunted by Stellastarr for just this reason…. and I warned everyone I know not to buy them either.

    I love my music, but it’s an optional purchase. If the record industry starts DRM’ing every CD, fine, I’ll stop buying. I’ve got my 3000 DRM-free CDs to listen to. And I guess I’ll have to find a new hobby to spend my hundreds of dollars a year on…

  29. Mosz says:

    OK your info is very biased. Apple’s itunes DRM is ment to cripple competition with other stores and other coampnys music players so SONY is just doing the same thing back , not that i support this or enjoy either or thier practices.

  30. Interesting read regarding CD DRM

    A very interesting tale detailing the absurdity of recent Digital Rights Management enforced on CDs. I’m not a business major, but it’s my guess that the solution to solving dwindling CD sales is not to piss off your customers.

    DRM Crippled CD: A bi…

  31. Greg Abbott says:

    Apple’s iTunes DRM only applies to song you buy from the iTunes music store.

    Unlike this CD, Apple puts no residual DRM or limitations on what you can do with files ripped from your own CD’s.

    If Sony wants to build an online music store, and prevent songs purchased from that store from working on anyone else’s MP3 player, more power to them.

    But they haven’t done that. They’ve decided that the owners of the actual CD should be locked out from iTunes/iPod.

    That’s a rather serious escalation of the DRM wars. IMHO

  32. nzruss says:

    Mosz, as someone said earlier, its not about WHO’s doing it, its that all of these companies have somehow tricked the market into believing that they are using DRM to protect copyright, but as you say, are actually using it to protect their profits by forcing you to only use their store to continue to buy their product. (what??? have they LIED to US??? NO, not the god honest record companies???) The only thing is, Sony have it backward. They have no store like Itunes, so are trying these ridiculous methods to force you into …… not buying their product…. Who was the brainiac that got that passed the board…?

  33. Josh says:

    A simaler thing happened with Switchfoot’s ‘Nothing Is Sound’ (Sony). Their CD was released with DRM without their permission.. and they ended up posting a workaround on their site (hosted by Sony, so it was deleted fairly soon).

    My view on DRM is this:
    I have no problems paying for music. But I want to use my music how I want to (within the law), such as burning a couple CDs so when I’m in the car or whatever I can listen to it, without having to worry about scratching up the original. DRM really prevents this.

    And the irony is, DRM has ALWAYS been bypassible, by programs like J-Hymn for iTunes, where it actually removes the DRM, or with programs like Tunebite where you can play the file in WMP, record it, and save it as a DRM-free MP3 or OGG. So all DRM does is become an obnoxios pain for those trying to use their music legally, but for those who really are trying to pirate the music, who are probably tech savvy, they can easily bypass it and pirate away.

    I’ll never buy a CD that is DRM protected. Never. If I must have the album, I’ll buy it off some online store where I can remove the DRM. (Right now Yahoo! Music Unlimited is looking pretty sweet. DRMless with Tunebite or Muvaudio.) Right now, if I wasn’t going to run the risk of getting busted by the RIAA, I’d pirate the music and just give the band $15 ;) No DRM, no hassle, and the band gets their cut.

    Anyhow.. DRM is an evil that really needs to be done away with.

    Josh

  34. dnamj says:

    Well, I think the best idea on here is to never buy CDs that you don’t like, if you can avoid it. That would be like buying a CD you knew contained crappy music, only this time, it contains crappy encoding crap.

    By the way, record companies make a lot of money by selling crappy CDs full of crappy music, and I for the life of me don’t know whay people buy them. So don’t. Find something else to buy, or save your money. Sooner or later when these things quit selling, they’ll quit making them.

  35. rudolph says:

    If Sony wants to build an online music store, and prevent songs purchased from that store from working on anyone else’s MP3 player, more power to them.

    But they haven’t done that.

    Actually, they’ve done exactly that. Visit the Sony Connect store, where you can download music in Sony’s proprietary ATRAC format that can only be played in their player and on Sony-made personal digital music players. I had a very Barry-like experience buying an album from Sony Connect on my wife’s XP box and trying to move it to my own personal Mac. Took half a dozen CDs and eight crash/restarts of the XP box to pull off.

  36. mdhåtter says:

    CD’s could be and will be smaller, audio bitrate IS an important consideration, for fans and for the musicians themselves.

    Sure, you can fit that many songs at 128K, but at 320K they sound so much better.

  37. bob says:

    i notice that you have a tools section on your website, but i don’t see you in it. what gives?

  38. Alvis says:

    Well written. It is very like something I wrolte for my own blog, only better.

  39. Undertoad says:

    I represent itsaboutmusic.com, an online distribution music label. I cannot TELL you how many older artists albums are simply not available because the companies retain the publishing, thus the licensing, and the rights to great old albums (usu. those that sold less than 100,000 or so) are simply held ransom for $10-$50,000.

    The catalogs of entire bands are unavailable in many cases. They are out of print and simply cannot be bought except on eBay.

    I can’t understand why any band or artist would sign a major label contract today. There is no money in it for anyone, almost, and the chances are that your music will be released weakly, not promoted, not make money, and then be held ransom forever.

  40. Adam says:

    A friend of mine had purchased a CD by a relatively obscure gothic metal band (can’t remember the band name), only to find that his computer would not let him play the CD in iTunes, nor copy the files to his computer. He called the record store where he bought it, and they basically told him he’s out of luck- has to listen to it on a stereo system. This amazed me, especially since the band wasn’t a ‘radio band’, and it was certainly not on a major record label.

    Of course the problem that comes up now is that he’s a college student sharing an apartment with other people. His computer *is* his stereo system- so if it won’t copy to his computer, it’s as good as useless. Rather unfair when record labels don’t consider that in this day and age, many people don’t listen to their music by putting a CD into the CD player, but by firing up iTunes or WinAmp and listening to what they’ve imported.

  41. S says:

    There is other things to talk of. About halfway down the page of this article (http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/06/industry_spinni.html) there was told of a hidden driver installed on your computer. With the new case Sotelo v. DirectRevenue that was decided in Chicago, anything that is installed upon your computer without your permission (and yes, this is a jump but not a far one) is considered an invasion of privacy.

    I understand that this case is about spyware, but if something that is installed without your permission causes you to not be able to use your products as you normally would, then this is a limitation that would be considered an invasion a privacy, for they are telling you how to use the product you bought (with the understanding you could use it how you wanted).

    In the end, I’m just waiting for the lawsuits to start. Soon every company that tries to install ANYTHING but the product will be sued up the wazoo. In other words, in my mind, Sony has just set themselves up for a big legal battle that won’t cumulate with Apple bowing to anything, but rather a direct revenue loss for Sony.

  42. DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

    Or, “Sony cripples its CD to spite iPod users”. Brilliant…

  43. DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

    Or, “Sony cripples its CD to spite iPod users”. Brilliant…

  44. Greg Schueler says:

    so sony puts in this copy protection to hinder people who use ipods?

    but look at the results

    buy the CD:
    crippled on PC, can’t copy to ipod
    works on Mac

    buy the album on iTunes (lesser quality than CD):
    works on both, copies to ipod

    pirate the album, good quality:
    works on both, copies to ipod

    so they only hinder people who use PCs and buy the physical CD, and you have more options for use if you either pirate it, or buy it on iTunes (assuming you have an ipod). Conclusion: buy a Mac or buy the album on iTunes, or pirate the album. In fact pirating the album is the now the sole *best* way to get this album, because you can get a 100% compatible, full quality copy that you can’t even buy in the store. (notice that music piracy has probably been a huge factor driving mp3 player sales in the first place.) Woops, didn’t they do this to try to *hurt* apple? They have managed to only hurt themselves, both as sellers of PCs and as sellers of CDs, not to mention the fans of My Morning Jacket, and the band themselves.

    morons.

    I like MMJ and was considering buying this album, but now I’ll probably try to get a pirated copy and just go see MMJ in concert.

  45. DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

    Or, “Sony cripples its CD to spite iPod users”. Brilliant…

  46. Capybara says:

    Its a side point, but have people tried their copies of Z? Mine copied to I-tunes without any problem — no drm protection.

  47. Dylan Abbott says:

    Great post, and a lot of interesting info on the idiocy of DRM as a weapon of corporate subterfuge. However, I do have to ask you, which lossless codecs are “not-even-remotely-as-lossless-as-advertised-compression algorithms”? I know from experience that FLAC will give you a bit-for-bit identical decompressed file, assuming you’re starting from a 16-bit, 44.1khz original (which is what CDs are). I don’t have much experience with Apple Lossless, or APE, but I would assume that the same is true. Do you have any information that leads you to believe otherwise?

  48. Bryan G says:

    “Try before you buy isn’t a 30 second snippit.”

    Exactly.

    “If you are able to download a song via p2p you have no economic incentive to buy the CD. If you do, that’s just you being nice and obeying a law.”

    Wrong. In this new paradigm I am making a rational decision to support artists who put out quality material. I am giving them incentive to compete through the production of top notch music rather than flashy marketing or catchy artwork. My own incentive is to enable that artist to continue making excellent music instead of relying on ‘best of’ compilations and name brand recognition.

    99.8% of the music I listen to recieves no radio airplay, and 30 second samples do little to tell me about the quality of an album. I mean, I could purchase a car without getting it inspected or test driven becuase it looks nice on the outside, but frankly that’s a huge risk I’m not willing to take.

    It really isn’t much different than checking CDs out of the library before deciding which to purchase. Being equipped with full information is a theoretical lynchpin of the market system, and P2P is bringing this closer to reality.

  49. ann says:

    Well Danny, you’ve managed to imitate the process of argument for which advocates of the recording media are becoming famous for.

    - You distorted the issues being discussed.
    - You implied the critic was engaged in illegal activity which s/he felt entitled to because they were special.

    There is a war for the hearts and minds of the customers here, and your position is to win over the anal reactionaries. This might get you some bills in congress, but Senator Hatch is not a good model of a customer demographic.

    In “defending” Sony you have become a cliche of what it’s most active customers hate.

    And as for “influencers” get this. This blog isn’t the enemy it’s the warning canary. In lots of little blogs people will say to their dozen friends “sony sucks.” And those people will tell others. How and what information will spread can’t be predicted, it’s like teen “cooness,” but now they have the most sophisticated information propagation machine in history.

    And you are spreading the idea that Sony is humorless and repressive. Meanwhile Steve Jobs works on being cool. He is rich in hubris and his dream would be to dominate the hardware and delivery mechanisms.

    Technology and quite possibly society are going to be dong some shakin and rockin in the next 5 or 10 years and the record companies and defenders are positioning themselves as old Mr. Grumpy who thinks his critics are all thieves who belong in jail.

  50. Bryan G says:

    “Try before you buy isn’t a 30 second snippit.”

    Exactly.

    “If you are able to download a song via p2p you have no economic incentive to buy the CD. If you do, that’s just you being nice and obeying a law.”

    Wrong. In this new paradigm I am making a rational decision to support artists who put out quality material. I am giving them incentive to compete through the production of top notch music rather than flashy marketing or catchy artwork. My own incentive is to enable that artist to continue making excellent music instead of relying on ‘best of’ compilations and name brand recognition.

    99.8% of the music I listen to recieves no radio airplay, and 30 second samples do little to tell me about the quality of an album. I mean, I could purchase a car without getting it inspected or test driven becuase it looks nice on the outside, but frankly that’s a huge risk I’m not willing to take.

    It really isn’t much different than checking CDs out of the library before deciding which to purchase. Being equipped with full information is a theoretical lynchpin of the market system, and P2P is bringing this closer to reality.

  51. Bryan says:

    woops, apologies for the double post

  52. dick myers says:

    Though you folks are not generally techies, other DRM news on the hardware and security side:

    Sony DRM thought to install software on your computer, bypassing prudent security practices.
    See: http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights.html

  53. Dan Lewis says:

    I was able to get the new Switchfoot album into ITunes on the PC the day I bought it; it just took two hours because of their lousy DRM. Even after that, the last track has skips in it, and the cellophane wrapping was still warm when it went from the store into the drive. The metaphorical spit in my face was warm too, courtesy of Sony Records. Now I actually have to pirate a track just so my album doesn’t have skips in it. Piracy is my only protection. I can’t return my album because it skips. That sounds like that Seinfeld episode; “Sorry, we don’t accept returns for spite.” It’s digital media and I already broke the wrapper. Do I have to sue Sony?

    I listen to free, legal live shows at http://www.archive.org/audio/etree.php. I don’t need many incentives to walk away from the recording industry. When my few must-own albums throw up these barriers to me, I am that much closer to leaving forever; I haven’t listened to the radio in years, and the industry just isn’t reaching me any more.

    The old ways are dying.

  54. Janean says:

    Between this and this (the fact that the DRM rootkit cannot even be installed on a Mac), I am happier and happier to be a Mac user. Have you thought of doubly ‘voting’ against Sony by spending that $3,000+ you were going to use to buy a Sony Vaio on a MacIntosh Powerbook instead?
    ; )

  55. Brian Olson says:

    The other villian here is Microsoft which is in cahoots with the likes of Sony to produce a system (Windows) on which you can’t do with the CD other than what Sony and Microsoft will let you. If you can play a CD in a regular dumb CD player, then the data is fundamentally there and available, uncompressed, uncrippled. As they even noted, MacOS does the right thing, and Linux certainly will as well.

    Yes, I am a Mac fanboy.

  56. Thomas May says:

    One of the ironies of this, is that Steve Jobs made an attempt early on, before itunes took off, to enlist Sony in the use of AAC and Fairplay. At the time, there was no guarantee that itunes would succeed, and Sony wanted to push its proprietary ATRAC. Nothing became of this.

    The funny thing is, Apple created Fairplay specifically to bridge the gap between consumers needs and the record companies requirement for DRM. Apple’s overwhelming success with the itunes store can almost be directly related to having put in mild DRM in the first place, and the overwhelming success of the iPod + itunes application.

  57. felipe says:

    I´ve got a better solution for that DRM:

    1) go to torrenttyphoon.com
    2) search for the corresponding album
    3) download the torrent
    4) enjoy

  58. My Morning Jacket Z

    As previously discussed, the newest My Morning Jacket CD, Z, has some DRM software included. This doesn’t mean shite apparently, if you own a Mac, because I’m listening to the CD right now, and it plays fine.

  59. Mitch says:

    I bought “Z” and ripped it with Musicmatch, then crammed it into my iPOD. Worked fine.

  60. hello says:

    I would have bought a Sony HD5 audio player by now, but they lost that sale because of their idiot anti-piracy techniques.

  61. fishbrake says:

    Interesting post and I’m sure you’re being overwhelmed because of the Eschaton link, but I thought I’d put in my two cents. I’m a longtime Mac user and I have an iPod and use iTunes, but I think Sony has a point. They’re a hardware manufacturer and they’d like to be able to compete with Macintosh for the MP3 player market. Given the history of Apple products, including the recent bungled roll-out of the Nano, is it really a good idea to link all your music to their proprietary system? Historically their hardware is overpriced, and it’s obvious to me that they want to lock everyone into the iPod and iTunes system, regardless of what better or cheaper players may come out in the future from other manufacturers, including Sony.

  62. Pierre says:

    Sony is headed for oblivion. I hate their proprietary, overpriced Memory Sticks, and their proprietary battery technology. After going through four $90 batteries for my CyberShot, in three years (the failure of each one being “unusual bad luck”, apparently), my next camera was a Canon, which uses plain old AA batteries.

    I spend $1,700 on their product, and they can’t even reply to my emails? Up yours, Sony.

  63. Alasdair Patrick says:

    I’m no lawyer, but is there the slightest chance that one could argue that a DRM copy protected disc (perhaps any copy protected disc?) does not conform to the Sony/Philips “Red Book” CD standard and is there not a “compact disc”?

    It’s a bit like buying a vinyl LP that’s designed to play at 28 rpm.

  64. snacknuts says:

    from mefi: “Do you play Sony DRM-protected CD’s on your computer? If so, you might be wide open in terms of security. It seems that Sony is installing an almost-impossible to find rootkit on the computers of purchasers of their music. Their EULA doesn’t mention the fact that their ‘small, proprietary’ program goes much too far, managing to bypass security software, firewalls, etc.”

  65. Maynard Handley says:

    As for why Sony seems unable to get any traction in CE these days, this might help answer the question:

    http://us.gizmodo.com/gadgets/portable-media/sonys-new-proprietary-memory-scheme-compact-vault-134217.php

    As the article notes, Sony have just introduce, we kid you not, their SIXTH proprietary (and presumably twice as expensive as everyone else) Compact Flash type card.

    This isn’t even intelligent screwing over of your customers — you can get away with this sort of thing when you have a demonstrably superior product, but what exactly from Sony’s current line is demonstrably superior to anything anyone else makes? You can’t offer proprietary versions of commodity items like cameras and expect to gain any sales.

  66. Avo says:

    “If you have a Mac computer you can copy the songs using your iTunes Player as you would normally do.”

    So, buy a Mac! Wintel is part of the whole mindset that Sony exemplifies. Why support them?

  67. jbelkin says:

    Great recap. The whole thing is astonishing plus one other factor – in addition to the company above, even Macrovision admits their system is breakable so WHY ARE THEY BUYING IT? If I sold a home security system but said, ‘it doesn’t really work,” you wouldn’t buy, would you? Why do the record labels? Because the artists end up paying for everything? It’s so sad what’s going wrong at Sony – you should look into the Sharp TV screens, they are the leaders in the flat screens and hey, the Intel Macs should be out early next year :-)

  68. Maximus says:

    Being both a technology company and a content company seems to have induced fatal schizophrenia in Sony. Their music players have been crippled and unpopular, and now they’re screwing their recording artists by crippling their CDs.

    The best possible thing for them, probably, would be to sell the music and movie businesses, and get back to making technology, which they used to do really, really well.

  69. Mike Scott says:

    If ATO Records contract with Sony is for CD distribution of their records, then it seems to me that Sony is in breach of that contract. Because a “copy protected CD” is not a CD at all, it’s a 5″ optical disk in a format other than audio CD format.

  70. A Guest says:

    If they are so concerned about sending feedback to Mac to open their stuff, maybe we should start sending feedback to them, telling them to quit crippling our CDs because of some hissy fit tantrum.

  71. urban legend says:

    I had the exact same run-around with a sony CD. the sad fact is it’s easy to mp3 the cd and file share them. it just takes 5-10 mins longer than before. will this stop the file sharers? no. will this piss off the ordinary cd buyers? yes/ way to go sony, another reason your a bunch of idiots and I hope your company gies down the pooper soon.

    sony are useless and I will never purchase another product from them ever again.

  72. Mike Hoche says:

    My bizarre solution? I bought this CD (very nice btw) but haven’t even taken it out of the case. I downloaded the content from P2P (surely legal as I own the CD) and made my backups & nice playable CD’s from that. DRM does zero to counter piracy and much to counter legitimate sales.

  73. Aaron says:

    Nice article, but in my experience, all DRM on CDs is bypassable by preventing windows from loading a disc automatically.

  74. dave says:

    i had the exact same problem with the new switchfoot cd. same reaction from the band and record label. now they said they will exchange my cd with a non drm one. great story!

  75. dgorman says:

    So the DRM has a licence agreement to rip, woopdeedo.
    - Use “Window Restore” to create a back-up point before downloading the “sony spyware”.
    - Rip, Burn, etc…
    - Restore to the Save point before the “spyware”.
    This may take a bit of time, but, better safe than sorry.

  76. ioksotot says:

    Please see:
    http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights.html

    this is more than DRM… it could seriously compromise your computer

  77. Tilus says:

    To “urban legend”: Not all that simple in Finland. :-( We have this ridiculous requirement of “legal source” in our new copyright law. I could download the content of legally purchased CD from P2P only if those, whoever they are, distribute it legally. Innocence gives no protection. And it does not matter if you own a legal copy or not. You think this is insane? You are not alone…

  78. Rico says:

    “These arguments are just silly. Many stores used to have samples of songs – amazon has many samples of songs. If you are able to download a song via p2p you have no economic incentive to buy the CD. If you do, that’s just you being nice and obeying a law.”

    The “samples” they put on Amazon aren’t nearly enough to get a good feel for an album. Quite a lot of them contain a quiet intro, the first few words, then tail off.

    I don’t do P2P anymore. When I did, I was buying far more albums than I ever did before. Sure, I had plenty of stuff I’d downloaded that I didn’t buy the album for. That was generally the artists that had no substance outside the one or 2 songs they got known for. I refuse to pay $12-20 for crap, and I’m certainly not paying $5 for a CD-single.

    I only recently got an iPod Nano, and that only because it was free with a class I took. I love it because I can listen to Sci Fi podcasts and audio books. I listen to virtually no music on it (40 mile commute).

    Maybe its because I’m getting older, but I find I have only passing interest in music anymore. Maybe its just because most music nowadays is crap. Dunno. I’ll take a listen to MMJ for grins, maybe I’ll like it…

  79. Learjeff says:

    I’m curious what you mean by “not-even-remotely-as-lossless-as-advertised-compression”.
    My tests of lossless WMA and Monkey’s Audio (APE) formats show that they preserve the audio data with perfect bit-by-bit accuracy, based on tests using music, noise, and intermodulation signals.

    Those who claims to hear a difference with either of these are either experiencing a bug in the compression/expansion program (yes, bugs happen) or else are fooling themselves. If the audio data is identical on a bit-by-bit basis, and the format information is represented accurately, the resulting playback through any properly functioning player will be the identical to the original, just as it would be for a normal (digital) copy of the original file.

  80. Brandon says:

    The whole DRM thing is such a crock when I can load a “DRM protected” CD into my Linux box, rip it, and slap it on my iPod without a problem. Unfortunately, the general public is none the wiser. Most ppl will just follow Big Media’s lead and eat whatever is shoved down their throat’s. We tech weenies are only a sliver of society that can even grasp (or care about) the implications DRM has on consumer products.

  81. Jake says:

    How about you buy from a recording company that isn’t RIAA. It would end this entire mess instantly. And if you want to tell me that there is no good music that is not RIAA then you need to hop onto your favorite p2p service and start looking again.

  82. links for 2005-11-01

    EssentialPIM – the powerfully simple Personal Information Manager (tags: free download pim) The XHTML 1.1 Attributes (tags: xml html reference webdesign) p2pnet.net – the original daily p2p and digital media news site (tags: goodread drm copyright p2p…

  83. Nathanael Nerode says:

    It rips cleanly on Linux? Gee, what effective copy-protection that is (not).

  84. Peter M says:

    I’m not sure about the audiophile claims made here about compression quality. CD _is_ a digital media already, like it or not, recorded with a certain sample rate. It sounds absurd that someone can claim being able to distinguish between 128kHz and 320kHz sample rates – AND even bother listen to digital media at all!

    That said – DRM must be gone, and Sony along with it. The company isn’t even an electronics pioneer it once was, just grabbing the straws here and there to stay afloat.

  85. Holden says:

    CDex or EAC will allow you to rip these CDs under windows.

  86. Brad P says:

    Workaround.

    I have found that the Sony DRM CDs are very easily copied – you simply need software that can read multiple data partitions on a CD and voila! The music is right there, unadulterated.

    The best of breed in this area for Windows is EAC (Exact Audio Copy). I have found that while iTunes cannot “see” the DRM-protected disc, EAC has no problem distinguishing the data (put in to confuse CD rippers) from the music. It is then no problem to extract the music to a lossless format such as WAV and reburn a non-DRM disc at 100% audio quality. This “un-DRM’ed” CD may then be read by iTunes, MusicMatch, etc.

    I realize that this is too esoteric a series of steps for most users, but when I want my music (that I paid for!) I am going to get it. I agree completely that the DRM is in place for reasons that have nothing to do with anti-piracy, and consumers are the whipping boys. While I very much wish to compensate artists for their work, I have no interest in supporting a global corporation in a pissing match.

    Sony is behaving like a spoiled child now that their days of innovation are long over.

  87. Gulliver says:

    This is not only a ridiculous situation, it’s even illegal: http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights.html

  88. DRM and the power of blogging

    Last week David Lyons and Forbes published ‘Attack of the Blogs’ talking about how evil all bloggers are and how to combat our influence. I, along with most bloggers, was a little ticked off at the Forbes for publishing this…

  89. Adam (a different one) says:

    Here’s another story of Big Music losing out to a guy who was just trying to be honest and play by the rules… my own.

    About a year ago I purchased Dido’s “Life for Rent” in a Virgin music store, later to find out it was one of these bastard non-CD’s, easily identified (I now know) because they don’t carry the “Compact Disc Digital Audio” logo since they don’t conform.

    Although there are two Macs in my house, there are zero Windows boxes, so I don’t know how they would have fared. What I do now is this: at the time there were a total of five optical drives in the house (two Macs, DVD player, XBox, and DVD recorder). Of these, only the DVD player would even recognize it as a disc, much less play the damned thing. I got so pissed off that I recorded the audio using my PowerBook, then summarily passed out copies to anyone and everyone I could find, along with the story.

    And I’m a guy who is very picky about being “by the book” with music. I tried to do the honest thing, and got bitten. I haven’t bought a physical disc since. If iTunes doesn’t have it, I don’t need it.

    Bastards.

  90. Brian says:

    Have you tried ISoBuster on the disc? The latest 30 Seconds to Mars had similar, if not the same, ‘copy’ protection. ISOBuster was able to lock onto the audio tracks and export them as wav files.

    It sucks when you buy music, that you have to jump through hoops to get what you paid for onto your computer or iPod. Males me wonder why I still buy mainstream music, when local artists have the passion still..

  91. Jorge says:

    http://www.magnatune.com
    http://www.indieum.com
    http://www.3hive.com

    A month ago I wiped my hard drive, and now I only let legally downloadable/redistributable mp3s reach my hard drive.

  92. Inksaver says:

    It seems it is now obligatory for all windows users to d/l PowerToys from microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx
    Use this to disable auto-run on your CD/DVD drives.
    If you now insert any type of disc, it will no longer play/open and prevent the installation of DRM, unless you stupidly double-click it in Windows explorer.

    All my PC’s are now set up like this. If I purchase any CD it goes through the following process:
    Use EAC or Isobuster to extract the audio in WAV format, and burn to a CDR to produce a DRM free disc. The original is then put away in storage as a backup, as most of the protected ones will not play in my DivX capable DVD players. (I do not use CD players as they are restricted to audio cd playback only)

  93. Greg says:

    Pierre – Discs such as this do not conform to the standard and thus generally don’t say “compact disc” on top of the disc as regular audio cds do. If Sony doesn’t claim to conform to the standards and dosen’t use the marks that come along with the standard, they aren’t doing anything illegal by producing a disc with drm.

    At least not that way.

  94. Last Call!

    The Radical Religious Right: Officially Pro-Cancer(Paul Waldman, The Gadflyer) Cable News Coverage Of Alito Nomination Skewed Right(Media Matters for America) Alito Would Be 11th Catholic Appointed to Supreme Court: When Might We See a Muslim Supreme C…

  95. Lenny says:

    The first time I heard My Morning Jacket was on the Creative Commons-licensed Wired CD [1]. They really grew on me, and when Z came out I downloaded the free MP3 from it, available on My Morning Jacket’s website. Sadly, I had every intention of buying that album.

    I have AutoRun turned off on my computer, but what if a friend wants to borrow the CD? The mere presence of the CD means the chance of putting malware on my own computer or a friend’s is always looming over my head.

    [1]: http://creativecommons.org/wired/

  96. Gene Cowan says:

    What’s saddest about this saga is the toll it will take on the artists. They only get paid after the label recoups all their costs, and they will recoup those costs through all the revenue, including that percentage denoted for artist royalties. This can mean that the artists won’t see a dime of the CD sales until more than 300,000 are sold. And how likely is that to happen with crippling DRM and the bad word of mouth leading to boycotts?
    I’m really feeling horrible for the poor artists who created this piece of art only to have it wholly owned by a label and then made inaccessible.

  97. Andrew Herron says:

    The thing I find absolutely hilarious about all this windows-only copy protection is that in the current beta of Windows Vista, it DOES NOT autorun by default preferring instead to show the box that XP does when no autorun is found.

    This means that unless MS remove that / put in special code for copy-protected CDs, the protection software will never be installed and it’ll act just like macs do now…

  98. Copyright Craziness

    It keeps getting weirder.
    One journey through the strange world of DRM.

  99. Bruce Hayden says:

    The post by Pat is very, very, important to read before you buy any Sony recordings, esp. if you want to utilize them with a Windows environment. The DRM root kit they are installing is nasty. And then they don’t leave you any way to uninstall it.

    I am trying to do some more legal analysis and integration at: http://bhayden.blogspot.com/