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Michaelwagner
2006-05-13, 12:29
Do you own songs bought online? Well, sort of
http://ca.us.biz.yahoo.com/rb/060513/column_pluggedin.html?.v=1


Owning implies control and if you bought the tracks on iTunes you don't have complete control,


Beyond just having songs you bought from iTunes "trapped" on the iPod and in iTunes, it's also not a snap to move songs from an iPod - whether you bought them or initially pulled them off a CD - back up to a computer. While it's possible to do so, Apple doesn't make it easy, right off the bat, because it's trying to discourage piracy.

But there are a number of different and perfectly legal reasons why you'd want to be able to do that.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-05-13, 17:26
DRM just means less value for the consumer, and more control for the corporation. DRM is not something that has ever been requested by consumers - I frankly can't believe so many people just accept it.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-13, 19:26
I think a lot of people feel disenfranchised in our society (look at the voter turnout in any recent election) and feel they have no other options other than acceptance.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-14, 09:09
It is kind of tough to maintain a boycott when all companies are doing this now. There just isn't a choice anymore.

For example, take a look at this thread:

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=23321

It was about non-RIAA labels, but it kind of died off because so much of the industry is signed with an RIAA-affiliated label and so (indirectly) supports DRM.

It's sad that the choice has been made already for us though.

All those people foaming at the mouth for Windows Vista have no idea what's in store for them in terms of DRM. Microsoft have quietly slipped in all sorts of very sophisticated, very powerful controls, including hardware-level controls, to ensure that if they don't want copying, there will be no copying, period. Again, all this with no consumer consultation. We just buy the products!

It's nice that in this country artists are speaking out against it:

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060509/artists_copyright_060509/20060509/

but Canada doesn't have a large enough voice in the world to make a difference in this matter. What's adopted in the U.S. becomes the world standard, and the industry lobby groups are far too powerful there. The battle has already been fought and the consumer lost. Actually there wasn't really a debate or a battle, the record industry just decided they were going to do this and they did as a unified whole.

Due to the evolution of online music, with one dominant player, the average consumer hasn't yet experienced cross-platform compatibility issues - they play their iTunes-purchased DRM music in iTunes or their iPod and don't see the issue so they're quiet about it. If it were really to come to the forefront they'd raise hell, but the unfortunate part about this is that it wouldn't matter because it's too late already.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-14, 11:34
So what's to do about it?

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-14, 12:03
Nothing - it's just a crappy state of affairs. I was reacting to what Pale Blue Ego said:


DRM is not something that has ever been requested by consumers - I frankly can't believe so many people just accept it.

It makes me mad, but obviously it doesn't bother Joe Six-Pack, so we have this stinking mess for at least the near future now. We're stuck with it - the battle is over before it was even declared.

I guess it's kind of like whining about gas prices, there's nothing anyone can do about it and there are few alternatives. You just have to sit down and take it. Doesn't mean you have to like it.

stinkingpig
2006-05-14, 16:36
....It is kind of tough to maintain a boycott when all companies are doing
this now. There just isn't a choice anymore.
And yet I've somehow managed to avoid buying into it. There is a choice, the
problem is that you have to make that choice. You aren't going to get
DRM-free Rolling Stones albums without breaking a law*, but you can totally
get DRM-free Neko Case albums just by signing up with www.emusic.com.

1) Choose the artists, labels, and distributors who are not supporting DRM.
When you buy a player, make sure that you can play unencumbered formats on
it.
2) If you want something that is DRM protected, you need to make a choice
about whether you want it badly enough to crack the DRM yourself or download
it illegally.

* Oh, but what about buying a CD from a used CD store and ripping it
yourself? Currently not illegal in the US, but the intention to make it
illegal is clear and present. Enjoy this avenue while it's present.

--
"I spent all me tin with the ladies drinking gin,
So across the Western ocean I must wander" -- traditional

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-14, 20:30
And yet I've somehow managed to avoid buying into it. There is a choice, the problem is that you have to make that choice. You aren't going to get DRM-free Rolling Stones albums without breaking a law*, but you can totally get DRM-free Neko Case albums just by signing up with www.emusic.com.

1) Choose the artists, labels, and distributors who are not supporting DRM.


I do definitely like that idea, but for me, my music preferences are largely out of my control.

There's stuff I like that I have no idea why (Aqua! <blush>), and there's stuff I dislike that I really should like. (The White Stripes)

Unfortunately all of what I like is in the DRM camp, and try as I might I can't stop liking it. I have stopped buying it though and I'm sticking to older albums.

Also the matter has already been decided - so much of the music industry (~99%) is now following DRM that I'm not convinced a boycott will do anything.

stinkingpig
2006-05-14, 20:44
> I do definitely like that idea, but for me, my music preferences are
> largely out of my control.


everyone's are :) But note that Last.fm and Pandora are giving you a window
of exposure into music that you are more likely to like, which may be
DRM-free -- just go to your Last.fm page, click the Neighbors tab on the
right, and start listening to what you find there. Sites like Emusic and the
artist's own site are excellent ways to get the music.

There's stuff I like that I have no idea why (Aqua! <blush>), and
> there's stuff I dislike that I really should like. (The White Stripes)


Don't get me started :)


Unfortunately all of what I like is in the DRM camp, and try as I might
> I can't stop liking it. I have stopped buying it though and I'm
> sticking to older albums.
>
> Also the matter has already been decided - so much of the music
> industry (~99%) is now following DRM that I'm not convinced a boycott
> will do anything.
>
>
The only levers you have are money and votes.

--
"I spent all me tin with the ladies drinking gin,
So across the Western ocean I must wander" -- traditional

Michaelwagner
2006-05-15, 04:50
I haven't bought a new album in a while, I shop mostly at beatgoeson.com (a little canadian chain for used CD sales), but I thought DRM was still the exception rather than the rule in actual bought in the store CDs.

opaqueice
2006-05-15, 05:09
To me, the very phrase "intellectual property" is an oxymoron. I think the concept of property should only be applied to tangible objects - things which can be damaged or destroyed, or things which when someone takes them from you you no longer have them. This is not the case with music, or books, or anything else which can be copied exactly without changing the original.

The entire concept needs to be re-thought, and the laws need to be re-written. Copyright (in the US at least) was originally intended as a balance between providing an incentive for artists (very unclear that this is necessary - did a lack of copyright protections stop Bach from composing?) and the public good, which benefits from having free access to art and information.

The current term for copyright is life of the author plus 70 years, and is extended periodically - so it's effectively eternal. There is no longer any balance.

While Joe Sixpack may not care about this, I think the ease with which the law can be (and is) violated using computer technology will eventually force a change.

funkstar
2006-05-15, 05:22
I haven't bought a new album in a while, I shop mostly at beatgoeson.com (a little canadian chain for used CD sales), but I thought DRM was still the exception rather than the rule in actual bought in the store CDs.
DRM isn't included on CDs (appart from mixed mode CDs that also have the compressed version on a data track), but "copy protection" is.

Well, copy protection is a little strong, as with EAC and my Plextor Premium i have yet to find a disk i can't rip.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-15, 06:38
I haven't bought a new album in a while, I shop mostly at beatgoeson.com (a little canadian chain for used CD sales), but I thought DRM was still the exception rather than the rule in actual bought in the store CDs.

Its use has greatly expanded. This logo first appeared on CDs in 2005:

http://www.ifpi.org/site-content/images/copy-control-1.gif

Its use has expanded quite dramatically. It is on nearly every major release now and is moving into less well-known artists and releases.

The industry may be moving to a "secure chain" arrangement - we're starting to see this with HDMI. Playback will only be possible with "secured" devices that pass their output to other "secured" devices. Such devices have hardware locks that prevent copying and prevent interception of the data stream by an intermediate device.

There's still "the analog hole" - if you can hear it, you can record it - possibly straight off the speaker output or via a microphone pointed at the speakers! Amazingly, even this may be plugged. Digitally-projected movies have an optical code in them that certain new video cameras will read and prevent recording. Audio could be treated the same way.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-15, 06:54
To me, the very phrase "intellectual property" is an oxymoron.
Well, that may be a bit much.

With no intellectual property rights, many performers, writers of computer programs, designers, etc, would have no income stream and no incentive to do what they do other than altruism, which only goes so far putting bread on the table.

Your Bach analogy has problems. Bach had a rich sponsor, several actually. But his music was only for the rich, so almost no "popular with with the poor" music has survived from that time, because no one paid for it to be written down.

If we give up performance royalties, we get only music suitable for the rich and powerful.

Personally, I don't want to listen to "The War on Iraq, an incomplete sonnet in 3 parts, commissioned by G. W. Bush" for the next 50 years.

opaqueice
2006-05-15, 07:05
With no intellectual property rights, many performers, writers of computer programs, designers, etc, would have no income stream and no incentive to do what they do other than altruism, which only goes so far putting bread on the table.
Your Bach analogy has problems. Bach had a rich sponsor, several actually. But his music was only for the rich, so almost no "popular with with the poor" music has survived from that time, because no one paid for it to be written down.

If we give up performance royalties, we get only music suitable for the rich and powerful.

Personally, I don't want to listen to "The War on Iraq, an incomplete sonnet in 3 parts, commissioned by G. W. Bush" for the next 50 years.

That's an interesting argument, but your doomsday scenario is far from the only possibility. For example, suppose copyright was abolished entirely and replaced with an "art tax" paid into a fund. The tax might be on blank media, or simply be part of an income tax, and the fund would support artists, perhaps based on popularity of their work. Of course things like that already exist, for example any institution which supports the arts and recieves government funding, but imagine it on a larger scale, and more formalized.

Of course artists could continue to make money via live performances, sponsors, etc., just as they do now.

Does anyone really think that such a system would result in less music/art being available to the public? I think quite the opposite. The fact is, nobody really knows - but one thing is clear, that art has always existed, long before copyright laws, and was accessible to rich and poor. I don't think that's going to change.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-15, 08:09
The tax might be on blank media

This is already done in Canada. My understanding is that this is on blank cassettes (remember those? :-) ), blank CDs, blank DVDs and flash media (SD, CF, etc.)

It's not on hard drives.

I keep hearing how "hated" the tax is by consumers. Interestingly, it seems to mostly be retailers spreading this info - there are petition sign-up pages at many retailers' sites. But it must not be all that bad if I can get 50 CD-Rs for $9.99...As a consumer I can't say that I see it or that it bothers me much.

This is part of the reason of the rather lackadaisical attitude (compared to the near-religious fervor in the U.S.) of the Canadian government toward copying - it's already built into the price of blank media. There is a push on to tighten this up, but interestingly the artists are pushing back as I posted earlier in this thread.

Of course the worst-case scenario here would be if the tax is kept yet the laws are tightened up at the same time. Wouldn't surprise me, but it really should be one or the other.

All this goes to support the artists, and from what I can tell there seems to be sufficient legislation and governmental support. A minimum quantity of radio play needs to be Canadian artist content. The industry here seems healthy to me and generates music I actually want to hear. Of course the lobby groups are whining that sales are down due to "piracy" but there are ulterior motives for such statements as we've seen in the U.S.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-15, 08:36
Yes, we have a tax on blank media in Canada, and it's supposed to be in support of the artists and to take cogniscence of the fact that some piracy does occur.

However, the copy protected versions of things still make it here, so we are getting the worst of both worlds.

I listen to a lot of obscure bands and buy their music from the stage after the gig. So far, that stuff has all been free and clear of entanglement.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-15, 08:46
However, the copy protected versions of things still make it here, so we are getting the worst of both worlds.

You're right, I never realized that.

One or the other...not both.