Skip

Johannson on Trial for appeal
December 2, 2003 7:24 AM   Subscribe

It's the equivalent of "You can play the CD on three designated CD players that support the DRM. Like, it will play ONLY on xyz brand cd player and only three of those that you pick. Yes, you have to stick to that brand of cd player (the iTunes player, the supported OS of iTunes, no unix support in sight) and too bad if you have a fourth one in the bedroom. It's not gonna play in your second car's player either. Nor in the kitchen. Nor on your neighbor's player. Nor can you trade it on the used market when you're tired of listening to it. "
"They finally found a way to sell you some wind. Even better, they will restrict the direction and force in wich the wind will blow, how often and where it will happen..."

As "DVD-Jon" Johansen goes to retrial, a backlash is rising in the media & community towards Apple's DRM (digital rights management), a week after this same kid created an open-source program that lets users copy the songs that they bought onto other sources.
posted by omidius (28 comments total)

 
Since when did The Register's resident troll Andrew Orlowski constitute 'the media & community'? And it's not as if anyone's forcing you to use Apple's DRM - you can always just buy the CD (which you could also get by burning iTunes Music Store files... hey, wait a sec!)
posted by adrianhon at 7:49 AM on December 2, 2003


But the thing that makes all those tired complaints against iTunes and Apple's DRM irrelevant is that the same music can be purchased many other ways if this particular way does not float your boat. Don't like iTunes? Don't shop there. Problem solved. Buy the CD somewhere else and quit yer damn whining! As for me, iTunes serves many of my needs just fine, thank you.
posted by spilon at 7:55 AM on December 2, 2003


Orlowski isn't "the media and community" but represents a general consensus of confusion and frustration of the DRM principle. MacWorld, Mac Observer, The Register, Slashdot, Windows & Net Mag, and hundreds of smaller sites have established this position. (googled news)


Just because it doesn't exist in godawful CNN news art, doesn't mean it has no voice.
posted by omidius at 7:57 AM on December 2, 2003


If you don't buy it, they will shun.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:02 AM on December 2, 2003


spilon: If the rights controls and restrictions placed on material that you purchased seems fine by you, then by all means go right ahead. No one is stopping you.

There are people, who happen to believe, that money-sucking media should not be standing over a company as innovative as Apple. These people, beyond simpleton thinking, believe that technology and innovation is being stifled at birth due to rampant threats of DCMA and intellectual property rights.
I choose not to buy into the CD that plays in 3 places.
posted by omidius at 8:02 AM on December 2, 2003


ZachsMind: Bingo
posted by omidius at 8:04 AM on December 2, 2003


It's funny, really. There's no compromise on the part of the consumer at all. "I want to buy just the songs I like, but I'm not willing to compromise on what I can do with them." "CD's cost too much so I'll just take what I want without paying anything." "Napster rocks 'cause everything is free. Free! FREE!" Most important amongst these is, well, free.

It's what's lead to the WalMartication of retail. Sometimes the compromises are more costly than we know until it's too late. Just ask the folks who have paid the price in jobs, wages and healthcare allowing "Low Prices Everyday" to run roughshod over them.

Now amazingly this isn't a digression. The beefs that music distribution is too expensive may be valid but consider the other possibilities. Musicians might not be able to generate the revenues necessary to continue purusuing their art. Music distribution might simply not happen since bandwidth costs money (still) and ain't nobody giving it away anymore. It's easy to bitch about compromise positions but expecting everything to be free isn't terribly reasonable. Walmart is simply the poster child for the inherent costs of putting price and convenience ahead of all other values.
posted by shagoth at 8:54 AM on December 2, 2003


I choose not to buy into the CD that plays in 3 places.

Good for you. Different strokes for different folks, right? I still don't see the problem. Now, if the only way to buy music was via a download that you could only play on three devices, that'd be different. But the way I see it, the music business in general was a severly broken enterprise before iTunes came along. If nothing else, it is a massive dose of innovation that can only be good in the long run. Look how fast the imitators came along. If iTunes doesn't work for you, there are other options out there, and more on the way. And if downloads in general don't work for you, there are still CDs. These are all just baby steps that the music biz needs to take so they can evolve. Look at the movie industry: there are many different options available to you for how you wish to watch a movie. These are all different sources of revenue that add up to keep the business alive. Music needs to follow that same path. iTunes is just one giant stepping stone along the way.
posted by spilon at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2003


Why all the focus on Apple? What about Microsoft and their WMA DRM format?
posted by gyc at 9:51 AM on December 2, 2003


Why all the focus on Apple? What about Microsoft and their WMA DRM format?

Because you can't get get WMA files on the Internet's most popular legit music download site.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:57 AM on December 2, 2003


Orlowski isn't "the media and community" but represents a general consensus of confusion and frustration of the DRM principle. MacWorld, Mac Observer, The Register, Slashdot, Windows & Net Mag, and hundreds of smaller sites have established this position. (googled news)

Funny that the Mac Observer, MacWorld, Windows & Net, etc., articles don't express issues with the DRM but are merely reports on the hack itself. The W&N article is even says it hopes this won't endanger the future of DRM limited downloadable music. Maybe consensus has a different meaning where you come from.
posted by chris24 at 10:15 AM on December 2, 2003


It's not whining to point out the potential problems with a system. Spilon - maybe you have looked at the cost/benefits and decided it's a good deal. I think you're wrong, but you're free to make that decision. A lot of other people though may not fully understand what they're buying renting from Apple or other vendors who are selling media that is crippled by DRM.

I'm concerned that soon it won't be possible to get media that isn't crippled by DRM. I want consumers to be educated so that they make choices which prevents that from happening.
posted by willnot at 10:51 AM on December 2, 2003


Right about now, I want to pull out the Marshall McLuhan quote about how we're constantly trying to get tomorrow's technology to do what we're doing today. Of course it's difficult or impossible to sell a song you purchased that has DRM protection, because there's not really anything to sell! It's the equivalent of selling a contract for a very low amount of money. Not even worth it. If you don't like the terms, then don't accept the contract.

I tend to think that, in the end, DRM will lose. Not because it restricts your rights or destroys quality, but because it's just not worth the cost. Right now, a lot of DVD companies are opting to not use Macrovision on their DVDs. Why? It's useless. Those individuals who want to copy DVDs for profit are doing it anyway, and it just gets in the way of people trying to watch a movie (as anyone who has had to watch a DVD hooked to a TV through a VCR will attest). Yet companies pay a small cost for that technology every time they use it.

Apple's authentication servers aren't running for free. There's an upkeep cost, and while it may be small compared to the resources used to download the files, it exists. It's just a matter of time before somebody realizes they're throwing money down the toilet.
posted by mikeh at 10:53 AM on December 2, 2003


the same music can be purchased many other ways if this particular way does not float your boat

You'd be right if there were real competition in the music industry. But there isn't. All distribution in the music industry is controlled by a cartel that has been already been convicted of price-fixing.

This cartel will design the terms of all DRM. The RIAA is currently working with Microsoft to get new "trusted computing" laws passed to legislate other forms of distribution out of existence.

Jobs did a great piece of work in negotiating the best possible deal for the consumer from the cartel, but it's still not good enough value for money. That's why consumers are still voting for the crappy usability of Kazaa.

It would be in Apple's interest to get rid of DRM, so everyone could rip, mix and burn. iTunes doesn't make money anyway, although Apple makes it up on sales of iPods that people want because of the availability of mp3s.

Apple abandoned "Rip, Mix and Burn" because the RIAA was gearing up to sue them out of existence. The RIAA forced DRM on Apple, since it gives them control over the revenue stream that pays the lawyers and promotion people, and prevents artists from finding non-RIAA channels for distributing their work.
posted by fuzz at 11:06 AM on December 2, 2003


I have over two hundred songs from the iTunes Music store. I love it. The DRM is an annoyance to me. But so is the evironmental impact of the packaging and shipment of CDs. I have very little time to spare in my day (new baby) and being able to shop for music via the iTunes store is great. I think that the AAC files sound very good and I've burnt copies of most of the records I've bought. Also, the music can be stored on an unlimited number of iPods -- which is great if you want to share with friends that have iPods. I don't have one, though. :(

People really just make a big deal out of things sometimes, don't they? Everything just has to suck. Especially when it has anything to do with Apple. There are a cadre of Online Music stores that use DRM that have the same issues. Why not say the same thing about them?

Selling wind? I think that the Fair Use issue is important, but why all the drama? Why not aggresively break the DRM on the GameCube games and complain about Nintendo's anti-freedom stance? Ever since some magic moment in 1997 music has become software. Some software is free, some music is free; some software uses iLok and dongles and complex web auth schemes to make sure that it is only run on the machines that it was bought to run on and some music does the same thing. Who cares? This has nothing to do with Free Speech and virtually nothing to do with Fair Use (you buy the media knowing the terms of it's use and how they are enforced and tacitly agreed with them when you clicked buy.)
posted by n9 at 11:17 AM on December 2, 2003


Can someone who's following this more closely than I am explain how his program differs from iTunes built-in ability to convert DRM'd song to a non-DRM'd wav file?
posted by dmd at 11:20 AM on December 2, 2003


Can someone who's following this more closely than I am explain how his program differs from iTunes built-in ability to convert DRM'd song to a non-DRM'd wav file?

Yes, it's very simple. The protection-stripping program strips the protection from the file, whereas iTunes has no feature which can convert a DRM'd file into a WAV file.
posted by kindall at 11:47 AM on December 2, 2003


"iTunes has no feature which can convert a DRM'd file into a WAV file"

Burning it to CD creates a file with no DRM. Then do whatever you want to that file.
posted by chris24 at 12:03 PM on December 2, 2003


Then do whatever you want to that file.

Ooh, you mean like re-rip it to play it on a player that supports DRM-less MP3s?

And in answer to the small tribe of Apple Taliban who argued that the analog hole was already open, "StoneRoses" argued thus -

"A lot of people still don't know the diffence between DRM strip-off (QTFair use) and reencoding (burn CD -> Aiff -> AAC). For 128kbps range, the degradation when you decode - reencode is significant."


Damn. Guess not.

:: copies down phrase "apple taliban" for later use ::
posted by eyeballkid at 12:09 PM on December 2, 2003


Burning it to CD creates a file with no DRM. Then do whatever you want to that file.

Okay, I guess for the anal among you, I should have said that iTunes has no single feature that will directly convert DRM'd files into unprotected WAV files.

Apple's DRM is pretty toothless, really. Clearly the idea is to set the bar high enough to deter casual copying. Burning audio CDs and re-ripping them is a not insignificant time investment and you're probably not going to bother for every DRM'd song you buy.

For 128kbps range, the degradation when you decode - reencode is significant.

It's not really THAT bad, I've done it a few times.
posted by kindall at 1:07 PM on December 2, 2003


kindall and n9 are spot on. I love iTMS and have bought tons of music and have yet to be slowed down by its DRM method. I make CDs for friends. And I can make a zillion copies if I had so many friends. I've copied songs onto my Powerbook for long trips but mostly rely on my trusty iPod.

iTMS was designed to sell more iPods. As a side benefit anyone with a mac or pc can buy songs at 99cents a pop.

Someday soon we won't be able to rip music from CDs like we can now.

And I imagine when the MSN music store opens it will make the iTunes model look good.
posted by birdherder at 2:46 PM on December 2, 2003


Someday soon we won't be able to rip music from CDs like we can now.

What makes you think this? None of the current CD copy protection mechanisms prevent ripping in modern drives, and the stronger methods break enough legit players that it's just not worth it.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:50 PM on December 2, 2003


For 128kbps range, the degradation when you decode - reencode is significant.

It's not really THAT bad, I've done it a few times.


No worse that dubbing a tape a second time.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:51 PM on December 2, 2003


Someday soon we won't be able to rip music from CDs like we can now.

What makes you think this? None of the current CD copy protection mechanisms prevent ripping in modern drives, and the stronger methods break enough legit players that it's just not worth it.


What about SACDs and DVD-Audio? Aren't they copyprotected by default? Not that audio CDs are going to go away anytime soon, but conceiveably one day in the future we'll be able to fit hundereds of non-lossy rips of SACDs onto our portable music players.
posted by gyc at 3:57 PM on December 2, 2003


Do you really think that SACD and DVD-Audio are going to replace CDs? Like MiniDisc replaced tape? No, the 5" digital audio disc format will die, before CD is replaced by another 5" digital audio disc.

IIRC DVD-Audio is completely rippable, as the DVD standard is a rigidly defined file system. The only thing you're missing is access to the crypto key area, and DVD crypto was cracked long ago.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:49 PM on December 2, 2003


Ach, ignore my belligerence, I completely misread gyc's comment.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:51 PM on December 2, 2003


kindall: It's not really THAT bad, I've done it a few times.

inpHilltr8r: No worse that dubbing a tape a second time.

Which would be fine if you weren't paying the same price the track as you would be if you bought it on a perfectly rippable cd.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:48 AM on December 3, 2003


The beefs that music distribution is too expensive may be valid but consider the other possibilities. Musicians might not be able to generate the revenues necessary to continue purusuing their art.

So? You're not guaranteed a stable lifestyle and income just because you claim to be an "artist". Last time I checked, there was a right-of-passage among artists where they "struggled" and "starved". You make it seem that without CD sales and giant industries to support them, musicians will simply shrivel up and die. "Won't someone think of the artists?" Yet there are plenty of examples of bands existing and producing solely on the largess of their fan base.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:45 PM on December 3, 2003


« Older Yule regret this   |   Better Late Than Never Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post