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Playsforsuren't
May 7, 2008 2:18 PM   Subscribe

The Day the Music Died The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) [...] has also been warning anyone who would listen that they should not “purchase” encrypted music from these services, since if these services go under then all that “purchased” music will no longer… what’s the word… “play”. But mostly people ignored them (and me), because, you know, Microsoft was at the center of it all, and nobody ever got fired for “buying” from Microsoft.
posted by desjardins (67 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Heh. I did a lot of post-launch alterations to teh PlaysForSure website back in the day, which IMHO had a pretty nice comparison chart for non-ipod MP3 plays (until updates to the data became patchy). Now it's gone, and points you to Certified for Windows Vista Hardware and Software instead.
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2008


When are companies going to realize that when you offer an inferior product (DRM protection, lower bitrate, etc.) at a higher price (say...$.99 vs. free), you will lose every time?

Probably about the time people realize these services are a joke and demand better.
posted by rooftop secrets at 2:31 PM on May 7, 2008


iTunes is still doing alright isn't it?
posted by Artw at 2:34 PM on May 7, 2008


I remember thinking that PlaysForSure™ was bound to be an ironic joke someday, but I didn't think it would be quite in THAT way.

If Microsoft treated its big business customers the way they treat individual customers... wow.
posted by rokusan at 2:34 PM on May 7, 2008


I avoided iTunes because of the DRM, but I now buy some non-protected stuff there. It's slick.
posted by rokusan at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2008


rooftop secrets writes "When are companies going to realize that when you offer an inferior product (DRM protection, lower bitrate, etc.) at a higher price (say...$.99 vs. free), you will lose every time?"

When marketing stops working.

Seriously. Just because this failed doesn't mean that people don't buy mountains of overpriced crap. Never underestimate the stupidity of the average consumer.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:36 PM on May 7, 2008


Last I checked, the iTunes DRM workaround was laughably simple — "back up" the album you bought to a CD, and then rip that CD. Blank discs are cheap enough these days that it's more of a hassle than anything else.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:38 PM on May 7, 2008


I don't have highly refined legal skillz, but isn't the company breaking their agreement here? I'm guessing when the consumer purchased the license, they were promised that they could play the song on multiple (3? 5?) systems. Now that the servers validating these licenses are shutting down, consumers are not going to be able to play the song on a different computer. It seems that the consumer has paid for a service that they're not receiving.

Maybe the EULA says something to the effect of "oh, and while we say that you can use the file on more than one system, we might kill our servers in the future, and in that case you're s.o.l.", but if not, I think that Microsoft would be liable here.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:38 PM on May 7, 2008


Well, I'm no expert, but from what I've seen Terms are generally Subject To Change Without Notice.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:39 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


When marketing stops working.

Which, if history is any guide, will be never. *sigh*
posted by rooftop secrets at 2:39 PM on May 7, 2008


I love that the solution that Microsoft itself offers (according to the EFF) is apparently to burn the music, in un-protected form, to a CD and then copy it back to the machine. . . Which the RIAA defines as piracy.
posted by The Bellman at 2:40 PM on May 7, 2008


Of course you can easily remove the DRM from the music you have legally purchased, so you can continue to listen to it.

...
...
...
...
...

Only kidding, that's a federal crime under DMCA! Happy silence everyone!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:42 PM on May 7, 2008 [7 favorites]


"back up" the album you bought to a CD, and then rip that CD. That would be fine if you weren't using lossy compression, but as it is you lose a lot of fidelity by compressing the music twice.
posted by aspo at 2:46 PM on May 7, 2008


It's not a crime to copy stuff under the DMCA, what's a crime is to distribute software to help people copy get around DRM.

In other words, it's legal as long as you can figure out how to do it yourself and don't tell anyone.
posted by delmoi at 2:47 PM on May 7, 2008


There's always tunebite, which skips the cd-burning and just digitizes directly from the 'analog hole'. At least one music-subscription service exec I've spoken to felt that transcoding tracks with it, didn't violate their EULA.
posted by nomisxid at 2:48 PM on May 7, 2008


I don't have highly refined legal skillz, but isn't the company breaking their agreement here? I'm guessing when the consumer purchased the license, they were promised that they could play the song on multiple (3? 5?) systems. Now that the servers validating these licenses are shutting down, consumers are not going to be able to play the song on a different computer. It seems that the consumer has paid for a service that they're not receiving.
I think Microsoft's argument goes something like: Why of course you can play that music whenever you want, but only if you never ever ever get a new computer.
posted by peacheater at 2:51 PM on May 7, 2008


delmoi, the DMCA "criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, even when there is no infringement of copyright itself"

Section 103 (17 U.S.C Sec. 1201(a)(1)) of the DMCA states:

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:53 PM on May 7, 2008


I think Microsoft's argument goes something like: Why of course you can play that music whenever you want, but only if you never ever ever get a new computer.

An iPod, at least doesn't phone home to play locked music. It can't. It's got no wirless (and not as much space as a Nomad)
posted by mkb at 2:56 PM on May 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


mkb - I beleive that FairPlay actually does the exact same thing a PlaysForSure service does.

BTW, does anyone know what the state of play is with the other PlaysForSure services like Rhapsody? Presumably one of them shutting down would be a bigger deal, since people actually used them.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on May 7, 2008


I've been following this over the past week, and I keep coming back to the fact that it's pretty goddamn easy to LEAVE EVEN A LOW-END A SERVER UP to authorize purchased "Plays For Shit" music.

I guess they want to drive traffic towards the Zune store, where Microsoft is now planning on being Zune copyright cop for NBC.

Not that I ever bought anything there. At least the iTunes Store is far less draconian (their DRM is more of a titty twister than anything).
posted by porn in the woods at 3:10 PM on May 7, 2008


Things that may not work any more if I had a player that used to work but suddenly stopped working:
- My 8 tracks.
- My HDDVDs
- Play For Sure.
- My copy of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (for the Atari 2600)

Interesting that HDDVD hasn't received the same bad publicity. It'll soon be super hard to find HDDVD players, there's the microsoft connection, the thing is DRM'd to the hilt making it very difficult to make a backup & a bunch of people are going to suddenly find themselves with media that they can't play when the hardware starts failing.

I'm not making a moral judgement here. What microsoft has done is reprehensible. But I thnk that the comparison with media for outdated hardware is a valid one.
posted by seanyboy at 3:13 PM on May 7, 2008


You'd think it would be worth the effort to avoid a PR disaster, wouldn't you?

Of course most of what I've heard about it has been from frothing at the mouth "M$ Sux!" types rather than people actually affected by it (I suspect a vanishingly small user base), and I'm sure Microsoft has given up on those people long ago.
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2008


Also, while I'm thinking on it... If a CD I own fails, I lose all the music on that too. Hell. If a have a Hard Disk style catastropic failure (CD's are stolen or flooded out), I lose all that music. Good luck getting BMG or Warner to send me new copies.
posted by seanyboy at 3:23 PM on May 7, 2008


Interesting that HDDVD hasn't received the same bad publicity. It'll soon be super hard to find HDDVD players...

Luckily, they've archived the media on Usenet.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:27 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


seanyboy, you're missing the point entirely. If your 8-track or HD-DVD player gives up the ghost, or your CD gets scratched, it's an accident. If Microsoft chooses to turn off the servers that let people listen to music that they've paid for... Microsoft is choosing to turn off the servers that let people listen to music. That they've paid for.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:36 PM on May 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hmm... supposedly it took more than just leaving the server running, and upkeep was the issue:

"every time there is an OS upgrade, the DRM equation gets complex very quickly," said Bennett, general manager of entertainment, video, and sports for MSN. "Every time, you saw support issues. People would call in because they couldn't download licenses. We had to write new code, new configurations each time...We really believe that, going forward, the best thing to do is focus exclusively on Zune."
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on May 7, 2008


seanyboy, a more apt analogy is that a BMG or Warner rep comes into your house and scratches your CDs so they are unplayable.
posted by desjardins at 3:49 PM on May 7, 2008


If my HDDVD gives up the ghost, I'm stuffed because Microsoft et-al stopped providing HDDVD players because they are no longer profitable.

If my Plays for Sure key gives up the ghost, I'm stuffed because Microsoft et-al stopped providing Plays for Sure keys because they are no longer profitable.

I don't believe I'm missing the point at all.
posted by seanyboy at 3:50 PM on May 7, 2008


desjardins: It's my understanding that the music will continue to play until the hardware you play it on is replaced. There's no deliberate scratching of CDs.
posted by seanyboy at 3:52 PM on May 7, 2008


I know I'm utterly unable to tell the difference between someone ceasing to manufacture 8-track players, and someone triggering the self-destruct mechanism calling all of my 8-tracks to blow up.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:53 PM on May 7, 2008


Wow. It makes me glad I hate music.
posted by hexatron at 3:56 PM on May 7, 2008


Zed_Lopez: It's my understanding that the music will continue to play until the hardware you play it on is replaced. There's no triggering of a self-destruct mechanism
posted by seanyboy at 3:57 PM on May 7, 2008


The second my favorite bands hit the studio with their crazy schemes of turning talent into profit is the second I stop listening to them anyway. At that point they are no longer underground enough for me. I am wholly unaffected by this development and corporate servitude in general.
posted by clearly at 4:14 PM on May 7, 2008


"It's my understanding that the music will continue to play until the hardware you play it on is replaced. There's no triggering of a self-destruct mechanism"
But hardware fails, the second law of thermodynamics takes care of that. So long as there are people who want to listen to their 8-track tapes, the market will (and does) provide players. The "self-destruct" mechanism in the PlaysForSure is built into the fabric of the universe.
posted by fydfyd at 4:17 PM on May 7, 2008


As one of the comments in the links said, this will affect all 26 people who purchased Playforsure music.
posted by caddis at 4:25 PM on May 7, 2008


But hardware fails, the second law of thermodynamics takes care of that. So long as there are people who want to listen to their 8-track tapes, the market will (and does) provide players. The "self-destruct" mechanism in the PlaysForSure is built into the fabric of the universe.

Actually, when you put it like that, the self-destruct mechanism for any media format is built in.

And let me tell you, it pisses me right off that the heat death of the universe is gonna fuck up my record collection like that. It's completely inconsiderate. You'd think they'd at least keep a perpetual motion machine or two on hand so that I could still listen to My Bloody Valentine while the stars wink out.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:43 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hotmail seems to dump an account, and all of the contacts associated with that address, simply by not logging in for 30 days. With enemies like that, who needs Satan?
posted by Brian B. at 4:59 PM on May 7, 2008


Someone better tell Rhapsody and Napster that PlaysForSure ain't gonna work no more..

Oh wait, no they shouldn't, because they'd be dumb and wrong..

This is related to MSN Live or some such abortion of a spinoff that pretty much no one subscribed to.

I mean, that don't make it right, but, please, you just have to switch you subscription to one of the other services. (aka Napster, Rhapsody, etc)

Meanwhile, I won't say I'm a fan of the crappy interface or piss poor device selection, but, it's a bargain.

I picked up a Sansa c250 at Circuit City for $37 (2 gigs) - got a 2g MicroSD card for an additional $25 and ended up with a 4gb player for under $70 with tax. The c250 came with a free month of Rhapsody and I can pay for an additional year or so worth before I come close to what the digeratti pay for a brushed titanium pink nano or whatnot.

And get this, it's always full of whatever I want. I don't mind losing the music when I turn off the subscription since most of the songs I'll never listen to again anyway.

Short of piracy, it's the easiest and cheapest way to listen to anything you want..
posted by PissOnYourParade at 5:24 PM on May 7, 2008


"I'm not making a moral judgement here. What microsoft has done is reprehensible. But I thnk that the comparison with media for outdated hardware is a valid one."

When your 8-track stops working, you can buy another one. When the DRM-validation stops working, you can't buy it from anyone else because Microsoft has refused to license the technology (or release it).
posted by klangklangston at 5:31 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


But if I wanted to transfer my vinyl, cassette, 8-track music to digital media, I'm free to do so. If I wanted to transfer PlayForSure to un-DRM it, I'd be breaking the law.
posted by geoff. at 5:35 PM on May 7, 2008


Microsoft could, and should, easily release a program to un-DRM the relevant files themselves. They could even wrap it in a click-me EULA that authorises you the user to use it to un-DRM your files and not thereafter distribute them blah-di-blah-di-blah.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:32 PM on May 7, 2008


The second my favorite bands hit the studio with their crazy schemes of turning talent into profit is the second I stop listening to them anyway. At that point they are no longer underground enough for me. I am wholly unaffected by this development and corporate servitude in general.
posted by clearly

That's pretty underground.
posted by micayetoca at 6:33 PM on May 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


"every time there is an OS upgrade, the DRM equation gets complex very quickly," said Bennett

Why do they need to upgrade the OS? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
posted by marble at 6:41 PM on May 7, 2008


As someone who thinks DRM is highly problematic, I think this is a hugely wonderful teaching moment. Anybody who buys DRM'd content is sending the wrong message to content producers, no matter who you buy it from. So stop, already!
posted by Slothrup at 7:02 PM on May 7, 2008


I love that the solution that Microsoft itself offers (according to the EFF) is apparently to burn the music, in un-protected form, to a CD and then copy it back to the machine. . . Which the RIAA defines as piracy.

I think the publication of this knowledge would also be prohibited under the DMCA, qualifying as distributing a means of circumvention.

Of course, it doesn't matter that it's illegal for MS to give this advice, because the copyright holders (RIAA) aren't going to file suit.

But I wonder if an individual artist could? They are rights holders, and can demonstrate damages using as precedent the same batshit-insane metrics the RIAA (ab)uses.

These crazy US laws need to be made into a sim-city like game where you can poke the stupidity from the safety of a simulated universe, just to see what happens :)

poke.... fizz.
poke poke... fizz
poke... fizz
poke... BOOM!

posted by -harlequin- at 7:25 PM on May 7, 2008


desjardins: It's my understanding that the music will continue to play until the hardware you play it on is replaced. There's no deliberate scratching of CDs.

Yeah! It's like you paid for a VHS tape, and the company told you it was a VHS tape, and then the company changed it all to Betamax because they decided to get into the DVD business.

But your tapes still play on your now-Betamax player, so what the fuck are you complaining about? They didn't physically break anything. Also, who the fuck watches VHS tapes anymore anyway? Luddite.
posted by spiderwire at 8:35 PM on May 7, 2008


... listen to My Bloody Valentine while the stars wink out.

emo^2
posted by spiderwire at 8:37 PM on May 7, 2008


But I wonder if an individual artist could? They are rights holders, and can demonstrate damages using as precedent the same batshit-insane metrics the RIAA (ab)uses.

NB: Almost no major-label artists actually hold the rights in the recordings of their music. It's signed over to the label as part of their contract. The rights in the composition are generally signed over to ASCAP or whoever.
posted by spiderwire at 8:49 PM on May 7, 2008


Yeah, what -harlequin- said; how is un-DRMing the music via backup and re-rip not a violation of DMCA laws, and Microsoft's suggestion to do this itself not a DMCA violation? Someone should sue them, just to make them go through the hassle of defending that (as for the act of turning off the license servers, I'm sure the EULA always had buried in it the "Microsoft is not liable if we decide to stop supporting this music).

I also don't see how DRM would be complicated to maintain; certainly it's not servers, as my days in MSN Operations showed that they'd pay someone a decent salary to maintain a 10-server farm for shit like MSN Newsletter. Now that they've tried to compete with google, they have into the six figures of servers, and there's no question they could afford to keep the MSN Music servers licensed indefinitely simply as assets: keeping a running "License farm" with backward support would always be a drop in the bucket to maintain compared to their other expenditures. At the least, there's no financially compelling reason they couldn't just pay the money to buy every MSN Music customer the same song from an un-DRMed source, but they don't want to because those suckers might actually be dumb enough to re-buy the same music for the Zune. As for the "upkeep": I don't buy it. If changing OSes makes your DRM so fragile, then you've designed your DRM poorly, since it should be entirely OS agnostic.

And as noted in that interview's comments, this will happen with far bigger issues: starting with Windows XP, the operating system itself literally runs only by benefit of Microsoft; if Microsoft wants, they could discontinue the actual functionality of Windows XP today on countless millions of machines around the world- not just for new installs, but running machines. When that happens... the class action lawsuits should surely begin if a "Run Windows XP without activation" patch isn't made freely available.

People give us "music pirates" crap, but if you have to pay $1 to get a poorly encoded (128/160/192kbps) mp3 that you can't even transport or use without their say-so... that's a horrible deal. DRM-mp3's are worse than just buying the CD: it's more expensive per track, it's much lower quality, and as it turns out unlike the CD, you never actually "bought" the mp3: you just leased it until Microsoft et al decided you couldn't listen to it anymore.
posted by hincandenza at 8:49 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, what -harlequin- said; how is un-DRMing the music via backup and re-rip not a violation of DMCA laws, and Microsoft's suggestion to do this itself not a DMCA violation? Someone should sue them, just to make them go through the hassle of defending that (as for the act of turning off the license servers, I'm sure the EULA always had buried in it the "Microsoft is not liable if we decide to stop supporting this music).

Short answer is that, first, the DMCA doesn't actually prohibit advocating that people develop or deploy anti-circumvention measures. §1201(a)(2) just says you can't "manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic" in those technologies.

Second, no one has standing to sue them. The civil remedies in §1203 apply to the entity deploying the protection measure -- in this case, Microsoft itself. The criminal penalties in §1204 only apply to people circumventing protection measures "willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain," which is per se not Microsoft.

Basically, Microsoft has no liability for suggesting that people circumvent Microsoft's own protection measures. I suppose there'd potentially be a problem if they suggested circumventing PlayForSure -- notwithstanding the first point -- since that's not just Microsoft, but as I understand it this only applies to MSN Music.

Of course, all that also probably means that, for the purposes of the DMCA, they could just turn off the DRM and be fine. The reason they won't is that the labels would sue them for breach of contract. That certainly means more to them than the brief PR hit they'll take for this.
posted by spiderwire at 9:03 PM on May 7, 2008


Comeuppance!

Anyone else upgrading their mp3 collection to FLAC just to rub it in?
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:08 PM on May 7, 2008


And as noted in that interview's comments, this will happen with far bigger issues: starting with Windows XP, the operating system itself literally runs only by benefit of Microsoft; if Microsoft wants, they could discontinue the actual functionality of Windows XP today on countless millions of machines around the world- not just for new installs, but running machines. When that happens... the class action lawsuits should surely begin if a "Run Windows XP without activation" patch isn't made freely available.

That's not true.

First, as a practical matter, the government and the companies running XP wouldn't let Microsoft do that even if they could.

Second, they can't do this even if they wanted to. XP doesn't contain a remote off-switch.

Third, it's not even illegal. The anticircumvention provisions get exempted in this case under Sony v. Connectix.

... as it turns out unlike the CD, you never actually "bought" the mp3: you just leased it until Microsoft et al decided you couldn't listen to it anymore.

No, if it was a lease, you could at least rescind the contract and return it. As it turns out, it's a usage license, so you can't even do that. Surprise!
posted by spiderwire at 9:15 PM on May 7, 2008


Nobody can ever apply DRM to my ukulele.
posted by davejay at 9:51 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


...Entirely by coincidence, I happen to be writing a research paper on this topic at this very moment, so I thought I'd put together a little FAQ for everyone:

Q. So let me get this straight -- if I buy something that's copyrighted like a book, the copyright owner can prevent me from using it afterwards if they want to?

A. No, silly! When you "buy" something, you get what lawyers like to call "first sale" rights under §109 of the Copyright Act. Copyright owners are only allowed to recoup profits on that first transfer. So you can sell the book to someone else or burn it or do whatever you want with it after you've bought it.

Q. So since I bought my copy of Photoshop, I can sell it to someone else if I want to?

A. Of course not! You just "licensed" your copy of Photoshop. That license is between you and Adobe. You don't own anything to sell to someone else!

Q. So what did I buy from Adobe?

A. The right to use Photoshop, of course.

Q. I didn't agree to any of this.

A. Yes, you did. There's a license on the outside of the box and a EULA when you install it. Don't you read things before you sign them?

Q. I didn't sign anything.

A. You clicked a button. It's the same thing.

Q. Well, what if I figured out some way to skip that part?

A. Then you'd be violating the DMCA and you could go to jail because you're a software pirate.

Q. OK, that was just a hypothetical question. But I could delete my copy of Photoshop and sell someone else the disks and stuff, right? That's not pirating.

A. Nope! Adobe doesn't want to license with them.

Q. Um... what if I sold them the whole computer with Photoshop on it?

A. Illegal!

Q. Wait, didn't I buy Photoshop before I agreed to all this? And from someone besides Adobe?

A. Yes, but since you could have returned the software before you agreed to all that, it's now part of the contract between you and Adobe. It's more efficient that way!

Q. But I didn't buy this from Adobe, I bought it from Best Buy. And they won't even let me return it without a restocking fee

A. Sounds like Best Buy's problem to me!

Q. Wait, you just called this a "contract." I thought it was copyright. Like, to prevent people from pirating Photoshop and stuff.

A. It's both!

Q. So what about that "fair use" stuff I've heard so much about? Isn't selling my computer to someone else "fair use"?

A. Doesn't apply! That's in the license, too.

Q. Wait, so how can Adobe "contract" with me, even though they don't actually commit to any of the protections I'm supposed to get under federal copyright law, but they still get all the protections that send me to jail if I pirate their software?

A. Whoa, slow down there, chief! It's all right there in §201(d) of the Copyright Act, in plain English. If you contract for it, copyrights can be split up and transferred however you want!

Q. Even if you just contract for all the stuff that helps you and none of the stuff that hurts you?

A. Don't forget warranties! Since this isn't actually a "sale," you also don't get any of those silly guarantees that things will actually "work"!

Q. Wait, isn't all this contract stuff state law?

A. So?

Q. This seems kind of unfair. It doesn't sound like I'm getting protected much at all. What's to prevent someone from just wrapping a book in shrinkwrap and saying that if I open it I don't get any first sale rights or anything else?

A. Well, nothing.

Q. What? Who does that?

A. Well, the Maryland State Bar Association.

Q. Seriously?

A. Yup.

Q. Couldn't you do that with anything? Like, "here's some seeds, but the license says you can't plant them except where I say?"

A. Yup. Monsanto does it.

Q. That's insane. Why not just sell goldfish with a "license" that says "you can't put these in a tank with other goldfish or we'll sue your pants off"?

A. Funny you should mention that. You know those glow-in-the-dark goldfish they came up with a while back?
posted by spiderwire at 9:57 PM on May 7, 2008 [24 favorites]


marble writes "Why do they need to upgrade the OS? If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Aye, there's the rub though isn't it. Every unsupported MS OS has glaring security holes, I doubt the current OSes will be any better once they are off EOL support.
posted by Mitheral at 10:29 PM on May 7, 2008


Anyone else upgrading their mp3 collection to FLAC just to rub it in?

People, don't do this.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:51 PM on May 7, 2008


Not that i was going to, Civil_Disobedient, but would you care to elaborate, just for the sake of information?
posted by micayetoca at 8:06 AM on May 8, 2008


micayetoca, converting MP3 files to FLAC will result in files which are marginally less high-fidelity and considerably less compatible with music players. It is not a useful thing to do.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:12 AM on May 8, 2008


Oh, I see. Thanks very much.
posted by micayetoca at 8:24 AM on May 8, 2008


DRM has no effect on my life because I don't buy DRM-ed music.
posted by tadellin at 9:28 AM on May 8, 2008


Subscription, people.

For the cost of 1 CD per month, I can listen to (practically) any CD I want. Millions of tracks.

If there is something I just absolutely love I can always buy the CD. Once you get several hundred, or even several thousand, CDs, you don't listen to most of them anymore.

If the subscription service I use goes the way of the dodo, then I just change to another subscription service.

Everyone mocks subscription until Apple does it. The day iTunes offers subscription (which is coming, by the way), then everyone here will be singing Hosanna!.

Kind of like how some people in this thread, and every similar thread, are basically saying "Don't buy DRM'd music! DRM is for chumps! Except stuff from iTunes, because Apple will be here FOREVER."
posted by Ynoxas at 12:11 PM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


MP3 blogs. MP3 blogs are the answer to this question; not subscriptions, DRMed songs, podcasts, 8-tracks, or wax cylinders.
posted by spiderwire at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2008


It's funny, but I've got in front of me a 10-cd Miles Davis pack that I got for 10-15 euros, DRM free.
posted by ersatz at 1:16 PM on May 8, 2008


converting MP3 files to FLAC will result in files which are marginally less high-fidelity and considerably less compatible with music players. It is not a useful thing to do.

Rockbox can help with the compatability problem. And by "upgrade," I mean to replace the mp3s with new lossless FLAC files -- not physically convert them. I will, however, concede that FLAC is very non useful. The appeal is decadence. Scrooge McDuck moneybin of wasteful audio fidelity.

/luxuriously rubs self with one's and zero's
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2008


Maybe I should just turn that in as my paper. :) Right now the intro is just making fun of the fact that for years commentators have been making jokes about putting "shinkwrap" licenses on books in order to prevent first sale — as a way of demonstrating how stupid the decision in ProCD where Easterbrook decided to permit such licenses really is — and then, lo and behold, who goes and does it but the Maryland State Bar Association!

Incidentially, and I also used a quote in this current draft that I found via a thread here recently:
There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. —C.A.R. Hoare
So, thanks, whoever posted that. :) Thanks, MeFi!

Hey, any charitable and kind-souled lawyers (they have to exist somewhere!) feel like giving this sucker a quick glance over this Sunday/Money by chance? ;D Just need a second set of eyes.
posted by spiderwire at 1:36 AM on May 9, 2008


*Sunday/MonDAY; sorry, the honor code would prevent me from remunerating you even if I wasn't broke. But we could go out for drinks or something... If you don't mind my aforementioned brokeness. ...on the bright side I can be DD. ;)

OK, that's it for derailing the thread. Any more and it's off to the gray or the green, swear it.
posted by spiderwire at 1:39 AM on May 9, 2008


In retrospect, I think that my MeFi comment was probably better than the paper eventually turned out. I should have just copy-and-pasted it a few dozen times and turned that in.
posted by spiderwire at 2:40 PM on May 16, 2008


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