"Stand Up" for your DRM
August 17, 2005 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Can you hear the future? Sunncomm can, and it's called copy protection. Sunncomm's Mediamax DRM, which blocks the purchaser from copying any files from the CD, is included on the latest Dave Matthews Band CD, Stand Up (as well as CDs from some other artists). The good news? It includes pre-ripped versions of the songs. The bad news? They're .WMA files. Apparently, Dave Matthews Band decided to help out all those iPod lovers who were getting hosed (perhaps in response to this) by posting instructions on how to bypass Sunncomm's copy protection. Of course, the last time somebody did that, he nearly got sued into oblivion. DMB's probably OK, however, because it seems that business is booming. Of course, that may not last long. [via] and [via]
posted by MrZero (48 comments total)
 
Just a warning for those thinking about purchasing the new DMB CD. I bought the Velvet Revolver disc, and accepted the EULA before I understood what was going on. I was royally ticked off.
posted by MrZero at 2:45 PM on August 17, 2005


Just another warning for those thinking about purchasing the new DMB CD: If I see you buying, listening to, or holding it, you will be made fun of.
posted by item at 2:50 PM on August 17, 2005


Man, I'm glad I don't listen to shitty modern music; this has no effect on me at all.
posted by keswick at 2:53 PM on August 17, 2005


I guess if you want to have high quality MP3s of the album, you're better off downloading it instead of buying it.

I hope we've all learned something.
posted by Jairus at 2:58 PM on August 17, 2005


Uh, isn't this the same DRM that can be "turned off" by either disabling autoplay in Windows, or holding down the shift key when inserting a CD?

DRM doesn't work, period.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:58 PM on August 17, 2005


Dave Matthews put out an album after "Remember Two Things?" Who knew?
posted by mrblondemang at 2:58 PM on August 17, 2005


Uh, isn't this the same DRM that can be "turned off" by either disabling autoplay in Windows, or holding down the shift key when inserting a CD?

Yes. I should note, that these people get paid a lot of money to develop DRM systems for a living.
posted by Jairus at 3:01 PM on August 17, 2005


Those guys are pretty punk then. They pulled off the Great DRM Swindle. Time to retire in Tahiti.
posted by keswick at 3:04 PM on August 17, 2005


Disabling autoplay? AHAHAHAHA

Seriously, who has autoplay on, anyway? Sheesh.

You can't put highly effective DRM on a standard CD without making it highly unplayable on legacy CD players. So instead we get these, uh... crazy hijinks.
posted by selfnoise at 3:05 PM on August 17, 2005


How much money is being wasted on crap "solutions" like this that force consumers to break the law to actually use the products they are buying? I need to crack the DRM to get the album into my iPod? WTF is wrong with these people?
posted by fenriq at 3:08 PM on August 17, 2005


FWIW, some blogs have reported recently that this DRM affects Mac users. Of course, it does not.
posted by waldo at 3:09 PM on August 17, 2005


I encountered the same deal with the last Sahara Hotnights CD. Launching the CD installed some licenses or whatnot, and I was stuck with .WMA versions for my portable. Not only that, but the application that launches when you play the CD actually spells the band's name wrong. Nicely done.
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:10 PM on August 17, 2005


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

Yet another half-assed DRM scheme. It apparently only works on Windows, meaning that every non-Windows CD player sees a standard, red-book compliant audio CD.

This isn't anti-piracy --- Mac and Linux users are perfectly capable of ripping the CD, as are savvy Windows users. This is about control.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:11 PM on August 17, 2005


I agree with Nathan. This really feels like a company testing the waters to see what they can get away with, since the scheme doesn't actually accomplish or prevent anything.
posted by selfnoise at 3:15 PM on August 17, 2005


Yes. I should note, that these people get paid a lot of money to develop DRM systems for a living.

My co-workers are I were talking about this at lunch today, and we've all determined that the DRM software world is the place to be. Gobs of money, and zero accountability for the effectiveness of your solution.

Although, my favorite remains the Cactus Data Shield DRM which can be thwarted with a Sharpie.
posted by SweetJesus at 3:15 PM on August 17, 2005


A note on DRMs effectiveness, I just checked a fairly popular music bittorrent site and there are three seperate full versions of this album (one with a bonus disc, one with a bonus track, and the "retail" version) availbe for download in 192kb mp3. Hooray for Hollywood!
posted by aburd at 3:17 PM on August 17, 2005


If Apple wanted to make their Ipods compatible with Microsoft's .wma files, wouldn't they have to pay Microsoft a royalty? I wonder if Sunncomm has some connection to Bill Gates.

By the way, Windows Media Player, according to its own help file, cripples its copies so a copy is never of the same quality as the original. If you bought a CD hoping to hear it on your Ipod, be prepared for a little pop and hiss.

The nature of the internet dooms schemes like this to failure, anyway. As soon as one 1337 haxxor cracks the program and posts the music, it's there forever.
posted by Jatayu das at 3:28 PM on August 17, 2005


From the DMB website:

" Please note an easier and more acceptable solution requires cooperation from Apple"

The easiest and only acceptable solution is to stop hosing up CDs with DRM, DuMBshit.

I am 100% against downloading files -- buy the CD and rip from there. However, my position changes 180 degrees with DRM CDs -- get the music however you can and give it away to as many people as possible. Burn extra CDs and leave them out for people to take. Mail one to Dave Matthews and hope he gets a paper cut.
posted by joaquim at 3:29 PM on August 17, 2005


So, if I buy this and rip it in Linux, am I breaking the law, or just being a dirty hippie Linux user (as usual)? I am truly confused.
posted by wakko at 3:32 PM on August 17, 2005


Wakko --- dirty hippie Linux user or, in my case, dirty steenking Mac user. Unless of course there is a license agreement under the shrink wrap: Then we are outlaws of the most despicable sort.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:36 PM on August 17, 2005


In today's world, we're all musical outlaws.
posted by fenriq at 3:39 PM on August 17, 2005


Dave Matthews is a loser and Velvet Revolver too.

Yeah, I know the record company made this decision, but it's their record so they get tagged with the DRM a**hole award. They can redeem themselves by publicly proclaiming that they support concert bootlegs.
posted by caddis at 3:51 PM on August 17, 2005


For all you ragging on about Dave Matthews, wtf? I mean, yeah, I don't like him or his music either, but he should be COMMENDED for the approach he has taken. Who gives a shit what his music is like, it's a high profile artist speaking out against DRM and the actions of his record label. This is a GOOD THING.

That said, I read about this the other day and didn't understand the "cooperation from Apple" thing. I *think* maybe they're talking about getting the DRM stripped from the iTMS versions of the songs, but I'm not sure.
posted by dobbs at 4:16 PM on August 17, 2005


That said, I read about this the other day and didn't understand the "cooperation from Apple" thing. I *think* maybe they're talking about getting the DRM stripped from the iTMS versions of the songs, but I'm not sure.

I think it's more likely that they mean that you wouldn't have to bypass their crappy DRM to play your music on an iPod if Apple would support their shitting WMA versions of the songs. So, they get that it's bad that people can't play the music they buy on an iPod, but they don't get that DRM is bad for about a thousand other reasons in addition to that specific use case.
posted by willnot at 4:26 PM on August 17, 2005


I mean, yeah, I don't like him or his music either, but he should be COMMENDED for the approach he has taken. Who gives a shit what his music is like, it's a high profile artist speaking out against DRM and the actions of his record label.

I missed the part where DM spoke out against DRM and his label. Can you show it to me?
posted by Jairus at 4:27 PM on August 17, 2005


Here's my straw man argument against DRM:
Music listeners can be grouped into about three groups as far as their opinions on DRM.
Group one buys everything they want to hear. DRM will frustrate them because it limits their options for listening to music they actually purchased.
Group two doesn't buy any of the music they want to hear. DRM won't stop them from getting it any more than advanced software copy protection stopped the zero-day scene.
Group three buys some music that they consider worth the purchase price, and downloads some music that they aren't sure about yet. DRM won't frustrate them too much at all when downloading (see group two), but will probably prevent them from buying more music because it frustrates them to use properly purchased music (like group one).

People in Group One will buy less music because of their frustrations, but won't download more (unless they move to group two or group three). People in Group Two aren't buying any music anyway, and DRM won't make them buy any more music. People in Group Three will buy less music because of their frustrations, and will download more.

Now, consider an anti-DRM world. Group One buys more music. Group Two keeps downloading unchecked. Group Three can download music to see if they are actually going to like it before shelling out the money. Group Three presents a very strong argument against DRM for this reason-- even if they don't consider the music worth purchasing, they are still listening to the music and will show more brand-familiarity in the future. They will also communicate with friends, family members, and acquaintances about the music they hear, so free word-of-mouth advertising.

So, the Anti-DRM world is one in which people don't have to buy music to try it out. This encourages diversity and competition in the free market. (i.e. If I hear your music and think it is junk, less people will buy it.) So quality improves as does selection. It also encourages people to seek out more music and buy more equipment.
The Pro-DRM world, by contrast, is one in which people can only hear what Big Music wants them to hear, and can only do so on the approved equipment. (If only your Soby DRM-Pro music player can play your music, you won't want to buy any other equipment.) It doesn't matter what they actually want to hear-- only what Big Music approves will be available to them. So it isn't necessary for a musician to be talented, only to be able to convince Big Music they are worthy to be crammed down the world's throats.

Big Music is trying to reduce Group Two. Their attempts in the technological arena have failed. Their attempts in the courts have met with limited success. Their attempts in the legislative system have met with limited success. In the end, all they have succeeded in doing is frustrating Group One and pushing more Group Three users away from Group One into Group Two.

The answer? Speak with the only voice Big Music listens to-- your wallet. Support local music. Support independents. Don't buy anything with DRM on it, no matter how badly you want to buy the latest derivative crap from another cloned band. But you already knew that.

*steps down from the soap box*
posted by leapfrog at 4:39 PM on August 17, 2005


They can redeem themselves by publicly proclaiming that they support concert bootlegs.

Um.. DMB kinda already has. Most of their past shows have been taped, and almost every show on this summer's tour has had at least one taper there. In addition, they are evidently trying to correct the error they made with the DRM on the new album.


Also, any other Ants here on Mefi?
posted by anarcation at 4:39 PM on August 17, 2005


I'm definitely in leapfrog's Group 3. Actually, I just about tripled my CD buying this year (from 0 for 2 years to 3, with more that I'll probably get soon - okay, so I'm not a big music consumer) after I discovered how I coould download a song or two. But I won't buy your album if I can't rip it to mp3.

Everyone should go buy Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill's The Lonesome Touch instead. It's such a brilliant album. I'm not even that much of a traditional folk fan (I prefer mine fusioned) - they are both such wonderful musicians that this is leagues ahead of most recordings.
posted by jb at 5:20 PM on August 17, 2005


I missed the part where DM spoke out against DRM and his label. Can you show it to me?

The link that says "Dave Matthews Band decided to help out all those iPod lovers who were getting hosed" goes to the official DMB web site where the "workaround" is laid out in detail. Would you not consider that the band speaking out against DRM? I would.
posted by dobbs at 5:38 PM on August 17, 2005


Man, this reminds me. I gotta go and clear out some space on my hard drive, because all the music I download from bittorrent and buy from Forced Exposure is taking up too much room. Piratebay.org has some pretty wild rare psych stuff that I'm diggin' on (too bad the 1.5 gig comp of some guy's private psych collection gives me a "tried to access too many files" error. If anybody knows what I'm talking about and wants to send me some of it in discrete chunks, I'd appreciate it).
Oh, and man, some of the local bands around here have been putting out amazing albums. The Dirtbombs, I've been talkin' them up to everyone I meet. And Lisboa (whose lead singer is a member here) put out a decent one. I'm sure that he'd blanche, but if you like DMB, you'd probably enjoy Lisboa too... Oh, and Lingua Franca. They're not really my bag, but if you like DMB, there's no DRM on the Lingua Franca album and it's pretty solid.
posted by klangklangston at 5:50 PM on August 17, 2005


Um.. DMB kinda already has.

Hooray for Dave Matthews. He's no loser. He's a rock 'n roll hero.
posted by caddis at 5:51 PM on August 17, 2005


Ants?
posted by caddis at 5:52 PM on August 17, 2005


I hate the Dead. I really, really hate DMB. But I give both bands a wee bit of credit for allowing taping. I just wish they had some talent.
posted by bardic at 5:55 PM on August 17, 2005


Jerry was the son of God, or something like that. (before this comment completely derails the thread, I still want to know what was meant by ants.)
posted by caddis at 5:59 PM on August 17, 2005


The link that says "Dave Matthews Band decided to help out all those iPod lovers who were getting hosed" goes to the official DMB web site where the "workaround" is laid out in detail. Would you not consider that the band speaking out against DRM?

I wouldn't consider that speaking out against DRM anymore than posting a guide called "how not to get shot in Iraq" is speaking out against the military. His guide addressess the deficiencies of the DRM scheme in providing pre-ripped content (such as those WMA files) to iTunes users, nothing more.
posted by Jairus at 6:00 PM on August 17, 2005


The link that says "Dave Matthews Band decided to help out all those iPod lovers who were getting hosed" goes to the official DMB web site where the "workaround" is laid out in detail. Would you not consider that the band speaking out against DRM? I would.

It's not a workaround. All they're describing is how to get the low-quality secure .WMAs onto the user's computer and then how to use these files as source material for other digital usage. If they were in fact speaking out against the DRM, they'd be telling their listeners not to accept the EULA and to avoid autoplaying the disc.
posted by kowalski at 6:08 PM on August 17, 2005


Ants = member of the fansite Ants Marching.

*raises hand*
posted by danb at 7:53 PM on August 17, 2005


I quit listening to DMB after 'Satalite'.
That has to be the most musically stupid song ever... And I've heard some CRAP!

Plus, doesn't he like to soil tourists/pollute waterways with human (roadie) waste? That's just wrong, man.
posted by Balisong at 8:20 PM on August 17, 2005


Doesn't it bother the fans to be compared to mindless insects slaving under a hive mind?
posted by klangklangston at 11:02 PM on August 17, 2005


THE FANS DISLIKE QUESTIONS
posted by Jairus at 11:09 PM on August 17, 2005


klangster.
posted by bardic at 2:55 AM on August 18, 2005


This would matter more if there were any CDs worth buying, or were ever going to be any CDs worth buying in the future.
posted by jfuller at 4:15 AM on August 18, 2005


If one really wanted to pay for crappy music, one could always do so and help "stick it to the man" *plus* support the sagging Russian economy by just obtaining it @ AllOfMP3.com (at about $2.00USD for CD quality crunchy goodness).
posted by hrbrmstr at 6:04 AM on August 18, 2005


there are three seperate full versions of this album (one with a bonus disc, one with a bonus track, and the "retail" version) availbe for download

You know, the funny thing is that most album rips only get one or two torrents, tops. I have a feeling that the pirating community took some genuinely pride and joy in ripping the DRM from this CD's ass.

When you create a challenge for these folks, you're asking for trouble.

By the way, here are thousands of awesome, rare, and legal recordings of just about everyone you can think of. Registration may be required, but it's free. THE POWER OF BITTORRENT COMPELS YOU!

Doesn't it bother the fans to be compared to mindless insects slaving under a hive mind?

Ok, that's pretty funny.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:13 AM on August 18, 2005



Just a warning for those thinking about purchasing the new DMB CD

OBJECTS INVOLVING DAVE MATTHEWS MAY SUCK EVEN MORE THAN THEY APPEAR
posted by stenseng at 8:28 AM on August 18, 2005


I'd like to personally thank everyone who took a thread about DRM and decided instead to use it to voice their opinion (one way or the other) about the Dave Matthews Band and Velvet Revolver.

Because I, like everyone else on MeFi, was wondering how you felt about that. Now we can all run out and change our opinions about [enter band name here] because we know how you feel.

Thanks, now GYOBF.
posted by 27 at 9:06 AM on August 18, 2005


I'm loving how they blame Apple for the problem. Apparently, they feel that WMA is a industry-wide standard, and that anyone who doesn't support WMA is in the wrong.

Well, yet another reason I am sick of the RIAA / Microsoft crap. Both companies abuse their customers, and feel they have a right to do so, because it bring them profit.

In the meantime, I'll be happy to continue using my iMac & my iPod. And rip all those copy protected CDs that the Windows users can't use.

(Looking over at my Dell machine, wondering how much I can get for it to buy a second Mac laptop to replace my Averatec Windows laptop. Sigh.)
posted by benjh at 9:26 AM on August 18, 2005


Unless this object actually has "Compact Disc" written on it, stop calling it a CD. It's not a CD if it doesn't let you play it like a regular CD.

If, on the other hand, it's just got a data layer with an EXE file that they hope your computer will be stupid enough to run with Administrator priviledges, then it probably is a CD, and it's just made by morons.
posted by odinsdream at 11:09 AM on August 18, 2005


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