Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dam Drm

Within various personal constraints I don't think of myself as a music pirate. So first my confessions. When Napster first came out I had a try and downloaded a King Crimson album but left it at that and I don't bittorrent. While most of my MP3 collection is either purchased (iTunes, Classics online and Bigpond) or downloaded from label/individual sites freely available, I do have a fair chunk of MP3 recorded vinyl (iPod or similar hooked up to amp via the earphones, giving long, single disk side or tape recordings: no-one else would want!) or ripped cds (again, only personal use). And I did associate 'We7', 'adverts' and 'audacity' in the same sentence/s - but those tracks would be downloadable 28 days later ad-free, and at that time the ads were for We7. And I did let them know when I got a few downloads that were ad-free straight off.

So the only real impact of drm for me is that the iTunes tracks won't play on my eeepc as it runs linux, and I had to burn the wma tracks to cd and rip to get MP3s. So I was pleased when Bigpond started selling MP3s (with some great classical bargains - a 17 cd Chopin complete set for $16.50: though their tagging doesn't include disk number at the moment which is a nuisance and another matter).

Anyway, my computer recently died, but luckily all the music is on an external disk, and I decided to make a dvd of my Bigpond wmas for security. Did that, then tried to play them (to check the copy) to no avail. The originals wouldn't either. So I went back to the Bigpond site FAQs and found that the tracks will only play on the computer you bought them on - and if you want/need to play them on another you need to repurchase them. Now I understand the reason the rights management, and agree with most, but this is outrageous. When you bought a new stereo, turntable, cassette player you didn't need to rebuy all your various forms of music. It takes management to extreme levels. And explains why people do pirate the stuff.

Luckily for me I had MP3'd them all (legally?) and now will only buy their MP3s - which are totally drm free: what a turnabout! I wonder how many people have really read that fineprint? At least iTunes allows a reasonable number of registered computers.

OK, so this is probably not news to most, but I feel better getting it off my chest.

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