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Chronicling the Failures of DRM

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the customers-don't-like-annoying-products dept.

Music 206

Barence takes us to PCPro for a look at the failures of DRM and a discussion of its impending death. Quoting: "Luckily, DRM is dying, at least in the download sphere. Napster's Dan Nash believes that DRM-free is 'the general way things are going.' In his opinion, record companies 'have no choice but to adapt;' those that 'stick to DRM on a pay-per-download basis will not remain competitive.' In the US, Napster has joined Amazon in selling DRM-free content in MP3 format from all the major labels. ... Going DRM-free makes sense not just for consumers, but for the industry. Deutche Telekom says three out of four technical support calls its Musicload service had to deal with were the result of DRM. And when it offered a DRM-free option to artists they saw a 40% increase in sales."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804067)

I just took a massive shit. Then I put it in the freezer. Tomorrow when it's nice and hard, I'm going to slide it in and out of my ass.

Re:fp (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804549)

This is on topic: this is what DRM is like!

Re:fp (0, Redundant)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804875)


Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805205)

I'm John McCain and I approve this message.

Wow, if only someone will listen... (3, Interesting)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804077)

Yes, we all know DRM sucks. and is broken, and no one wants to accept it (unless it is from iTunes..). Now, this is great for the end user to know - but even better if people in industry would pay attention!

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (1) (912690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804339)

but it took one hell of a battle to get there ..
while we all knew it had to come sooner or later it's still quite amazing that it took so long to turn around!!
If those ON the money want to strongarm the industry in a certain direction, they certainly got momentum... why am i think of petrol all of a sudden!

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804929)

If sales do increase across the board when DRM is removed, share holders should demand the CEOs of record labels be fired on the spot.

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804347)

Wow, if only someone will listen

Don't expect the mainstream music industry to listen. Based on what they try to pass off as product, they are quite clearly stone deaf.

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804921)

I guess that goes for hollywood too, eh...

DRM is not dead yet! (4, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804661)

- but even better if people in industry would pay attention!

Of course all those other attempts have failed. It's because they didn't use my super secret (and soon to be patented) method for riskless, full control family friendly DRM 2.0.

Now shut up until I close the deal with these twits, would ya?

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804919)

Now, this is great for the end user to know - but even better if people in industry would pay attention!

Your vote counts. The industry will only listen to your votes. How to vote is simple. It's a free market. Vote wisely and the industry has no choice but to follow the money or die. I have been wanting all along for this to happen. I was afraid I was going to be out voted by those who buy DRM anyway, but it is not the case.

Now if we can only get the closed format of DVD's fixed. That format came wrapped in copy protection. The HD formats are even worse. I'm wishing the new formats prove a bust for the high prices and copy protection problems.

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (2, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805377)

Your vote counts. The industry will only listen to your votes. How to vote is simple. It's a free market. Vote wisely and the industry has no choice but to follow the money or die.

No, they simply take it as: "Sales are down? Teh evil pirates are stealing from us! Otherwise, the sheeple would be buying a hundred zillion copies of that new single by some vapid ProTools-engineered boyband that we assembled last month. They shouldn't be allowed to use the Interwebs without restrictions. Hurry, let's buy some legislation to protect out dying business model!"

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (3, Interesting)

1arkhaine (671283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805441)

I have a bit of a problem with believing the concept that 'your vote counts' when votes = money.

If I stop buying, say, Sony albums, what does that tell Sony? What does it tell them of my reasons? Money doesn't leave any clues, and it's not as if they can spot an extra twenty dollars spent on, say, tomatoes and say that that's where my money has gone.

Anything could have happened to make them 'lose' my twenty dollars. I could have died. I could have bought a different album by another company. I could have... you get the idea. Anything could have happened, and they have no way of knowing if it was because of their DRM or something other reason.

Voting with your wallet doesn't work as well as you would think because it is never accompanied with reason or explanation. If it is, then yes, I can agree. Otherwise, it could mean anything.

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (4, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805059)

Or maybe iTunes is proof that people will accept DRM so long as it does not interfere with what most would deem "fair-use". I guess I'm a sell out because I'm willing to pay $.99 a song, iTunes is easy to use, works well, and I can burn all the music I buy to CD to listen in my car, stream to other PC's in my house, listen on up to 5 computers, etc..

I know people on /. will then say, "What about Ogg or Flac", and my response is I don't care. I'm not an audiophile nor is the vast majority of people who listen to music. Ask most people what format iTunes music store uses and they'll just say MP3. MP3 = a digital music file in most people's vocabulary. They don't know the difference between MP3 vs. AAC vs. M4a etc.. Nor do they want to know. All they want is the ability to easily purchase music at a reasonable price and then put on their ipod, CD player or stereo with the least amount of fuss.

iTunes does exactly that. It works and works well for most people. Is it perfect? Not really. And I'm sure as more and more allow DRM free music, you'll see that more and more on iTunes as well.

I will say kudos to Apple because they actually got it right in that balance between what the studios wanted and what people could do with their music. Maybe that's why they've been the most successful online music retailer to date.

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (5, Interesting)

willy_me (212994) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805445)

What Apple has really done is they have killed DRM. Because they hold such a command on portable players (i.e., ipods) and they are the only ones that can provide legal music for their players, the record labels are forced to negotiate with Apple in order to have online sales. But with Apple it is their way or the highway - the labels don't like this. So in order to undermine Apple, the labels now offer DRM free music to other providers. The hope is that with multiple providers they will not have to worry about Apple forcing upon them term that they don't like.

It is because of DRM (or more specifically, DRM that they did not control) that the labels were forced to do this. You can bet that if they could do it all over again they would still use DRM, but it would be licensed for use with multiple retailers and devices.

It's funny - they force Apple to use DRM and now Apple has put them into a position where they have to allow non-DRM sales. Imagine if Microsoft won the format wars with their "plays for sure" format? We would all be stuck with it forever as it allowed for multiple different device manufacturers and music retailers.

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (2, Informative)

xthor (625227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805483)

Maybe that's why they've been the most successful online music retailer to date.

It surprises me that more people haven't jumped over to Amazon. Maybe it's because of ignorance, I dunno... but you can get DRM-free MP3s there, encoded at 256kbit. When I use their download manager, and I have iTunes running, the song/album I downloaded automatically gets imported into iTunes.

Re:Wow, if only someone will listen... (2, Insightful)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805499)

The reason itunes' DRM works is that it is completely inefective. If you can burn a cd from the songs, then you can extract the songs losslessly to flac or some similar format. I can take a song from itunes and have a flac to share with all my friends in 5 minutes - hardly a case of apple 'getting it right.'

I think the point you're missing is that the failure of DRM is not that there's anything morally wrong with it - it just plain doesn't work. Either DRM works like itunes where it doesn't do anything, or, worse, in the case of some less clever DRM schemes, DRM significantly inconveniences the casual user while still failing to prevent copying and redistribution by the technically savvy.

I suppose Apple did 'get it right' in one respect: they found a model that satisfies everyone. The record companies are happy, because they're stupid enough to think Apple is defending their interests, and consumers like you are happy because the DRM may as well not be there. This doesn't strike me as a stable equilibrium though.

Hard to hear with money in ear. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805095)

If you offered the choices of "lose less money" and "make more money" to an executive in any industry, it would take them quite a while to decide which was more appealing on any particular day of the week. Picture a teeter-totter or balance scales.

DRM lets them lose less money while impeding consumers.
DRM-free lets them make more money with happy consumers, with the unquantified fear of how much they're losing.

frist prost! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804081)

Suck shit M$!

Re:frist prost! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804235)

you not only failed it, you tucker max failed it. To a guy who uses his own turds as a gay dildo

DRM was just a means to an end (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804083)

The MPAA/RIAA want you to pay every time you watch or listen to their media. They feel that people don't pay often enough to hear the same old crap.

Re:DRM was just a means to an end (0, Redundant)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805219)

Wow. I guess you never heard of CDs and DVDs huh?

Deutche Telekom (5, Informative)

neuromanc3r (1119631) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804159)

It's spelled Deutsche Telekom, not Deutche.

Re:Deutche Telekom (0, Troll)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804247)

douche telekom? /sorry

Not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805313)

Douche TekDerCume? /sorry

There, corrected it for you.

Re:Deutche Telekom (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804269)

It's really spelled Phone Company.

Re:Deutche Telekom (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805241)

Jawohl my Oberspellführer.

Re:Deutche Telekom (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805455)

It's spelled Deutsche Telekom, not Deutche.

Wow, an authentic Spelling Nazi!

Audible will never accept this (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804169)

They pretty much own the audiobook download market, and DRM has been an important part of their strategy from day one.

I'm pretty certain its what keeps getting them new titles to release. Book publishers aren't exactly keen on digital formats if they aren't protected from instant dissemination.

As for myself, well blow me if the drm doesn't 'fall off' within ten minutes of my purchases.

Not that I then share them, in spite of the horror stories spread by the drm producing companies.
I paid for them, and I don't see why anyone else should have them for nothing, it's just that I don't see why I should keep the drm around, restricting my ability to play them back on any device I choose when I am in all other respects abiding by the end user license.

Re:Audible will never accept this (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804417)

Check out Baen's online publishing record - a non-DRM based seems to be working out for them. Admittedly, they're in something of a niche market and only cover a small portion of that subset of literature, but it's still interesting to see it works.

Re:Audible will never accept this (1)

srh2o (442608) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805069)

Yeah Baen has really done it right. And their free program lead directly to me making purchases from them. In fact the only digital book purchases I have ever made.

Re:Audible will never accept this (2, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805427)

Even better, their CD program got me buying books I never would've gotten into before. I never even looked at David Weber because I wasn't into military fiction. One of John Ringo's books came with the March series and most of the Honor Harrington series(which I saw frequently, but never picked up, even for free) on CD.

The March series was interesting and now I'm even checking out the Harrington stuff, although it's a bit poli-sci talky for me. Plus, he has some okay fantasy-ish stuff that I wouldn't even have noticed, having written him off as a mil-fic writer(I prefer old-school SF(asimov) or recent sci-fi-fantasy like McMullen's Miocene Arrow).

That one CD that cost maybe a buck or two has netted them two dozen paperback sales, half a dozen hardbacks, and more I'd get if I had the cash or the shelfspace to buy whole series at once.

It's even helped out other publishers, e.g. S.M. stirling has some Baen reprints of things I'd liked in the past, but his emberverse series(write faster!) is published by roc and I've bought those in hardback after seeing him on Baen's catalog reminded me of his existence.

Re:Audible will never accept this (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804587)

Unlike Congress, I don't believe in subsidizing antiquated business models. If I want something that has DRM I'll buy a similar product without then pirate the one I want. I'm still a hypocrite, my laptop bears the Mark of the Beast.

Re:Audible will never accept this (3, Interesting)

bbn (172659) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804877)

I "own" one or two audible audiobooks. Or used to anyway, I doubt I am still able to listen to them.

They lost me as customer. I will never buy from them again, unless they offer a DRM free option.

They _are_ losing business. There _will_ be other outlets that start in the audiobooks marked, and the DRM strategy will allow those other outlets to squeeze in where Audible otherwise hold the marked.

Re:Audible will never accept this (1)

slash.duncan (1103465) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804949)

Perhaps it's good for my physical freedom that I'm not into audio books, but if I had to hassle killing the DRM, I think I'd take the little bit longer to get the drm-free version distributed as far and wide as possible while I was at it. If they weren't DRMed, tho, I'd not hassle it, so they'd be worse off from the point of view of my activities if they DRMed it than not, at least if they were actually trying to /prevent/ its free spread.

As for my computers, I emigrated from the land of software slavery after getting a push from that beast you mentioned, in the form of eXPrivacy, and like a defector, while I may have friends and relatives that haven't made the crossing yet, I know I can and will never go back, unless or until there's a revolution and my former land of imprisonment is itself freed. Much like that defector, I look back on that old life as dead to me now, thankful that I got out, and happy to do what I can to help others make the transition as well.

Re:Audible will never accept this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805053)

Well, I may be stating the obvious, but what you paid for was an encumbered license, not what you and the entire rest of the brain-dead Slashdot population thinks they are owed. If you want DRM-free media, pay for DRM-free media. There are few options for it because, frankly, you cheapskates wouldn't pay what that privilege would cost you.

Now, join civilized society and stop wiping your asses with your hands.

Re:Audible will never accept this (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805197)

They pretty much own the audiobook download market

Talk about a market where DRM is going to be the least effective. The analog hole kind of sucks for music, because there is some amount of quality degradation which requires either hi-quality equipment to reduce, or haxor tools to strip the DRM digitally.

But for the spoken word? Anyone can crack the DRM on an audiobook and get satisfactory results, even a cheap-ass microphone sitting in front of a cheap-ass PC speaker will do fine.

good idea (0)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804173)

Right now you can pick free music that at who the hell knows what quality cuz you can upsample anything and it might be a little chopped off or extended if they re-recorded it through the sound card to unprotect it and some files require weird codecs that don't play in every player. Or you can pick DRM music that won't play everywhere and the quality could be degraded and some players might choke on it and some PCs won't rip it or play it after it's been ripped and transferred. It's really pretty even when it comes to the quality of the product. If they'd cut the crap and give you a full quality recording you can do anything with, you'd go with the paid one. Then again if it's not protected, there would be a lot of full quality unprotected versions on p2p also.

what? (2, Informative)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804387)

"upsample"? i don't think you understand that you're just putting a small product into a big box. the quality doesn't change, it just gets bigger, needlessly.

your post lacks coherence and content; please, remedy this in the future

Re:what? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804593)

Perhaps he meant the distributor upsampled it, maybe it was originally ripped at 160kbps, but then they upsampled it to 320 so people might be more tempted to buy it... he never said that it improved quality.

But I think that's more of a problem with P2P than sellers, because the space required to hold the songs is almost the same as if it was originally ripped at 320kbps...

Newsflash: (5, Insightful)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804197)

People want to actually OWN what they pay for! Film at 11!

But before I get modded down as a troll, it's true: DRM turns your purchases into glorified (read: overpriced) rentals since the companies that so graciously allowed you to pay them to use their product can STOP you from using it any time, for little or no real reason (see: Mass Effect and BioShock's DRMs, Steam, the Yahoo! Music store debacle, Zune not "PlayingForSure" after all, etc.) And consumers may finally be getting fed up with be treated like the criminals - especially when the DRM-free pirated versions are vastly superior to our legitimate ones.

Re:Newsflash: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804641)

So why cant we pay for DRM-encumbered media with rental money? We should have the same rights as them, to allow them the use of our money for certain very limited purposes.

Re:Newsflash: (1)

LibertarianWackJob (881478) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805203)

Please do me a favor, whenever you have a brilliant and hilarious comment like this one, please don't post it anonymously. I don't mod AC posts because I think it's kind of a waste. This post deserves a +5.

Re:Newsflash: (1, Interesting)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805101)

Just out of curiosity, since you mentioned rentals, how would a song rental market work without DRM (such as Rhapsody)? From what I understand, you pay $15 a month to get unlimited music, but it is only playable as long as you keep up your subscription. If you wanted that particular model as an option (i.e., you normally get tired of songs a few months after purchasing them), how can a company sell you that model without DRM?

Re:Newsflash: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805837)

Just because you can think of a business model doesn't mean you can expect customers to contort themselves into highly restricted positions in order to make the business model work. Look at cue::Cat - that was one dumb-ass business model, just like DRM-rentals. Cue::cat died because it was stupid, so should DRM-rentals.

Re:Newsflash: (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805343)

People want to actually OWN what they pay for!

I'll be sure to tell that to my landlord. ;)

Seriously though, I, and many, many others here, agree with you. I think, though, DRM has its place in music/movie rentals where it makes the service an unglorified rental, and you genuinely don't own what you pay for. Other than that, yeah, it simply doesn't have a place.

Too bad (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804227)

Game publishers haven't figured this out yet. Nothing like a 3 forever use no revoke, DRM key.

All I can say......... (5, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804237), it's about time.

The companies that are using DRM are finding concrete, solid evidence that people will pay if they STOP using DRM. The stereotypes of users that they felt were accurate, and reinforced by entities such as the MIAA and such, are, in fact, inaccurate, and now they can start taking that realization to the bank.

Common sense begins to prevail. Imagine that.

Re:All I can say......... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804311)

MIAA = Conjunction of MPAA(Motion Picture Association of America) and RIAA(Recording Industry Association of America), or, as I put it, Missing In Action Artists.

Re:All I can say......... (5, Interesting)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805137)

in addition, despite the 'death' of HD-dvd format, people simply aren't willing to go to Blu-Ray format, because you have to god forbid pay someone $80 for software(thanks slysoft for breaking BD+) to remove protection from the discs, so you can skip the 16 minutes of unskippable adverts they think you need when you just paid $30-40 for a stupid HD movie. maybe if there were easy to use tools, like a BD shrink, or maybe if BD players could play content without having to put it back in BD+ format... (currently you have to convert to h264, and watch on a ps3 or xbox 360)

dvd decryption software starts at 'free' and moves on up to $50, and dvd shrink is hugely popular even though it hasn't been developed in 2+ years (just check it on softpedia!)

yeah content 'owners' just don't get it, every insanely encumbered digital technology has failed, with the exception of DVD-roms, which have minimal, weak protection, that was easily cracked. Divx failed, HD dvd lost the support of studios when it's protection was cracked, but consumers didn't switch to blu-ray, and BD+ was cracked months later... and people still aren't switching (imo partially from the fact that BD+ while cracked, doesn't give end users a 'single click' method of burning it to a BD-r.)

people do pirate content, yeah it really happens,
it's been spiraling out of control since the 70's, when copyright became possible without 'submitting' the material to the library of congress. just as prohibition created the mafia, copyright extension created the 'modern pirate.'

the media companies have created multi-billion dollar industries distributing ideas, and they're complaining, because what people once got for nothing, they now steal because they have no money to pay for it.

you can't simply print wealth on a piece of paper, and give it out to everyone, if you try, you wind up with the situation that Zimbabwe is in now with 'hyper inflation.'

One Down, Two to Go (5, Informative)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804253)

There are three things I want from an online music store.

  1. Reasonable prices (a buck a song isn't even reasonable when you're getting physical media and packaging as with a CD).
  2. Choice of format/quality (oggs at quality 9, please).
  3. NO DRM

So far the only store to do that was, now Sadly even when is up you have to travel some strange paths to fund your account. has the right idea as well, but their catalogue is much more limited.

Re:One Down, Two to Go (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804471)

Close. I want:

1. Reasonable prices. The $1/song, $10 per 15-track album seems fair enough.

2. No DRM

3. Lossless files, with an option of downloading a lossy file for those on dialup.

4. Metadata. Not these tiny album art scans, but something of some kind of quality. And track names, etc, that make some kind of sense.

5. Quality sound. Not this poorly-engineered stuff that's merely designed to be "louder" on radio, but instead music that is designed to sound great and which faithfully reproduces the art.

6. This should apply to ALL music in a label's catalog, not a mere subset.

All of this is very easy and inexpensive to do. Unfortunately, I think that lying heroin addicts run labels, so I don't expect anything.

Re:One Down, Two to Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805043)

I will gladly pay $50 to see my favorite bands in concert, but $15 for a cd, when i can easily get it for free..., well lets just say methinks Radiohead got it right when they let us pay what we thought they deserved--after all, we are their employers. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805439)

It sounds like Magnatune [] is for you. I can't speak to item #5 ("Quality sound. Not this poorly-engineered stuff that's merely designed to be "louder" on radio, but instead music that is designed to sound great and which faithfully reproduces the art."). But Magnatune is merely a licensee; the artist licenses Magnatune to distribute their works. So I think it's a pretty good bet that the artist has mixed the recording so that you'll get what the artist considers good enough to represent their work.

I'd also add:

  • I can preview the entire catalog online with my favorite music player(s) in free formats (so I don't have to give up my software freedom).
  • I can get copies of the tracks I buy from the distributor forever, not a pre-determined limited number of restores.
  • I can pay in accordance with the license I'm paying for—commercial use licenses can cost more.
  • I can share verbatim non-commercial copies with my friends as friends do. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805493)

Other than the selection, there is only one thing that I think Magnatune has wrong. They should offer a high quality, suitable for printing cover art. I keep my music on CD as an archive. Even when I listen to my music from XBMC, I will often thumb through my CDs to decide what I want to listen to.

Re:One Down, Two to Go (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805519)

7. Downloadable cover art.

I would disagree on the price though. CDs should cost $10 when I buy them in the store. An album where I have to do the manufacturing myself should be closer to $5. A single song should be closer to $.50. A cool feature to add would be to pay $15 to get the full album downloaded, with a professionally manufactured CD in the mail a few days later.

Re:One Down, Two to Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804603)

Strange paths. Is that anything like money laundering?

Amazon too, apparently (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804989)

It's great that mainstream retailers such as Amazon are now offering popular music in MP3 format. In the last six years, I have purchased a grand total of about three CDs. I have never purchased music online before today. But in light of this sea change in ditching DRM, today I purchased a single from Amazon.

I was surprised to find that the MP3 Downloader program was offered for Windows, OSX, and Linux versions for Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE, and Debian. It was optional, so I didn't even use it.

The entire process took 20 seconds. The selections were not limited to independent/foreign bands that I've never heard of. The single was $0.89. Watch out, iTunes.

"Oggs at quality 9" (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805027)

Worrying about the size of an audio file is soooo 1990s'.

How about they give me it in a lossless format and I get to decide how to compress it.

Re:"Oggs at quality 9" (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805081)

How about they give me it in a lossless format and I get to decide how to compress it.

Why not? If you're willing to pay a bit more for wav or flac, that should be an option. Or if it's like where price isn't determined by format, of course, grab the lossless.

Re:One Down, Two to Go (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805293)

Have you considered that it may not be possible to provide reasonable prices (whatever that means), choice of format, and decent range, and decent music (whatever that means) all at the same time? Sure it's all well and good for consumers to demand something, but the reason why things are the way they are is often because it's cheap. If you want some change, you may have to be prepared to pay for it.

Then again, perhaps not. Perhaps one day you'll find a (legal) store that fits all those criteria, and whichever it is, it will get all of your business. Then you won't have to bother the rest of us with your whinging.

What's wrong here? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804259)

In the US, Napster has joined Amazon in selling DRM-free content in MP3 format from all the major labels.

A percentage of iTunes tracks are DRM-free, but certainly not all.

The big question is: why won't the labels allow iTunes to sell all of their tracks DRM-free?

Obviously the labels would love to eliminate the iTunes policy of 99-cent only pricing, but there must be something more than that.

Re:What's wrong here? (2, Insightful)

Ignis Fatuusz (1084045) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804939)

In the US, Napster has joined Amazon in selling DRM-free content in MP3 format from all the major labels.

A percentage of iTunes tracks are DRM-free, but certainly not all.

The big question is: why won't the labels allow iTunes to sell all of their tracks DRM-free?

Obviously the labels would love to eliminate the iTunes policy of 99-cent only pricing, but there must be something more than that.

I think it's because the labels probably thought they were taking part in a fun little experiment when little ol' Apple told them about their new iTunes store, and the next thing they knew, they were dealing with the largest music retailer in the world. The only leverage they have left is to keep Apple's contracts DRM-restricted while opening other distribution partners' contracts up to DRM-free options.

Re:What's wrong here? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804983)

The iTunes Music Store is a big success for Apple. Do they really have much of an incentive to eliminate DRM? It seems like iTunes = iPod for the masses, and that Apple has as much to gain from maintaining their DRM's presence as much as the RIAA.

Re:What's wrong here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805173)

Why doesn't Apple insist on DRM-free?

Napster?!?! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804271)

Wow, what a blast from the past.

There's someone who knows something about dying.

This is a battle with long-term consequences. (2, Insightful)

AmericanPegasus (1099265) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804291)

Generations from now, when 3-D printers allow us to fabricate whatever objects we have the basic atoms to create, and virtual technology allows us to experience whatever reality we have the blueprints for, issues like this will be felt through time like a tidal wave. Look at how the fundamental Christian values of early America have shaped everything we believe and experience today (regarding modesty, entertainment, science, etc.)

If companies are allowed to hold a vice-iron grip on every thin slice of entertainment that exists in our life then life in the future will be miserable and hateful. This is a triumph because it hints at a future that will allow free P2P trading, not of music, but of atomic blueprints of critical medicine and devices that will make all of our lives easier. What incredible news.

Re:This is a battle with long-term consequences. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804951)

Good luck with that. We're gonna be in a worldwide rare element shortage liting us to 1950's technology in 100 years.

Will Get Worse Before it Gets Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804325)

As with most failures, there are those who have invested heavily in this technology, particularly Microsoft, so don't expect it to just go away.

DRM is something we'll have to fight for a long time, not because we don't care for it, but because it appears to make some kind of sense to people with power and money.

Fortunately, there is no easily-deployable-in-the-real-world DRM that is undefeatable.

Re:Will Get Worse Before it Gets Better (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804717)

oh they are working on it don't worry. imagine this for a nightmare scenario. drm on everything that phones home to validate and you have to pay extra to access that part of the internet to validate it.... it's not that far fetched at all.

Chronicling the Failures of man'kind' (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804345)

until recently, we could just claim to have been deceived/misled. that's no longer the case. fear is unprecedented evile's primary weapon. that, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' greed/fear/ego based hired goons' agenda. Most of yOUR dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'war', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid scheme. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & the notion of prosperity, not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one. see you on the other side of it. the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.;_ylt=A0wNcxTPdJhILAYAVQms0NUE

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

& pretending that it isn't happening here;
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

Re: Chronicling the Failures of man'kind' (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804781)

Are these computer generated, or does somebody seriously write these?

It's not about paying... (5, Interesting)

houbou (1097327) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804373)

It's about the cost. Most people would pay for legitimate music. But then again, when you have to pay for gas, rent, food, etc..., entertainment is way low in one's list of priorities.

If music was made more affordable and/or reasonable, it wouldn't be much of an issue, most people would pay, I'm sure of that.

The problem started off as "Music was too expensive" CDs where like up to 30$ a CD at one time during the peek years.

When the internet kicked in and the MP3 format was created, eventually download sites and peer-to-peer was the way to go for cheap (and free) music, so, obviously, the music industry lost revenues.

Instead of understanding and adapting their price model, they used DRM, and it made things worse.

So, it's coming full circle, they don't have much choice anyways. If they want to have a music industry, they have to work with the system and they need to adapt their pricing.

Basically, this is what's I've always understood about protection schemes in computing: It's made by man, it can be broken by man.

Copy protection and DRM will never work in the long run, there is always someone out there who can figure out how it is done and break it.

Recently... (5, Informative)

Naurgrim (516378) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804463) a matter of fact, this week.

Had a customer come in with a problem. His old computer was dying (hardware, bad capacitors on the MB), we copied his data to a new PC he purchased, set him up and out the door...

Boomeranged. seems he had audio files, some purchased, some of his own creation, in ATRAC format. Of course, he could not play them on his new PC. Seems that Sony recently dropped ATRAC and shut down their licensing servers, too.

Fortunately, we were able to resurrect his old PC, which was still in our boneyard, and run it long enough to export his DRM'ed files to WAV. Lost his meta-data, cost him a couple hundred $ in labor, but we got his stuff. He left happy, and we talked with him about DRM and how it hosed him.

Re:Recently... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804597)

I find it slightly revolting that some techs find that they could charge that much for some basic technical assistance.

Relatively basic.

Re:Recently... (2, Informative)

Naurgrim (516378) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804737)

Basic, yes, for you and me and most everyone here.

Not so much for my customer. He does not have the skills, experience, tools, resources or time to deal with this. He brought his computers to us, we helped him out. We looked at the problem, gave him an up-front estimate of the cost, he agreed and we did the job. That's how I earn my living.

Re:Recently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804785)

Who died and made you king? These techs have to support their families. You don't know precisely what they had to do to get his old PC to work long enough to get the files. The couple of hundred dollars in labor cost is the result of the client's imprudence in not backing up his/her data and not doing the work to figure out how to convert the files himself. This client was evidently satisfied. There are many tedious tasks that I will happily pay someone to do. They just don't happen to be these tasks.

Re:Recently... (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804789)

Really? Is it revolting when my mechanic charges me the same labor rates or more for something I could easily do if I had the know-how and the equipment?

Look, I like to donate time and effort to helping fix computers for those who need it; friends, neighbors, local non-profits, etc. But there's a legit reason to charge someone for your time and skill and equipment when you have to make a living, and there's a legit reason why people who need services should be willing to pay for them if they can't hack it themselves. The stonemason coming in a couple weeks to work on my retaining wall is charging a hell of a lot more than $200, but he knows what the heck he is doing, and that makes all the difference.

Re:Recently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804821)

I find it slightly revolting that some techs find that they could charge that much for some basic technical assistance.

Uh...time is money. How much do you earn per hour? Take that and multiply by the number of hours you think you're going to spend exporting a substation collection of ATRACs to wav and putting it in another computer. If this is less than a couple hundred bucks, your job entails asking, "would you like fries with that?"

Re:Recently... (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805387)

Time = Money, the capitalist mantra...

A person's time certainly does have value, but not the same value at any given time or place. I certainly don't agree with the GP, seeing as how the customer was willing to pay for it, but seriously, we wouldn't be sleeping or taking any time off if time was money. Rest is not a financial deposit to some unknown deity. There is a such thing as "Free time".

Re:Recently... (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805443)

I find it slightly revolting that some techs find that they could charge that much for some basic technical assistance.

I find it more revolting that the customer didn't sue Sony. After all, he PAID Sony for this service, Sony provided music that he should have been able to access. Sony *should* be running the authorization servers FOREVER, but they do not. How is that not "theft of service" by Sony, and perhaps they should be made to pay the entire cost of recovering the data from the dead PC?

Frankly, if that had been me in that position, I would have called Sony's tech support line(s) until THEY fixed the problem. At their end. Either that or Sony would need to provide me with DRM free copies of all music I had purchased from them (and no rootkit included, please).

I'm amazed there haven't been more CEO assasinations due to how corporations gleefully screw over their customers.

Re:Recently... (3, Interesting)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805507)

Fortunately, we were able to resurrect his old PC, which was still in our boneyard, and run it long enough to export his DRM'ed files to WAV.

How long does customer data typically sit in your store's boneyard?

how long can tags be? (1)

evwah (954864) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804479)

because someone should tag this "the invisible hand of the market does something right for once". if they can.

Just because it stinks, doesn't mean it will stop (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804481)

If a bad market and poor long-term profits ruled, then spammers would be out of business, too. As it is, far too many companies and business models rely on it. Hampered or not, failures or not, the practice will continue much like the use of social security numbers as a citizen ID number continues: because people have learned to expect it.

BD+ (3, Interesting)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804523)

Has BD+ been cracked yet? I've heard tons about it early on (especially on slashdot), but nothing at all in the last few months. Is it possible to play a Blu-ray disk on Linux?

Re:BD+ (2, Informative)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805175)

slysoft cracked it on easter. iirc, or maybe it was after that, but they charge you like $80 for their hd tools on a download only basis... physical media, costs more, of course.

Why didn't they learn from copy protection? (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804589)

The thing I find most galling about DRM is that we've already been through the same thing, in the early 1980s, with the software "copy protection" wars.

Vendors of copy protection systems would sell their snake oil to software companies, the new uncrackable copy protection would get cracked within months of release, everyone who wanted warez could get copies, but the idealistic suckers who paid for theirs clogged support lines with problems, when the not-quite-standard disk formats turned out to be not-quite-compatible with many diskette drives.

On August 19, 1986, The New York Times reported that "At best, copy protection does nothing good for legitimate users and only annoys software pirates. At worst, it makes it difficult to install software onto a hard disk and to make backup copies that are vital if the original is lost or destroyed. It slows the performance of some programs and causes snarls in others. It can be a pain for networks of PC's hooked together to share data and peripherals. And, worst of all, there have been reports that some ''killer'' protection schemes have destroyed hard disk files, inadvertently or otherwise.... Software makers who have abandoned copy protection this year seem to be avoiding bankruptcy, and they have certainly gained goodwill. When the goodwill comes from big corporate buyers (including the Federal Government, which has refused to buy copy-protected software), it is likely that the losses from pirated software can be offset."

By the end of 1986, all major software publishers had abandoned copy protection, including the longest holdout, Lotus... but not before the failure of Lotus Jazz, a Mac program, which, according to John Dvorak, failed in part because its copy protection was too hard to break.

Why do we need to go through all this again? As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Maybe because not even game studios have learnt? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804771)

Really, talking about game copy protection as an example does not help.

Game studios are one of the companies most reluctant to drop such client annoying technology.

Game copy protection has been for a very very long time and is still alive.

Goig more ontopic, I have always thought that AllOfMp3 was ahead of its time, maybe 10 years ahead of its time. Not technologically, but "corporatically".

  The sad part, is that AllOfMp3 showed us that it is possible to do lots of wonders with technology, wonders that could make life more confortable, but due to corporativsm greed, we have to wait until people and corporations grow to understand the way things should be done.

The next step of course will be a USA company (say Amazon or Apple) starting to offer music in several lossless or lossy formats as AllOfMp3 did.

Re:Why didn't they learn from copy protection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805319)

...and then there's TPM chips...

MP3 is hardly open (3, Interesting)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804669)

From TFA, "The online music industry has evolved so that, while there are open file format standards - notably MP3 - the major companies have so far preferred proprietary or licensed file formats protected by DRM systems."

The problem with that statement is MP3 has never been an open format. It too requires a license to use. The difference is that the spec is public, so anyone can license the technology.

For an actual open format with freely available source code, check out ogg [] .

DRM isn't as bad as everyone claims. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24804751)

It kept the Jews out of my yard.

Fear Drives It (3, Insightful)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#24804961)

In regards to Software Protection, fear drives it.

The fear that if you're the only software without copy protection, everyone will pirate it. Then, your company's revenue tanks for the next 18-24 months until you get a new version. Without revenue, you can't fund R&D for the new version. Meaning you, Mr. CEO, is out of a job. Most likely many of your employees too.

So, in the face of this possibility, many companies are willing to put up with losing a couple sales by inconveniencing customers and paying tons more in support costs to ensure their only revenue stream continues to flow.

In regards to DRM for music/movies:
It's kinda the same thing. But I don't understand why music/movie companies are so risk adverse since they have such large revenue streams outside of online distribution. They'd be wise to try it now, while the online distrubtion industry is still small, and then switch to DRM if they run into problems. It's much riskier to switch later once the industry is huge. That applies to movies. DRM on music is just silly.

I missed that news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805029)

I must have missed the news where iTunes/iStore no longer uses DRM. Or iTunes/iStore is "dying".

Add microsoft windows to products damaged by DRM (2, Interesting)

viking80 (697716) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805057)

Most problems with MS windows are amplified by DRM. I have had system crashes at multiple occasions, and when trying to reinstall XP on a new HDD I run into issues like this:

- The version of XP you have is upgrade only, and can not be used on a clean HDD.

When trying to recover by installing from CD:
- The version of XP you are trying to install is older than what is on the PC (upgraded with service packs). This is for upgrade only.

I also have a test machine with multiple languages and test with different HW configurations. After using it for a few years, now, every time XP is reinstalled, I have to call MS to get the license key.

I agree with TFA: DRM'ed products will fail.

What a breeze to install Ubuntu.

Re:Add microsoft windows to products damaged by DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805489)

The first problem is just you refusing to buy actual XP (at the time).

DRM is anti copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805167)

The whole idea of copyright is to give to the creators a limited time period exclusive right to all the copies, to sell or give away or rent as they see fit, because in theory this promotes the arts and sciences. OK,swell. At some time, though, even with the extensions, that copyright will fall into public domain. If it is pushed out with DRM, how is this possible? It will remain DRMed. It appears to violate the provisions, and the spirit of copyright. Are all these creators now placing non DRMed copies in some escrow account styled vault, so that they can be released when they fall out of copyright time limit provisions? If they aren't, if this isn't happening (and I do not know if they are or aren't) they seem to be in violation of copyright, and as such, IMO, their works should be seized and immediately released into the public domain with no restrictions as an appropriate "fine", or public restitution. (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805771)

I know I'm not alone in missing allofmp3. Aside from the fantastic prices, what made the service so great was it's flexibility. Choosing your own format & bitrate,. highly customizable. It was just the best. A pleasure to use. Even if they charged the greedy western prices, it would be the best place to purchase music. Why can't any of these big business music dealers figure it out and make a site that works like that? God I miss allofmp3.

DRM Isn't dean, it's just brain-dead (2, Interesting)

Stinky Fartface (852045) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805813)

Honestly, no one would give a shit about DRM if it didn't interfere with normal music listening activities. If the end user were not inconvenienced by DRM, no one would give a hoot about it. The problem isn't DRM, it's greed. Consider this scenario: a fan purchases a song from an online store. That song can be authorized on any number of devices with nothing more than a password. The playing device never has to phone to a server. There are no limits to the number of copies that can be made, nor the number of devices that it can be played on. The DRM is an open format that any manufacturer can use. The only thing preventing anyone from listening to the song is a password. If this were the case, I theorize that it would cut out a large percentage of casual piracy, yet would never inconvenience the listener (save the initial authorization procedure which would only take seconds). Or course OMFG the RIAA might have to accept some losses in it's battle to prevent 110% of music copying. Oh noes! And, oh gee, perhaps an open standard would create a DRM that can be cracked. So what? In the end if they actually did a study of actual numbers I imagine they would find their sales went up, word of mouth would create new fans and sales, and the DRM would create just enough of a hindrance to prevent rampant theft, save for those who are hell bent on stealing all their music no matter what. The problem is that the RIAA and other groups like them see piracy in black and white terms. If it exists, they are loosing money. That is an immature way to view business and human nature. If they were willing to accept some losses as inevitable, they could recoup much more by lowering the DRM bar so that it is virtually invisible to the honest user.
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