×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EFF Releases Music DRM Guide

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the pay-to-play dept.

Music 300

Chris Chiasson writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently created a plain English guide to several fair use restrictions that major online music services, such as Apple's iTunes, force on their customers via Digital Rights Management (DRM) laden music files and End User License Agreements (EULAs). An excerpt from the guide follows: 'Forget about breaking the DRM to make traditional uses like CD burning and so forth. Breaking the DRM or distributing the tools to break DRM may expose you to liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) even if you're not making any illegal uses.' The EFF also lists four alternative music services which sell unrestricted files."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

300 comments

my pist is quite frosty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470623)

don't you agree?

Boo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470807)

Where are the Apple-astroturfs today? Shouldn't they be here, posting "Oh no, you get it all wrong! iTuna is not restricive; it enables you to benefit from DRM by blah blah blah whetever.

Fuck Apple, fuck Google, fuck Slashdot, fuck Linux Torfland.

Mac OSX is uglier than KED and Genome together.

Re:Boo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470868)

I never thought that. In fact, you convinced me... I am going to switch back to a note book. (a real paper one)

In case you did not note, I am being sarcastic and not using contractions.

Please consider yourself insulted by me.

Missing from list (5, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470628)

They missed at least one unrestricted-music site: MagnaTune [magnatune.com] -- nice people. Don't miss the founder's comments.

Re:Missing from list (3, Funny)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470690)

The best bit about magnatune is you get to download their entire catalog without paying. Best few weeks I've spent on the net.

Re:Missing from list (1)

cdcarter (822001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470840)

Magnatune rocks out. I got free sleepy time music from them. They should remember that those mp3 web playlist things are so easy to crack. Ohh crap, here comes the DMCA

Lets see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470860)

Magnatune: Not very many artists, and a lot of their music is, to be blunt, shit.
eMusic: Had to register before I could even take a look at what music they had. No thanks.
AudioLunchbox: Not bad, but didn't have any music I wanted. Obscure or not, not there.
BLEEP: Reasonably priced, but on the whole Warp gouge the fuck out of thier customers. Have you seen the price of the Rubber Johnny DVD? For a whole 5 minutes of content? Fucking ridiculous. Warp are also so far up their own arses they've turned into an industry joke.

Re:Lets see... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13471041)

eMusic: Had to register before I could even take a look at what music they had. No thanks.

That's actually not true (though they do make it inconvenient). Go to the front page [emusic.com] with the signup form, then click "Contact Us" at the bottom, then on the contact page click "Browse" at the top. You'll end up on this page [emusic.com].

Re:Missing from list (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470945)

Thanks for the tip. This has some great classical music, right out of the gate! I'm downloading my first CD right now!

The site is: Magnatune! [magnatune.com] Even if you don't think their selection is good enough (translation, doesn't have Hilary, Britney, et. al.?), if you like sampling new artists, this is a good place to look, and I love the business model. As the parent posted, read the founder's philosophy and business model.

Re:Missing from list (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470958)

Usually when you first hear that a music download service doesn't have big name musicians, you figure that the music must suck. Magnatune has really, really great music and some of the most talented musicians I've ever heard.

I've bought a few Magnatune albums and downloaded them as WAV files so that I can write them to CD, then compress them into OGG/Vorbis for local hard drive storage. Perfect.

emusic.com! (2, Informative)

FatSean (18753) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470960)

I signed up when it was unlimited downloads...now you get a certain number a month depending on your subscription...I have the cheapest one and it's $10 a month for 40 downloads.

Best part? 192kbps+ MP3s! No protection! And even if you cancel your subscription...if your harddrive dies you can just sign up again (for as little as a month) and they'll let you re-download your whole library for free.

Granted, you lose some fidelity as it is MP3 and not CD-quality...and there are very few 'brand new' or 'popular' artists...

but I don't care. The price is right and I've downloaded a whole bunch of cool stuff that I like.

DRM (5, Insightful)

eneville (745111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470629)

Any form of DRM sucks, and I'll do whatever I can to avoid entering into any DRM agreement.

Re:DRM (1, Insightful)

wankledot (712148) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470746)

OK, don't buy music from these companies. There, that wasn't very hard, was it?

Also, let me add that "forcing on their customers" is a bit like saying that Microsoft is "forcing windows on windows users." People know the limitations of the DRM ahead of time, and if they're willing to accept it, how can you say that anything is being forced on them? OMG Ford forced 4 wheels and a gas pedal on me when I bought my SUV!@# What ever will I do!@#?

Get rid of Apple DRM on Linux [thnx to DVD Jon] (4, Informative)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470811)

My brother gave me an iTunes gift certificate. So bought some albums. After my windows hard drive died with a "click-o-death" I just re-installed Linux by itself and am using that now for about a year. But the problem is when I went to play the music that _I bought_ from the iTunes, I couldn't! I payed money for the freakin' songs, I want to play them. Why do I have to install windows or buy an Apple computer to play the music that I bought?

I found Jon L. Johansen's site and his two programs :

1. FairKeys - to get the keys from Apple's site

2. DeDRMS - uses the keys to DeDRM the files.

The site is here (no html hyperlink, copy and paste if you want):

nanocrew.net/?page_id=59

You also need to install mono for linux as the programs are in C#. After that just run with "mono programname options". No I can play my albums again. Thanks Jon!

Yes, but does it run Linux? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470643)

omg drm! *jumps to death*

Forget about breaking the DRM (2, Insightful)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470649)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently created a plain English guide to several fair use restrictions that major online music services, such as Apple's iTunes, force on their customers via Digital Rights Management (DRM) laden music files and End User License Agreements (EULAs). An excerpt from the guide follows: 'Forget about breaking the DRM to make traditional uses like CD burning and so forth.

Yeah forget about trying to break the DRM in iTunes cos like... uhh. you don't need to, to burn CDs.

Re:Forget about breaking the DRM (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470721)

But see, I don't want to burn CDs. I want music that will play anywhere. And I don't want to have to go through some complicated process like burning to CDs first then ripping the CDs, or using some obscure program to strip the DRM.

This is not a flame; this is simply why I won't buy something from a service encumbered by DRM restrictions.

Re:Forget about breaking the DRM (1)

turveysp (323310) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470771)

> I want music that will play anywhere.

Honestly. Buy a bloody CD then. You use a DRM'd music service you abide by the T+C's - what's so damn complicated about that that so many people just don't get it.

While I'd never like to see DRM'd files as the sole distribution method as this is to open to proprietry player lock-in, I have zero objection to it as an alternative method of purchasing music.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go and whine at Napster for only having one Tracy Chapman album.

Re:Forget about breaking the DRM (5, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470910)

``Honestly. Buy a bloody CD then. You use a DRM'd music service you abide by the T+C's - what's so damn complicated about that that so many people just don't get it.''

The problem is that the ones selling the DRM'd content make every effort to conceal the restrictions. That's why people don't know they're paying but not buying. People expect that when they pay for something, they can do whatever they want with it. Now, these music stores are not going to tell them up front that this assumption is very much not true for the music they "sell". The media are not publishing anything about it. So how is J. R. Person supposed to know?!

``While I'd never like to see DRM'd files as the sole distribution method as this is to open to proprietry player lock-in, I have zero objection to it as an alternative method of purchasing music.''

The problem is that DRM is slowly becoming the standard. Most of the large online music stores that used to sell MP3s have either quit or switched to DRM'd formats. DVDs have protection mechanisms on them. Even CDs are often crippled these days (intentionally fscked up so that CD-ROM drives will barf on them).

All of this is happening under the radar, where J. R. Person doesn't notice it. After all, it still plays on his CD player or Windows machine! And when I tell them, they don't care, or they think it's not gonna be that bad. But I'm afraid their favorite music and movies are only going to be available in a very restricted format in the not too distant future.

Of course, there will still be people publishing things in unrestricted format. I'm supporting these people even now, and steering clear of any materials that have restrictive DRM or even just proprietary formats. But that does exclude a lot of popular music, movies, sofware, and information.

Re:Forget about breaking the DRM (3, Insightful)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470919)

While I'd never like to see DRM'd files as the sole distribution method as this is to open to proprietry player lock-in, I have zero objection to it as an alternative method of purchasing music.

The record companies have always been trying to force copy protection upon any medium. Any time a copying device gets on the market, they go wild! BTW, they force us to pay taxes on blank CDs because 'they are only used to copy music', but at the same time it remains illegal to copy them (totally ignoring the fact that I paid taxes to do so).

This DRM thing will not remain limited to those online songs, it will (try to) become a general 'feature', locking you down and threatening your electronic freedom.

Independent music recommendation services? (4, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470653)

Ok, so I've had it with the musicians who have sold their souls to the corporations. With the advert of the Internet, they don't need anyone else to publish and distribute their music to the world. So now I want to get my music from independent artists. The problem is: I know what kind of music I like, and I know which mainstream bands make this kind of music, but I don't have time to go listening to every indie artist to find out what they make.

What I'm looking for is a site where I can enter or select names of bands or songs that I like, and get independent music recommended to me. You like Alanis Morisette? Try Jen Pitch. That sort of thing. Does anybody know of such sites?

By the way: the example above is just an association I know from the top of my head; I'm not very much into the kind of music at all.

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (3, Informative)

Transmogrify_UK (902981) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470686)

I'm not sure if it's your taste in music (hardcore punk/metal/post-hardcore), but if you take a look at http://www.hxcmp3.com/ [hxcmp3.com] they have a "sounds like" field in their search. Chances are it'll be nothing overly clever, simply the bands who upload their music suggest if you like XXX band, you'll probably like them. But all the same, more music download sites should do this.

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470733)

``I'm not sure if it's your taste in music (hardcore punk/metal/post-hardcore)''

Yes, I like that. You could kind of tell from my nick, couldn't you? ;-) Besides, even if _I'm_ not into that music, someone else on /. is bound to be.

``simply the bands who upload their music suggest if you like XXX band, you'll probably like them.''

Probably it would be even better to let the users decide that, or even both. Just so bands don't go listen everything that vaguely sounds like them, just to get more people to try them...

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (4, Informative)

servoled (174239) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470753)

Allmusic [allmusic.com] is a good starting point for reccomendations. You can search an artist and it will give you similar artists along with artists who influenced that artists and artists who were influenced by that artist. It also is a good source for biographical and discography information.

The Yahoo subscription service also has a neat feature where you can queue up songs which are similar to a song/album/artist and listen to those songs, plus at $60 a year it is a pretty cheap way to find new music. I wouldn't reccomend it for building a music library due to the subscriptionyness of it though.

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (1)

ErikPeterson (912282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470896)

Great Idea

I think that if you modified the code that runs http://www.advogato.org/ [advogato.org] you could have a peer baised ratings system that would be close to what you are looking for... you would just need to change some of the verbage so people make associations on style, genere.

The diary sections and peer voting sections of the site would need little change. The site could help people find music they like... help people find other musicians to play with... and maybe put a dent in the "Industries" marketshare.

I understand that the trust metric of advogato is GPL and if I understand it correctly (it has been awhile since I used the site) You could use a similar method for rating styles of music. It would take a bit of hacking but I think it might be a worhy project.

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (2, Funny)

sd_diamond (839492) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470947)

Ok, so I've had it with the musicians who have sold their souls to the corporations. With the advert of the Internet,

Freudian slip?

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (2, Funny)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470992)

``With the advert of the Internet,

Freudian slip?''

Absolutely! See, those Dvorak keyboards are good for something after all ('r' is right above 'n' on a Dvorak keyboard).

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (0, Flamebait)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470953)

With the advert of the Internet, they don't need anyone else to publish and distribute their music to the world.

snip

The problem is: I know what kind of music I like, and I know which mainstream bands make this kind of music, but I don't have time to go listening to every indie artist to find out what they make.

Record companies aren't in the business of making records. They're in the business of promoting marketable artists.

A friend said it best- "Indie is just another word for crappy, unmarketable, and unpresentable". It's the god-honest truth. Good music sells itself (and hence isn't "indie"). Most of the people who I've met who like "indie" music are impressed with their trucker hats and "vintage" t-shirts, doing what they do simply to be "different", failing to realize they're just like every other "indie" kid in the room.

Re:Independent music recommendation services? (2, Informative)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470954)

A lot of indie music sites have some sort of "Sounds Like" or "Influenced By" search. Check out this list [rmpmusic.com] for about 50 indie music sites.

If anyone's reading this and has a site that's not on the list send me an email (robert AT rmpmusic DOT com) and I'll add it to the list. Include your slashdot account URL and I'll link to it, too.

eMusic... (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470979)

sells music from independent labels, and when you do a search for an artist they don't have, it provides a link to a list of artists that are "like" the artist you were searching for.

Derek Slater (4, Interesting)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470659)

fwiw, the DRM guide was written party/mostly (I don't know) by hard working blogger, Derek Slater [harvard.edu].

Oddly, I couldn't seem to find credits on that EFF page.

Re:Derek Slater (1)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470683)

hard working blogger

a.k.a. don't have a real job?

Re:Derek Slater (1)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470705)

"a.k.a. don't have a real job?"

I guess you didn't bother to check the about page [harvard.edu] on his site.

Re:Derek Slater (1)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470711)

I guess you didn't bother to check the about page [harvard.edu] on his site.

Yes, I did. He's had several jobs recently. Sounds like more of an internship than a career.

Re:Derek Slater (2, Informative)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470738)

er, now quoting from his site:

"My name is Derek Slater. I'm 21, and I'm a senior at Harvard College. I'm also a fellow at the Berkman Center, working on the Digital Media Project. The last three summers, I've worked at the EFF, Creative Commons, and the Samuelson Clinic."

If that's not hard-working, I'd like to know what is.

Re:Derek Slater (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470793)

"If that's not hard-working, I'd like to know what is."

It says he's a student whose works in the summer. "Hard-working" is busting your hump rescuing survivors from hurricane ravaged cities. GET SOME PERSPECTIVE. I'm sick and tired of Republican voters ignoring poor black people.

Re:Derek Slater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470786)

You do not seem to know the meaning of the words internship and career.

They missed one more (1)

kurt_ram (906111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470664)

Yahoo Music Unlimited! When you purchase songs from Yahoo Music, you get them as .wma files with no DRM restrictions. (Atleast as far as I know).

Re:They missed one more (1)

kurt_ram (906111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470697)

Actually, this information is incorrect. I just figured out that the .wma files are infact protected. :(

Re:They missed one more (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470723)

Add to that the fact they are WMA , even if they were not protected it excludes a large portion of the people with portable music players

It's a choice (2, Interesting)

dirk (87083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470671)

I've never understood why so many people are against DRM in any format for anyone. I personally am not a fan of it, so I usually don't but anything with DRM. But I understand that if I want the benefits of buying from someplace like iTunes (lower price, being able to buy individual songs, etc), then that is the trade-off. If I don't want DRM, I will buy from someplace that doesn't use it, buy the CD (assuming it isn't broken), or not buy it at all. If you don't want DRM, don't buy it. But accept that there will HAVE to be trade-offs for buying music online (and at lower prices). If you don't want those trade-offs, that's okay, but plenty of people are willing to accept them. It's an agreement you enter into to get the music you want the way you want it. If you don't agree, don't enter into the agreement and go elsewhere for your music.

Re:It's a choice (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470741)

If you don't agree, don't enter into the agreement and go elsewhere for your music.
We don't agree, and we want the companies to make it such that we can by giving us back our fair use rights. If you give me my rights as a consumer, I'll gladly pay for your service. Until then, I guess I'll head right over to Piratebay then and get all my music for free.

Re:It's a choice (1)

martyn s (444964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470988)

Unfortunately, (at least in theory) going to Piratebay and getting your music for free will land you in jail. It is against the law. The fact that you can do that is only a loophole in the system that will probably be closed. You have no rights.

Re:It's a choice (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470768)

Now you have the choice in not buying it, but if millions of other people do buy it they essentially give the power to those services to make our law makers forbid any non DRM solution.

You wanna make a very expensive bet?

No? then stop talking like this.

if a person doesn't know... (1)

sedyn (880034) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470824)

Ask the average DRM-purchaser if they understand that there is a chance their music won't play in the future.

Just because you and I understand the tradeoffs doesn't mean that the average person does.

Re:if a person doesn't know... (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470990)

the "average person" ?

so what you're saying is that these "average people" who know CDs can stop working and who believe you need to buy a whole new computer when the things get a bit slow are somehow buying DRM songs under the impression that things could never possibly go wrong?

it's always a problem when people haven't got a clue what they're doing but DRM is by no means a special case of this.

It's a choice... but for how long? (5, Insightful)

sound+vision (884283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470852)

Sure, you can go out and buy a CD today, but what about in 10 years? 5? CDs will eventually be replaced by SACD or DVD-A, both of which have DRM schemes. If we don't stop DRM now, there will be no alternative.

Sure, DRM can and will be cracked, but that's not what it's about. The iTunes DRM can be cracked, too. It provides a major inconvenience, many hurdles for us to jump over just to use something we already bought & payed for.

About DVD-A's encryption being cracked, it wasn't What happened was a patch was released for WinDVD to redirect the output to a file instead of a sound card. You can bet the RIAA is working on a way to neutralize this.

Re:It's a choice... but for how long? (1)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470923)

About DVD-A's encryption being cracked, it wasn't What happened was a patch was released for WinDVD to redirect the output to a file instead of a sound card. You can bet the RIAA is working on a way to neutralize this.

it's called Windows Vista, in which all this will run in some sort of nasty protected process/thread that makes sure the data only goes to the sound card. i, for one, will buy a Mac inste.......oh drat.

Re:It's a choice... but for how long? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470956)

Sure, you can go out and buy a CD today, but what about in 10 years? 5? CDs will eventually be replaced by SACD or DVD-A, both of which have DRM schemes.
But surely they don't have mandatory DRM schemes? The DVD video format specifies both an encryption and a region-coding scheme. You don't have to use either. Unless they're going to enforce some kind of mandatory restrictions on future formats (which seems kind of silly) then the same bands who choose to deliver DRM-free MP3s now will be able to sell you DRM-free SACDs in the future.

It sounds like what you're really saying is, "if we don't stop G-UnitShadyAftermathInterscope records from putting DRM on those Lloyd Banks MP3s now, the world is doomed!" But in fact there's another solution: Don't listen to G-Unit, and don't shop major labels. You'll probably be smarter for it anyway.

Re:It's a choice... but for how long? (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13471005)

You mean if we don't stop DRM 20 years ago, there will be no alternative now, right?

Where were you when everyone started buying CSS region coded DVDs?

Apple Cheats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470927)

Apple says "Own it forever and a day" (see the article), but then they still own it, you don't.

That's cheating.

Only a Mac Faboi would bother to defend Apple on this one. Fact is: DRM sucks. Whey you buy Ipod, you buy DRM and locked into their hardware.

Hardware Lock-In? Is that a part of "Think Different"?

You Mac Zealots can whine all you want about "choice" but you are buying into deceptive adverstising and a defective product.

I'm sticking with TRULY portable mp3 and open standards.

Re:It's a choice (1)

knipknap (769880) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470946)

buy the CD (assuming it isn't broken)

And there goes your theory. Are you are saying that removing culture from some users is an acceptable trade-off?
You are essentially saying that "don't use this product if you don't like it" is the same as "don't have this culture if you don't like it".

When they DRM speech, will you also say "don't listen to that guy if you don't like the terms"?

The EFF should push for national culture freedom laws instead of being defensive all the time.

Yeah, but how do I crack Windows Media Audio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470674)

My local library is now offering audiobooks for download, 100% free. How do I crack 'em?

Re:Yeah, but how do I crack Windows Media Audio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470722)

muvaudio

Re:Yeah, but how do I crack Windows Media Audio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470748)

Cool! Now...ah...how do I crack muvaudio? ;)

Bad reporting (2, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470678)

The EFF dings Apple for cutting the number of identical playlist burns from 10 to 7, while conveniently neglecting to point out that Apple simultaneously raised the number of authorizable computers from 3 to 5. If they're going to give "the real deal rather than spin" they should refrain from inserting spin themselves.

Re:Bad reporting (4, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470739)

All they were doing was giving an example of how Apple could change your rights. The argument was not "Apple is bad because they lowered the burn rights from 10 to 7", but "Apple is bad because they *can* lower the burn rights from 10 to 7".

If they were attempting to provide complete details on how iTunes works, then yes, things like the number of authorizable computers would have been important to have. But since they were only trying to show how the consumer can have a purchased product taken away from them, the example they provided was sufficient.

Re:Bad reporting (0)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470916)

No, because doing one but not the other simply further indicates the author's bias. Yes, it's possible that additional restrictions can be applied, however, with the 3-to-5 example, it's ALSO possible that in the future restrictions can be reduced or eliminated altogether based on customer demand.

Re:Bad reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13471002)

Note that Apple lowered the burn limits for music purchased after they announced the new policy, they did not retroactively remove rights from previously purchased content. The EFF is somewhat misleading by not pointing this out.

Re:Bad reporting (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470778)

The focus in the guide is about warning how the services restrict music. They correctly state that Apple limits copies to 5 computers, and that is indeed the unspinned, real deal truth. Why should they for all companies examined write a detailed history of how their offers have changed? That's not too interesting to know in the eyes of a consumer, but rather how the music that person buys now won't be able to be played.

Re:Bad reporting (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13471031)

>that is indeed the unspinned, real deal truth

no it's not at all.

you can use as many computers as you want, but only 5 simultaneously. this is very different. the way you say it suggests file loss is inevitable after upgrading your computer 5 times.

the process of authorising and deauthorising computers is very simple.

btw, how many players can you simultaneously play a real CD on? there are benefits and restrictions to everything.

Not really (1)

Lifewish (724999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470832)

The point they were trying to make was that Apple *could* do whatever the hell they liked, which was aptly demonstrated by the modification they mentioned. Discussing whether the particular change was good or bad for consumers wasn't the issue; the fact that Apple could make the change was.

Re:Bad reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470843)

The point is to illustrate that if they felt like it, Apple would be within their rights to take those authorizable computers from 5 to 1.

Everyone who holds a copyright could potentially do something "nice" with it, like relinquish it to the public domain, so its nothing special if you can do your users a "favor" like that.

Fair use not protected by law? (3, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470684)

``Breaking the DRM or distributing the tools to break DRM may expose you to liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) even if you're not making any illegal uses.''

So, does that mean fair use is not protected by law in the USA? I'm pretty sure that where I live, fair use is allowed even if the EULA forbids it or the technology prevents it. You can reverse-engineer the technology (a right protected by law), and an EULA that restricts your rights too far is not valid, even if you signed it.

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (2, Informative)

dotwaffle (610149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470731)

Not quite right - you have the right to free speech, and therefore can technically speak on any subject you wish - however if you've signed an NDA - you're restricted, by choice. You violate that, you're screwed, just as reverse engineering a protected technology would be.

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (1)

LightningBolt! (664763) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470737)


You can reverse-engineer the technology (a right protected by law), and an EULA that restricts your rights too far is not valid, even if you signed it.

A terrorist! Seize him! Seize him!

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470762)

IANAL, this is just how I understand it. The DMCA prohibits the act of circumventing a technological measure used by copyright owners to control access to their works (from EFF DMCA page [eff.org]). So basically, if the fair uses that you want require you to go through some sort of encryption (of which DRM is almost always an example), it is illegal because you have to break the DMCA to use your rights.

(Again, I am thankful I am Canadian.)

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (1)

servoled (174239) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470806)

On top of that the EULA that you sign when purchasing DRM'd songs limits you to certain uses, efectively signing away any fair use right you may have had.

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470877)

That appears to be correct under both DCMA and EUCD.

But "fair use" still lets you make a copy even though the "original" is encrypted/whatever. You just can't make an digital/exact copy, for example you are always free to capture the analog output and encode that in whatever form you feel comforable with (for personal use).

(IANAL)

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (2, Interesting)

bladernr (683269) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470856)

an EULA that restricts your rights too far is not valid, even if you signed it

That seems to me to prevent people from voluntarily entering into binding contracts, and as such is a government interference in freedom and commerce.

I, for one, don't want to government walking around declaring contracts I've made with another party as void because something is "too far." What if I sell my house to someone, and then the government comes back and says I charged too much (even though the person agreed to pay that amount) and makes me refund to what the government thinks is fair value?

Sorry, you can keep your government interference into private affairs, such as contracts entered into freely between two parties.

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470978)

``What if I sell my house to someone, and then the government comes back and says I charged too much''

I don't know about selling houses, but I'm pretty sure the government restricts the rent you can charge where I live (which is not the US).

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13471001)

This doesn't apply to futile contract like music eula, but most real contracts are the result of a power play between two people, and the result is that one person abuse the other.

So if the government forbid me to kill the bastard who abuse the situation and leave me no choice but to sign a contract I don't want, then the government should make sure the other guy don't abuse too much of its power.

Otherwise, I want to have the right to kill the bastard.

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (3, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13471038)

I've got news for you: the government has already made all kinds of restrictions on what kinds of contracts you can enter into.

- Non-compete employment clauses aren't valid in California.

- You can't sign yourself into slavery.

- Homeowner's association contract clauses that prohibit small satellite dish antennas are all invalid.

- Attempts to put an EULA on a paper book are null and void.

- There are very specific rules on how the interest and payments section on a loan are to be worded and formatted.

The list goes on and on. The real world just isn't as simple as you'd like it to be.

Re:Fair use not protected by law? (2, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470984)

"So, does that mean fair use is not protected by law in the USA?" - yes, fair use is defined (very, very vaguely) in Title 17, section 107. In practice, fair use is defined by in court decisions as whatever-the-hell-we-think-it-should-be. Caselaw is inconsistent, and there are precious few rules.

Also, fair use is not a license, it's a defense in court. But by the time you actually win, you've already paid $100,000+ in legal fees, so you lose anyway.

preaching to the choir, blah blah (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470688)


the EFF need to get their guides printed onto paper and distributed to the public, buses, trains, in the street , through doors, offices, trams, subways, parking lots, schools , youth clubs, community centers ,even TV (get those cheques written) basically anywhere the public might see it and read it and understand it

otherwise nothing will change, we (technologists/gurus/nerds etc) all know the ramifications of DRM and the threat it poses to society, but society doesnt know or even care about what they dont understand sick profiteers are trying to do

educate people, lots of them, quickly, using traditional methods, because this inteweb is not the answer to this problem

Re:preaching to the choir, blah blah (2, Interesting)

knipknap (769880) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470961)

You can't educate all people unless the media wants to. You'll hardly convince them.
IMO pushing for national culture freedom laws is the most promising approach. In other words, culture needs to be published using open standards.

john q public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470704)

JQP: "Ooooooooo shiny new toy!"
Aware Citizen: "Yes, but you'll be restricted in ways you won't like."
JQP: "I don't care, SHINY NEW TOY!!!"
Aware Citizen: "*sigh* Sheeple."

Just Say No To Proprietary Devices and Formats(R).

Missing from the site (-1, Offtopic)

molrak (541582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470726)

If ever there was a time when a goatse.cx picture would have been appropriate, this article would have been it.

plain english? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470763)

as opposed to what other english?

Yahoo Music Store changed my life... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470773)

because I just load up Tunebite (it's cheap, go buy it!) and now all my DRMed files are unDRMed and I can do with them what I want. All on a $5 a month plan. It may not be 100% what they want, but I'm not sharing those files and I find it more convienient than worrying about my stupid licenses.

I use www.finetunes.-de (1)

Nahooda (906991) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470802)

"The EFF also lists four alternative music services which sell unrestricted files."

Take it on the other side. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470805)

Come on guys, we all know what this is. Personally, I think it's kind of similar to the smoking situation. We have "Big Tobacco" saying one thing and people like Truth saying another thing. Yes, smoking is almost certainly bad for your health. But bobody is forcing you to smoke, or if you are addicted there are things to help you quit. Then we have "Big Music" saying one thing and people like EFF saying another thing. Yes, DRM is almost certainly bad for your fair use rights. But nobody is forcing you to use DRMd music, or if you are using it there is alternative unrestricted music. The fact is, most people don't think about the long-term health effects when they start smoking. Most people don't think about the DRM in their music, either.

Nobody seems to be bitching about Apple's DRM except the hard-liners, so I think there can be a reasonable comprimise.

Re:Take it on the other side. (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470835)

But nobody is forcing you to use DRMd music


You wait, soon what you say will be bogus, then DRM is pushed down our throats.
But that is what you get when comparing apples and pears.

Re:Take it on the other side. (5, Interesting)

cnerd2025 (903423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470939)

I agree that no one is *forcing* anyone to use the DRM'd music, but the way things are going, we will have no choice but to use DRM'd music and video.

Big Tobacco is completely different. Tobacco is addicting (rather nicotine in Tobacco is addicting) and once you're hooked it's hard to be unhooked. Of course, no one forced you to get hooked in the first place other than yourself. But the point is once you're on cigarettes, it's hard to get off of them.

DRM is no such thing. It is not a product and it isn't something that consumers would want at all. I don't like Apple's DRM because I'd like to store my music in a format that I like and not be restricted by it. I don't 'illegally' share it or anything like that. I use the JHymn software to remove the FairPlay DRM from it. Doesn't really hurt much, it's my Fair Use right to do so. The courts have determined that.

The problem with DRM is that companies will soon impose it on us. If you have been following the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray wars at all, you will know that the two camps are trying to say that they have *better* DRM than the other, stating that their format is effectively more DRM'd than the other. Microshaft has stated that in Vista, it will be handling media files much differently from how they are handled today. This will limit users' fair use rights. DRM is going to be imposed on us. It is not like tobacco which is only imposed on us if we use tobacco products or live with those who do.

The time has come to make a choice. Do we want software that, while preserving the 'rights' of select few (mainly the RIAA and the Five labels), arguably infringes upon our rights as users and as consumers? The US Constitution, Article I, Section 8 Clause 8 enumerates that Congress has the right "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;" This is the legal stem of copyright. In the words of (former) Surpreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor:

The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but [t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts...To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art.
Copyright is not an end for artists, it is an end for the immortalism of art and science.

DRM Circumvention (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470821)

So...what's the state of DRM circumvention tools? I recall stories here about tools that circumvent Apple's DRM...what about DRM on WMA files?

Re:DRM Circumvention (3, Interesting)

servoled (174239) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470849)

Both are still illegal, their use still requires some kind of Robin Hood/civil disobedience line of reasoning to properly operate.

Re:DRM Circumvention (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13470909)

...their use still requires some kind of Robin Hood/civil disobedience line of reasoning to properly operate.

They require you to have a certain line of reasoning to operate properly...? So if a RIAA guy tried them, they wouldn't work? ;-)

Re:DRM Circumvention (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470925)

``Both are still illegal'' ...in the US. What about Europe? Canada? Russia? New-Zealand? Brazil? I'd like to have these questions answered, so that I get an idea of how the situation is in various corners of the world. Is there some site that monitors this?

Fair and unbiased (4, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470861)

"... fair use restrictions that major online music services, such as Apple's iTunes, force on their customers via Digital Rights Management (DRM) laden music files..."

Wow. Sounds like a balanced, fair, and unbiased review of the issues to me.

Re:Fair and unbiased (2, Informative)

The Journalist (844669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13471034)

Consider the source. This isn't an independent news organization attempting to create a "fair and balanced" account of DRM, its pros/cons etc. It's the EFF discussing how DRM reduces a user's rights to listen to music they have paid for.

Some words may appear to intentionally attack, but let's consider the ramifications of the words you chose.

(Sidenote: Merriam-Webster is my source)

  • force: n. violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing. Given that if one wants to use iTunes to purchase music from iTMS, one is indeed _forced_ to agree to an EULA allowing DRM. No agreement, no music.
  • laden: adj. carrying a load or burden. How else do you describe music that has DRM? "Music that has DRM"? "Limited-access music"? Given that most people want to listen to their music _whenever_, _wherever_ and on _whatever_ they please, how else should they describe music that prevents them from doing so? "Laden" is a term that conveys a sense of awkwardness.. like trying to load a DRM'd file onto an unapproved device.

Sorry, Jack, but claiming bias here is a bit of a waste.

Good. (3, Insightful)

Captain Scurvy (818996) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470904)

As others have pointed out, we presently have a choice as to whether or not we do business with people who sell DRM media. If the laws do not change to require DRM (and that is a really big if), then you just don't have to give your money to people who sell DRM. It is good that the EFF has pointed out some alternative choices. If people don't want DRM, then the marketplace will decide whether or not it'll stick around.

However, I'm pretty cynical, so I instead expect laws to change to make restricted media the norm.

Wow... (2, Insightful)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470908)

"...force on their customers via Digital Rights Management (DRM) laden music files and End User License Agreements (EULAs)"

Force onto their customer? They held me up at gunpoint so I had no choice but to buy from the iTMS? If you buy music from iTunes, you're going to have DRM'ed files. Don't like it? Don't buy it.

It's not like music isn't available from other sources (both brick and mortar and online). But remember, those "easily" converted music CDs are starting to include DRM mechanisms as well.

Almost (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470959)

"...force on their customers via Digital Rights Management (DRM) laden music files and End User License Agreements (EULAs)"

"Force onto their customer? They held me up at gunpoint so I had no choice but to buy from the iTMS?"

Almost. They trick you into buying music, thinking the DRM is just a technical restriction. And then they make decrypting your own data illegal with laws like DMCA. That's where the gunpoint comes in. Does it really matter if they force you to cede control of your own computer by law before or after you purchased the music?

Its not Digital Rights Management (3, Informative)

Snaller (147050) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470914)

Its Digital Restrictions Management, get it right Slashdot ;)

I say... (1)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470963)

Just use Gnutella. It has no DRM, and works on any platform. And if you don't upload, you are very very unlikely to be gone after.

Lossless? (1)

cartoon (39734) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470971)

What I want to know is if there are any stores selling FLAC or other lossless formats. Now, that would be useful. Who knows what format I want to use in the future?

For home media centers, lossless is great and completely removes the need for CD players... apart from ripping the music in the first place. For portable players, who knows what format I want in the future. Transcoding from mp3 to aac or whatnot is not a good solution. Lossless source is the only long-term option for music. I plan to listen to the music I own for the rest of my life.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...