Beta
×

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!

Warner Music Group Drops DRM for Amazon

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.

Music 167

SirLurksAlot sends us to Ars Technica for an article about the Warner Music Group's decision to allow DRM-free music downloads through Amazon. This reversal of Warner's former position has been underway for some time, and it boosts the number of DRM-free songs available from Amazon to 2.9 million. Quoting: "Warner's announcement says nothing about offering its content through other services such as iTunes, and represents the music industry's attempt to make life a bit more difficult for Apple after all the years in which the company held the keys to music's digital kingdom.

cancel ×

167 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Can't argue with Amazon (5, Informative)

RickRussellTX (755670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835570)

I've downloaded several albums and I'm very happy with it. Odd mix of bit rates (some are about 224 kbit VBR, others are 256 kbit fixed rate), but no complaints with the music. I just wish their library was larger.

Only real complaint is that the album downloader (that allows you to get the album discount) only runs on Windows & MacOS. Write a Java client and get with the program, Amazon!

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835590)

Well, if this keeps up, you wont need to be wishing the catalog was larger for too much longer. The service hasn't been around for all that long and has been growing rather quickly.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (3, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836714)

Yeah, this is great news. It's been terrible how Apple worked to let consumers keep some fair-use rights [like when they first put up the store, they were the only ones letting you burn purchased music to CDs]. And I doubt many songs would be priced at $0.99 [or thereabouts] if it weren't for Apple. It would probably just be better all around [at least for the media companies] if Apple just closed down the iTMS.

Hell, Apple could just move over and use that sexy Ovi portal by Nokia!

Am I the only one the believes if Apple didn't hold the line for individual songs priced at $0.99 [or stopped having an iTMS store], that at best, $0.99 would be the 'low' price for the old, unpopular songs, and everything else [either old & popular or new] would be priced significantly higher. And have more DRM limitations, rather than less.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (4, Funny)

coldcell (714061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835788)

Only real complaint is that the album downloader (that allows you to get the album discount) only runs on Windows & MacOS.

I disagree, there are plenty of bittorrent clients for Linux as well.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836074)

Man, who is the dickhead on the loose with mod points this evening. I guess there are some RIAA types that frequent Slashdot nowadays.

Flamebait, my ass. That's actually funny.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (4, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836882)

I guess there are some RIAA types that frequent Slashdot nowadays.
Oh, those folks have been trolling Slashdot for years now... all the major labels have an "ideology neutralization response unit" comprised of pale thin men in bad suits, hunkering over keyboards for days on end, just waiting for dangerous /. posts.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21835808)

Only real complaint is that the album downloader (that allows you to get the album discount) only runs on Windows & MacOS. Write a Java client and get with the program, Amazon!

A Linux version is under development (Check below system requirements). [amazon.com]

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21836036)

They've been saying that for quite some time. Really, why does anyone develop a new application without making it truly cross platform? So far they have a Windows and Mac OS X version and are supposedly working on a Linux version. Why didn't they just use wxWidgets, QT, Java, RealBasic, Mono, etc and support all three with the same codebase at once? To appease Mac and Gnome users they could just make a few changes to make it use the interface guidelines, but that's not too difficult with wxWidgets (XRC ftw!).

They could have also done like eMusic and created a downloader based on xulrunner.

Or hire someone that can.. (2, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836048)

Only real complaint is that the album downloader (that allows you to get the album discount) only runs on Windows & MacOS. Write a Java client and get with the program, Amazon!
Agreed [kallisti.net.nz] . It seems like the donationware/bounty-ware would be a great way for business to get products and reward people (and generally garner that good-will stuff while expanding their own interests).

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (1)

ZipR (584654) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836232)

I've downloaded a number of albums too. Pretty happy for the most part. Wish that they put a zero in front of the 1-9 digits in the filename for better sorting, but other than that, I've like what they offer.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836642)

There should be a way of switching on natural sort order if you're in Windows. Check out TweakUI.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836432)

Well, for what it's worth, Amazon has said they are working on a downloader for Linux. Whether or not it's a POS, we'll have to wait and see.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (0, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836514)

I've downloaded several albums and I'm very happy with it. Odd mix of bit rates (some are about 224 kbit VBR, others are 256 kbit fixed rate), but no complaints with the music.

It's worth pointing out that I actually purchased my first album in about five years a few days ago from Amazon. I've actually *wanted* to buy various music for years, but it simply hasn't been available in MP3 (buying proprietary music from iTunes is completely out of the question). Amazon makes it pretty damn easy to get what you want quickly, much easier than file sharing.

On another subject, it's also interesting that earlier this year Steve Jobs was whining how he wanted to sell DRM-free music, but "they" wouldn't let him. Well, Steve, Amazon is doing it. Why aren't you? Or were we really getting yet another Apple lie, and the whole point really has been all along to sell people music that could only work on iPods?

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (2, Interesting)

chaz373 (671243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836694)

"On another subject, it's also interesting that earlier this year Steve Jobs was whining how he wanted to sell DRM-free music, but "they" wouldn't let him. Well, Steve, Amazon is doing it. Why aren't you? Or were we really getting yet another Apple lie, and the whole point really has been all along to sell people music that could only work on iPods?" Whoa there Mr. Innuendo and inaccuracy....Apple cannot just start selling a catalog of DRM free music because they want to...they HAVE TO HAVE THE LABELS APPROVAL! So, instead of once again blaming Apple for everything from DRM to Global Warming, try fact some fact-checking. In addition, there are at least 26 different online services that are iPod compatible. Yes, the iPod is such a walled garden.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836850)

Jobs was publicly arguing against DRM in 2003. FairPlay was the least foul DRM, and Apple used its retail leverage to keep prices down.

They labels are hoping to reclaim some pressure by playing hardball with iTunes, but Amazon isn't outselling Apple even when its huge CD sales are included. It certainly isn't comparable to Apple in terms of downloads alone. The labels all preferred Windows Media DRM, but the customer is always right.

There's plenty of pro-Microsoft wags trying to say that Amazon is hurting Apple, but MP3s are good for the iPod. The only thing bad for the iPod is Real/Windows Media/ATRAC DRM that can't play on the iPod.

Apple TV Digital Disruption at Work: iTunes Takes 91% of Video Download Market [roughlydrafted.com]

Newton Rising: Is the Next iPhone Device a G3 MessagePad? [roughlydrafted.com]
Rumor sites have long been atwitter about Apple resurrecting the Newton MessagePad. While officially dead for nearly a decade, those rumors got a boost this year when Steve Jobs rolled out the iPhone as a combination "mobile phone, iPod, and breakthrough Internet device." The iPhone first appeared to be Jobs' version of the Newton, but after the iPod Touch revealed Apple's long term plans for targeting a wider range of devices, the idea of a tablet assistant gained new credence as a realistic possibility. What does Apple's past reveal about its future? Here's a look.

Re:Can't argue with Amazon (5, Insightful)

fangorious (1024903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837110)

buying proprietary music from iTunes is completely out of the question

In terms of licensing, encoding AAC audio content in an MPEG4 container is less proprietary than MP3. The only part that isn't an open standard is FairPlay, which is also the least restrictive DRM you'll find.

On another subject, it's also interesting that earlier this year Steve Jobs was whining how he wanted to sell DRM-free music, but "they" wouldn't let him. Well, Steve, Amazon is doing it. Why aren't you?

Apple started selling DRM-free music back in May, before Amazon released their big MP3 store.
Your username couldn't possibly be more ironic.

That's good news. (1, Insightful)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835574)

DRM is bad. Let it die, and soon.

Re:That's good news. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21835616)

DRM is bad.
What a courageous stand to take here on Slashdot. We all admire your bravery in making such a controversial statement.

Re:That's good news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21835660)

Not only that, please remove laws making DRM have force of law behind it. I don't want anybody to ever bother with the shit again once it dies.

Hmm (2, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835578)

I have a sudden feeling that I'd like to buy something from Warner's catalog off Amazon.

Re:Hmm (1)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835730)

In my case, tonight.*

*coincidence-I had been planning this since I finished xmas shopping.

About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21835584)

A sudden outbreak of common sense

Re:About time (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836094)

I doubt it. Remember, we are talking hardcore control freaks here, true blue sociopaths. This is more likely part of some strategy to topple Apple from the driver's seat, and have us back under their collective thumb again.

Re:About time (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836302)

I doubt it. Remember, we are talking hardcore control freaks here, true blue sociopaths. This is more likely part of some strategy to topple Apple from the driver's seat, and have us back under their collective thumb again.
Because that would be so logical, given Apple's stance on DRM [slashdot.org]

Re:About time (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836426)

This has nothing to do with DRM, per se. It has to do with who distributes big label music. Apple, through a combination of astuteness on Steve Jobs' part, and boneheaded stupidity on the labels' part, got control of a good chunk of music sales. The studios absolutely do not like the treatment they've received from Apple (i.e., "no, we're not going to grease up and bend over for you") and have never willingly given up control of distribution in the past. In fact, they've done any number of unethical and outright illegal things in order to maintain it. Believe me, they'd do anything to get rid of iTunes right now, in spite of the money it's making them (bears caught in a trap will gnaw off their own limbs to escape.)

Excellent (3, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835594)

Since Amazon launched their MP3 store, I've been trying to pick things up there if possible, then fall back on iTunes as a secondary source -- specifically because of the lack of DRM. Good to know the selection's about to jump.

Re:Excellent (1)

Strudelkugel (594414) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835676)


Apple bad, record industry good?

Whooaaa, it's not even the new year yet!

Re:Excellent (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835986)

Apple bad, record industry good?

I think it's more like "Apple good, hands clue-phone to Warner Records."

Re:Excellent (5, Informative)

snib (911978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835736)

I find iTunes' browsing interface to be very nice and the simple search to be faster and easier than every other music store I've tried. As for DRM, try QTFairUse - it very quickly strips DRM from protected tracks. It scans your iTunes library for protected tracks, backs them up, decodes them, and replaces them in your library and all playlists with the unprotected ones. 10-20 seconds per track and it's lossless. It also transfers the ID3 info to the new tracks, as well as album artwork. Of course there's already a lot of tracks in iTunes Plus (DRM-free mp3) which saves you the small trouble.

Re:Excellent (5, Informative)

snib (911978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835754)

Oops... I guess i should put a link for those who haven't heard of it:

QTFairUse download & discussion [hymn-project.org]

Re:Excellent (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835872)

Programs like QTFairUse are excellent, but they are no substitute for actually buying only DRM free music in the first place, and refusing to buy DRM encumbered tracks, period. Nothing sends a message to the music industry better.

In other words, being able to break DRM (today) is no reason to buy DRM encumbered music.

Re:Excellent (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836292)

I have to agree with this.

Even if it's easy to break, if we can make it such that can see that offering a DRM free track for a reasonable price results in increased sales such that they make more profit, maybe we'll beat the DRM schemes.

Much like I've dumped many dollars into webscriptions - I recently had a reason to download all my books again in a new format - I hadn't realized I had quite that many. I hadn't realized that I had 356 of them.

Even if they were only ~$3 each*, it's over a thousand dollars. Just from me. How much have the other companies seen? $0.

*I buy the webscriptions, average 5 books for $15.

Re:Excellent (1)

warrigal (780670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836456)

Who are you sending the message to? Apple, who would just as soon sell non-DRM tracks if Warner would let them? Warner, who are selling non-DRM tracks but not thru Apple?

Warner are practicing discriminatory pricing. Why?

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21836652)

Apple would most certainly prefer to lock customers into their DRM than sell DRM-free music. Disagree and you are simply wrong.

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21836698)

On the other hand, without Apple, the Music Industry wouldn't be talking to Amazon or offering DRM-encumbered tracks at all right now.

I for one, don't think the RIAA got the message yet, they are NOT on their knees, begging, which, after all their goofs, is the only acceptable result. The music industry can call Apple bad, if they had offered drm-unemcumbered music BEFORE the ipod. Right now, they just are trying to spin-doctor history to prevent the righteous backlash the sony drm rootkit and other ideas so richly deserve(I think their abuse of monopoly position should at least be investigated in court, for criminal prison sentences, myself)... And these people are saying "boo-hoo! Apple can say no to us!"?

Call me when it's lossless (3, Insightful)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835636)

I still would rather buy the CD and encode losslessly (I made a new word!).

Re:Call me when it's lossless (2, Informative)

cibyr (898667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835724)

I made a new word!
No you didn't.
Google says: Results 1 - 10 of about 120,000 for losslessly.

Re:Call me when it's lossless (1)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835890)

I still would rather buy the CD and encode losslessly (I made a new word!).

I do the same thing... I just pick up used CDs off of Amazon's marketplace, rip them, and then shelve them. I'm not supporting the RIAA (but unfortunately not supporting the artist at the same time) and the overall cost is about the same as buying an album off of iTunes (with the added benefit of being able to pick my format and bit rate). I actually really like the Amazon marketplace... I've had good luck with books (textbooks especially) and DVDs as well.

I haven't bought an album new from a store in quite a awhile... I can't remember the last time I bought an album from a store, actually. It has probably been at least 3 or 4 years.

Re:Call me when it's lossless (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836330)

I do this as well, since most of the music I listen to is Japanese, and many of the songs (especially older ones) isn't present on these services, or even for "illegal" download anymore. I try my local Kinokuniya Bookstore (who orders CDs if they aren't in stock at the moment but available there) first, then Amazon.co.jp. If the latter can't ship out of Japan (only for ones not from Amazon directly), I proxy ship through relatives in Japan.

The only downside is that normal eleven-to-sixteen track albums cost almost $40, regardless of me importing them or buying them after having been imported. That's the music I enjoy, and the RIAA isn't getting my money.

Re:Call me when it's lossless (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836336)

If I want a whole album I'll still buy it on CD, but when its something where you only want a song or two, its a pretty good deal, and MP3 is at least standard enough that you probably won't have to reencode it to something else (which is what worries me, as a 256k MP3 sounds fine, but I can usually hear the difference in the reencoded version.) Also I usually find in the end I listen more to things that I like the whole album anyway...

Re:Call me when it's lossless (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837158)

I agree . . . a little. Whole CDs generally suck. 10-20 bucks for a few songs you like and many more you don't give a crap about. Some music is worth getting lossless for that. A lot isn't.

Not about DRM (5, Insightful)

mc moss (1163007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835654)

This isn't about record companies deciding DRM is bad. It is about making sure Apple doesn't control the distribution of digital media.

Re:Not about DRM (2, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835670)

> This isn't about record companies deciding DRM is bad. It is about making sure Apple doesn't control the distribution of digital media.

So, where's the downside?

Re:Not about DRM (1)

mc moss (1163007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835716)

There isn't. I'm all for consumers having more choice and believe competition will benefit the consumer.

Re:Not about DRM (2)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835780)

The best part is, people will continue buying iPods regardless, and Apple's sacred cash cow will remain alive and well, except that users will complain that Amazon needs to integrate with iTunes so as to make their download experience easier.

Re:Not about DRM (4, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835944)

When I download music from the Amazon store, it updates my iTunes library as well.

Re:Not about DRM (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835958)

"The best part is, people will continue buying iPods regardless, and Apple's sacred cash cow will remain alive and well, except that users will complain that Amazon needs to integrate with iTunes so as to make their download experience easier."

Geeze, if people need something easier than Ctl-O to "add file to library", they should consider remedial computer literacy courses. Incorporating an Amazon-bought mp3 into itunes is easier than ripping a CD.

I don't begrudge Apple their profits -- we just acquired our second ipod. But Apple's music store needs competition, and I'm always glad to see more DRM-free music becoming available.

Re:Not about DRM (2, Informative)

HistoricPrizm (1044808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835960)

The downloader already does that. You buy, the downloader adds the music to your iTunes library. It's very simple and easy to use, but browsing/finding music is not very much fun on Amazon, and their recommendations are way off base compared to what I'm used to with iTunes. I usually get recommendations and/or search on iTunes then go look for the specific item(s) on Amazon. If not available there, then I go back to iTunes. With this announcement, it appears I won't have to go back as much.

Re:Not about DRM (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21835718)

This is like in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex jumped in to fight the Raptors. Who wins? The people.

Re:Not about DRM (3, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835882)

And it's about egos as well as controls. The music industry is used to having control over distrobution, what songs are promoted through radio play, how things get marketed, etc.. Before, the equipment to mass replicate CD's (Replication not duplication, there's a difference) was out of the reach of most. But with the internet, everything changed.

It took a technology company, with Jobs' inroads in the entertainment industry, to create a system that worked for online digital distribution. The record companies let Apple take the gamble with the hardware/software/infrastructure costs with very little risk to them. And it was successful.

Now that the record companies see that internet distribution can work, they are now back into the game of trying to regain control. Apple has been pretty tough on flat rate pricing. The record companies want to dictate price. So now we're back to egos clashing.

Not that letting Apple have a monopoly is good thing, but frankly I never minded the DRM. There is a huge "All DRM is evil" crowd here. Now there were some ways folks proposed DRM was evil, but I'm not against the concept per sue.(Rootkits come to mind), but Apple's system seem to me to be a fair balance.

I can put it on an iPod, if I owned one, a couple PC's at my house or use one as a server and stream to other machines and the .99 per track was fair. $1.29 for no DRM, if it was worth the extra money I'd pay it. To me it' not. As far as losses/lossy goes, I can't tell a difference. I'm no audiophile either, but I have enough hearing damage from loud music as it is...

Re:Not about DRM (1)

snarlydwarf (532865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837294)

Apple's system is a fair balance if you only use iPods and/or iTunes.

Fairplay doesn't work with my Squeezeboxes or my car stereo, both of which play mp3's fine.

Locking music I supposedly "bought" into one vendor's hardware is not good.

Re:Not about DRM (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836680)

> This isn't about record companies deciding DRM is bad. It is about making sure Apple doesn't control the distribution of digital media.

Of course, and moving to no DRM was Apple's idea in the first place. They're really afraid of Apple.

http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/09/1653255 [slashdot.org]

Prediction (4, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835658)

As DRM dies the fools will start using digital watermarking to sue people who leak to p2p networks. This will ruin numerous lives until some clever lawyer points out that since the distributor knows the watermark THEY can upload it to p2p networks in order to frame people they wish to sue. Eventually this fact will sink in among judges, but before that happens thousands of people will have been burnt, new draconian legislation will have been passed, and music sales will have fallen even more.

Following this the process of suing based on watermarks will wane, but the distributors will instead disconnect people from their websites if they find their watermarks on p2p. The result will be that those burnt ( weather guilty or not ) will migrate to filesharing.

In essence, despite the obvious fiasco that is DRM the same garbage will continue due to greed and stupidity. Really, DRM in one clothing or another has been arround for some time, it as never been successful, but that hasn't stopped people from trying. It will continue this way for quite some time still.

Re:Prediction (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835702)

> As DRM dies the fools will start using digital watermarking to sue people who leak to p2p networks. This will ruin numerous lives until some clever lawyer points out that since the distributor knows the watermark THEY can upload it to p2p networks in order to frame people they wish to sue. Eventually this fact will sink in among judges, but before that happens thousands of people will have been burnt, new draconian legislation will have been passed, and music sales will have fallen even more.

Maybe I'm being naive here, but if I can get DRM-free, reasonably encoded music at a reasonable price, why would I want to continue sharing music on p2p networks? I mean, wasn't that the entire point?

(Disclaimer: The above was an hypothetical "I". I personally don't get music off p2p networks, mostly because the selection and price of used CDs has been sufficient for my needs.)

Re:Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21835858)

A reasonable price?

You mean, they're selling these tracks at a penny each? (That's all they're worth, after all).

If so, I'll have to look into this.

Re:Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21835876)

Because paying for data is so 20th century. Seriously. That whole "intellectual property" thing is over.

Re:Prediction (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836032)

That whole "intellectual property" thing is over.

Really? Completely gone, baby and bathwater? I hope you like low/middle wage factory jobs, because without IP America will have to return to a manufacturing economy.

Re:Prediction (2, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836174)

I hope you like low/middle wage factory jobs, because without IP America will have to return to a manufacturing economy.

Manufacturing? No chance. China has that sewn up. Do away with the music, movies and microcode, and America's left with only the high-speed pizza delivery industry.

Re:Prediction (4, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835904)

Maybe I'm being naive here, but if I can get DRM-free, reasonably encoded music at a reasonable price, why would I want to continue sharing music on p2p networks? I mean, wasn't that the entire point?


You missed the point, say you never ever touch a p2p network ever again, what stops the RIAA from posting the latest Britney Spears song, marking it ith YOUR watermark, and then sue you for $100.000.

Simply put, if watermakrs were to become accepted as evidence in the court of law it would allow the people who make the watermarks to frame ANYBODY WHO BUYS FROM THEM. I.e, the moment they have your credit card number you're unable to criticise them or they could frame you by uploading a bunch of music to piratebay, marking it with your details.

It only takes ONE false positive to destroy the entire watermarking scheme. One mistake, one virus, trojan or worm uploding an inncoent victim's music to the web. It takes one person to buy a song , upload it to the net, and then deny it, hand the police a clean harddrive... game over. If it happens to even one person customers will be scared of it.

The scheme is doomed to fail. Perhaps mroe so than DRM. With DRM you were risking to not be able to play your music when the vendor makes a mistake, with watermarked media you risk having your life ruined from legal fees. If they even thought about enforcing it they would kill their entire market. Yet somehow they think that "this time it will be different".

I'm a little surprised Google isn't doing much in this area yet. My guess is they are waiting for the predators to kill one another so they can feast on the remains.

Re:Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21836046)

You a crazy man.

Re:Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21837176)

Dude seriously, you forgot your foil hat.

Gross Fraud (3, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837296)

Some jerk might try to pull this, but I'm pretty sure that the actual labels themselves won't do this directly. Why? Because it's a qualitative difference from what they are doing now.

Right now they are suing people with all kinds of dubious legal theories, but they're still arguably within classical law interpretation.

Outright framing individuals crosses a line into pure fraud, and if correctly proven by a defense team, will smash that label a giant penalty.

"Your honor, I'd like to call Bruce Schneier for the defense expert." :)

Friend of a Friend of a Friend... (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836052)

What I'd like to be able to do is easily share a track with a few friends (not really P2P, just mail or what have you) for music I really like so they can check it out. But if music is watermarked that means if any of those friends share in turn, and someone else eventually (lets say by accident) shares the same file via P2P - you may just be liable. It still kind of introduces a chilling effect on the world of music sharing as it should be.

Re:Prediction (1)

XedLightParticle (1123565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836272)

It's true what I see others have replied, watermarks can be abused, and it only takes one virus to make it almost useless for legal matters.

But if used with respect, it could indeed be a useful tool to make people stop sharing files and albums with thousands of others on purpose, if for instance the industry consequently send a friendly mail to any "leakers" telling them that their purchase has ended up on the black market and recommending the customer to check their computers for malware. But of course it could not stop people from doing the crime if they really intend to and know what they're doing, but over some time they can gather statistics and point out tendencies to act upon, either by closing the account or using it as circumstantial evidence in cases where it begins to look like abuse of the precious "freedom under responsability" which non-DRM material is. If the media industry trusts you enough to sell you stuff you can reproduce easily, why wouldn't you trust them? If in the end it turns out to be a virus that your anti-virus solution has not been able to detect, perhaps the responsible party is the company selling you that solution, until they catch the criminal who wrote the virus.

But okay in countries where EULA's are valid, the AV companies can simply deny responsibility from the start, which doesn't seem serious to me, which leads to another conspiracy, that the AV companies writes many of the vira themselfes, so it bites itself in the tail, but most people still trust the security industry even when they're not willing to give any guarantees at all.

From my perspective, I may as well trust the media as the security industry, they're both places where there's big money to be made...

Re:Prediction (1)

radarjd (931774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835728)

As DRM dies the fools will start using digital watermarking to sue people who leak to p2p networks.

Of course, people could simply avoid "leaking" the music to p2p networks. That would solve the problem rather easily, wouldn't it?

Re:Prediction (2, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836010)

Of course, people could simply avoid "leaking" the music to p2p networks. That would solve the problem rather easily, wouldn't it?


Yes, because the record industry never makes mistakes, it never sues peopel even when they have no evidence, and they have never lied in court? Heck, they don't even have to make a mistake, it is enough if a user makes a mistake and gets his life ruined as a result. Say Joe-Shmoe send his laptop to repair and the staff at the repair shop decides toc opy the files. Joe-shmoe gets his life ruined ith a $100.000 fine, the story hits national news. Heck, he doesn't even need to be innocent, first time somebody gets caught they can simply claim they are innocent and that the whole thing is a mistake, it will kill the market all the same.

Re:Prediction (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836356)

While the watermark will give them a place to start, there's still some issues.

1: As you say, there are ways for the files to be stolen without the owner's knowledge. Any good defense lawyer will be able to tear this apart.
2: The average consumer won't be able to afford to cover the cost of the lawyers the company has to pay to get a conviction, much less $100k.

As this sort of stuff expands, I see lawyers popping up to defend against this sort of stuff. As a result, much like now, the music company will find the burden of proof still on them.

Re:Prediction (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837106)

That would solve the problem rather easily, wouldn't it?


It sounds like it would be easy... until you have your laptop stolen, or get infected with malware that gives other people access to your files, or email a file to your friend (who emails it to his friend, who happens to run a p2p client), etc. Then it's a little bit harder.

Re:Prediction (2, Informative)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835762)

Not to nitpick terminology, but watermarking is a form of DRM. I understand that by "DRM" you mean "encrypted content" but the terms are not synonymous -- locking content with encryption is only one form of DRM.

Re:Prediction (2, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835946)

Watermarking is not about locking content. The idea is to embed customer details in music they sell you so they can sue you if you upload it to the net. Problem is if they do this even once people will be scared of false positives. With DRM going wrong you risked not being able to use something you payed for. With watermarking messing up you risk having your life ruined. If customers hated the former you can imagine how happy they will be about the latter. It is doomed to fail.

Re:Prediction (1)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836654)

Watermarking is not about locking content.

Yes, I'm quite aware of that -- you won't find me claiming that in my previous post :)

The idea is to embed customer details in music they sell you so they can sue you if you upload it to the net.

Yes, and that's a way for them to manage their rights -- by suing people who violate them so as to discourage others.

I'm really not sure how you misunderstood my previous post, so I'll reiterate:

- Watermarking is a type of DRM
- DRM != locked content

Watermark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21835770)

I already have an mp3 of Watermark, which I ripped off "Paint the Sky with Stars" (Ironically a Warner brothers recording.) I legitimately bought the CD.

Enya is one of those artists where it is better to buy the whole album, nearly all the tracks are excellent.

Re:Prediction (1)

Scowler (667000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835852)

Isn't watermarking pretty close to nirvana for both users/distributors alike? It has no negative effects on user format conversion/playability, and it is seemingly a pretty good tool to track down major copyright violators on p2p networks. Everybody wins, right?

If watermarking is "evil", then we should be similarly outraged about the license plates we're forced to display on our cars... all it does is ID the file owner.

Re:Prediction (0, Troll)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836320)

"If watermarking is "evil", then we should be similarly outraged about the license plates we're forced to display on our cars."

Aren't you? I've never understood why I should have to drive around with a public ID card. How is it any different from compulsory tattooing of your Social Security number on your forehead for everyone to see? All license plates do is make the cops' job easier at the expense of citizen privacy. I fail to see why the police, who are reasonably competent at catching criminals with only a vague physical description, should not be able to track down a car based on a similar description.

Re:Prediction (1)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836628)

I agree. Fuck efficiency in all it's forms. We need to be as inefficient as possible, to ensure that every second person is a police officer.

Re:Prediction (2, Informative)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837118)

I fail to see why the police, who are reasonably competent at catching criminals with only a vague physical description, should not be able to track down a car based on a similar description.


It may have something to do with the fact that cars are mass-produced, with millions of them exactly alike, whereas people (identical twins excepted) are all genetically and phenotypically unique.

Re:Prediction (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837220)

This will ruin numerous lives until some clever lawyer points out that since the distributor knows the watermark THEY can upload it to p2p networks in order to frame people they wish to sue.

Hmmm, that's a really good point, but there's certainly a crypto workaround.

Just off the top of my head - the client keeps a keypair, and during purchase:

  • the seller sends a secret to the buyer encoded with the buyer's public key and the seller's private key
       
  • the buyer encrypts this secret, with his private key and the seller's public key, and signs it, sending the encrypted block with signature back to the seller
       
  • the seller includes this data block in the message it embeds during watermark


so, you've at least reduced the problem to proving ownership of the buyer's keypair. I'm no sure how you would do that in court, perhaps through IP logs and credit card authorizations, but at least you don't have to hinge your trust on the seller.

That's great, but what about the law? (4, Interesting)

davek (18465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835804)

It seems to be that the music industry is pulling a "new coke" method of marketing: come out with a new product that sucks (DRM-laden "music"), and then all reap the rewards when they revert back to the original (real and liberated music). This will make everyone feel like they're "sticking it to the man" by purchasing this new flavor, when in fact the industry is in fact reverting back to the old tried-and-true method.

This begs the question: what exactly can I /do/ with this music that is being sold to me without expressed limitation. Do I now have my fair-use rights back because I don't have to violate the DMCA by breaking copy protection? Or is breaking copy protection now back within my right because the industry is trashing DRM in general?

Somehow, I fear, the consumer is still going to end up losing in the end.

-d

Re:That's great, but what about the law? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835910)

The difference is that the music industry genuinly wanted DRM to succeed. They honestly believed in the "when there's no way around it, they will buy it" theory.

That the customer (I will never agree to being reduced to a consumer) has an option didn't hit their mind: Not buying. That people would actually rather do without their product rather than taking the rectal abuse DRM is didn't really cross their mind.

Do we get "more" now than we do before? No. But we get again what we want: Music to listen to whenever and wherever we want to. I'm fairly glad that the idea of DRM was already met with resistance at its beginning, not its end (we all remember their pipe dreams of "leased" or "rented" music, where you're supposed to pay-per-play).

It's certainly not the outbreak of common sense this will undoubtedly being tagged as. It's simply that they saw their sales hurt more by pushing DRM rather than dealing with the "loss" of "only" selling us music once. The price for total control of their music simply was too high. Because the price would have been to lose the rest of their sales.

The media companies dug themselves into a hole (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836708)

> It's certainly not the outbreak of common sense this will undoubtedly being tagged as. It's simply that
> they saw their sales hurt more by pushing DRM rather than dealing with the "loss" of "only" selling us
> music once.

No, I don't think that is the reason at all. In the end they would probably have won on the take it or leave it tactics with DRM. Most people were lining up, buying iPods and giving each other iTunes gift certificates like good little consumers. No, what did it was fear and greed. Fear among the music cartels that Apple and Microsoft were about to become a duopoly and control all access to media... i.e. replace the music (and eventually movie distributors) companies as the gatekeepers. Really, once they were distributing most music it would have been a totally natural step to start signing up artists directly.... Apple already IS doing that with indy acts. So fear of being cut ALL the way out was motivating them to find a way to create enough retailers in the digital download space to avoid being marginalized.

Now consider the greed and fear at Amazon, Walmart etc. They could read the same tea leaves. Walmart with it's huge iPod display and shrinking sales in their CD dept and the uneasy reality that the Walmart online music store will NEVER be compatible with the Apple or Zune DRM scheme. I.E. every ipod or Zune sale is helping Apple and Microsoft dismantle Walmart's current huge percentage of nationwide music sales. Ditto for Amazon, selling the crap out of iPods, each one sold eating away at future content sales unless they found a way to 'kick the table over' and change the rules of the game.

Odds of convincing either His Steveness or the Borg to open up their DRM system being zero, even with the full unified might (yea, as if) of all of the media megacorps, the only way out of the hole they had dug themselves after considering the file compatibility matrix of the huge installed base of players was unencumbered mp3.

Re:That's great, but what about the law? (0, Offtopic)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835928)

Ugh. Totally offtopic, but it always annoys me when people say "It begs the question" when they mean "It raises the question". "Begging the question" is not "raising the question." It's another way to say circular logic. Wikipedia gives the following example:
        * Suppose Paul is not lying when he speaks.
        * Paul is speaking.
        * Therefore, Paul is telling the truth.

To make it somewhat on topic, the customer always loses in the end. The whole point of business is to take money from people.

beg this (1)

davek (18465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836552)

true. that's what I get for not proofreading. you must listen to geeknights.

To defend the usage, I'd say this is a circular argument as posed by the industry. Because I have no rights as the consumer, they can release music without DRM. Since they release music without DRM, I have the right to copy for personal user without violating the letter of the DMCA. But it is true that the DMCA prevents copying music. Therefore, I have no rights, because I have no rights.

Logic, like law, can be manipulated to say almost anything.

-d

Replace... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835988)

(real and liberated music)
(real and usable music)

Try explaining why your neighbors music isn't accessible from device B. It's funny, because you can tell it's one of those technical explanations they almost would like to understand but long before the end of the explanation you know they've got the gist of it. There's no good reason.

That I think is the difference between digital music and movies. Everyone now has multiple music play-back devices and through the success of a limited number of formats people have begun expecting simplicity. Portability. With movies the average person doesn't carry the same expectations so the perceived limitation and resulting backlash are much more manageable.

Re:That's great, but what about the law? (2, Interesting)

ChronosWS (706209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836102)

Do I now have my fair-use rights back...
Did you give them up? No? Then you still have them. As long as you are willing to fight for them, they remain your rights. As soon as you abdicate this decision to the government, they become privileges.

Video too? not soon. (5, Insightful)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835818)

Quoth the article:

The entire movement to free music from DRM's shackles has had stunning success in 2007 after years in which such widespead moves to MP3 looked impossible. Could movies be next?
Unfortunately, no.

There's one reason we're seeing DRM-free music: Apple.
Every internet whiner and hazmat-suited protester put together didn't make a noticeable fraction of the impact against DRM that Apple did via their refusal to buy into Microsoft's DRM or license their own to others. They turned the labels tools to control customers into a distributor's tool to control the labels, and now the labels are caught in their own trap, and desperately thrashing and gnawing at their limbs to get away (by selling DRM-free to everyone but Apple).

But, since Apple haven't had the industry-crushing success they had with music in the video market thus far, and no one else looks likely to repeat Apple's feat, we may be stuck with DRM in the video market for a while.

Perhaps, perhaps not... (2, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836084)

But, since Apple haven't had the industry-crushing success they had with music in the video market thus far,

I can't find a good link, but have you seen the new NPD figures for online video sales?

Apple is crushing all takers. The share of TV shows was around 80-90% of the entire market - the share of movies lower, but still I think about 60% with the rest split into many smaller pieces. Apple also just inked that deal with Fox to include iPod compatible video files, that I assume are DRM'ed using Fiarplay, on Fox DVDs. That's a lot of people using more and more of Apple's DRm for portable video devices, which is the same path music took for them...

Re:Perhaps, perhaps not... (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836428)

But the pace of uptake is challenged with Video, since there is no legal means to move your DVDs to your iPod, or an easy way to copy broadcast TV shows from your Mac to your iPod. If Apple includes an effective TV tuner with their next generation of computers, maybe some of this will change.

Until Apple does it and makes it simple, the mass market for unencumbered video won't exist. Not that there are any technical barriers, just that things aren't easy yet.

Industry Crushing? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836248)

Last I heard, iTunes might have 90% or more of online music sales, but about 3% of online music distribution.

The other 97% is free distribution (and redistribution) by folks not charging for it.

Yeah, Apple's sales are certainly "industry crushing" alright.

Erm.. did they say 'globe' ? (5, Informative)

LesFerg (452838) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835828)

The first/last time I tried to purchase an online album from Amazon (just last week) I was informed that the service is only available within the US. So altho Warner may have recognized the "anti-DRM winds sweeping the globe" it seems that the DRM-free zone has distinct limitations.

FYI..ZDNet Posters Think Your Crap (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835848)

http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-12354-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=42625&messageID=786603&start=0 [zdnet.com] Please, flame this moron...he's got no sense and claims to be an "expert" in IT...so everyone at Slashdot please register an account on this crap site and let this idiot "No_Ax" know what you think.

So that is the "settlement"? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21835950)

Could it be that this is the result of Amazon's decision to simply stop selling music altogether?

(For those that didn't notice: About a week before Christmas, you couldn't buy any music from certain distributors at Amazon for a few days in some EU countries. They wanted Amazon to take the (as the music industry calls it) "legal" distribution ways instead of buying their CDs in areas where the record industry sells them for a penny per dozen to have any sales at all. Amazon complied and pulled the cheap records. And every other record from those studios. One week before spendmas. They also announced that "the talks are not over yet", so... is this what came out of those talks?).

Dear Slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21836028)

You are still thieves.

mod parent up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21836090)

It doesn't matter what the record companies do, Slashdot whiners always find another excuse not to buy it. Even if they offered raw tracks for a nickel each and had a Linux P2P client you faggots would still find something to complain about. Just admit it: you will never buy anything under any circumstances; you are just a bunch of pimply-faced, prepubescent, homosexual cheapskates engaging in vigorous lemon parties in your parents' basements.

If you agree with me then mod me down.

Are they still adding the music? (2, Interesting)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836394)

They only have a few Warner artists on the site now.

Re:Are they still adding the music? (1)

moonka (889094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836898)

One article I read said they would be putting it up, and it may be a week or so before most of the catalog shows up.

WHEN? (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836472)

I can't find anywhere in the article where it says when this will happen. I just checked and these tracks aren't available on Amazon's MP3 music store yet... I was ready to buy over $100 worth of music if these artists [wikipedia.org] have their music available...

Re:WHEN? (1)

f2x (1168695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837336)

That link needs an upmod. Amazon's downloading service marks the first time I've actually started buying music since... since... ugh... It's been a really long time. I've made several purchases already, but would have made a lot more if the gaps in the available tracks weren't quite so glaring. This list explains a few of those gaps.

The only other fly in the ointment is the fact that I haven't been able to download full albums because the proprietary downloader won't run under Linux... yet.

TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21836508)

it a break, if practical purposes, bE NIGGER! BE GAY! a GAY NIIGER

This has nothing to do with DRM (2, Insightful)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21836790)

It has everything to do with the fact that Apple won't budge on their $0.99 cent tracks and that makes the labels mad. Apple already sells DRM-free tracks for EMI through iTunes Plus. All the labels could if they wanted to, but they won't. In the years since they killed off the original Napster they've done nothing but sit on their hands. Then Apple came along and filled the void consumers were begging for: legitimate online music sales. They don't care who it is or what the method of distribution is, what they care about is that they control it. They can't control Apple, PlaysForSure is a bust that even Microsoft has abandoned, so they turn to the next biggest thing: Amazon. We'll see how that plays out.

Madonna Test (1)

Munchkinguy (1153137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21837142)

As of the time of this posting, I cannot download any Madonna albums from amazonmp3.com
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?