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Monday, February 27, 2006

1 billion itunes songs

since it’s such a milestone, it’s worth a few setences here. apple’s moved a billion itunes songs – with a billion itunes drm locks. my position on drm is pretty clear, someone else thinks those itunes buyers are suckers.

but it’s always been this way – for at least the 100-ish years of the recording industry. do these music buyers care? or is “good enough for now” good enough for now?

at current itunes prices, how much is your music worth to you?

posted by roj at 2:41 pm  

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

dave matthews on the dark side of the cd

over at photomatt, the story of stand up crashing into you.

posted by roj at 5:09 am  

Saturday, February 26, 2005

new cd drm from first 4

this went into the to-blog queue back in december, and i haven’t heard much since, which could be good or bad. but, it’s just a tip that first 4 internet (uk) has joined macrovision and sunncomm trying to lock up the cd with its “xcp2 press protect” widget.

the news still isn’t terribly specific, but the label player would appear to be sony/bmg. maybe no news is good news.

posted by roj at 11:48 am  

Friday, October 1, 2004

sony abandons cd drm

just a quick pointer to a sort of follow-up on sony and drm….

last year, sony acknowledged that drm-wrapped cd’s were less valuable to consumers (if indirectly) by adding content to make up for the restrictions.

in what appears to be a reversal of policy, slashdot has the news that sony will abandon its drm wrapper for cds.

could be bad news for sunnncomm.

update: boingboing has it too.

posted by roj at 1:31 am  

Friday, October 1, 2004

sunncomm’s story

sunncomm has been a recurring theme around here, but sometimes it takes a little more in the way of resources to dig into the story deep enough to find elvis.

for that, we can thank the register.

Is SunnComm a sham or the next, big DRM success?, the register, september 27, 2004

the firm’s experience revolves around a troubled oil and gas business, an Elvis and Madonna impersonator operation and even a Christmas tree farm.

and you thought the shift key hack was interesting….

After significant effort on our part, The Register eventually managed to secure Jacobs on the horn – about a week after the first call. The fact that he even took the call was impressive given our punishing treatment of the Shift key debacle.

“Everyone told me not to talk to you,” Jacobs began. “They’re afraid you’ll do a real hatchet job.”

This wasn’t the most pleasant way to begin a grueling, accusatory interview, but Jacobs’ unease made sense for the obvious reasons. He was well aware of the skewering SunnComm was taking on the investor message boards and beyond that knew that The Register tends to dismiss DRM technology as a type of pointless CD cancer that will stop people from enjoying the free exchange of culture they’ve come to expect.

after seeing this “in print,” my hat’s off to jacobs, even if i continue to trash drm periodically…

posted by roj at 12:19 am  

Friday, August 27, 2004

record company sued over drm

this is in france (so much for surrendering…)

French Suit Aims at Anti-Piracy Technology [ap via forbes, august 25, 2004]

The lawsuit accuses EMI and Fnac of “deception over the material qualities of a product.”

Filed on behalf of several music buyers, it alleges that the copy protection system used on certain EMI discs makes it impossible to play them on many car stereos, hi-fis and personal computers.

French consumer association UFC-Que Choisir is filing for damages in the legal action, which also claims that EMI’s copyright protection stops customers making personal copies of their CDs – a privilege granted to French consumers by a 1985 law.

posted by roj at 1:03 am  

Friday, August 20, 2004

5 million drm-wrapped sunncomm discs

SunnComm’s MediaMax Surpasses the Five Million CD Mark [business wire via tmc net, august 19, 2004]

Over 5 million MediaMax CDs are in the hands of USA music fans!

read the cd label… it might not be a cd.

posted by roj at 7:01 am  

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

the floppy is here; don’t copy that floppy

the floppy is here, datamation special report on software and services, august 5, 1981

Al Alcala, president of Media Systems Technology, Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., forsees a day when a developer of an appliation program can walk into a computer store with his program on a floppy disk, say that he wants 50 copies, walk out and go about other business and come back in less than an hour to pick them up

this article, from 1981, when the question of making or buying applications was still pretty prominent. there was noise about programmer shortages and efforts to recruit talent from overseas. 1981 was also the birth year of the ibm pc (model 5150), which came with a cassette port for storing progams. apple had 23% of the pc market.

most importantly, if you weren’t in a large company as part of a “data processing department” chances are the software you used is stuff you wrote yourself, or maybe copied, by hand, out of a magazine. in this context, floppies were awesome – and they were also a major threat. there be pirates in these gentle waters…

the floppy is here, datamation special report on software and services, august 5, 1981

Alcala, who is a worrier about software piracy, emphasizes that if the day ever comes when copiers are installed in computer stores, they will copy only disks which have formats that are in the public domain. He also looks for a day when formatted disks will be displayed on counters.

The MST president said he has been contacted by “pirates.” They want to know if MST can copy this or that vendor, “thinking to make a lot of money for themselves. I tell them about our non-disclosure agreements and advise them to contact the vendors directly.

He said proprietary formats can present substantial obstacles to people contemplating unauthorized copying. He believes “there’s no way to completely eliminate software piracy. We can cut it down but we can’t stop it anymore [sic] than the recording industry can stop people from buying records and taping them for their friends.”

i leave you with that thought.

posted by roj at 6:46 pm  

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

senator sarbanes on the induce act (s. 2560)

i sent my thoughts to my senators, and one actually took the time to reply (well, stick my name on the form letter, anyway). i thought the response was worthy of your review:

senator paul sarbanes, july 16, 2004, personal correspondence

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to S. 2560, the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this important matter.

I must frankly tell you that I am a cosponsor of S. 2560, which would expand the existing laws on liability for copyright infringement to cover those who intentionally induce others to violate copyrights. The bill specifically does not affect the common law doctrines of secondary liability and preserves the “fair use” rights of consumers. The term “fair use” refers to a limitation upon a copyright holder’s exclusive rights, which permits the public to use a copyrighted work for limited purposes, such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research. On June 22, 2004, S. 2560 was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it awaits further action.

While our views may differ on this issue, I certainly appreciate hearing your concerns. I hope you will not hestitate to contact me again about matters of importance to you.

with that statement, i’d like to solicit the greater blogosphere’s thoughts on some way to get the message in under the lobbyists. can you think of/suggest any particular cluesticks that might wake the good senator up?

i was thinking of organizing a group of people to mail free culture one postcard at a time. maybe a lawyer-type reader would be willing to cook up a mock lawsuit (like the eff’s fake apple complaint) that implicates the senator as an induce-infringer?

posted by roj at 9:03 pm  

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

sunncomm updates drm

sunncomm’s been a post-child for drm discussions here at the meta-roj blog since they were defeated by a shift key. now, we learn that the latest creation from sunncomm claims to avoid the shift-key problem, and even better, sunncomm’s reaching out to apple (the company that can’t get into the music business according to a 1991 agreement with apple corps, ltd.).

SunnComm announces CD protection software update [the business journal, phoenix, july 30, 2004]

According to an announcement from SunnComm, protection components embedded on the optical medium will now make it impossible for the user to play the disc without installing the MediaMax software.

i just have to observe that “protection components embedded in the optical medium” pretty much guarantee that it’s not a cd anymore – at least not according to the rainbow of books that define what a cd is.

i think the lesson here is that the itunes userbase has become problematic enough to force a shift in the drm technology. “Most of those questions are related to getting the songs onto an iPod.” – that was enough to cause change at sunncomm. the new wrapper is just going to annoy a different chunk of the audience, and they may not be as “active” as ipod users, so annoying them may not be as costly – except to the artist.

In the end what is required is a piece of software that will support handoff from the CD to any of Microsoft, Apple’s or Sony’s DRM but not to a system with no DRM.

i would disagree. what’s needed is a new business model… one that respects the relationship between artist and audience, rather than trying to impose on it.

posted by roj at 3:54 am  
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