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by Franki

DRM sounds harmless enough. “Digital Rights Management” is what it stands for and that still doesn’t sound that bad. But the implications of what it means are downright scary. By “Rights Management” what the people creating this stuff mean, is taking your rights away from you and giving themselves more rights over you.

Want to play your newly purchased CD in your car? Buy a new “DRM friendly” car stereo or just listed to the radio. Want to record a TV show to your hard drive and then burn it to disk for your personal watching pleasure? Too bad, wait till they release it on DVD and buy it, or do without. Want to make a plain Jane non DRM music CD so you can use your old CD walkman when you go jogging? Sorry guys, go and buy an MP3 player like good little consumers.

Not all of the above are in place yet, but we are definitely moving in that direction. In some ways, I think the content providers like the Hollywood mafia and the recording industry must be wetting themselves with excitement. It is so much easier to screw with the users rights in digital form that it was with good old analogue.

I suggest anyone interested in their rights as consumers read this article on TheInquirer. Until they figure out how to make line out ports illegal, I suggest you make your “fair use” copies of legally bought DRM music the old fashioned way, by putting the disk into a hardware player with a line out port, and plugging that into a PC’s (or any recorders) line in port and record it that way, DRM makes absolutely no difference in that respect at all. Sure, you lose a tiny bit of quality, but more often then not, you lose more quality by encoding it for your DRM player anyway.

Most important of all, don’t let the marketing might of this lot convince you that the DRM “Rights Management” is wonderful, and for your own benefit. It is not for you, it’s not even for the artists really. It’s for the record companies, and the Hollywood mafia. If it really was for the benefit of all, why are they actually taking more rights away from us then what we had in the analogue VHS/Tape/pre DRM CD era? We used to be able to buy a double deck cassette player for practically nothing and make copies of our stuff so we had one to keep in the car collection, or so we wouldn’t lose our purchase if the product failed (a modern equivalent would be a hard drive failure) We used to be able to tape a TV show and archive the tape for our personal pleasure. It is these very rights that we will be losing should this bunch of greedy extortionists convince the general public that it’s for “your own good”.

Use your power as consumers to stay away from DRM content as much as you possibly can, because if they discover that they can pull the rug over your eyes, you can be sure that in a very short period of time personal rights to legally purchased content will be something we tell our kids about in fond reminiscence.



One Response to “Digital Rights Management, nasty and evil.”

  1. Clarence Tippetts Says:

    My PC is in shambles right now due to DRM.

    I was never a pirate, even in my Atari days when everyone I knew encouraged me to trade a copy of this for that or what ever. I’m no different today. I buy all my software and music retail.

    I admit I had Napster on my my machine once as a result of following links to try to find and watch an on-line version of the old Christmas classic “Hardrock, Coco, and Joe”, (which no one sells, so it can’t be bought, so no executive anywhere was going to make money off of that one). That experience scared the hell out of me as I realized I was giving access to my hard drive to any other Napster user. I didn’t abandon Napster due to politics or piracy issues … I un-installed it for privacy issues. But I didn’t have it in the first place for piracy.

    I never have had any sort of iPod or similar digital music player, so my music collection consists of a bunch of square plastic boxes with round plastic discs, (CD’s). There are only two places I listen to these CD’s … in my computer while I work or play, and in my car while I transport my body from one place to another.

    The Supreme Court had their head in exactly the right place when they weighed the cost to the consumer for the right to use electronic media, and declared said consumer has the right to make an archival copy to protect such an over priced investment. I had made a single copy of my CD’s and archived the original in cabinets and display cases. The copy is what I take to my car to listen to. More often than not said copies get trashed in the harsh environment of my car. I’ve yet to accidentally sit on and crush a CD at home due to hastily setting down an ejected CD to deal with traffic conditions.

    I recently ordered the new Emma Roberts CD “Unfabulous and More” from the Sony on-line store. When it arrived, I marched over to my computer and stuck it in to have a listen. Mind you, I bought a music CD. I wasn’t paying for software. So, when an installation box popped up saying to agree or disagree, naturally I disagreed so I could get on with listening to my new purchase. The CD ejected. I stuck it in again, and read the brief blurb I was expected to agree to. It said that the software would let me listen to the music from my hard drive, allow me to put it on a portbale listening device, (iPod), and would help me make three copies of the CD. It didn’t say anything about preventing me from turning my home movies of my son playing in little league into a DVD to send to his Grandma and Grandpa to watch. It didn’t say anything about disabling my CD/DVD drives and reserving them for no other use than they could verify rights for. It didn’t say anything about dedicating my sound system to Windows Media Player leaving all other programs that use sound silent. So, even though three copies was more than I needed, and even though I don’t have an iPod, and even though I don’t need to play a CD from my hard drive while my CD/DVD drives were working just fine, I clicked the “agree” button hoping it would at least let me listen to my new purchase. The immediate result was the blue screen of death.

    Once I rebooted I figured I would un-install what ever they had just hammered my system with. Immediately my firewall software started alerting me to virus activity of a program with the letters DRM in the name trying to assault almost every executable on my hard drive. We’re talking over 500 alerts in less than 15 seconds.

    Why was my firewall alerting me to this instead of my anti-virus software? I figured it was too new of a virus for even the latest pattern files, and I would be on my own to find and kill it, and was greatful my firewall software could hold it off from infecting everything I had.

    I started looking for the thing, and it didn’t seem to be there to be found. There was nothing new in my list of programs that I could un-install. There was no new program group with an un-install option. No process for it showed up in my task list. The filename listed in the firewall logs was not found by windows. ($sys$DRMServer.exe) I had to reboot in safe mode to find it and delete the offending hidden directory that I found it in. ($sys$filesystem)

    When I rebooted my firewall was calm. I set Unfabulous and More aside, and went on my way to try to relax after this frightful scare.

    However, I noticed I didn’t have any sound. When I went into my Device Manager to find out what was going on there, the sound hardware seemed intact, but my CD/DVD drives had the nasty yellow exclamation mark, and along with them were two more CD drives that I don’t even have on my system, (physically).

    When I attempted to un-install and re-install my drives, PlugN’Play told me the drivers were corrupted, and I could not keep PlugN’Play from also trying to install the two new virtual CD drives.

    I went to the sound system configuration to try to get sound, and the only input or output device it would recognize as valid was some sort of pseudo “modem” sound device. The Windows Sound Recorder that has been on every release of Windows since 3.0 could not use that device. I double clicked on an AVI file, and Windows Media Player popped up, and there was my sound. Why could Windows Media Player play sound while nothing else could?

    I opened a .WMV file in Windows Media Player, and a window popped up wanting me to bring up the Internet so it could obtain a license for me to play it. Hey, if it hadn’t played on Windows Media Player in the past, I wouldn’t still be on my hard drive. It would have been deleted. Fact is, this was a .WMV I had created myself from my digital camcorder using the Windows Movie Maker software. There was no way it was going find a “rights license” for it on the Internet. I can’t play my own stuff.

    Now, normally when I have problems with my system due to corruption or foul play, such as this, I have loaded in the appropriate recovery or tool CD and corrected the issue. Well, this thing has disabled my CD/DVD drives, so I can’t recover.

    I am forced to revert to my last backup using the old hard drive I keep it on. That backup is from May. I’ve taken lots of digital pictures off my flash cards and stored them on my hard drive. I already mentioned the movies I have created from my camcorder. Most of that stuff only exists on my hard drive, and, with no ability to burn them off onto a CD or DVD before doing the recovery, they would be lost.

    They would be lost, except I decided rather than lose them to these over zealous anti-piracy freaks, I would go out and spend money for yet another hard drive to copy them on to before I do the fall back to May.

    I’ve put in over 15 hours into this problem. I make $40 per hour, so these over zealous anti-piracy freaks should owe me at least $600 in time alone, and it will probably closer $1000 before I’m recovered.

    Okay, that’s the nightmare, but not my real reason for this response. The real reason is I’ve had a lot of time to think about this while making the back-ups and such. You mentioned hooking up a regular player to analog inputs to create a clean CD with some loss through the ditital-to-analog-and-back-to-digital process.

    I realized that a true digital copy could still be made using a similar process, but with PCM equipment and fiber. Sound Blaster makes several boards, (including and external USB device), that allow PCM input via fiber. There are many PCM players available. The result would be every “bit” as good as the original.

    However, right now I am in total boycott of the music industry over what they have done to me … an honest consumer. I decided the only safe way to get music now is through piracy, so that’s the route I will be taking until they pull their head out and realize they have now lost revenue by losing honest customers like me, and encouraged piracy as people scramble to avoid losing control of their hardware. They’re not preventing piracy, they are encouraging it.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   December 17, 2018, 2:20 am
  Time in Franki's part of the world is:   December 17, 2018, 3:20 pm
  Don't worry neither one sleeps very long!

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