» Declaration of InDRMpendence | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com

David Berlind at ZDNet from the above listed article writes,

What you need to know is that DRM can be, and has proven to be, a Trojan horse. In a back and forth thread of e-mails, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s John Gilmore described to me how DRM technology basically allows those who sit at the controls of it to arbitrarily change the rules. For example, one day, with Apple’s iTunes, we were able to burn the same playlist as many as ten times. A day later, it was seven. Unlike before, when we could take our vinyl records and CDs and do pretty much anything we wanted with them (to facilitate our personal use) or even sell them (or will them to family members), the “R” in DRM is much less about what we have the right to do and more about the Restrictions that can be arbitrarily and remotely asserted over something we paid good money for. So far, the best suggestion I’ve heard to dodge the CRM bullet is seek used CDs. It may not be a la carte song buying. But it’s not a premium price for a bunch of music you may not want anyway.

Microsoft and Apple couldn’t have asked for a better gift horse (Hollywood) to come their way, seeking a solution that ultimately gives back to it what it has for so long wanted. Both companies had a razor (the DRM playback technology) and all they needed were some blades (the music). Today, with every individual DRM-wrapped piece of content that gets sold, we are securing the futures of the DRM licensors (mostly Apple and Microsoft). That content will forever be useless unless you have something that includes their playback technologies.

He has much more to say as well. We are not the only ones who have had it with DRM.

In addition to the article above, David Berlind also writes the following in his DRM nightmare: Why $20,000 worth of gear won’t play my 99 cent songs article on the Media Juggernaut blog at ZDNet,

The mainbar to this story is that the one of my most important goals for this project — to have a shared, centralized (and largely out of sight) system that handles the delivery of audio and/or video to any room in my house — is being undermined by Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. One obvious candidate for such centralization is the audio and video content. Today, in very unzenlike fashion, I have multiple CD and DVD players around the house and each is typically accompanied by a very unorganized pile of discs and jewel cases. Whatever I play in one of those players is only available locally, in the room where the player is located. If I want to listen to my favorite Beatles CD in my home office, but the CD happens to be in the boom box in the kitchen, I have to make a special trip on foot to get the music I want, put it into the CD drive in my computer, and hope that the scratches it has taken on from so much usage, unprotected transportation, and abuseby the kids doesn’t keep it from playing.

He goes on to say,

How ridiculous is it that today, I can buy a song for 99 cents that I can’t just go and play on my $20,000 system? Instead, to use the music I purchase (not just at the iTunes music store, but, pretty much any online music store), I have to use a PC to jump through a ridiculous amount of hoops to remove the DRM wrapper in a process that can often result in a loss of quality.

Apparently David Berlind was a frustrated with the audio fiasco as we were when we tried our Macrovision-laden DVDs over our ‘in house’ cable system. The whole idea was not to lose track of the movie that everyone was watching real time elsewhere in the house (nor disrupt their enjoyment) when one has to take a kitchen or bathroom break….but NO, not if one of those TVs has a VCR built in … which by the way, both our kitchen and bathroom TVs have. So you either miss out on part of it, wait till the end of the movie, or pause it so everyone loses track of where they are in the movie.

The whole idea of making a house that is connected is to make live easier. DRM does not make life easier. And short of buying all NEW equipment or doing something that they say you can’t do, there is no easy answer.

I guess we can thank the movie industry and their Macrovision for the current state of affairs and ourselves as well. No one stood up and said LOUDLY “This sucks!” when they tried to play their DVDs that they purchased in other countries (with region code restrictions that aren’t even a law!), or couldn’t watch them on their ‘in house’ cable systems due to ‘copyprotection’/DRM (which they did manage to get congress into making law through the DMCA and aggresively extended copyright protections), etc. At least not to those who could do anything about it. Or maybe it goes even further back to Disney and HBO on CBand Satellite when they started encrypting their signals. Or maybe it’s even further back than that … when they tried to kill radio, the VCR, and more because they couldn’t control it. Who knows and who cares anymore sadly.

Because, now we are having to deal with it from:

  • audio CDs that limit how you can enjoy what you buy
  • online purchased audio files that won’t play on any computers except MS Windows with their DRM laden crap
  • stupid video clips from places like MSNBC that won’t don’t want to work right in other browsers
  • DVDs with their copy protection so you can’t have your ‘fair use’ of them for backup copies to protect your investment or view them on your in-house cable system (if a CD/VCR combo in somehow in the mix)
  • software that talks back and won’t let you use it without slowing your computer down while it checks for, and makes use of any available internet connection so they can phone home
  • TiVo and other replay type boxes that limit how long you can even keep a recording on the box, and watch your remote clicks through their ‘advertising’ software
  • …and the list goes on. Amazingly long list.

We want our fair use. And we don’t want, as good faith customers, to be spied upon. Period.

Since the music, movie and software industries want our ‘fair use’ to be a criminal offense … how long before all people don’t care anymore about being called a criminal? It used to be something to be avoided.

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