Archive for the ‘DRM, DMCA, Copy Protection’ Category

Rolling Stone: The Record Industry Decline

Rolling Stone‘s Brian Hiatt and Evan Serpick (with additional reporting by Steve Knopper and Nicole Frehsée) wrote a great piece in Rolling Stone’s news section entitled, “The Record Industry Decline.”

BTW: Happy 40th Anniversary Rolling Stone!!

The article rightly indicates that the real problem is mainly with the Recording Industry themselves. The article also sadly shows they still don’t seem to get it (with the exception of EMI who at least is trying to get it even though it likely scares them too).

MUSIC IS ABOUT FREEDOM!!!

The article talks about the music industry’s plummeting sales (down 16% this year alone so far), even as Universal/Vivendi dickers around with Apple over the contract with iTunes. Why? Control?! Where is their head at anyway?! Soon if they keep going the way they are going, there will have NO INDUSTRY anyway! So what are they worrying Apple about? They should be bowing down and kissing their feet for showing them “The Way.” Even more so now that Apple is showing them that they need to change to unencumbered digital files if they want to sell more.

Steve Jobs is right. If they want to renew the music industry, they need to give their customers what they want! They will have more money than they know what to do with even with filesharing! if they do that.

I have bought 1/2 a dozen songs in the last few weeks from EMI’s new 256KB iTunes Plus digital music library.

Why? Because they are high quality and unencumbered with DRM. I would probably buy more if they weren’t putting MY information in the downloads. I hate being spied upon as most folks do. That’s why I generally DO NOT BUY digital music except from eMusic where they are in unencumbered MP3 format.

And what do their customers want? They/We want what many Independent Artists have already been giving them, and what EMI has started giving them — high quality digital downloads that at least rival the CDs they could buy, unencumbered with DRM. Plain and simple.

Then they can stop criminalizing their customers and potential customers, and go after the REAL pirates — those who are copying their music to SELL for a profit.

Some times I really think everyone associated with the record labels in the Record Industry have neanderthal brains! OK, sorry EMI, I know you are trying!! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s wrong and how to fix it.

DRM does NOT stop piracy. It stops paying customers from doing what they want (listening to their music on their various devices, and operating systems, etc.) with the music they have paid for!

WAKE UP MUSIC INDUSTRY!!!!!

iTunes Plus – DRM Free!

I have not bought any music from the Big Four Labels except for a few used CDs from garage sales, and maybe a few from eMusic over the last 6 months, although I gravitate toward audio books, etc. and Independent Artists or Artists who are releasing music on non Big Four Labels.

However, I have broken my own boycott in order to send a message to the Big Four Labels.

I have just started buying from iTunes for the first time ever.
One might ask why since I can get good music from eMusic too. Of course I can and I do.

But EMI and Apple have done something wonderful! For the first time ever, a Big Four Label has made their music available in digital form without DRM.

I said I might do this back when Steve Jobs first announced it, but I kept vacillating over it. I really didn’t want to be a part of the RIAA feeding frenzy which is one of the main reasons I stopped buying in the first place back when they took down Napster because they refused to see reality and anyone with half a brain knew that turning normal average citizens into criminals was not good for this country.

They refused to see they needed to change with the times!

Well, now Steve Jobs and EMI have teamed up to do just that! EMI is changing with the times and they should be rewarded for their forward thinking, IMHO.

So, I finally decided to just did it. So, I signed up for iTunes yesterday, and bought my first EMI high bit rate songs from iTunes.

Yesterday, two songs – first a Paul McCartney song and a Pink Floyd song, then today I bought two more – a David Bowie song and a Beach Boys song.

I may not buy a song or two a day, but I thought it was a great start. But I may buy a few each month which will add up over time.

I will likely burn them to CD and rip them to mp3 for the hard drive but I want to make a point. I want iTunes and particularly EMI (the smallest but not the least! of the Big Four) to know that as a music lover, I truly appreciate what they are doing.

It’s not like it’s such a hard stretch to realize that it’s the best thing for their customers. They already provide CDs mainly without DRM (I don’t buy any music with DRM on it regardless of who it is). It’s the natural progression!

When they start treating their customers with respect, they will find that their customers will return. I know I have and it wasn’t easy to do. Napster’s been gone a very long time now…and I have boycotted all Big Four (at that time Big Five) Labels ever since.

I really hated what they were doing to this country.

Patents are bad enough, but copyright enforcement has gone absolutely nuts! And we have the greed of Mickey Mouse (Disney) and Sonny Bono to originally thank for all that, along with the stupidity of the DMCA’s excessive enforcement that is responsible for so many bad things, of course the RIAA, and a bunch of people who ‘think’ everyone wants to steal from them.

Thank you Steve Jobs, Apple and EMI (as well as all the EMI contracted Artists who have OK’d their music to be released DRM Free) for letting sanity finally return to at least one corner of the music industry.

I hope your shining light will give strength to the rest of the music industry to do what’s right by their customers.

Labels push for subscription service on iTunes

Just about the time…

I was beginning to think at least with EMI things were coming around and at least I could begin to buy EMI tunes when they are available (albeit a bit more expensively higher quality non-DRM’d versions for $1.29 per song, than their DRM’d counterparts which will also continue to be available for the previous $.99 per song)

But NOOOOOO!

Now the Labels are putting the pressure on Apple to move to a subscription service PLUS the per song!!!

No way. I will not have any part of it. If I wanted the equivalent of the Album of the Month Club, I would have signed up for the crappy Columbia thing via snail mail.

Sigh….guess the labels want to ruin iTunes?

What’s up with that!!!!

Apple faces iTunes subscription pressure

It all ‘sounds’ like a ‘normal and reasonable request’ or at least they’d like you to think that, over at MSNBC with a title like this: “Music labels ask Apple to adopt subscription”

DRM Free music from iTunes Music Store?

Wow, I thought maybe DefectiveByDesign might have picked up an April Fool’s joke from yesterday, but I saw it for myself at the official Apple site:

Apple Unveils Higher Quality DRM-Free Music on the iTunes Store

DRM-Free Songs from EMI Available on iTunes for $1.29 in May

And the article is dated, April 2, 2007!!

From the article on Apple’s website:

CUPERTINO, California—April 2, 2007—Apple® today announced that EMI Music’s entire digital catalog of music will be available for purchase DRM-free (without digital rights management) from the iTunes® Store (www.itunes.com) worldwide in May. DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just $1.29 per song. In addition, iTunes customers will be able to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free versions for just 30 cents a song. iTunes will continue to offer its entire catalog, currently over five million songs, in the same versions as today—128 kbps AAC encoding with DRM—at the same price of 99 cents per song, alongside DRM-free higher quality versions when available.

“We are going to give iTunes customers a choice—the current versions of our songs for the same 99 cent price, or new DRM-free versions of the same songs with even higher audio quality and the security of interoperability for just 30 cents more,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think our customers are going to love this, and we expect to offer more than half of the songs on iTunes in DRM-free versions by the end of this year.”

Much more in the article!

Wow! Looks like Steve Jobs came through!

If this is true, I think the Apple iTunes Music Store just gained a new customer … ME!

EDIT: It’s all over the news! This is wonderful news for music lovers everywhere!

My boycott of Big Labels, at least of EMI, may be able to be put aside! 😀 I am not dancing in the streets yet, but I am definitely going to be watching to see if this really comes through as Steve Jobs has stated. If it does, THANK YOU STEVE JOBS for an exceptional job.

Apple, EMI offer higher-quality DRM free downloads (Playlist)

When Jobs proposed removing DRM from songs in an open letter earlier this year, many people thought that Apple had too much to lose. As the number one maker of digital music players and having the number one online store, removing DRM would mean that people could purchase music from iTunes and play it on any device.

“Hopefully, by our actions here today and over the coming months they will conclude that we are continuing to do exactly what has earned us these number one positions — doing the right thing for the customer,” said Jobs. “The right thing for the customer going forward is to tear down the walls that preclude interoperability by going DRM free. That starts here today.”

DRM’s demise just the beginning (MacWorld)

Don’t kid yourself: as exciting as it is that high-quality, DRM-free tracks will be available at the iTunes Store in May, all this really does is level the playing field between iTunes and brick-and-mortar retailers. As Steve Jobs himself pointed out, 90% of the music sold today (read: every piece of music sold on CD) is sold in high-quality audio with no digital rights management. The iTunes Store is, in essence, finally giving us what we’ve been always able to buy on CD, just easier and more quickly. In other words, the future is finally catching up with the past.

I agree Dan Moren! And I thank you for stating it!

Trouble in Vista Paradise … paint me surprised

Well, looks like there is trouble in Vista Paradise….paint me surprised.

The WGA nightmare continues with oddball issues with validation even when legitimate programs are install such as the 9Dragon game. I was almost afraid to think about installing software that itself requires validation and how many ways this can go wrong. Especially if like in Ed Bott’s article today, the software apparently makes some system level things that Vista didn’t like….badly! As noted by Ed, some of the blame is with Acclaim, but certainly not all of it. Some of the blame rests rightfully on the operating system vendor, Microsoft. Ed’s picture of the install that ‘appeared’ to go normally with the game.

And it’s not the first time a validation ‘glitch’ (must read for any Vista user or those wishing to upgrade) has happened with Vista (or even XP for that matter). And this certainly is not the first time this was brought by Ed and many others including yours truly and this was months ago. In this article by Ed, he states,

As it turns out, that was just the tip of the iceberg. A quick scan of Microsoft’s Windows Vista Validation Issues forum turns up many similar examples, with users who paid for a retail key being told that their copy is “no longer genuine” and that the key is in use.

And this,

The offenders included PC Tools Spyware Doctor (updating to the most recent version fixes the issue), Trend Micro Internet Security and PC-Cillin Anti-Virus (the issue goes away if you install version 14.56 or later), and nProtect GameGuard.

NOTE: nProtect GameGuard is used in the 9Dragon game noted earlier.

Much more information in Ed Bott’s article. This problem isn’t going away any time soon so those using Vista or thinking of upgrading to Vista, need to be aware of it.

So what are technical newbies getting their first computers, or inexperienced users who maybe for the first time run into this supposed to do about this? How do they get it fixed? How much time do you have to fix it before ‘reduced functionality mode’ kicks in and options are limited drastically?

All that and more are discussed in Ed Bott’s articles listed above, Dwight Silverman’s article, Adrian Kingsley’s article and gallaries (1, 2) and the Microsoft Vista Validation Issues forum.

And what if your kids are using the computer and you are not when this happens? Will they know what to do? Will they realize the ramifications of waiting to tell Mom and Dad about it?

This type of shift in policy, difficulty in fixing problems, and DRM enabling will definitely make me wait for the next version of Windows … as long as they don’t continue this crap in that version. Especially with Steve Ballmer already talking of ‘stepping up anti-piracy measures‘ which can only be bad news for all XP and Vista users!

And things like this from another article by Adrian Kingsley:

Contained in the article is Microsoft’s justification for banning the least expensive versions of Vista (Home Basic which retails for $199 and Home Premium which goes for $239) from being virtualized.

Lately Intel and rival chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. have built virtualization-friendly hooks directly into microprocessors. The goal was to make virtualization work better, but Woodgate [Scott Woodgate, a director in Microsoft’s Vista team] argues that the move created a security flaw — essentially that malicious programs can run undetected alongside an operating system.

Woodgate said Microsoft considered banning virtualizing all versions of Vista entirely. But ultimately, he said, his team decided that the most technically savvy users, or people in companies with tech support, probably could handle Vista in virtualization programs, while home users should be steered away. [emphasis added]

Really?

Trust goes both ways … or not at all

BetaNews reports the following from a Jupiter Analyst:

JupiterResearch vice president and research director Mark Mulligan told us he feels the problem surrounding DRM concerns whether the consumer of digital music feels trusted by an industry that seemed to trust him well enough in previous years. When the right to use music as one wishes is impeded technologically, consumers reject the technology. In fact, this could be why the downloadable segment of the overall music industry is not growing as fast as it could.

Amen to that.

Workaround Discovered For “Clean Install” With Vista Upgrade DVDs

Workaround Discovered For “Clean Install” With Vista Upgrade DVDs

Microsoft internal documentation reveals workaround for Vista Upgrade DVDs with no need for a previous version of Windows

DailyTech reported on Monday that Microsoft no longer performs disc checks during an operating system install. In the past, when performing a clean install, a user could boot from an install CD and insert a disc from a previous version of Windows for upgrade compliance.

However, per Microsoft’s new licensing requirements for Vista, users are required to install a Windows Vista Upgrade from within Windows XP. When this occurs, the Windows XP license is forfeited and the Windows Vista installation process can take place.

DailyTech has confirmed a new workaround proposed by Paul Thurrott (via Microsoft internal documents).

I had originally read this information by Brian Livingston in the WindowsSecrets Newsletter – Issue 94 – February 1, 2007.

I hadn’t had time to post this earlier but I did want to get the information posted for those who might not have read it elsewhere. Especially since it makes a good follow up to my previous posting here from January 29th.

Thanks to ThePast from the Opera Community who sent me the link through the Opera Community after reading my previous blog entry on the original news about not being able to use the prior Windows install disk as proof of purchase. I also had read about it from postings by some folks at ScotsNewsletter Forums who also provided a link to the DailyTech article.

This is great news for those of us who wish to format a hard drive prior to installation of a new OS. This is particularly useful if there are malware problems on the computer, or just to get a clean install to alleviate problems that can crop up from upgrade installs.

Brian Livingston has even more information for those who are trying to save some money on the very expensive OS in his newest article in WindowsSecrets Newsletter entitled “More on the Vista upgrade secret :”

I revealed in my Feb. 1 article that you can buy the “upgrade” version of Windows Vista and clean-install it to any hard drive, with or without a preexisting version of Windows XP or 2000.

This renders the more expensive “full” version of Vista unnecessary — and many of my readers have provided additional information about why this upgrade trick works.

Much more in the article! Must read.

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