Monday, February 12, 2007

A DRM-free World

Several stories in the news are discussing the possibility of buying music DRM free. Steve Jobs, I guess, is urging music companies to drop DRM and now EMI is in talks with several music services about the possibility of selling its entire catalog to them without DRM. I've always hated DRM. It punishes the wrong people. Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of "regular" people out there downloading and sharing copyrighted music, tv shows and movies, but in general, the big violators are the pirates selling cds on the streets. And you know, we all go over the speed limit sometimes. The worst thing about DRM though is that it prevents most of us from doing what we want with our music, and you know what, that might include making a cd for a friend (which usually means eventual sales for the record company, just FYI), or having music on multiple machines (like home and work) without any hassles.

I just had a nasty run-in with DRM last night. I finally got around to buying the new BNL album and so I was updating my iPod when I got a lovely message saying that 51 of my songs were not authorized to play on my computer. Now, that was a weird message because I've had the same computer for almost 6 years now. I authorized my work computer, so that's 2. It took me a while to figure out what the problem was. It turns out that those 51 songs were purchased using my .Mac account, which I no longer have. I now use my Google email. At first, I think iTunes didn't really notice this switch, but now recognizes that I'm using a different username. I am not happy about this and have sent a note into the iTunes Customer Service to see if they can fix it. Honestly, I used to strip the DRM from my purchased music, but at some point the third-party software I was using to do so couldn't keep up with the upgrades to iTunes. 51 songs is a lot of music to be missing, especially since it includes some of my favorites (like Death Cab for Cutie). And I was just singing Apple's praises last week. Let's see if they live up to my expectations.

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