For all the talk here on Techdirt about file sharing, I don't use any file sharing programs. I still prefer to have the actual CD. While I would like to be able to use file sharing apps to hear new songs in figuring out what to buy, the legality question is still very much up in the air, and it's not worth messing around with those apps until it's settled. A few months ago, I finally got around to the big project of converting my music to MP3s so I could listen to it on an MP3 player. Last week I bought a new CD online -- and it was the first time I've received a CD that had copy protection on it (it points it out in tiny print on the CD -- if I'd known beforehand, I wouldn't have bought it). Since I started converting my collection to MP3, I no longer listen to CDs -- even if I still like to have them for the backup and the full liner notes. It's just more convenient to have everything on the MP3 player. So, here's a CD that is more or less useless to me. I legally bought it -- and yet I'm unlikely to listen to it at all, because I can't turn it into MP3s. If anything, this only makes me more interested in finding the same songs on a file sharing program -- and less interested in ever buying a CD again. How is this possibly beneficial to the recording industry? With that in mind, it's amazing to see that EMI is following Sony BMG's lead in making more CDs copy protected, and they even admit that it's not to stop piracy, but just to annoy the legal purchasers: "Executives at EMI and Sony BMG said the point was to rein in copying by the everyday music fan, not to stop determined bootleggers." That "everyday copying" is to make it so we can actually listen to the music we bought in a way that's convenient. Since the "determined bootleggers" are getting the content on file sharing networks anyway -- there appears to be absolutely no benefit whatsoever to putting copy protection on CDs. The only thing it does is give people less incentive to buy CDs.
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