DRM Crackers Make Yahoo And Napster's Music Services All The More Useful

from the how-many-times dept

There are many reasons locking files down with copy protection or DRM is short-sighted and pointless, but one of the biggest is that it simply doesn't work. Time and time again, various copy-protection schemes have been broken or circumvented, and all the DRM in the world hasn't stopped file-sharing networks from being filled with supposedly protected media. The real effect of DRM, though, is to hamper interoperability in a misguided attempt to lock consumers in to particular products -- when all it really does is lock consumers out and limit the market size of services and content. Now, Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM is the latest to be cracked, with a small program promising to eliminate the restrictions from tracks downloaded from the likes of Yahoo and Napster. Some might think this dooms the subscription-based offerings of those companies, since people won't have to continue to pay them to access songs they downloaded. While undoubtedly some users will simply subscribe for a month, download everything they can, and then cancel, that shouldn't be a concern. These users don't have any interest in paying for music, and if they don't get it from Napster or Yahoo, they'll turn to a file-sharing network or another means where they're getting things for free. Similarly, this development doesn't mean those networks are going to be flooded with new and previously unavailable songs -- it's all already there.

Instead, the overall effect on services like Napster and Yahoo could be quite positive, because stripping the DRM from their files makes them more useful and more valuable, and expands their potential audience beyond just Windows users with PlaysForSure-compatible music players. Users without such devices now have the opportunity to patronize these services, where as the only workarounds that existed before were even more convoluted. All this DRM has done is stop legitimate customers from having the chance to spend their money with these services; it's done nothing to stop piracy. But now, perhaps this software will help illustrate the value of not using DRM to Yahoo and Napster, though the lesson is likely to be lost on the record labels. Once again, for their benefit: copy protection doesn't stop piracy, it just pre-empts legitimate sales of music by forcing consumers to stick to products and services that support a particular scheme of restrictions. The labels decry Apple's power in the music download market, but it's their policies that created the current situation. If they want to grow the market and create competition among vendors -- a move that would benefit them, as well as consumers -- they need to drop their insistence on DRM. As long as they're more concerned with their pointless battle against online piracy than anything else, success in digital distribution will remain outside their grasp.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jay, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 3:59pm

    Finally...

    I've been subscribed w/Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go for over a year now. I had to re-subscribe at the higher rate in order to use downloads on my PlaysForSure device. The thing is, I pay for this subscriptions 12 months at a time and it's cheap enough that I can continue doing so for the rest of my life... and am happy to.

    So I basically have a perpetual license to play this music (as long as I do continue to pay).

    Yet, I was excited when I came across this tool. Why? It allows me to use the files I've effectively licensed on the iPod that I own. It also means that I don't have to worry about issues streaming these to my xbox360. I've shelled out a lot of cash on players, on devices, on the music itself. This pulls out that barrier that has presented problems to me. I have a Toshiba Gigabeat S60 and Rio Carbon, and both players have run into issues where the music files time out, effectively locking me out of playback. Of course, I'm using a portable device when this happens so there's no way to relicense on the go.

    So in summary, what does this mean to me (and others)?

    1) Can use the iPod to play perpetually licensed music

    2) No more hassles playing media that I have a perpetual license for on devices that are supposed to play them (xbox360, gigabeat, carbon)

    Yahoo and Napster have nothing to worry about. But iTunes? Hell yes. Yahoo uses 192kbps files. Much better quality than iTunes ... and as long as this keeps working, more lockout.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Dizzle, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 4:05pm

    Sucker

    You must've been one of the suckers born this minute...

    How you became convinced that its a good idea to pay perpetually for the same content is beyond me (and likely beyond many posters yet to come). IMHO I prefer to buy something, pay once and then own it...otherwise it that Peter Frampton track can get awful expensive.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    CoJeff, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 4:10pm

    I refuse to rent music. If I buy a CD I darn well better be able to place it on anything I want to. I only buy singles online anymore and if I want the whole CD I'll buy it from the store/artist. The thing about buying a whole album online is unless they offer a lossless download you are not buying CD quality but having to pay near CD prices. I also certainly won't be paying more than once for different formats.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 4:15pm

    Propiatory music "it just pre-empts legitimate sales of music by forcing consumers to stick to products and services that support a particular scheme of restrictions." Its the same reason I wont buy some Brand Computers. I quit buying music because of DRM, And I wont buy any with it ever. I am sick of the big producers. They clam they are trying to help the bands give me a break! The bands now days are for the most part producer made bands. They produce one or two good songs they, exploit them to the hill and get what they can out of them. If they quit producing, the send them down the road. What a joke. The whole industry is way over paid.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Ripped Off, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 4:15pm

    What happens when your CD collection is stolen?

    My collection of 2000+ CDs was stolen a few months back. My insurance company won't reimburse me.

    The money I spent on those discs could have bought me 50 or 60 years of use on Yahoo/Napster/Rhapsody.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Michael, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 4:16pm

    Here it is!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Nobody, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 6:26pm

    Re: What happens when your CD collection is stolen

    Sucks for you. It's called backing up your collection. Rip them using a loseless format then store the tracks on DVDs. Or just store the tracks on a large external hard drive.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Eric, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Sucker

    I'll assume then that you don't subscribe to cable TV?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Here it is!

    That's Beautiful!!!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 7:15pm

    Re: I'll assume then that you don't subscribe to c

    they are 2 completely different things. now if my perpetual cable tv subscription allowed me to browse and view in real time past seasons of *any* tv show i wished .. THEN you'd have made a reasonable analogy.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 7:20pm

    Thanks 10

     

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  12.  
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    Hulkster, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 7:44pm

    Sweet

    This is nice, no matter what, there will always be someway to pirate music, because there is a huge demand. http://dapmp3review.blogspot.com/

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    disappointed, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Here it is!

    Oh well. I couldn't get it to work on MusicMatch files.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    christopher, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re: What happens when your CD collection is st

    Sucks for you, buddy. Your lack of compassion is gonna bite your ass someday. 2k CDs stolen, and your response is he should've bought 300 DVDs to back it up? Ass, much?

    Besides, RIAA would say he bought a *license* for the music. All he needed to keep were the CD covers, and RIAA should provide him with new music, yeah?

    Steal all you can grab. It's modern-day civil disobedience.

    -C

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Aaron, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 9:32pm

    Spell Check

    I have had too much to drink and I can at least spell 'beyond.' Quote: 'potential audience beyong just Windows.' Who writes these articles anyway, try F7 in MS Office next time.

    Also being disobedient is something a child does to their parent(s) not to the law. Stealing is stealing, it is wrong, not saying that I don't do it myself, may be sin, but not disobedient.

    -Aaron

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 11:59pm

    Re: Spell Check

    Stealing is stealing, it is wrong...

    Why do you morons keep bringing this crap up? This is ***NOT STEALING*** big difference. All of you who this this have been brainwashed by the RIAA.

    You cannot steal something if the owner still has it. Make an exact duplicate of your neighbor's car and drive away in it - pretty funny when he try's to explain to the police how you stole the car that's sitting in his driveway.

    This is copyright infringment - yes it's illegal but that's isn't the point here - LEARN THE DIFFERENCE -- lord know's it's been talked about long enough.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    PopeRatzo, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 4:33am

    Nobody wants to rent music

    Nobody you've seen posting here really doesn't mind paying monthly for the use of their music files.

    If you see somebody posting how they just think it's peachy that they can pay so little monthly and still get the play the music that they pay for month after month, they are in some way connected to the music business.

    This place is seeded with whores and flacks, painted up to look like real people. I know because I've scratched the paint on a few.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    TheToe, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 6:40am

    Re:Here it is

    I couldn't get it to work on MusicMatch files either.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    CoolCliftop, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 7:06am

    Say it Loud Brother!

    Well said Anonymous Coward! Very well said. And if I may add one more comment to your observation... The industry does not give a shit about the artist, or the product. Nor does it seem to care about quality. The bottom line is always the bottom line. And as for the industry being over paid, there is less than 1% making way to much money and everybody else is barely able to scrape buy.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Matt, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 7:27am

    DRM Sucks, but paying $12 a month for 5,000 songs

    Paying 12 bucks a month for 5,000 songs makes plenty of sense to me, a Fellow Yahoo! To Go subscriber. I effefectively pay .00259 cents per song per month. In 382 months or nearly 32 years I will have fully paid for each song at the iTunes price. I prefer this model rather than paying $4950 for 5000 songs. However Yahoo does have licesensing probs and many of my songs won't transfer to my Sansa Plays For Sure player. Usually I just have to re-license the songs, but sometimes must resort to un-license the song I have paid for already and therefor hve the right to play anyway. DRM does suck and it does hurt consumers who want to play thier music in places other than thier living room.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Here it is!

    Works on my MusicMatch files with no problems.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Matt, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 7:44am

    And Napster Files. Have yet to try Yahoo! files. :) Sweet mow my legitamately paid for music works where I want it to...just like in the old days of CD's, Cassettes, and Vinyls!!! No more "you can listen to this music as much as you like...just not on your iPod, and many many music players. Oh and you can't burn it either."

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Chris, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 7:55am

    Anyone have a mic ?

    Even if the industry came up with a way to completely prevent ripping music, all that's required is a mic to record the live audio comming out your speakers. If this is what the community is reduced to doing, then it'll be done. And those who want free music will still go about the same means of obtaining it. Same thing goes for video, hook your output cables to a capture card and more free content for you. It's been said before and aparently it needs to be said a million times more, because no one seems to take this statement seriously: there will always be a way around whatever protection you try to put in place, and to invest anymore time in trying to devise a way to prevent this sort of activity will only result in wasted time, effort, and resoruces.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Daniel Bjorndahl, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 10:02am

    Pretty much.

    Sounds like an article I tried to submit to techdirt. But better. haha...

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 12:28pm

    welp

    Why would I pay for music with restrictive DRM ?? I could see buying losless non DRMed music, but as long as the record companies are not offering me that, I might as well pirate it so I dont have to go through the hassle of cracking the DRM.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    DENelson83, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Anyone have a mic ?

    Ah yes, the "analog hole".

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Obvious Man, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: What happens when your CD collection is st

    Hear hear! Fuck the DRM! (My brother's 400+ CD collection got ripped off 6 years ago, and more recently this summer, my best friend's collection was stolen at, of all places, a primary school, late at night, while we were assisting a family member with her classroom setup. My brother was SOL at the time, but my friend was like, "C'est la vie!" - he backed up all those originals on his computer long before, so he simply bought a new cd booklet and burned all his stolen stuff to CD and stuffed 'em back into the places he originally had 'em. Useful? I know so.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 3:22pm

    Re: What happens when your CD collection is stolen

    I guess you should have had backups.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    bigpicture, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Sweet

    There should always be a way for talented artists to earn a living. Not recording companies though, because their days are past. Because of the ubiquitous nature of quality recording technology, what is the business or social need for recording companies.

    What if there was a different music distribution model, where artists made their music publicly available for download on the Internet, for free. The government put a small artist tax on all non propriety (like the Ipod) recording media, such as CDs, DVDs, MP3 recorders, Hard Drives etc. Then based of the Internet logged artist downloads, the collected tax was doled out to the artists in relative proportion to the downloads of their material.

    There is such a scheme in Canada, but it only applies to removable media, and local artists. Because of the global nature of music, this scheme would need to be internationalized, in that it would not matter where the artists reside, just which country received what number of downloads, to determine the tax dole out.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 6:16pm

    Re: Spell Check

    Just so we don't start with the 'copyright infringement equals theft' arguement again....


    "The notion of copyright infringement as theft was clearly addressed in the 1985 Supreme Court decision of Dowling v. United States. While this case involved hard goods (phonograph records), Justice Harry Blackmun was most certainly speaking of abstract property (copyrights) when he wrote these words in his majority decision overturning Dowling's conviction of interstate transport of stolen property: "(copyright infringement) does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud... The infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use."

    This decision was based on established law with a long appellate history. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, under which the RIAA gets its policing powers, is not and is largely untested in the courts. Paul Dowling was convicted of copyright infringement (a misdemeanor at the time) but was vindicated on the more serious crime of theft.


    From http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=11662

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Tired of paying, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 8:18pm

    Hear hear!

    I totally agree. As long as I have to worry about DRM and rootkits and expensive CDs which then require ripping (I much prefer the portability of mp3s to CDs, as CDs are bulky)...
    I'm not going to buy music. I'm going to download it, in massive amounts, and pick through the results, knowing that most of what I download, I'll dislike. If I paid for music, I'd feel awful at the waste of money.
    DRM bites so badly. I want it to bite the companies who put it in stuff though, not to bite me.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 10:59pm

    We already pay for a subscription to our music, ev

    Hey guys I dunno about you, but I pay around $20/mo, by my calculations, to keep my file server running. If our internet bitrates could improve a little, and the market was actually wise enough to provide the service, they could charge me at least $20/mo. Maybe what I pirate is worth more than that, though, who knows.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    BTRussell, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 9:37am

    DRM

    If I can't back-up my album, Pink Floyd "The Wall", or any other album I have purchased, then sell it to me on media that will last forever. Also, what gives SONY and others the right to install software on my computer without my permission. You want that software on my computer, then buy me a computer and put whatever you want on it.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Spell Check

    "This is copyright infringment - yes it's illegal but that's isn't the point here - LEARN THE DIFFERENCE -- lord know's it's been talked about long enough."

    You're such an idiot. It's stealing in the sense that you, by downloading content, did so in such a way that you get a product that the creator did not get fairly compensated for. therefore, stealing.

    And its illegal either way. not that I dont do it myself, but I dont go around bitching and complaining over what the exact wording of the crime is. Be a fucking man for christ sake.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    BTRussell, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Spell Check

    Is Robin Hood the thief or are the recipients of his generosity the thief?

     

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  36.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 27th, 2006 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Spell Check

    You're such an idiot.

    Hmm. Funny, but the Supreme Court agrees that it's not stealing, but this guy is "such an idiot" for making the point of what the Supreme Court says?

    It's stealing in the sense that you, by downloading content, did so in such a way that you get a product that the creator did not get fairly compensated for. therefore, stealing.

    It's copyright infringement. It's not stealing. While you may not think so, the distinction is important in determining what to do about it, what the "damage" is and what the remedy should be. The fact that no one is missing anything makes a huge difference.

    And its illegal either way. not that I dont do it myself, but I dont go around bitching and complaining over what the exact wording of the crime is.

    Interesting. Well, that's where we're different. I won't download because it IS illegal. However, I will point out why this is a stupid policy and why the industry would be much better off embracing file sharing as promotion.

    So, you think it's stealing and yet you still do it. I don't think it's stealing but won't engage with it because I understand the law.

    Who looks worse?

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Go ahead, Log My IP, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 4:11pm

    yeah, uhm...

    I totally agree with this article. Like my name says Go ahead and Log my IP I don't care. For what it's worth, I "Backup" my music, and I for one am getting sick of this freakin war between the music industry and pirates.

    Let's look at a quick hypothetical.

    Average Joe Schmoe makes about 30 g's a year, right? Music Industry execs make how much more? Now I understand paying the artists for their work, but the price of CD's is INANE!

    Including all the bills and what not the average CD probably costs about $1.50 maybe $2.00 to make. Stop paying the artists $50 mil a freakin pop. Pay them maybe $1.00 per CD sold.

    Now, look at the total bill, 1 CD costs about 5 dollars to make and ship to the store. That's Including the artist's cut.

    Now, it's at the store, and the store needs to make a profit to, so we'll say in our little hypothetical that they charge 2 dollars on top of the companies bill, thus now the price of the cd is about 7 dollars.

    There are a LOT fewer artists out there than there are CD's so, each artist is makin literally thousands of dollars off of daily cd sales. Your big music franchise stores are making thousands of dollars a day, and the record industry stays in business.

    Thus ends the hypothetical, I know it's a little off topic but bear with me a moment longer.

    This is what the Record industry is doing. Firstly they RAISE prices on the cd's in order to make up "Lost profit" from piracy. (Thus piracy increases). Then, they come up with, as the article says, brighter and flashier DRM which fewer and fewer players are compatible with, thus raising the cost of music again, and you guessed it INCREASING PIRACY! The industry has created the ammo for the average cracker, and the more and more they increase price and DRM the more and more piracy you are going to see. It's a vicous cycle that only hurts EVERYONE in the end. Anyway, there is my two cents.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Don't blame the artist, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 6:00pm

    re:yeah, uhm

    one flaw with your math. The artist currently makes about $1 IF they have a very big name and are with a 'great' company. Now the little guys trying to make it only make a few cents per CD. The record label takes about 75-80 of the money from the cd's revenue. Even the stores themselves only make $1-$2 / cd. It's all the recording industry that has kept the cd costs so far up.

    The only artists I have a problem with are: madonna, Metallica, etc. the ones that have tried to send their 'fans' to jail for not buying their albums. Any one of these artists I will never purchase anything to do with them ever. As a matter of fact, anyone I hear about trying this BS, I download the best discography of them and start seeding at my full 150KB/s.

    That's my 2 cents worth.
    BW

    *Please keep the downloading going, and one day the industry will sell what the people want. Lossless quality recordings that most of the money goes to the artist, not the label.*

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Log it, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 6:56pm

    Awesome.

    I am currently in the process of upgrading to a T1 line at my house. (Yes, we got a neighborhood petition signed stating we want T1 in the area), so, I'll be directly connected to the backbone, (Or pretty close titherto) seeding everything I can get my grubby hands on!

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Sucker

    Read the EULA again .You will never own it.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:46am

    I PIRATE THERE FOR I AM

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    CheeseWiz, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:57pm

    DRM

    The accumalation of the consumers' choices will dictate what is best for the market. Exchanging thoughts is awesome but eventually what you DO will make all the difference. Enlightening others with your perspective is great, but biting one another's ass is only gonna leave you with a strange taste in you mouth

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Manzara Resimleri, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 5:06am

    Hi

    I am currently in the process of upgrading to a T1 line at my house. (Yes, we got a neighborhood petition signed stating we want T1 in the area), so, I'll be directly connected to the backbone, (Or pretty close titherto) seeding everything I can get my grubby hands on!

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    John, Nov 4th, 2007 @ 9:52pm

    Let's sue AT&T (Yahoo) and (MicroSoft) for violati

    I bought about 600 songs over a two year period at a site called music match. Then AT&T and Yahoo bought it. Since then I have had nothing but trouble. The music I thought was mine to keep is all tied up in DRM technology.

    I have just started buying DRM free songs from Amazon.

    There has got to be some way to protect consumers from greedy companies who stop at nothing to either force users to be on the internet to play music, or block other non drm songs from playing.

    Eveyone who has paid for this should be reimbursed for each and every song!

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Design Directory, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 12:29am

    Sounds like an article I tried to submit to techdirt. But better. haha...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Dan, Apr 23rd, 2008 @ 10:10am

    The music industry should just go back to records.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    judaica, Apr 20th, 2011 @ 5:23am

    DRM Crackers Make Yahoo And Napster's Music Services All The More Useful

    Itís like Mark stated, buy a region free DVD player, this alone creates the conditions that removal of Ďregionsí from DVDís would produce. Besides, almost all current players can be modified to region free with the proper codes available on the internet. The Ďregioní process is only a law in the U.S. and is only really a profit engine for the studios.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Instant Approval Article Directory, Aug 27th, 2011 @ 12:41am

    Instant Approval Article Directory

    There are many reasons locking files down with copy protection or DRM is short-sighted and pointless, but one of the biggest is that it simply doesnít work. Time and time again, various copy-protection schemes have been broken or circumvented, and all the DRM in the world hasnít stopped file-sharing networks from being filled with supposedly protected media. The real effect of DRM, though, is to hamper interoperability in a misguided attempt to lock consumers in to particular products ó when all it really does is lock consumers out and limit the market size of services and content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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