Has The Recording Industry Given Up On DRM For Streaming Music?

from the would-be-good-if-true dept

We recently mentioned that a big supporter of DRM stopped by in the comments to insist that DRM was here to stay despite plenty of evidence of its gradual decline in the market. Well, now the EFF has pointed out more evidence of the death of DRM. It wasn't that long ago that the RIAA was pushing for laws that would require DRM on any streaming music offering (yes, streams, rather than downloads). Since many streaming services simply stream straight MP3s, it's possible to record them, or to simply copy them from their "hidden" places on your hard drive. Yet, the EFF has noticed that even the big services that have officially licensed music from the big labels are using plain MP3 streaming, which would suggest that even the RIAA isn't insisting that its partners use DRM on streams.

Of course, this raises a second important question. If these services are officially allowed to download MP3s to your desktop, is there anything illegal in then keeping the files? Most of these services work by effectively downloading the plain MP3 into a slightly hidden folder (it's not really hidden, they just don't make it clear where it is). Considering that it's a legal, RIAA-approved service downloading a plain old MP3 to your hard drive, it's difficult to see how they could claim copyright infringement if you were to keep that file, right? Of course, considering how much the RIAA is trying to charge these sites, they may not live all that long anyway.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 8:43pm

    itsstillmycomputer

    If they store a file in my computer then it is up to me what happens to that file. It can not be a copyright violation if I keep it, I did not copy it. I suppose that the **IA will now want a deleteright. Good luck with that. Do I have the right to sell the file? The **IA will probably want a sellright.

     

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  2.  
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    Triatomic Tortoise, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 9:06pm

    No they havn't given up on DRM

    In some cases DRM can be a good thing!!! I use Zune Pass along with my Zune device. This is a rental service for music for $15 per month. DRM makes it possible to have such a business model viable. This is a tremendous service. You will know only if you have used it. There is no parallel in iTunes from Apple.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 9:16pm

    Re: No they havn't given up on DRM

    iTunes may not be a parallel, but I can assure you that BitTorrent is even better. Not only don't I have to pay $15 BUT I get to keep the music when Microsoft eventually shuts down their DRM servers (as will inevitably happen some day). I don't see how it makes DRM a good thing.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 9:17pm

    Many of these streaming applications only keep a copy of as much of the file as they need to buffer for playback in RAM.

    Then again, didn't a torrent site get ordered to track IP's because they were "stored in RAM", which meant they had possession of the records?

     

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  5.  
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    Overcast, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 9:31pm

    Even if they have, they'll try to implement some other system doomed to failure from day one, and it will end up doing the same thing - screwing paying customers out of the content they bought.

    I guess they want to pollute the digital media arena so bad, people will just go back to buying obsolete CD's.

     

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  6.  
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    Matt, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 9:32pm

    they are following the law, is all

    All they are doing is following the current legal trend. They are still trying to get laws passed to shove DRM down our throats in new fashions.

     

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  7.  
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    Tramatic Tantric Tortoise, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 9:34pm

    Re: No they havn't given up on DRM

    Thanks for clearing up that iTunes was from Apple.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 10:00pm

    Music, Movies - do I really need them ?

    The **AA wanted to implement a pay per play system. Not sure if that is even possible, it certainly would be problematic. So now their approach involves a music tax and the best part is that other people have to collect it for them. They get to sit back, put their feet up and snort coke off hookers boobs.

     

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  9.  
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    MadJo (profile), Aug 21st, 2008 @ 1:41am

    Re: No they havn't given up on DRM

    So you'd rather rent music?
    You do realize that when you stop paying those 15 bucks, you lose access to those files?

     

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  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 21st, 2008 @ 1:47am

    Re: No they havn't given up on DRM

    I'd rather keep the music after I stop paying, thanks. Not to mention the ability for friends to keep playing music I legally give to them.

     

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  11.  
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    August West, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 2:29am

    A matter of time

    Its only a matter of time before all these dipshits become pariahs and have to go to work flipping burgers and struggling to make ends meet. They will have only themselves to blame. Of course then they'll probably try to get their shift supervisors to charge extra for the burgers in case some of us want to give part of the burger to our small children or something.

    They seem to forget that ultimately, WE choose how to spend our money, and WE ultimately pay their checks. Do what I do. Go see LIVE music. Support bands that market their own music. Do not buy major label music. Support artists that encourage the recording and free trade of their live shows. Then go see them every time they come around. The money goes to the ARTIST, not a bunch of greedheads.

     

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  12.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 21st, 2008 @ 3:56am

    I blogged only yesterday (see Streaming/Downloading Sophistry/Duality) about the stupid legal distinction between bits that have been 'streamed' and those that have been 'downloaded'.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 5:38am

    Re: No they havn't given up on DRM

    "In some cases DRM can be a good thing!!! I use Zune Pass along with my Zune device. This is a rental service for music for $15 per month. DRM makes it possible to have such a business model viable. This is a tremendous service. You will know only if you have used it. There is no parallel in iTunes from Apple."

    Microsofts zune (and XBOXLive) DRM scheme is the worst I have ever encountered and certainly one of the best examples of why DRM is bad for consumers. Around half the time (50%) DRM infected songs I purchase for my zune last less then two weeks (before DRM errors render them unplayable). It’s actually so bad that within a few weeks of the purchase of my zune, I stopped buying anything at all through Microsoft as the DRM renders it useless to me more often then not. On several occasions I had purchased the same song multiple times and never gotten it to play at all. Contacting zune support is useless as they have no concept of how the DRM works (they actually suggested at some point it was a problem with my XBOXLive gamertag . . . LOL?) and know very well that it’s a broken system (they get DRM calls all the time, constantly and are mainly interested in just passing you off as the problems can’t really be fixed). So they will simply give you a DRM pass key to down load the same song that didn’t work the three times you paid to download it. Guess what, becuase of DRM it won’t work with the code either. Ironically I have never had a single problem with any DRM free music I have on the zune or any other device (DRM infected music cannot be used off the zune).

    Frankly your pointing to zune DRM as something positive leaves me baffled. It’s a terrible, clunky, buggy and irritating implementation that is a really wonderful example of why DRM alienates customers and is above all, just bad for business (if your business is moving content). My zune collects dust in a drawer and has for more then a year now . . . it’s useless mainly because of DRM.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 5:49am

    Re: itsstillmycomputer

    "If they store a file in my computer then it is up to me what happens to that file. It can not be a copyright violation if I keep it, I did not copy it. I suppose that the **IA will now want a deleteright. Good luck with that. Do I have the right to sell the file? The **IA will probably want a sellright."

    Remember with the DMCA it is not possible to "own" things in America anymore.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 5:52am

    Re: Re: No they havn't given up on DRM

    Watch out for this guy. He is a quick one. Madjo, how do you fit all them brains in that head of yours?

     

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  16.  
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    dave shemano, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 7:03am

    who owns your computer?

    i recall a story where a drm scheme was bypassed simply by holding down the shift key when inserting the cd to prevent autoplay on the windows platform. the publisher of the content argued that advertising this fact constituted circumvention under the dmca. a similar (ly feeble) claim might be made for copying an .mp3 file from one's browser cache. however, as a user of the gnu/linux operating system (ubuntu flavor) when i listen to such content with the totem media player, i have an option to save the stream as an .mp3 file and am protected from such claims.

    just a friendly reminder that if you want your computer to do what _you_ want, and not what microsoft, apple, and their media partners want your computer to do, then you have to run a free (as in feeedom, of course) operating system)

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 7:40am

    Re: who owns your computer?

    dave shemano -> drm scheme was bypassed simply by holding down the shift key

    Yes, I remember that episode. As I recall a college student was sued by the DRM company because a research paper they had written included a description of the shift key "hack". The case was dropped by the DRM company after they were told that Microsoft's website published the shift key as a feature. And what is interesting is that MS had this on their website for some time. This DRM Co had spent a lot of money developing a silly at best attempt at DRM which is easily circumvented by a well known feature !

     

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  18.  
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    oregonnerd, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 10:58am

    recordings, data, the law, the death and birth of innovation

    ...And if you have (think of this) a computer which has recordings from an old record and your computer is hacked...the copies spread over the net, original IP address somehow intact: you could be sued. A person with a photographic memory could theoretically be sued for having read a book. Dooyeveert did have a point with his modal philosophy; it was just that he was talking about perceptions and models while he thought he was talking about reality.
    --Glenn

     

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  19.  
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    Triatomic Tortoise, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: No they havn't given up on DRM

    I NEVER buy a DRM encrypted song. I only use the rental service Zune Pass. If I buy, I would buy MP3 which is also available through Zune.

    Zune Pass is good because you can access any song you want. I downloaded 30 GB for $15. Pretty good deal I would consider. I do not have to think which one to pay for. Just get them all and try them.

     

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  20.  
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    Brian, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 5:31pm

    DRM not dead....

    I'd never buy a song with DRM protection, obviously. But especially with the new Real Player that makes it easy for any idiot to download anything that is being streamed without DRM, it makes it important for serious musicians to protect their work.

    Only thing is for indie bands, they can't necessarily afford an expensive DRM-adding service or license. The other thing comes to social media sites that stream music for artists- are they at risk of being sued just because they stream without DRM???

    I just wish there were as many cheap or free programs to add DRM as there are to remove it!

     

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