xkcd Speaks Truth To DRM: You're A Criminal Either Way

from the and-so-it-goes dept

People sure do love xkcd. I saw the latest comic last night, thinking it was amusing, but I've never been this deluged with submissions from people saying that we absolutely need to post it here. Either way, it does make the universal point about why you shouldn't buy anything that includes DRM. Since any change to the DRM (such as shutting down DRM servers) means you'll probably need to break the law to actually keep using the content you thought you "bought," at some point, people realize they're going to be considered a criminal either way and just vote to pirate stuff in the first place:
Steal This Comic


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    TriZz, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:25pm

    You can get around it in iTunes

    ...just buy it, burn it, delete it from your computer, then import it from the CD.

    It's not convenient, but I buy my music and I get it DRM free...in case iTunes goes under sometime.

     

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  2.  
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    Phil, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:29pm

    Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    Yeah you can do that, or pirate it in the first place. And since you're burning and copying, audio quality is lowered, and some people don't want that.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:36pm

    Delicious Cake is a Lie. Pie however...

    Ah, xkcd. Your preaching to the Choir, Mike. xkcd has long been a favorite especially since he posted the analysis of The Map of the Internet entry on the blag.

    xkcd is awesome, and an awakening which helps me to understand that there truly are some smart people out there, including yourself that are blogging outside of the typical ZOMG!/LOLLOL realm.

    xkcd will figure out the delicious cake problem, even if it turns out to be delicious pie.

     

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  4.  
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    Rickler, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:37pm

    Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    That's like buying a drm'd jpg file, saving it to a lossless tga file, then resaving it as a jpg. It won't be the same as the original you downloaded.

     

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  5.  
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    some old guy, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:37pm

    haha, true story

    Just two days ago, a friend of mine was complaining about an issue he was having with an audible download. I gave him the link to the same book on TPB. He didn't want to download that one.

    I told him "look, you already paid right? So take your morally superior ass over there and get the product that actually works"

    To have XKCD come out with this so shortly after was just hilarious. And yes, I spammed him with a link to the comic earlier today.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:37pm

    no quality loss with burning and ripping - its just changing the format from the original to CD-DA and back to the final (i.e. mp3). As long as the final format has the same bitrate as the original, no quality loss, its all bits.

     

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  7.  
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    Jesse, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:38pm

    In the states, if you burn and copy is that considered DRM-circumvention? Is that [technically] illegal?

     

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  8.  
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    Scott Gardner (profile), Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:40pm

    A moral difference?

    I think there's a difference between being a "criminal" because you removed DRM in order to play something you've purchased and being a "criminal" because you pirated it in the first place and never paid anyone a damn cent for it.

    Saying that you might as well "pirate stuff in the first place" because of the future *possibility* of having to remove the DRM in order to play it is a bit of a stretch.

     

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  9.  
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    Stephen Finch, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:42pm

    Burning and Ripping

    In response to #6: That would be the case, if you had originally downloaded in a lossless format, and were re-ripping into a lossless format. Unfortunately, unless you are ripping your burned CD with EXACTLY the same encoder it was originally created with, it WILL have some slight quality loss. It may not be enough for the untrained(?) ear to detect, but it's there, and it's unacceptable.

     

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  10.  
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    tim, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:49pm

    Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    wow cause thats not missing the point of digital downloads at all. The whole idea is that its meant to be so much easier for people.

     

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  11.  
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    some old guy, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:50pm

    Re: A moral difference?

    I think there's a difference between being a "criminal" because you removed DRM in order to play something you've purchased and being a "criminal" because you pirated it in the first place and never paid anyone a damn cent for it.

    Right, circumventing DRM makes you a class C felon, while copying an audiobook without paying for it gets you a civil lawsuit (and no criminal charges at all).

    Ya, I'd say that is a big difference indeed.

     

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  12.  
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    ECA (profile), Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:51pm

    Other side of the coin..

    DRM works mostly on COMPUTER devices, only...
    So if you want to BURN it to Disk and play it on a CDplayer or EVEN a DVD player...IT WONT WORK..

     

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  13.  
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    Eeqmcsq, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 6:01pm

    It's been said many times by others

    that DRM = Digital Rental Media. Your media is at the mercy of those controlling the DRM, not you.

     

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  14.  
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    and you know it, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 6:19pm

    Everyone is a crook

    According to the **AA you dont need to own a computer or even be alive to be a pirating criminal. When they randomly select your name, you are a criminal and you are expected to pay up or face the dire consequences. Due process is out the window and your jury of peers is a big joke. Guilty until you cough up enough money for a good lawyer. Thank goodness for the NewyorkCountryLawyer, EFF , etc

     

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  15.  
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    Matt, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Re: A moral difference?

    Actually, circumventing DRM does nothing to you, while copying an audiobook without paying does nothing to do, as well.

    If they can prove all this, is a different story. Just because someone has an unDRM'd copy of anything, it doesn't make you guilty or liable for squat.

    or did you selectively not learn that part of the process?

    distribution, is different. Simply doing it? Tough luck. RIAA will never go after folks for just having music, because they cannot do so.

     

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  16.  
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    TriZz, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 6:59pm

    Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    I didn't say it was right...I'm just saying that that's the way it is.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 7:06pm

    Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    And you're still breaking the law... you did get that part, right?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 7:11pm

    Re:

    Yes, there is quality loss. When convert an MP3 to an MP3, even at the same bitrate, you lose quality. It doesn't matter that you're adding an extra step to the process.

    Same goes for JPEGs. If you convert a JPEG to JPEG, even at the same quality, you lose quality, even if you add an extra step of converting to a PNG first.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Delicious Cake is a Lie. Pie however...

    The Cake is a LIE!

     

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  20.  
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    hegemon13, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    Nope, worse. Since you are ultimately going from m4a to mp3, you are encoding from one lossy compression to another, which is worse because you get the stack the weaknesses of both formats.

     

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  21.  
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    hegemon13, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 7:25pm

    Re:

    Your statement is only true with lossless compression. Since iTunes m4a and mp3 both use lossy compression (that's how they get the files so small), there is definite quality loss with each generation of transcoding.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Re: A moral difference?

    Hmm,

    I'd say you have brought up a point that many people on both sides off this would rather not think about.

    And to those of you who say there is no difference because they aren't punishing you for either, give it time. If they can figure our how they will.

     

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  23.  
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    LDøBë, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 8:19pm

    Re: A moral difference?

    It really isn't a possibility that the DRM systems will change, fail, and/or come up with something to make your music/books worthless.
    It's a definite thing that will eventually happen within the lifetime of a harddisk.

     

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  24.  
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    inc, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 9:03pm

    I love the tool tips on xkcd when you hover over the comic. There's always a nice little extra bit of info.

     

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  25.  
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    John, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Delicious Cake is a Lie. Pie however...

    Fortunately the cakes shadow is a lie. The cake was just on the other side of the cube.

     

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  26.  
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    CheesyPoofs, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 9:58pm

    Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    be that as it may you degrade your sound quality by doing so. For those of us with quality audio equipment we do not want any degrade in sound as such we will notice it like night and day.

     

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  27.  
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    J, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 10:17pm

    Re: You can get around it in iTunes

     

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  28.  
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    James Stevens, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 10:17pm

    DoubleTwist

    There is a free app called doubleTwist that unlocks iTunes purchases... still hurts quality a bit tho... that leaves piracy still as the best option... seems like no one can put together a business model that competes with piracy... all they come up with is models that make piracy look more attractive.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Re: Delicious Cake is a Lie. Pie however...

    Another day, another dollar, and even after the 8th call over the past 6 days, NONE of them were returned from AIG, you'd think a 32 year relationship was worth something. I'm at a loss. Sending birthday cards to everyone in the family, you'd pick up the damn phone and say:

    "Yes Sir, don't worry. Your fucking mortgage won't be owned by the Chinese/European Bank".

    I've given up.
    From this point forward, if we want to continue discussions, Henry Waxman will make some time.

     

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  30.  
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    His Shadow, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    Irrelevant. Apple's DRM allows a completely legal work around for the encryption. The complaints are pointless and misleading.

     

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  31.  
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    jFiveNYC, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 11:21pm

    Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    Why burn? Make an image w/PowerISO or Daemon Tools.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 12:08am

    DRM - Digital Rental Media

     

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  33.  
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    PaulT (profile), Oct 14th, 2008 @ 1:07am

    Re: Re: Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    Which complaints? The ones I'm reading are that the loophole is extremely inconvenient and loses audio quality. Why are they "pointless and misleading"?

     

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  34.  
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    TaiShanLover, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 2:34am

    That is so true it ain't even frakkin funny

    Bought at least $100 of music from Comcast Rhapsody which I didn't burn onto CD's quite soon enough and when a HD crashed unexpectedly I lost every bit of the music. Couldn't get it replaced because according to Rhapsody's servers I'd already "refreshed" the collection the limited number of times - which was actually an error on their part. I never got that resolved and lost every bit of the music and my $$$. DRM My sweet hindparts, too many glitches in that system. Glad I'm not the only one that got bit by that nuisance. Until the system is more user friendly, people are Pirates no matter what.

     

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  35.  
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    Twinrova, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 4:11am

    Simple, yet gets its point across perfectly.

    This comic should be sent to the following:
    Every lawyer in the world.
    Every politician in the world.
    Every industry using DRM in the world.

    Especially Walmart and EA, whose recent antics (publicity stunt?) require this reading.

    Now, where'd that politician email listing get to....

     

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  36.  
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    Dave, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 4:21am

    Re: Everyone is a crook

    "According to the **AA....."

    The GNAA?

     

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  37.  
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    Rita, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 4:39am

    Buy your Mp3's from Amazon. No DRM and higher bitrates.

     

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  38.  
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    nasch, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    You don't have to go to mp3, you can rip it as anything you want, including a lossless format.

     

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  39.  
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    nasch, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    No, you're not. iTunes' DRM allows this, so you don't have to circumvent it, so you're not violating the DMCA.

     

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  40.  
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    Wesha, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 12:37pm

    In case you didn't know

    "CD/DVD player" *is* a computing device. What do you think turns all these bits on the disc into sound and/or movie on your screen? The tiny, single-chip, highly specialized computer inside.

     

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  41.  
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    PaulT (profile), Oct 15th, 2008 @ 1:34am

    Re:

    ...unless you have the audacity not to reside within the continental US, in which case you're not allowed. Although you can buy a CD from the same site, no problem. Idiots.

     

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  42.  
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    ender, Oct 15th, 2008 @ 3:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You can get around it in iTunes

    Converting a lossy (mp3/m4a) format to lossless is like converting a JPEG to PNG. You gain nothing, only the file becomes 10 times larger (and when you convert that to lossy again, you lose quality).

     

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


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