Digital WRONGS Management

If you've bothered to buy a record by say, the Foo Fighters, Switchfoot, or Dave Matthews Band, or anything released by Sony-BMG or EMI in the past several months (which may mean many of you), and you own a Windows computer (which does mean most of you, or at least most of the people on the World Wide Web), and you went to put your new CD into your computer, you've probably cursed enough to make Andrew Dice Clay look like Pope Benedict XVI.

That is because these CDs have been infected with a disease called Digital Rights Management. The primary idea is to prevent music from being pirated. That's fine with me, but here's the bitch. This little piece of "technology", which is supposed to prevent that new Switchfoot CD from being mass-duplicated by some scumfuck in his trailer home and sold at the local flea market for $5 a copy, is also preventing everyday users from ripping their newly bought CD in the audio format of their choice... especially if they own an iPod. That's right... instead of choosing the AAC format or any bitrate of the ever-popular mp3, you get stuck with Microsoft's Windows Media Player technology... the worst sounding digital audio format ever... blech.

According to recent articles, Sony-BMG (that's Columbia, Epic, Portrait, Sony Classical, RCA, Arista, J, Jive, Volcano, LaFace, Legacy, Buddha, and Verity to you and me) is planning to put this nefarious little technology onto all of their new releases by years end.

Fortunately, some of their artists aren't taking this lying down -- Dave Matthews Band and Switchfoot being not only two of the most vocal critics of DRM, but also advocates of SIDESTEPPING this technology (a page full of links to their help pages is here) if you have a Windows computer.

Some folks in New York are also planning a protest against DRM if you're so inclined - info here.

Now, none of this bothers me too much, except on principle... because I own a Macintosh computer. I always rip my new CDs for both my iPod and mix CDs (and have been doing with the latter for a couple of years now, even before I had a Powerbook) This DRM shit apparently doesn't work on Apples. I was able to rip Velvet Revolver's album onto my Powerbook without any difficulty at all. But most of the people I know use Windows machines, so I hate DRM on principle - as much, if not more, than those fucking lameass DualDiscs.

If you'd like to avoid this DRM shit, whether or not you own an iPod, there are several things you can do (not necessarily all at once):

a) Buy a Mac. Before you jump down my throat and complain, let me tell you that you could buy a Mac Mini for at least $500. You could still use your keyboard, mouse, and monitor from your Windows machine (or move them back and forth if you're so inclined) with this little puppy. Hell, you might like the stable Mac OS X platform (which, ahem, doesn't get viruses or spyware like Macs do) so much you might even move on to an iMac, PowerMac, or Powerbook at some point, or at least get familiar with both of the major operating systems (which can be a big help as well). Since the DRM on Sony-BMG discs doesn't work on Macs, you'll be able to get away with ripping your CD's the way you choose scot-free.

b) Get a high-speed connection and an iTunes account. If you don't have a cable or DSL connection, you should. As for iTunes... YOU DON'T NEED TO HAVE AN iPOD TO USE iTUNES! If you don't like the DRM and are stuck with a Windows machine, you can still buy that whole nifty DMB or Switchfoot album right from iTunes and download that puppy and BURN IT TO A CD. Then, you can make those backup copies for your car and office - and re-rip the CD-R you just burned as mp3 files if your non-iPod MP3 player uses that format.

c) See if the album you want is available on DualDisc. I recommend this step only if your computer has a drawer-loading disc drive. Apparently, the DRM technology isn't on the CD audio side of the DualDiscs. Just copy the CD side of the DualDisc, and rip your mp3s or AAC's from either the DualDisc or the CD-R copy. Then file the DualDisc away with the rest of your DVDs.

d) Don't buy DRM-encoded CDs. Suggestion a) makes this suggestion moot, but options b) and c) should prevent you from violating this suggestion.

if there's any suggestions I missed, e-mail me.


At October 19, 2005 at 7:33 AM, Blogger BOHICA said...

these nitwits are a joke... they think they can somehow control technology... as soon as they make a new "lock" someone will invent a new "key"


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