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jweveland (1446)

jweveland
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Journal of jweveland (1446)

Friday February 11, 2005
10:50 AM

Amusing Digital Rights Management Article

[ #23144 ]

"... Call me crazy, but I truly believe there should be no copy protection on digital audio. People will pay to download music, so why restrict what they do with that music once they buy it? Especially if they'll pay what is, really, the exorbitant amount of $1 per song. That's one dollar per digital audio file. This unholy alliance of hardware and digital audio must end. Until it does, I'll keep buying CDs, and I'll keep ripping my friends' CDs and loading 'em up on my iPod while my iTunes Music Store account goes untouched. Come and get me, RIAA."
     source: ZDnet Anchordesk

The first thing I find amazing is that someone is willing to openly call out the RIAA in a newsletter and column with a circulation the size of Anchordesk.

The thing all the talkbackers miss here is much more simple though, and true of any media (music, movies, TV, etc). It is this: DRM is doomed to failure as long as the human body comes equipped with analog-only inputs. To put it another way: as long as there is a digital-to-analog conversion required to "consume" these products, DRM is at best an inconvenience. Because in the end, all the "consumer" needs to do is playback the product, record the analog content stream, and then convert back to digital form (which is now "clean", i.e. without the DRM).

Has no one noticed that analog technology has improved right along? Has no one noticed that 99%+ of consumers are not audiophiles and / or videophiles, and are more than willing to accept the (increasingly small) degredation that comes from a single D->A->D conversion cycle? Has no one noticed that MP3s are hugely popular, despite the fact that the sound quality is "degraded" by the lossy compression scheme?

True, paying $0.99 for the one song on a CD that's worth having beats paying $15.00 for the entire CD. But, I'd bet that if the music publishers charged $0.25/song, they would sell well more than 4x as many songs as at $0.99/song. Because let's face it... for a quarter, you could buy the one "good" song that you really want, and the 2 marginal ones while you're there, because after all, "it's only a quarter". You'd feel like you got a better deal, so you'd be more inclined to buy more music while you're there (which you probably were going to anyhow, did you really go just for the one song?).

Of course, all this breaks down if you take me as your sample case. I buy very few CDs, and most of the ones I do buy are 10+ years old. And, I'm too lazy to be bothered searching out the illegal MP3s, or ripping CDs, or burning MP3 CDs (even though I have an MP3 CD player in my car, thinking perhaps that would motivate me to do more than turn on the radio). So the RIAA doesn't care about me anyhow... I'm not their target market :-)

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