Digital Rights Management

Apples Digital Rights Management (DRM) is seriously annoying. I used to shop in the iTunes Music store quite alot but since since I'm a nerd, I'm using a lot of computers. The problem is: you can only listen to your music which you bought in the iTunes Music store on five (5!) different comupters. So lets count:

  1. my MacBook Pro (Mac OS)
  2. my MacBook Pro (Windows partition)
  3. my old iBook
  4. my Desktop PC
  5. my girlfriends laptop via iTunes streaming)
  6. my parents' MacBook (via iTunes streaming)
  7. my parents' iBook (via iTunes streaming)
  8. my best friends Macbook (via iTunes streaming)

...ok that's 8 computers which I want to listen to my music on but obviously 3 of them will have to go. No problem, you can reset your 5 computers and you have to authorize them again once you want to listen to your stuff on it.

But there's a catch. You can only reset them ONCE A YEAR.

So what happened? Of course, my MacBook Pro broke and I bought a new Desktop PC and I authorized another 2 PCs of friends. That means: I couldn't activate/authorize my new Desktop because I had more than 10 computers that were already authorized. And when my MacBook Pro came back, I had to authorize it again, but couldn't because of the same reason.
My MacBook Pro had it's mainboard changed so iTunes recognized it as a completely new computer.

So that's the reason why I couldn't access ANY of my purchased music for the last months. I had to wait for August 16th to reset the list of authorized computers in the iTunes Music store and all my DRMed music resided on a computer that wasn't already authorized. Mind you, had I purchased that stuff on CD in a store and ripped it, I would have been able to listen to it. And since I was too lazy to burn the stuff I bought in the iTunes Music store to audio CDs and reimport it without DRM ... well yeah, that option didn't work for me either (some of the stuff I bought was more than 74 minutes long so I couldn't have burned it anyway).

So today I finally reset the list of computers that are allowed to play my stuff and shelled out another 20 Euros in the iTunes Music store to turn some of my music (77 Tracks) into non-DRMed stuff with better quality (they call it iTunes plus).

There are a few questions that spring to mind...

Do I feel cheated on for being shut out of the music that I payed for?

Does it annoy me that I now have just a few of the files in a ridiculously high bitrate (11MB for a song...) that I won't be able to differentiate from lower bitrate but DRMed songs?

Does it bother me that I had to shell out 1.30 Euros for a song that I could have downloaded for free on the internet and from which prolly at least 1.25 Euros goes to record labels which are sueing people like me and you who have shared music in p2p nets?
You bet!

I've been one of the first users of the ITMS (iTunes Music Store) in germany and I loved that I was able to just buy stuff whenever I wanted it but honestly... I feel like it's enough already now.
I've been looking for other places to buy music, as easily as the ITMS but they partly failed for me because they're not that integrated... I can't just buy a song on Magnatune and have it on my iPod 2 seconds later, also they don't have the stuff I want. Beatport.com didn't want my credit cards - none of them. Allofmp3 still feels kinda illegal and prolly still is.

So the conclusion to this is: it's still hard to be a nice customer and buy music without feeling stupid for it.

So what am I to do? Download pirated stuff from the pirate bay? Doesn't make me feel any better because I'm actually hurting artists with it. Buy stuff from ITMS? Doesn't make me feel good because I know I'm supporting the record industry which is changing north american and german/european laws right now to strip me of my freedoms.

I'm pissed off.

You bet I wanna delete that crap!

What has this to do with Second Life and Bitter Thorns?
Easy, I'm using DRM as well by setting my products to "non transfer". I'm preventing my customers from being able to take my creations to other accounts and to modify and sell them after that.
Expect more thoughts on this later, meanwhile I'm going to continue writing on my thesis about the german copyright reform...

Please feel free to comment on this post.

PS: I gave Beatport another try... here are the results:


Viola Gemini hat gesagt…

Awwww, byebye Robot Rock :'(

*Starts playing her payed download from some russian site*

Juliet Ceres hat gesagt…

You're really evil. :)