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All posts tagged "DRM"


Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Rise And Fall Of The Music Industry

Posted by Ed Hansberry in "Pocket PC News" @ 07:00 PM

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=13

Yesterday on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" program, Terry Gross interviewed Steve Knopper, a Rolling Stone contributing editor, on the history of the recording industry from the end of the vinyl era to the future. Of course, DRM and content protection are discussed at length, but are not the sole topic. Also discussed are the differences in the market caused by the advent of the CD, home computers, DAT, CD burner, MP3 player and on to the future where the CD may cease to exist and the music industry itself may struggle for relevance. Anyone that has ever downloaded a song illegally or has done so legally and then fought with DRM issues with their device(s) will enjoy this show. It lasts roughly 30 minutes. The main article link takes you to the RSS feed that you can copy and paste into your favorite podcasting software. It aired yesterday, but the RSS feed is showing it as a January 15 show. You'll know right away if you have the wrong one because it starts right into the story. Alternatively, you can download the MP3 file directly or use the WMA stream to whatever device or desktop you have.

Be sure to listen to the show before disputing anything. You may be surprised at some of the conclusions presented by Mr. Knopper.

Tags: DRM

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No More DRM for Apple

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home News" @ 06:30 PM

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,281...,2337929,00.asp

"The "Big Four"-Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, and EMI-all agreed that, effective today, they no longer need to encumber their artists' iTunes offerings with DRM. This means that you can give a friend a song you bought on iTunes-and it will actually play on his or her iPod!"

Well I have to give Apple credit. At today's Macworld keynote, Apple announced that DRM would be removed from iTunes music files; effective immediately for 8 million files, with the rest to be DRM-free within a few months. This is huge for the digital music marketplace. It takes away most of Amazon's competitive advantage and means other stores like Zune Marketplace and Rhapsody will need to scramble to get DRM removed from their music files as well.

Correction: Rhapsody's single-track download store is already all-MP3 and Microsoft signed agreements with Sony BMG and UMG last November. However, as of today, the Zune Marketplace still has a ways to go to get MP3s fully rolled out.

Tags: Apple, DRM, iTunes

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Apple May Expand DRM-free Offeings

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 PM

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10102414-37.html

"A year after iTunes began offering music without copy protection software from EMI, Apple is in discussions with the other three top recording companies about acquiring DRM-free songs, according to two music industry sources. The talks are still preliminary and no deals have been finalized, but one source said one of the major labels is close to a final agreement. Rumors have been swirling on the Internet for a week that Sony would soon be offering music without the controversial digital rights management software. My sources could not confirm this. Spokespeople for Apple and the major labels declined to comment."

It is a beatiful thing when the consumer wins out over big business interest. Between the confusion that DRM presented for those not in the know and an outright refusal to buy by many in the know, DRM seems to be well on its way out the door. I sit proud in the thought that I never purchased any DRM laden music but have since purchased quite a bit of music since Amazon opened their DRM free MP3 store.

Tags: Apple, DRM, iTunes

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zune Pass Now Offers 10 Tracks Per Month to Keep

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 10:12 PM

http://zuneinsider.com/archive/2008...ks-to-keep.aspx

"The week just keep getting better for Zune owners: today we're announcing some amazing enhancements for Zune Pass. Starting today at about 11:00PM pacific time, everyone with a Zune Pass gets to keep 10 tracks from Zune Marketplace each month. These 10 tracks will be yours to keep, forever. Each month that you keep your Zune Pass current, you'll get another 10 tracks credited to your account. All this for the same price as your Zune Pass today: 14.99/month, or about the price of one CD per month. So each month as you discover and download new music in Zune Marketplace, you'll be able to keep 10 of your favorite tracks. One quick note: there is no roll-over, so make sure you collect your 10 tracks each month."

The blog post goes on to say that approximately 90% of the 4 million tracks in the Zune Marketplace are available in MP3 format. I don't know if that's something that has just changed tonight though, because the last time I checked I had a really hard time finding MP3s in the songs that I wanted - and that's why I purchase most of my digital music from Amazon's MP3 store. Still, I'm all for DRM-free music, so it's great to see them focusing hard on getting more MP3s into their catalog.

Back to the big news though: getting to keep approximately $10 worth of music per month, and getting rented access to a huge collection of music, all for $15 per month, is compelling. What I'm not sure about is what format the 10 tracks you get are - I suspect their in WMA format and DRM-laden, which makes them less interesting, but I suppose it's better than nothing. The Zune team isn't the first I've heard offering a subscription service with tracks to keep (check out what Nokia is doing), but I think it's a first out of the major players in the subscription industry - which I guess really only consists of Rhapsody and Napster at this point with pretty much every other player dying off.

So what do you think? Is this enough to make you want to sign up for a Zune Pass if you've been resisting up until now?

Tags: DRM, Zune Pass

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

EVGA's UV-16: Running a Second Monitor Via USB

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Long gone are the days when a dual monitor setup was limited to the uber-geek. I’ve used one on and off at work for years whenever my hardware supported it. I’ve wanted to do the same at home, but have never been successful in getting a second video card to work properly. I think it had something to do with the fact that my primary video source was always a video card built in to the motherboard. Over the years I’ve lost the patience to do much work inside the PC case, so I finally gave up. However, since I switched over to Netflix, I’ve been making pretty heavy use of their video streaming which rekindled my desire to have a second display. The Olevia LCD TV in my office has a VGA input, so I just needed a cost effective way to get a second video output.

I’d looked at USB options in the past, but the reviews were pretty poor and the adapters were pretty expensive. Then I came across the EVGA UV-16 and decided to give it a go. So, let’s see if this device can easily get me to dual monitor bliss. Read more...


Monday, August 18, 2008

Another DRM Death - What are the Customers' Rights?

Posted by Suhit Gupta in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

http://blogs.computerworld.com/vongo_closes

"The Washington Post reported (found by way of Engadget) that Vongo, the all-you-can-view movie site run by Starz, has gone belly up. I used Vongo a few times for various feature stories but never got hooked. (If you're wondering, journalists like me often test new services using a press account that expires after some period of time. For services like Rhapsody and Zune, I used them for the press trial and then decided to sign up and pay monthly. Why two music services? Why, one for my Creative Zen and one for my Zune, of course. And then there's my iPod, but we won't go into that redundancy here.) Starz is just moving all the content over to the Verizon service called Starz Play. The catch is that you have to be a Verizon customer. If you're not, the Vongo service will go dark on September 1 and any movies you have downloaded and paid for (via the $10 monthly fee) will no longer be available.

Update: Vongo pointed out to me that you do not have to be a Verizon customer to use Starz Play. You just need a credit card. I agree with them that this means it is not a great example of what happens when a Web 2.0 site goes dark -- Vongo customers can just sign up for Starz Play and the fee is a few bucks less per month. However, they do have to go through that sign-up, re-download any movies, etc. It is not painless -- I would prefer that they do what Yahoo Music does: they just let you switch over to Rhapsody. That said, it is a reminder that sites like Yahoo Music and Vongo will not exist forever."

For all you Vongo customers, if you read the update in the article, it is not quite as bad as it could have been. While you do have to re-download all your videos from a different site, you are not losing access to all your content, at least not as far as I can tell. But the article brings up a very interesting point afterwards in that 'what are web 2.0 sites' responsibilities, or customers' right to their content, when the site goes belly up'? Reminds me of the dot com boom/bust era style debates. What do you think?

Tags: DRM, Vongo

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Online Music Ripoff

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Digital Home Talk" @ 02:00 AM

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/218...poff/page1.html

"Why is DRM so contentious? Surely it's designed to protect the rights of artists and record companies in a climate where, as one international music industry body claims, illegal downloads swamp legitimate music store downloads by a ratio of 20 to 1? The problem is DRM doesn't affect the pirates, who upload and download DRM-free files often ripped directly from CD. Instead, it affects legitimate buyers in a range of deeply irritating ways. The first roadblock comes down to Gates' talk of "simplicity" and "interoperability", or rather the lack of both"

I think most people who know anything about DRM hate it. They hate dealing with the limitations of the technology, both intentionally built-in or as a direct result of poor technical planning/implementation. Unlike a good protection scheme which is invisible to the end user, DRM is too limiting to the average customer, and does nothing to stop hardcore music pirates. Plus, when a store goes down and its licenses stop renewing, the customer is the real loser. Sure you can burn your songs to a CD and re-rip them (or do it virtually), but the process is time-consuming and you lose audio fidelity. Another option is to free your purchased music using tools like FairUse4WM (above) or Hymn, or just buy DRM-free in the first place. Check out the article if you need yet another reason to hate DRM.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Microsoft Relents on Killing MSN Music DRM Authenticaton...For a Few Years

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 03:06 PM

When I heard about MSN Music's move to de-commission their DRM servers, I came down on them like a sledgehammer, and with good reason. It seems they listened, and that's a really great thing. Here's the email they sent out to MSN Music users today:

"On April 22, Microsoft notified you that as of August 31st, 2008, we would be changing the level of support for music purchased from MSN Music, and while your existing purchased music would continue to play, you would no longer be able to authorize new PCs and devices to play that music. After careful consideration, Microsoft has decided to continue to support the authorization of new computers and devices and delivery of new license keys for MSN Music customers through at least the end of 2011, after which we will evaluate how much this functionality is still being used and what steps should be taken next to support our customers. This means you will continue to be able to listen to your purchased music and transfer your music to new PCs and devices beyond the previously announced August 31, 2008 date. Microsoft continues to recommend that you back up your music on CD or hard drive along with other important data."

2011 gives people a few years longer with their music, and while DRM'd music is still poisonous and should be avoided at all costs, most people don't realize that and you can bet that pretty much everyone who bought tracks from MSN Music didn't think they'd one day stop working. I give Microsoft major props for listening to the outcry of their customers and extending the deadline for their decision.

Tags: DRM, MSN Music

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Day The MSN Music Died

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 01:25 AM

http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-99...tml?tag=newsmap

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that Microsoft has "betrayed" MSN Music customers and wants the company to make things right by issuing an apology, refunds, and eliminate digital rights management technology from the Zune music player. Microsoft stirred some controversy last week by announcing that it would no longer issue DRM keys for defunct MSN Music after August 31. This effectively will prevent former customers from transferring their songs to new devices after the deadline. Customers could potentially lose their music if they get a new computer or if the hard drive crashes on their current one. EFF, an advocacy group for Internet users, said in a statement that it sent a letter to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer on Tuesday outlining steps the company should take, such as issuing refunds and launching a publicity campaign to educate former MSN Music customers about their options."

The above quote speaks for itself - for my own opinions on this topic, I'll refer you to a collection of comments that I posted in a private forum where this issue was being discussed:
  • "Sadly, that's the great hoax of DRM - you think you "own" the music, because you probably paid just as much for the digital album as the CD, but what you really bought was limited-usage rights to listen to that music until the company in question decides they don't want you to be able to listen to it anymore."
  • [Responding to a question wondering why people were upset] "You can't understand how someone, thinking that when they bought their Creative Zen Vision and bought $200 or more in music over a period of years wouldn't be COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY PISSED OFF to be told that their music they bought is forever tied to their computer, never to be transferred or activated again? Microsoft does make legitimate, bone-headed mistakes sometimes, and this is one of them."
  • [Responding to a question] "You and I know that, and so should John but the average person does not. They don't understand DRM, or care to understand it. You know what they'll understand now? That MSN Music, and Microsoft, completely screwed them over. This move by Microsoft is completely idiotic and will push even more people to the iTunes model (even though their normal DRM is just as bad, if not worse) or turn people off purchasing music in digital form."
  • "...how realistic is that to tell an average consumer "Hey, that computer you're using? It's the only thing that will be able to play your music, forever. Better make sure it doesn't break down!" That's completely ridiculous and utterly unrealistic." Read more...

Tags: DRM, MSN Music

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