Digital Rights Management is somewhat oxymoronic (and very moronic, imho), as it doesn’t protect anyone’s rights. My rights are not protected by DRM. Your rights are not protected by DRM. DRM is supposed to protect the rights of the music industry and the production and distribution of music via digital means, but it’s a sham. Anyone with a CD-burner can easily circumnavigate DRM by burning DRM protected tracks to CD and then re-ripping them to the computer. This strips the tracks of any DRM. Music pirates know this.
My complaint about DRM is that it both impedes my fair use rights as a consumer and because it constantly changes retroactively on items I’ve already purchased. I realize that the RIAA has the iTunes Music Store trapped, in a sense, because they won’t let Apple use the songs unless they are DRM’ed. However, I do not like the fact that Apple (via iTunes upgrades) continues to strip my iTMS-purchased songs of the capabilities the files had at the time when I purchased them. $0.99 used to buy me 10 burns of a particular song to a particular playlist, but then Apple rolled this down to 7. $0.99 used to buy me the ability to share that song with other iTunes users simultaneously over my local network, but Apple recently restricted this ability. Cory Doctorow over at BoingBoing has a very comprehensive complaint about this latest change and why it sucks. Check it out.
Dear Steve Jobs,
Please take a stand against the RIAA and the music industry. Feel free to threaten them with extinction. Point them towards a non-DRM-controlled future for our music. Please stop removing value from products I purchased from your company. I really like to and want to buy what you are offering, but it gets harder and harder each time you cripple the things I’ve already bought from you.
C.K. Sample, III