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June 18, 2004
CD DRM Keeps Music Off P2P Filesharing Networks
Oh, wait, that didn't happen.
There has been a lot of noise regarding the fact that, for the first time, the number one album in the US has CD "copy protection." See, C|Net News (Copy-blocked CD tops U.S. charts). Previous attempts at copy-protected CDs in the US have provoked consumer backlash, but the backlash seems minor this time. One very plausible and likely explanation is that that the "copy protection" is so easily circumvented (press the "shift" key as you insert the "CD" into a Windows PC). See, Ed Felten, Freedom to Tinker (Lame Copy Protection Doesn't Depress CD Sales Much). For more theories and commentary, see, Slashdot (Copy-protected CD Tops U.S. Charts).
Of course, if you don't circumvent the copy protection, there will be no way for you to copy your legitimately purchased music onto an iPod. Ah, format wars at the expense of the consumer. Which DRM monolith with prevail?
"We are actively working with Apple to provide a long-term solution to this issue," a posting on SunnComm's Web site reads. "We encourage you to provide feedback to Apple, requesting they implement a solution that will enable the iPod to support other secure music formats."
Translation: It isn't in Apple's interest to support Microsoft's format or allow people to support iTunes who support Microsoft's format. How else do you explain SunComm begging consumers to do its Apple negotiations for it?
But the format wars are worth it, if it prevents widespread internet piracy:
EMI Music has "been encouraged by the success that SunnComm's MediaMax product has enjoyed," Richard Cottrell, global head of antipiracy for the record label, said in a statement. "We are pleased that SunnComm is developing a product that improves our ability to protect our artists' works, especially during the prerelease phase."
This guy is head of global antipiracy for a record label and he thinks this shift-key-circumvented DRM improves their ability to prevent piracy "especially during the prerelease phase." Man, I want a high paying job like this guy where I don't have to know nothing.
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