Digital Restrictions Management, as the experts call it, or DRM for short, is working hard to demotivate people from giving money to the musicians they listen to, as David Pakman, President & CEO, eMusic.com Inc.; Managing Director, Dimensional Associates, Inc.. recently explained in his article on GROKLAW. The article explains in relatively simple terms why DRM ultimately is a bad idea for musicians and the music industry. The Register also features an article "Music sales slide despite RIAA’s crushing blows against piracy", explaining how the music industry is increasingly falling victim to its own pro-DRM "anti-pirate" policy. But DRM does not end there.
Pamela Jones now published an excellent article about DRM and how it gives people the choice between not listening to music, breaking the law or subjecting to the digital equivalent of random cavity searches. She also explains how DRM really only is yet another anti-competitive tool for the proprietary software industry to reinforce their stranglehold on economy and society.
The examples she uses are Mozart, who by modern recording industry standards would be considered a pirate and probably would have ended up in jail long ago, and COLDPLAY, for whose DRM-ridden CD’s she suggests to insert the following message instead of the lengthy DRM promotion blurb without any useful or specific information:
Coldplay: This CD is only for customers who use Microsoft products and only on players that are blessed by Microsoft, and for customers who are willing to accept DRM controlling how they can use the CD. If you use a Mac or GNU/Linux, you are excommunicated. And if you look for an alternative, we reserve the right to tip off the RIAA and then it'll be off with your head. Don't like it? We don't care. Watch us sitting in our offices not caring.
And even though PJ claims to have no technical skills whatsoever, she certainly possesses enough common sense to not follow the advice from the Coldplay shop help:
STEP 1: Firewalls If you have a personal firewall or are behind a corporate firewall, you may experience problems either downloading the track(s) or acquiring a license to play the track. You can try temporarily disabling your firewall or speaking to your Company's IT support to see if they can resolve this.
Turn off the firewall on a Windows machine connected to the internet? Let’s have a look at this "Securing Windows" page from 30 September 2005:
In fact, the current "survival time" (the average time for an unprotected system to be attacked and compromised) is only 9 minutes. This means that a newly installed unprotected operating system connecting to the Internet for the first time will, on average, be attacked within 9 minutes and compromised in some way. That further implies that there is insufficient time for a new system to connect to the Windows Update site and download the latest security and critical updates from Microsoft before the system is attacked and compromised. Yes, the Internet is a dangerous place for the unwary.
I wonder whether 9 minutes is enough to listen to the entire COLDPLAY CD. Probably not. But as this is an average time, it means some people will be infected earlier, some later. After 40 minutes, most people should be properly infected and their machines should have become slave nodes to the Spammers out there on the internet. So the next time you get a particularly nasty spam: It may just have been a COLDPLAY customer who only wanted to listen to the CD they bought in the store.
PJ’s obvious answer to this "Thou Shalt Use Microsoft, or there are hassles ahead" policy is to basically exclude herself from the cultural exchange of humankind that is abused in such ways by the rights-holding industry in combination with the proprietary software industry.
And then I get such interesting, qualified and thoughtful feedback from those who consider Microsofts business practices a good idea:
Subject: microsoft Message: stupid asshole, you should be glad that microsoft exists; is this the way you want to be remembered by history, fagett!!! Email: email@example.com
Spelling mistakes, homophobic and rather unimaginative. A lot like DRM, in a way.