Friday, December 28, 2007

Thank you for the music

I just heard that Warner has put up its music on Amazon, DRM-free.

Maybe I'm missing the point here but I am faced with a blatant contradiction.

First, Amazon claims, in response to its most frequently asked question('What does DRM-free mean?'), that it means you can, without control or limit, play/copy/download/share/access music that you purchase on their service.
How fun! I think I'm going to download 11 tracks and do just that! I'll copy them on to a few CDs and give those out to my friends who go on long drives...then, I'll rip the tracks to my Dell Axim, upload it to my web site(so I can share them with the viewers of this blog...for instance..., AND access them wherever I am over the Internet). And the thousands of people that'll visit this blog one day will be able to download those tracks for free. Gosh, this is amazing!

But wait a minute! I just read something else.....their Terms of Service. Now I'm no lawyer but a close look at sections 2.1 and 2.2 tells me that unless it's for my personal non-commercial entertainment, I cannot redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, bla bla.
I think I might have to put my 11-track purchase on hold till I get this straight!

I can read this two ways:

[a]. Amazon is telling me: "You asked for no DRM. So there's no DRM. We don't really care why you asked for no DRM but whatever....There's no DRM.
But don't think twice about doing with this music what you do with your Napster collection. This is for your ears only, and if there are other ears close to you listening in, then fine...let them listen in. But don't go finding more listening ears for this music. "

In other words, we're not going to include technology to manage usage rights and fair use. But...if you click on our ToS, you will see what your usage rights are, and we expect you to comply.

[b]. Amazon could also be telling me: "If you feel personally entertained when you, non-commercially, hand out ripped music tracks(on CDs) to your dear friends, then go right ahead.
We're sure it gives you great joy to sit down, compile collections(from your own legal collections), and put together 'The best of...' CDs that your wanderlust-stricken friends can take with them when driving on Route 66.
So, have at it."

In other words, all you need is love.

My gut instinct tells me that [a] is closer to the truth.


I'm an Apple music store fan, and it's because they say I can use their music for personal, non-commercial use(not MY personal use, specifically), and that their technology lets me copy a song on to 5 devices, and use it in 7 playlists.

Where did the 5 and the 7 come from? I don't know and I don't care. It might become 7 and 10 tomorrow. Or 4 and 6.
All I know is that they let me share, and tell me how often I can do so. They tell me exactly what I can, and cannot do with their music. And they back it up with some pretty good technology that works almost all the time.

For times when I forget that I've already burned "Love me Two Times" 7 times, and that it's also on my laptop, my desktop, my iPod, my moms iPod, and my (fictional) girlfriends Powerbook, there's always DRM to serve as a gentle reminder- you have copied and burned this song as much as we could possibly let you. Feel free to download it again, and copy/burn some more.

And I invariably go: "Oh yea that's right. Well, thank you for the music."