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Dissenters By Design

January 10, 2009 by BLAKEBUCK

Internet freedom questI’m of the belief there are two kinds of people in this world – those who see problems and those who see opportunities.  Some of the most conflict-ridden places in the world today (I’m looking at you middle-east) are the product of many generations of problem-seeing people.  But don’t worry, drugs I’m not here to wax poetic about race relations in Israel, stomach I’m dealing with something far, far stupider.

Today I learned that Apple recently announced at Macworld it was making the majority of the music in the iTunes music store DRM free.  For those of you who don’t know what DRM is, congratulations – you’ve probably had sex before.  At least you’ve moved out of your parent’s basement.  DRM stands for “Digital Rights Management”, which is a set of restrictions that come on a piece of digital content (such as only being able to have 5 copies of an iTunes song, only being able to install a Spore on 3 computers, only being able to put a piece of bread in the toaster twice, etc.).

After Apple removed the restrictions for most music on the iTunes store, my first thought was, “Hot damn!  Sugar Pie Honey Bunch here I come!”  But soon I became curious about how all of the rampant “Anti-DRM” zealots would take it.  Surely this would be a great day in their eyes, as one of the largest digital merchants had loosened it’s restrictions.  They must be cheering Apples name!

Below is a snippet from the anti-DRM site Defective By

  • Today, a minor victory in the campaign to eliminate DRM, Apple, the last major retailer of DRM-encumbered music has announced, live at MacWorld, that music will be going DRM-free. Today, some 8 million music tracks and music videos are already available DRM-free, via iTunes Plus.
  • We must continue to put pressure on Apple. That means continuing to boycott all DRM-content on iTunes, including the iPhone and the App Store. We encourage Apple to continue to remove DRM from iTunes content, including all movies, TV shows, games, audiobooks and applications, as well as support for free formats, such as Vorbis and Theora

Angry doodz.Months of negotiating with record labels, mountains of legal work, and not even so much as a ‘thank you’ from these earbud-toting, north face jacket-wearing jackasses?  Why don’t you go order a Venti at Starbucks and tell me why you think weed should be legalized.

“But why do we need DRM at all?  It’s my music, I should be able to do whatever I want with it!”  An interesting statement, philosophy major who doesn’t vote because he says it doesn’t matter.  The reason digital content is restricted so much more than say an analog CD ten years ago is that digital files can be endlessly copied with virtually no effort and transferred anywhere in the world almost instantly.  While copying a CD was possible 10 years ago (can you say, mixtape?), it took a considerable amount of effort, which stopped a vast majority of “casual piraters” (which I believe is the bulk of the current piracy problem)

As a digital content creator, I think that protecting my content (which I may want to sell someday) from piracy is extremely important.  So stop whining about how these “evil corporations” are locking you in a prison, and instead look at all the amazing things it allows you to do.  I can watch Wall-E.  On my freakin phone.  Am I the only one still blown away by that?

Sadly, the anti-DRM may never be satisfied, just like the middle-east may never find peace.  On the upside, this week’s episode of The Soup just finished downloading to my phone.  Spaghetti cat, here I come!

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