When DRM Sucks

A couple of weeks ago my younger brother asked me to buy some songs for him from the iTunes store. So I thought this would be no big deal. Normally I buy, download and burn the songs to a CD and also put them onto his iPod shuffle for him. Well, that wasn’t the case this time. I had some issues and thought I would share them.

The music was bought and I transferred it over to my PC because the iBook doesn’t have a CD buner. No big deal. I get the tracks into iTunes on the PC and put them into a playlist and click on burn, no luck. There is an error that it can’t find a burner. The drive was being recognized by Windows as well as Nero. I got to thinking about it and I decided to disconnect the hard drive that was also on the same cable as the CD/DVD burner. Ok, first of all. I know it’s probably not wise to do that but I needed to connect the drive to the computer and it worked, so shush! Anyways. After taking my computer case apart, unplugging the hard drive and getting it all put back together again I turn the PC on and I still get the same error in iTunes. The drive is still being recognized by Windows and Nero but not iTunes.

I then realize that Nero is not displaying the drive as a CD or DVD Burner. I don’t know what the deal with that was. I’m still having issues copying CDs or DVDs. I’m thinking that I’m either needing to re-flash the optical drive, re-install Windows or buy a new DVD burner. But anyways. That’s not why I am writing.

Once I finally got the music over onto the PC and found out that I was not going to be able to burn the music using iTunes, I needed to try and burn it using Nero or something else. Of course you can’t do that without removing the DRM from the music! So I found myFairTunes, a Windows only application. DRM Dumpster does the same thing for Mac users but you’ll need a CD-RW drive and disc. Also, the software is not free. I removed the DRM, converted the tracks to MP3 format in iTunes and tried to burn the music using Nero. Of course I thought the music had burned succesfully because it went through the entire process and said it was successful. However, looking at the CD after it came out of the drive you can tell that there was nothing on the disc. When you put it into a CD player it makes the blank disc noise and when you put it back into a computer it says it is blank.

My point to this entire entry is that DRM is only making it harder for people who actually purchase music. We all know that. However the music industry still does not understand that fact. Thankfully, iTunes is now offering DRM free music. Also, fortunately, there are amazing companies like Magnatune who are against DRM. Magnatune allows you share the music you purchase with 3 people and they also let you license the music for videos, podcasts and other productions under a Creative Commons license.

The issue I had isn’t the only reason DRM needs to be sent to the dumpster. People want to buy music players and put their music on it. When a player is tied to one music store and one DRM format, you can’t do it. Maybe one of these days this will be a thing of the past and our descendants will look at us like we were crazy for using DRM (along with many, many other things).

MikeyPod Interviews Joi Ito of Creative Commons

A couple of years ago I found out about Creative Commons. I watched the videos on their website and I was intrigued by it. Everytime I would create something I would stamp a CC license onto it because I thought it was so cool. A couple of years passed and I got out of the habit of CC’ing everything until the other day. I listened to MikeyPod‘s latest podcast where he interviews Joi Ito who is on the board of Creative Commons.

During the interview Joi Ito discusses Flickr and the benefits of having your images on Flickr having a Creative Commons license instead of the standard “All Rights Reserved” license. I would love for more people to use and see my photos. I don’t necessarily care whether I get paid for them or not as long as I get credit for them. I also would prefer that if people use them they have whatever they make be licensed under Creative Commons as well. I opted to change most of my photos to a Creative Commons Share Alike license. I didn’t change them all because I didn’t want photos of my family to be used by a commercial entity, they would not appreciate that. I changed a few of mine to CC, just in case someone decides I’m important enough for a Wikipedia article, someday!

During the interview Joi mentions the reasons people have really horrible pictures of themselves on their Wikipedia pages, that’s because a lot of images have copyright restrictions. I thought that was a really good point to bring up. A lot of people forget about that when they go to a portrait studio and have their photos taken and later on down the road want to have them re-printed but cannot find a photo copy center that will copy them because they are copyrighted by the photography studio. I know many people who have bought scanners because of this!

Also during the interview Joi mentions a plugin for WordPress for inserting Creative Commons meta information into your site. I have installed the plugin, I honestly don’t see where it has changed my source code. I don’t know if it’s suppose to or not. However. I just wanted to do my part of sharing my content to the world, just as long as I get credit and they share alike!

You should check out the interview MikeyPod did, it was really a great interview. Lots of valuable information. The interview has renewed my love of Creative Commons.