So the Beastie Boys have a new album out, which I was looking into getting myself a copy, since I already have most of their other albums, and I’ve always liked their fun approach to hip-hop.
It turns out that their latest CD however contains MacroVisions CDS-200 DRM technology which has “features” that stop me from ripping the CD to mp3′s, and even stop me from playing it back using my favourite player.
Since I’ve put quite some money in my PC over the years it has grown out to become my major sound equipment as well. I used to play my CD’s from it, because the speakers are way better than the old CD player I have, and later when harddrive space allowed this, I ripped the most recently bought CD’s to my HD where they are only a single right click away from being enqueued in WinAmp, ready for hours of legitimate musical delight, even if I forgot to take the CD out of my car.
The Beastie Boys / EMI however do not allow you to do this, even though you’ve paid for the CD. Instead you get forced to listen using some shitty player they put on the CD, and only from the original medium.
There are a few things about this that really annoy me.
One of them is that if I buy this CD I will not be allowed to listen to it the way I’m used to and want to. I’m not planning on sharing high quality mp3 rips on various file sharing networks, I just want to rip them to my HD because it’s soooo much handier.
Second thing is that DRM software can usually be easily circumvented by a bit of a techy. So basically there will always be plenty of people out there who manage to rip and share the CD anyway, allowing the non-techies to download them.
To make things even worse, the copy control system is only used in Europe, which means US and UK citizens are free to rip and share.
This whole thing is just encouraging me to get a copy off a p2p network instead of buying the damn thing, because that’s the only way I’ll be able to listen to it how I want, unless I want to waste my time finding out how the protection can be broken.
There’s no way pirates are going to be stopped by this. Look at all the drum’n'bass releases available on various filesharing networks. A lot of those have only been available on vinyl, a not so easy to rip format, but it certainly hasn’t slowed it down, or stopped it. The only ones being screwed are the honest (European) buyers who legitimately get their copies from their local recordstore.
The big labels burning this crap on their CD’s should read this excellent article on DRM by Cory Doctorow and finally realise that mp3′s and filesharing networks are here to stay.
Forget those old fashioned ideas and get with the program.