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EMI Considers Abandoning DRM on CDs 166

Posted by Zonk
from the wisdom-comes-with-experience dept.
jOmill writes "EMI Netherlands has announced that it is considering no longer using DRM on CDs, because it isn't worth the cost. According to Reuters the company is still reviewing the decision. From the article: 'Critics have argued that the system has not worked as consumers could be driven to illegal sites to download music to the popular iPod instead. A spokeswoman for EMI said it had not manufactured any new disks with DRM, which restricts consumers from making copies of songs and films they have purchased legally, for the last few months.'"
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EMI Considers Abandoning DRM on CDs

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  • Good... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @10:38AM (#17522850)
    ...because when any "DRM" is used on audio CDs, they're technically no longer even "audio CDs"...at least, they don't officially conform to the Red Book Audio specification [wikipedia.org], and can't even use [wikipedia.org] the familiar "Compact Disc Digital Audio" logo. While certainly they're intended to be purchased and used as audio CDs, and everyone would still refer to them as such, they're at most an "audio disc resembling a conventional audio CD," or "audio that is incidentally stored on CD media".

    Intrinsic to a Red Book Audio CD is the ability to extract the audio in its pristine digital form. While content owners may not appreciate that in today's digital marketplace, that's what an audio CD is. If labels want to add DRM or anything else not in the Red Book Audio specification to these discs, they are obligated to make it clear that they're not really audio CDs, and indeed, consumers have found the belated warning that they "may not play in all CD players" only too true, resulting in practical decisions like this one from EMI Netherlands. This is what you get when you screw with established international standards.

    Especially humorous is that, any amount of DRM aside, all of this music will always be widely available on file sharing networks, mostly as lossy MP3s. Who is affected most, then, by not being able to extract audio from discs within one's own physical possession, given that the music is invariably already available any number of file sharing networks many times over? The individual consumer who simply wants to enjoy his purchase on another device, such as a computer or portable music player. While DRM is intended to prevent or reduce casual copyright infringement, it never will stop content from being copied, and DRM on "audio CDs" is just one of those wrongheaded ideas, given that it toys with a standard that has already been established for two and a half decades.

    Until someone figures out how to alter properties of nature in such a way that physical property of audio or video being able to be in an analog state via sound waves or the electromagnetic spectrum can be eliminated, there will always be mechanisms for those who wish to violate copyright to violate it. In the meantime, DRM will mostly affect and inconvenience legitimate, paying consumers of content.
  • Great Day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @10:41AM (#17522898) Homepage
    The second-greatest day will be when they report that sales dropped off not the slightest bit b/c of this change DRM only annoys purchasers. Not "pirates"
  • Which is it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @10:42AM (#17522924)
    TFS says they are considering stopping, and then says they stopped months ago. Could we make up our minds please?
  • Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _PimpDaddy7_ (415866) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @10:43AM (#17522942)
    "EMI Netherlands has announced that it is considering no longer using DRM on CDs, because it isn't worth the cost.

    We could have told you that, but since when did you guys ever listen to your customers?

    From the article: 'Critics have argued that the system has not worked as consumers could be driven to illegal sites to download music to the popular iPod instead. A spokeswoman for EMI said it had not manufactured any new disks with DRM, which restricts consumers from making copies of songs and films they have purchased legally, for the last few months.'"

    Did you ever think we, as consumers, when buying a CD, want to make backups, import the CD to our Ipod or other MP3 player?

    It's amazing how management runs these companies. How can you deliver a product your customer wants when you don't even listen to what they WANT?
  • Re:Good... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @10:49AM (#17523018) Homepage
    "DRM is intended to prevent or reduce casual copyright infringement"

    I'd like to point out -- though most people here probably know -- that casual copyright infringement very likely improves the bottom line of the music publisher. E.g. my friend casually gives me a mix CD of tunes he thinks I'd like, I'm X% more likely to buy one of those artists' discs later. That X% increase has a monetary value in the aggregate. I'd love a link to a scientific study of that value.
  • Re:Great Day (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VEGETA_GT (255721) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @10:58AM (#17523146)
    Ok seriously I want to look through there collection of Music and see if they have anything I would like. I would love to send a message to the RIAA that people well support non DRM material.
  • by astrosmash (3561) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @11:01AM (#17523176) Journal
    When did people start equating rudimentary copy protection with Digital Rights Management?

    The term has lost all meaning. People are throwing it around whenever they stumble upon any bug, missing feature, or technical limitation that causes them grief. "I can't use my iPod with multiple computers, I hate DRM." "Internet Explorer crashed, DRM strikes again." "This website requires registration, DRM is out of control."
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @11:11AM (#17523294) Homepage Journal
    Well they got a clue but not the one your thinking of.
    1. DRM costs money.
    2. Current DRM didn't stop the music from showing up on file shareing networks.
    3. Current DRM is a waste of money.
    4. Stop paying for DRM that doesn't work.
    5. More Profit.

    Now if they ever get effective DRM it will be back.
  • Logical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @11:14AM (#17523352) Journal
    So they're making a definity imnprovement of the product availability to their customers, making a definite cost reduction, with only a theoretical risk of noticeably increased piracy? Yeah, that sounds logical here too, and I wonder what took them so long. Pirates aren't those crying out at DRM, they use BitTorrent or other P2P nets. That's the biggest design hole of DRM, IMHO. Maybe the point was to not have a single pirate be able to rip (one is enough) that protection or gain it from other sources where it's not protected (or before it is), but all I can say about that idea is "dream on".
  • Re:Good... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @11:53AM (#17523872)

    While DRM is intended to prevent or reduce casual copyright infringement...

    I disagree with this. In my opinion DRM is intended to prevent lawful use of copyrighted material and motivate people to buy multiple copies of the same work by intentionally breaking interoperability with other devices. That is to say, content producers would like their customers to buy one copy for their home CD player another copy for the tape player in the car and another copy for their portable player. The industry is used to income from people periodically re-buying their favorite media in the new format or to replace the copy they have broken. They are terrified of the idea that a person could buy one copy and use it forever, handing it down to their children.

    Media companies claim that they are trying to stop illegal copyright infringement, but they also claim accidentally posting a song on a file sharing network costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, and if not for file sharing networks 90% of the gross national income would be spent on music. Why anyone would believe such obvious liars is beyond my understanding.

  • by thrill12 (711899) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:07PM (#17525042) Journal
    ...at least in some of the newsreports I saw, in which they stated that "it was not feasible to use a DRM system as the system was hacked every time", rather than (the truth) "the consumer and CD license holders (!) have fully rejected the protection systems we have devised, because they hamper fair use - especially in the area of simply playing out the CD (not even copying it) on normal consumer-grade playback systems and even outright violate consumer rights (sony rootkit)".

  • Considering. Hmm. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ed Black (973540) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:33PM (#17526542)
    Well talk is cheap - speaking as someone who stopped my 3 CDs a month habit when CD copy protection became widespread, It's going to take more than "considering" to get me near their coasters again. To be honest, the idea of giving money to them at all doesn't sit well with me with the way record companies have behaved over the last few year - it just feels more like paying a ransom to suited mobsters than buying music. Ah well, there's no good way to pay the artists and not the record companies I suppose, so I'll continue to enjoy music through royalties-based channels and magnatunes.
  • Re:Good... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by porpnorber (851345) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:01PM (#17531170)
    So they got your money twice. Score!

    I have long suspected that the motivation for DRM on 'CDs' was to exploit people in your very situation (even a music exec cannot be so stupid as to imagine that you can prevent copying without preventing playback; even the most conservative recording industry insiders know about concepts like 'cables' and 'tapes'). The cost, to them, of selling coasters in CD boxes is that the third time this happens to you, you stop buying music on silver discs altogether. So why would their market analysts find this acceptable? Because they had been projecting that you, the individual consumer, would only be buying three or four more CDs, ever, anyway. Conclusion: MP3s have not taken off the way the music industry expected. They made the decision several years ago to cash out of the music retail market, and they made it too soon.

    So now we're seeing backpedalling.

    Myself, I used to spend $500/month on music, when CDs were consistently playable. Now? Zero. I don't download it, 'legally' or otherise; I just listen to the radio. I wonder if I'll ever buy music again? I'm a once-bitten-twice-shy type. I haven't bought Apple since they killed the Newton (maybe OS-X will be cancelled overnight, too?), so I doubt it.

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