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Lala Invents Network DRM 212

Posted by kdawson
from the ensnaring-your-music dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with a CNet story about the record label-backed music company Lala, which claims to have invented "Network DRM." Lala has filed for a patent on moving DRM from a file wrapper, like Windows Media and FairPlay, to the server. Digital music veteran Michael Robertson has quotes from the patent application on his blog. (Here is the application.) Lala describes an invention that monitors every access, allows only authorized devices (so far there are none), blocks downloads, and can revoke content at the labels' request.
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Lala Invents Network DRM

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  • Bah (Score:5, Funny)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:31PM (#27878717) Journal

    I cracked it yesterday. Next.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:32PM (#27878725)

    ...you can record it. Case closed.

    • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:37PM (#27878831)

      The more intrusive the DRM becomes, the more appealing the other alternatives get... just like digging your own grave.

      It's the same old problem of attacking the paying customers, while having no effect on those who don't pay for the content.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:43PM (#27878925) Journal

      ...you can record it. Case closed.

      Yeah, but this amazingly intrusive technology was planning for that:

      (i) scanning storage files of the user's computer to identify any digital media content files stored therein,(ii) uploading a list of any identified digital media content files to the host computer system, and(iii) adding to the list any digital media content files that the user purchases from the purchasing component of the host computer system

      You would think it would end at notifying the mothership that you are in possession of that file. Nope, from the details:

      For each digital media file on the list, the Uploader finds the matching source file and transcodes the media into a format supported by the system components, if necessary.

      Man, I can't wait to install that uploader only to find my entire MP3 collection has been transformed to .lala and no longer works unless I pay for it. Sounds a bit like my medical records [slashdot.org].

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "(i) scanning storage files of the user's computer to identify any digital media content files stored therein,(ii) uploading a list of any identified digital media content files to the host computer system, and(iii) adding to the list any digital media content files that the user purchases from the purchasing component of the host computer system"

        OOOOOOH!!!

        Where can "I" sign up for this software!!!

        Geez....how are they gonna convince someone to let them load this crap on their computer?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MrEricSir (398214)

        So I just put the pirated content on my iPod, big deal. Or I can stream from another server.

        What are they gonna do about that?

      • I hope that Windows 7 (and idiot windows programmers) makes it actually feasible to run as a user instead of an admin. If not, goodbye Windows, hello OS X or Ubuntu for everything but work and games.

        I have already transitioned to OS X at home. I'm just looking for an excuse to completely ditch Windows, and only use it in a VM or a game partition.

        Here's the endgame for the RIAA/MPAA: government mandated operating systems where the user is not in full control of the software. Anything else is just trying to t

        • All of the sudden they may find that a certain 1% was a little more significant than they anticipated.
      • by theworldgoesaway (792929) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:28PM (#27879623)

        This really isn't at all accurate. It doesn't do *anything* to your local content. It uploads a list/files for your music to a central server, which you can then stream (but not download) through their (quite nice) web-based media player. It's basically a way to access your music away from home. I use it all day long at the office to listen to music - and I can get my whole collection (not just what fits on my iPhone) and I don't need to set up Orb or something like that. Again, it does NOTHING to your local music.

        In addition to that, they will sell you streaming-only songs (available through the same web player) for 10c a pop. No, you can't download them, etc, but they're 10c. So I can check out an album I like for $1, and if I decide to get the mp3 version (no DRM), they sell that for a standard price and apply the 10c you already paid to the price.

        Really, there's NOTHING sinister going on here. It's actually a really great service. I have no affiliation with them, but I'm a very pleased customer. I listen to music via Lala all day at work, and I buy a lot of music for streaming through them. It's an excellent, well-designed store and media platform. I lose no control over my own media, and I'm happy to pay an extremely discounted rate for *access* to other music, with the option to pay for DRM-free MP3s. It's a valuable service, and I lose no control whatsoever. I do wish they'd give me the option to re-download music I'd uploaded (so it could serve as a backup, not just an alternative form of access), but I imagine that's as much a bandwidth issue as anything else.

        In short, this is a highly misleading and biased article. There's nothing sneaky or underhanded going on here, this is Michael Robertson bashing a competitor who has a far superior and really quite excellent product.

        • I think such service will be great because I don't see these RIAA idiots ever understanding that a packet is a packet is a packet. Stream but not download? HA HA HA!!! If they believe their own rhetoric at all, I am sure they will buy that too. Thanks for the laugh.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PitaBred (632671)
          The problem is that they think that it's a patentable "invention". Seriously... server side access limitations? How in the hell is that novel in ANY way?
    • ...you can record it. Case closed.

      By god man, you're a genius! If they just stop releasing music, no one will be able to hear it, and no one will be able to copy it!

      You're going to make millions!

      Also, it's too bad they aren't more worried about people stealing their ideas... if they were they could follow my advice above and stop having ideas! We'd all be better off...
      -Taylor

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Fred_A (10934)

      ...you can record it. Case closed.

      "Lala describes an invention that monitors every access, allows only authorized devices (so far there are none) [ ... ]"

      Except you *can't* hear it. That's why it's brilliant.

  • Finally the end? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:33PM (#27878743)
    With a little luck, this DRM will end up on the entire network of a major corporation (we could only dream it's IBM or Microsoft!) and lock up their operations so BADLY that the entire corporate world will lash out with lawsuits. The resulting backlash could spell the end of DRM for good.
  • Streaming == DRM? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We have had DRM in streaming audio and video back to the days of RealAudio. This doesn't seem like anything new, other than something like Flash to allow cellphones to stream music too.

  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918&gmail,com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:37PM (#27878827)
    In other words, it's a patent on how to not distribute content.
  • Vapor Fluff. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:38PM (#27878835) Journal
    This "network DRM" seems to be a combination of old news and new buzzwords.

    The notion of conditional access to a server, or aspects of a server is decades old and utterly ubiquitous. If you have the credentials you can log in, access some file, do SMTP, whatever. This aspect of "network DRM" simply seems to be a renaming of password protected downloads.

    The second part of this system, which they seem to want to gloss over; but is obviously there, is some sort of client side DRM. Again, utterly non-novel. They claim that it is all on the network, and you can't download and copy; but that makes no sense. If your computer is playing it to you, you obviously did download it, and it obviously resides somewhere in your system's memory.

    This is pathetic. It's just a streaming service with client side DRM added on. Useless; but hardly novel.
    • by AuraSeer (409950) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:06PM (#27879271)

      If your computer is playing it to you, you obviously did download it, and it obviously resides somewhere in your system's memory.

      They thought about that. The audio data itself never actually gets to your computer; it all resides on the server and is played from there.

      They just need really, really big speakers so you can hear the music from your house.

      • They just need really, really big speakers so you can hear the music from your house.

        the first 1000hz are free; but if you want more than 1K, you must pay!

        (its a logarithmic scale, too, mind you, so be careful!)

    • Re:Vapor Fluff. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:23PM (#27879549) Homepage Journal

      This is pathetic. It's just a streaming service with client side DRM added on. Useless; but hardly novel.

      Yeah, but you missed the unwritten part of the patent: installed without the user's knowledge on inserting of a CD. Additional methods include make a default part of major operating systems ;)

  • by orclevegam (940336) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:38PM (#27878839) Journal
    This technology isn't exactly DRM, although it plays a roll similar to DRM. Essentially what they've done is put a access layer on a streaming server, which isn't really anything new. It's not exactly DRM as DRM is used to manage (cripple) what you're allowed to do with a file, where as this system is more like putting a tollbooth on a road. In theory once you've sucked the content down you could just rip it to a file much as the previous attempts at controlling streaming media were circumvented. Also, due to the streaming nature of this approach it's more or less doomed to failure as it won't work on anything that doesn't have a permanent internet connection (IE iPods, by far the dominate portable media player out there).
    • Also, due to the streaming nature of this approach it's more or less doomed to failure as it won't work on anything that doesn't have a permanent internet connection (IE iPods, by far the dominate portable media player out there).

      It would be for iPhone, not iPod Touch.

  • by Reed Solomon (897367) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:40PM (#27878863) Homepage

    You see, when I buy something, I like to own it. If I buy a car, I like to know that the car won't be taken away from me just because I lend it to a friend. If I cannot own something or there are stipulations, then I will not buy it. If there is no alternative than "piracy", I will obtain it. Simple as that. Why am I not buying Blu-Ray discs? I cannot be sure they will be playable for all time on my Linux computer. If I download a pirated mkv high def movie, I know that it will always be supported.

    In conclusion, this won't stop illegal downloading. The only thing that can stop illegal downloading is treating your customers with respect and offering something of value, not the latest in a long line of DIVX/DRM garbage.

    Then again, maybe the rest of the world isn't like me. Maybe most people in the world are stupid enough to pay for something they won't actually own.

    • by zmollusc (763634) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:17PM (#27879457)

      You are too narrow-minded, I am quite willing to pay for DRM content. I do stipulate restrictions on how my money (and it is *my money*, i designed it myself) is used: it cannot be transferred to another country, nor transferred electronically, it is forbidden to reproduce likenesses of it, I offer no guarantee that it will continue to function, I reserve the right to cancel it at any time without notice, etc.
      Astoundingly, despite their claims to support DRM, no music or video company will let me purchase their products.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196)

        > You are too narrow-minded,

        Certainly. I would like to be able to play content that I buy on any device that I own without restrictions.

        I don't want to be forced into only using Apple brand players.

        Replace Apple with any other media mogul online monopolist wannabe.

        Yes, I believe that owning a copy of something means that I OWN that copy. I
        can do whatever I want with it so long as I don't violate the rights of the
        "author" as spelled out by the USC.

        I don't care that they have a Napoleon complex.

        They can bu

      • very clever post. mod parent up.

        I never thought about using money as a counter-drm argument. +1 for you, for original OOB thinking.

    • by zenslug (542549)
      If you buy the MP3, it is yours and downloaded to your computer. The patent doesn't cover plain MP3 purchases, just streaming.
    • If you "own" some land, the government can take it way for whatever reason they please.

  • by mrslacker (1122161) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:40PM (#27878867)

    Not after the Linspire debacle. Plus:

    http://kevincarmony.blogspot.com/2009/04/michael-robertson-wants-to-fool-you.html [blogspot.com] - which is about this very issue.

    Yeah, I know KC has a huge thing in for MR, but rightly so. Anyway, I can't be bothered to read all of both articles, but this is Slashdot.

  • Revoke content? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WCMI92 (592436) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:44PM (#27878929) Homepage

    Yeah, people are SO going to purchase content that can be revoked on a whim. Those Divx players sold so well.

    • Re:Revoke content? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Burkin (1534829) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:51PM (#27879009)

      Yeah, people are SO going to purchase content that can be revoked on a whim.

      You mean like how no one uses the iTunes store or Steam?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by orclevegam (940336)
        It's annoying to do so, but with iTunes you can burn to CDs which removes any DRM imposed by the store. As for Steam, you can make a backup copy on a DVD (or other media), but I'm not sure if you still need Steam running in order to install/play the games. I know you can mark a game for offline play after it's been installed and authenticated, but I still think you have to have Steam itself running and perform the initial authentication on a new machine, so your point on Steam still stands.
        • Correct on Steam.
          The offline mode is (or used to be) only valid for I think 2 weeks, at which point you would have to connect and reauthenticate again. Though I'm always connected so I never ran into it, I've heard others bitching about it back in the early days of steam.

      • You can currently play any *.m4a file already on your iPod or via iTunes on your computer. If Apple goes bankrupt, you can still do this.

        If Lala goes bankrupt, I can no longer access the server that was hosting the library of tunes I purchased.
        • by Burkin (1534829)
          The comment I was replying to was about content being able to be revoked from you on a whim which can be done with both the Steam store and iTunes it had nothing to do with longevity after the service dies.
          • Ah, my mistake. Even so, though I don't know about Steam, this is not possible in current iTunes (unless there is a delete_users_music() function I don't know about)
        • No, if Lala goes bankrupt, you can no longer stream free music from them.
          The MP3s you bought from them are just MP3s.

      • Re:Revoke content? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jimicus (737525) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:05PM (#27880263)

        Except that Apple have removed DRM from more-or-less all the music in the iTunes store, and there are now plenty of companies selling plain unencumbered MP3s.

        So quite who they're going to sell this DRM product to I'm not sure.

        • by Burkin (1534829)

          Except that Apple have removed DRM from more-or-less all the music in the iTunes store, and there are now plenty of companies selling plain unencumbered MP3s.

          So no one ever purchased a single thing from the iTunes store before DRM-free content? Oh wait, they did which was entirely my point. Despite what people on here say, most consumers don't give a shit about DRM as it is almost always transparent to them. Yes, there are exceptions, but considering how extremely successful the iTunes store was in it's fully DRM days (or the huge popularity of Steam) we can see that the complaints are a minority of the total user base.

      • You do realize that nearly all (if not, all) music on iTunes are non-DRMed AAC (a.k.a. .m4a) files now, right?
        • by Burkin (1534829)
          Yes, I do realize that. Doesn't change the fact that people, many in fact, were buying music from them when it was DRMed.
    • by zenslug (542549)
      If you purchase MP3s from Lala, they are regular MP3s and there is no DRM, network-based or otherwise.
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:45PM (#27878937) Homepage

    It'll keep companies from implementing this utterly asinine idea!

  • by earlymon (1116185) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:45PM (#27878939) Homepage Journal

    I wish I were making this up - seriously. But's true - check out how nefarious these assholes are and how stupid people that they are still in business. For your dining and dancing pleasure, I submit, from TFA (emphasis mine):

    The patent proves Lala is trying to develop a new type of DRM, according to Robertson. Instead of wrapping individual songs in DRM, Lala's plan calls for a network to act as a fortress that surrounds an entire music ecosystem. Lala CEO Geoff Ralston confirmed that Lala filed the patent but denied the company is trying to wrest control away from users.

    "It's a patent around Web Songs," Ralston said.

    Web Songs are one of the cornerstones of the company's latest business model. Lala, which has switched focus from two prior models, now offers three main features. In the first, MP3s unprotected by DRM can be purchased and download for rates comparable to iTunes. A second option offers users unlimited, ad-free streaming access to music they already own. The way this works is that users allow Lala to scan their hard drives and preserve a list of the songs the person owns. Lala's system will then stream its own copies of the songs to the user. This way users don't have to worry about losing their music to hard-drive meltdowns or misplaced music players.

    Lala's last feature allows people to listen to streaming music--that they don't already own--for 10 cents per song. Lala calls these Web Songs. One of the ways Web Songs is different than MP3s is they can't be downloaded to a portable device.
    "A Web Song by definition has a limited set of rights associated with it," Ralston said. "One right you don't have is the right to take it with you. It's not a portable song. Another right you don't have is to copy it. Everything has limited rights, even an MP3. You're not allowed to take an MP3, copy it, and sell it."

    Here's another slice, for those who'd like to avoid RTFA (emphasis NOT mine):

    "A network-based DRM system manages digital media assets stored in the network," states the document from Lala, which has been praised by music labels and has financial backing from Warner Music Group. "The system provides consumers with access to the digital media from any device connected to an electronic network such as the Internet, while enforcing the intended uses by the copyright owners."

    "The Web restricted nature of the offering," Lala writes elsewhere in the filing, "means that the digital assets are at all times controlled by the system and thus result in minimal piracy."

    Love the language - minimal piracy. Think about it.

    • by shark72 (702619)

      They may indeed be hilarious clowns, but LaLa is doing well. They're cheap and they allow flexibility that many services that others don't offer. Consumers appear to like them because they offer a hybrid service that operates as both a web locker (ie. listen to your home music collection at work without having to upload your music to the cloud or tote an iPod) as well as a subscription service for streaming music on demand, a la Rhapsody (but without locking people into Rhapsody-style pricing).

      It's all abou

      • by earlymon (1116185)

        Look, I'll just Godwin myself - Nazi Germany appeared to be working.

        Forget about anti-pirate disingenuousness for just a second - I'll grant you that thats a possibility, but having never pirated any music, art, video or software in my life, I think I'm qualified to ask:

        You're OK that their business model has them scan a customer's hard disk and gets a list of what you already have on your hard drive? And they're funded by an RIAA member? Not as a philosophical point, not as a political point - for you, a

        • by RobBebop (947356)

          Thanks for the explanation of the lala sales model above!

          From what I see, lala has three money making models: (a) DRM-free download store (like iTunes), (b) ad supported network listening (like Pandora), and (c) pay network listening (like SiriusXM).

          This doesn't sound as evil as it's being made to be.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by earlymon (1116185)

            (c) pay network listening (like SiriusXM)

            Wow - SiriusXM scans your entire hard disk when you subscribe and uploads to its servers a complete catalog of all of the music files that they find on your computer (and is funded by an RIAA member), and then when that is complete - gives you pay-network listening?

            I did NOT know that SiriusXM was like Lala in that regard.

            This doesn't sound as evil as it's being made to be.

            Either we have different ideas of what evil is, or you're comparing to sufficiently large values of evil - or something.

            • by RobBebop (947356)

              I've not saying that I don't think their business plan is intelligent... and I feel bad for any customers they get... but their "evilness" is not new. They seem to be copying evil music marketing techniques from others to see what works. Hell... doesn't Windows Media Player have a wizard for "Search entire hard drive and convert to Window Media Format" the first time you run it?

              • by earlymon (1116185)

                I have no clue, the operation of Windows Media Player. iTunes offers to do a scan and add your music to your iTunes library - however, nothing is converted and nothing is uploaded to Apple or anyone else - and - you can skip it, I always do.

                I wasn't being sarcastic - does SiriusXM do that?

                And this evil may not be new to you - but it kinda is to me. Maybe it's because I prefer http://www.magnatune.com/ [magnatune.com] and I have a low threshold for evil - I don't even use LastFM any more.

        • by shark72 (702619)

          "You're OK that their business model has them scan a customer's hard disk and gets a list of what you already have on your hard drive? And they're funded by an RIAA member? Not as a philosophical point, not as a political point - for you, as a business point."

          I think it's highly interesting, that's for sure. My memory is hazy, but my recollection is that when Michael Robertson tried this himself several years ago (streaming your music collection to you on any computer without requiring that you upload), t

          • by earlymon (1116185)

            Apple and Rhapsody know all about my music collection and Netflix knows what movies I like to watch.

            I'm not a Rhapsody user, I have used iTMS, so please enlighten me. How does Apple know all about your music collection? At no time, to my knowledge, has Apple ever scanned my hard drive and cataloged ALL my music, and then uploaded it to their servers.

            We're not talking about marketing here - we're talking about a hard disk scan.

            Kindly disclose - do you in any way, shape or form work for any part the music industry? I disclose that I am in the semiconductor industry - and am asking a yes/no question only.

        • by zenslug (542549) on Friday May 08, 2009 @04:39PM (#27881713) Homepage
          As an employee of Lala I can tell you that we're definitely not evil. At least I don't think so.

          Yes, we have a scanner. Downloading it and running it is completely optional. The only thing we do with it is to grant access to allow you to stream the music you already own. It's not a conspiracy, seriously. It ties in directly to the concept of putting your music collection online. If we can get people to use Lala like some people use iTunes (which requires all your music to have people use it regularly), then we'll have more opportunities to sell them DRM-free mp3s.

          But we also have a 10-cent price-point for unlimited streaming of a song. You pay 10 cents and you can then stream that song on the website as much as you want. It goes into your online collection. That is there to help us cover our licensing costs that we pay to the labels. Will it work? Some people like it. Are they fools to buy it? Depends on your perspective, but there is always the risk that Lala goes out of business, sure.

          So you combine the 10-cent "web song" which lives in your online collection with the music you already own (we don't care where you got the files), and now there is only one place to go to access your music, and that is Lala. That's the concept, at least.

          Yeah, we got investment from a music label. They are not a controlling interest, and they have never approached us with any evil demand for info on what people upload. They agreed to this feature (after having sued others over the same concept years earlier) because they have learned lessons of the past. They have a long way to go, though. They're slowing learning.
  • How is this different than a password protected website or RealMedia servers that were broadcast only?

  • by ghmh (73679)
    That yellow teletubbie is smarter than I thought. Minds are being poisoned at such a young age though.
  • Sure, they can try again. But like all the others, after some time the consumers will notice what thay are getting and the business model will die, like all other DRM based ones before. And by now there are people that lost or nearly lost media collections because the DRM servers were shut down. Just like these here will.

    Face it, the modern content distribution is P2P without DRM. Direct downloads can only compete if they are without any DRM and offer things like high quality, good selection and low prices,

  • by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:55PM (#27879087)

    The basic idea is that content is encrypted with a per-user public key, where the private key is held ("securely", for some definition of "securely") in display and playback devices that the user owns. When a private key is issued to a user, it is delivered in a secure (again, for some definition of "secure" key store, from which a limited number of copies can be imported to "authorized" (using some PKI mechanism) display and playback devices.

    This has the benefit that content can (a) be copied for backup and archival purposes, (b) played on a "reasonable" number of devices a user owns, (c) played on other devices via temporary "secure" key export and import functions (so you can watch your movies at your friend's house, but not on your TV at the same time, unless on an "extra" TV -- within the limits of key copies), (d) lent to a small number of friends to access your library, and (e) allow anyone to make content for your display and playback devices (remember, the encryption key is public).

    This is not rocket science, and to "someone practiced in the art" of PKI, strikes me as sufficiently obvious as to invalidate any patent claims.

    It suffers from two problems:

    First, the concept of someone having possession of a decryption key and not access to it are at odds. Like I said, "for some definition of 'secure'" Tamper-proof crypto chips are not cheap. Of course, the cost of extracting a key to allow access to one person's licensed media probably makes it sufficiently impractical: if media are watermarked as well as encrypted on a per-licencee basis, tracking back to who's key was used to crack some content would be easy, as well as an individual who licenses excessive amounts of content (to crack, and illegally redistribute in plain form, or encrypted with others' public keys).

    Second, and more troubling, is that it does not allow for arguably fair uses: mashup videos, for example, because one can't extract some of the content, and how much could be extracted as a fair use would depend on the use. Some arguably legal fair uses could be prevented, and others abused by a group of indivuduals to reproduce the whole from the sum of arbitrarily small parts.

    The issue of what happens when one loses a device holding private keys to one's media also deserves consideration. Of course, content providers could form a consortium that provide key escrow services so that lost keys could be recovered.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:56PM (#27879107) Homepage

    So, this is simply a user account system. You upload items to your user account on the server. How they're stored is determined by the server, see any system (eg. SourceForge) that allows users to upload things but doesn't expose the physical internal storage architecture via the UI. Access to items is determined by authorization data associated with the user account, controlled by the server and the server administrators. If the administrators revoke your account's access to an item, the server won't let you access it.

    None of this is new, we've been doing it for decades. Even in the Windows world this goes back as far as NT 3.1. And once you've got this, the rest of their stuff is horribly obvious.

  • ...allows only authorized devices (so far there are none)...

    Can't get much more secure than that! Next step: unplug the network cable.

  • The 80s called ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:05PM (#27879241)
    ... they want their floating licenses [wikipedia.org] back.
  • Lala has filed for a patent on moving DRM from a file wrapper, like Windows Media and FairPlay, to the server... Lala describes an invention that allows only authorized devices (so far there are none)...

    Can someone tell me what the difference is here? From what I can tell this is just enabling streaming of the "wrapped" files (wrapped with proprietary Lala wrapping technology of course). Unless I'm misunderstanding completely, there will still need to be a Lala client unwrapping the data before playing, like an encrypted hulu. Characterizing this as moving "DRM to the server" seems incorrect, since the encryption always needs to go all the way to the device to be effective.

    The reason that the labels

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:15PM (#27879419) Homepage

    Of me not wanting to listen to their new music.

  • Finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Facegarden (967477) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:20PM (#27879507)

    Wow, finally! I've been looking for a way to make my music listening situation drastically more cumbersome and painful!

    Sounds like they finally listened to all those people that kept calling for more restrictive listening scenarios!
    -Taylor

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zenslug (542549)
      As a Lala employee, I recommend you try the site out. Michael Robertson likes to mischaracterize our product because his competing product isn't doing too well. This network DRM thing is what it is, but basically it means that we don't make it easy to just download the mp3 that gets streamed. If it weren't called DRM you wouldn't thing of it that way. You'd probably just think of it as trying to prevent leechers. We sell mp3s, and those are just plain mp3s, nothing special, no DRM. It's just the streaming p
      • As a Lala employee, I recommend you try the site out. Michael Robertson likes to mischaracterize our product because his competing product isn't doing too well. This network DRM thing is what it is, but basically it means that we don't make it easy to just download the mp3 that gets streamed. If it weren't called DRM you wouldn't thing of it that way. You'd probably just think of it as trying to prevent leechers. We sell mp3s, and those are just plain mp3s, nothing special, no DRM. It's just the streaming part of it where we put in some safeguards. We know (and the labels, too) that people who don't want to pay for music won't pay. But it's a snap to build a tool that will let you grab any stream. The point, again, is to make it annoying enough to try to grab the stream that it isn't worth trying to get it from us.

        According to the article, which claims to be quoting word for word from the patent article:

        Q: So how is Network DRM better?
        A: By delivering the product directly from the network, only authorized users and devices can access the media. Access by users and devices is controlled on the web and can be constantly adapted to changing technologies and market pressures.

        So, someone else gets to decide how i listen to my music, and if a new kind of device comes out, I have to wait until that person decides (if ever) that my device is acceptable... Like when i had a windows mobile phone and I wanted to watch my episodes of the Daily Show that i had legally purchased from iTunes, and couldn't...

        Q: How is Network DRM good for the content owners?
        A: Access to the digital media is controlled by the Digital Rights Management (DRM) process. The DRM process is invoked any time that a user interacts with the managed digital media. The DRM process is capable of computing the permissible uses in real-time, proving real-time control over the assets.

        And even though I will have *paid* for my media, someone else can revoke my right to keep lis

        • You don't realize that people don't want this crap.

          perhaps - just perhaps - they never planned on it 'going big-time' and its just a way to make a paycheck (I already said this in another post and I'm curious if its how the employees are viewing this or not).

          my guess is that its 'just a job' and perhaps only a very few 'believe' in this 'rent my own discs back to myself thru a 3rd party' nonsense.

          • You don't realize that people don't want this crap.

            perhaps - just perhaps - they never planned on it 'going big-time' and its just a way to make a paycheck (I already said this in another post and I'm curious if its how the employees are viewing this or not).

            my guess is that its 'just a job' and perhaps only a very few 'believe' in this 'rent my own discs back to myself thru a 3rd party' nonsense.

            Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I think some people don't think too hard about this - marketing says people will love it, so they don't really stop to think if that's true. I know a lot of engineers that just find "some job" do what they're told, and don't think too much.

            I never liked those guys.
            -Taylor

      • you guys MUST be idiots to work there:

        it means that we don't make it easy to just download the mp3 that gets streamed

        like a local sound-card loopback won't work around that. sheesh!

        (network packet sniffer, worst case.)

        morans. either that or the employees are smart, KNOWING it will financially flop but maybe its just a company to hang out at and collect a paycheck until the next thing comes along?

        I really hope you guys (employees) are not BELIEVING in this drm stuff and that its 'just a paycheck' for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hob42 (41735)

      Uh... The service creates an index of all your music files and lets you stream that list of music for free. Then, you can pay $0.10/song to add songs you don't own into the playlist. That's the DRM part - you are restricted from saving the streaming-only songs to your PC or PMP.

      Or you can "buy" and download DRM-free MP3s for a couple bucks, like an ordinary music store.

      Where's the cumbersome and painful part again?

  • by yelvington (8169) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:31PM (#27879689) Homepage

    File a patent on a business method involving patenting all the really bad ideas we don't want to see implemented.

  • Didn't Adobe Content Management Server provide server based DRM like 10 years ago? Was that only for PDFs? Can't remember.
  • I would think that it's full name would be: "Lala I'M NOT LISTENING!" because that's about how well received something like this is going to be. Additionally, they're forgetting the immutable fact: Whatever it is, it'll be cracked within a matter of DAYS of going live. Not to worry though: NOBODY is going to get roped into this shit. MEMO TO MUSIC INDUSTRY: GIVE UP already!
  • Tell my again why any consumer would actually want to use a system like this? Centralized servers and after-the-fact revocation of use are the next-to-the-worst bad things.

    The worst is pay-for-each-play, which is the Holy Grail of the entertainment industry's wet dreams - which I suspect this system will also support.

    Kill it now before it can spread and become entrenched.
  • "This idea was invented by Shampoo."

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

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