C.R.A.P. (= DRM) - ZDNet Executive Editor David Berlind suggests that CRAP or Content, Restriction, Annulment, and Protection, is a catchier phrase than DRM - Digital Rights Management. Why does he think this technology is crap? Once you've bought music or other content to play on one device, it won't play on any other device because of the proprietary layer of CRAP.
Warning! - iTunes files are in M4P format. You can only use these files for iTunes on your computer or for iPods. Converting an M4P file to MP3 is not an easy or inexpensive task. You may seriously want to consider another way to get your music. Apple is again playing with proprietary software. AVOID APPLE.
You can burn the iTunes songs to an audio CD, then re-rip them as MP3s and make them freely available to any player you choose.
Apple - Thoughts on Music
Steve Jobs 2007-02-06 - "The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat."
The Apple iTunes Music store will sell the unprotected AAC-encoded tracks at double the existing bitrate, or about 256 kilobits per second, for US$1.29 - 2007-04-02
(1) Apple raised music prices 30% and
(2) Apple forces me to take the extra steps to remove Apple's AAC encoding.
"If you really want to make me a loyal Apple customer, then sell me DRM-free music in an open format at a fair price. Exactly why do you think the 30% premium for DRM-free files is fair, by the way? Why should I, a solid citizen who wants to do the right thing, have to pay a penalty for my honesty?" David DeJean www.informationweek.com - 2007-04-04
Sony's ATRAC - a dumb idea. You can only transfer your files to other Sony products. By 2008 this stupid format will probably disappear in favour of MP3.
Warning: The files are in Speech format = .aa = Audible.com Audio - You can't listen to them with any other media player. They use a copy-protection system (DRM). This is stupid and unfair. You can't play these files on your favourite audio player. You own them but you can't use them.
Solution: Convert these files to MP3 format by using a legal audio file converter like WMA-Convert (US$15). Very easy to use.
"While the Audible .aa format is not the same as an “open” mp3 format for audio, the customer does own that copy of the file. That aa file is supported on over 140 of the top devices. This includes Creative, iRiver, Sandisk, and the Apple iPod. Also, the aa format allows for advanced functions not supported by the mp3 format. These include place bookmarking (i.e. when you shut down your player and restart, it will retain your previous position), slow down and speed up, and optimized speech variable speed bitrate (i.e. the files are very high quality for speech while being much smaller than regular mp3s). " - Leslie Cavaliere | Vice President, International Marketing |PEARSON EDUCATION - 2007-03-15
Some observers see all this as an indication the industry is realizing how futile and ultimately counterproductive DRM limitations actually are.
"Many companies and industries, especially the music industry, have recognized that using DRM, of often does more harm than good," said Michael Geist, Canada research chair of Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa.
These "digital locks", he said, only serve to irritate customers.
DRM-free music is devoid of restrictions such as how many devices can store a purchased song, which devices it will play on, and how many times the song can be burned on to a CD.
The concern that DRM technology may seriously violate people's privacy rights was found to be very well founded by a study by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) in 2007.
It discovered content providers were using DRM to collect, use and disclose consumers' personal information for secondary purposes, without giving the user adequate notice or the opportunity to opt-out of collection.
The report was based on an investigation of DRM systems used in 16 different digital products and services including Apple's iTunes Music Store, Microsoft's Office Visio, and Symantec's Norton SystemWorks 2006.
There's absolutely no need for DRM to provide legal protection. according to Geist.
He noted that copyrighted works by all content creators – individuals and companies – are protected whether or not they choose to use DRM.
Some of the most successful Canadian record labels absolutely reject the use DRM, Geist said.
He noted that if something is locked down, all it takes is one unlocked copy to appear on a file sharing network and it can be easily and freely shared.
It's a view echoed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Evidence continues to mount that DRM does little to inhibit unauthorized copying, it may actually encourage it."