Digital Rights Management

(Redirected from DRM)

What is it?

What is Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

You might not know what DRM is, but it’s almost certain that you will have encountered it. Put simply, it is the encoding of music, movies, games and software that allows the owner - that’s the intellectual property owner, not the purchaser - to control how it is used. It is the regionalisation on the DVDs you watch, the restriction of what computers you can play your music on, the software that prevents you from printing certain Acrobat files.

DRM is hardware and/or software technologies that are designed to control the copying and playing of digital content. There are a number of different DRM technologies that give content producers various amounts of control over the way content is used and copied. For example, DRM systems are used by media companies to prevent users from copying CD tracks to their iPod.

Executive Summary

DRM digital rights management or digital restrictions management. DRM systems put control of our computers into the hands of content companies, rather than us, the owners of those computers. DRM can not prevent copying. It poses the danger to free software that it will be entirely forbidden for important jobs such as reading, particularly reading e-books and watching content on DVD.

DRM does two things. First, it assumes that the person who has bought the content is a thief who can not be trusted and so attempts to give total control to all actions that can be performed on that media to the content provider. Second, DRM puts restrictions on you, not just for how you listen or view the content, but also your ability to keep the content technologically current.

DRM systems don't work, DRM systems are bad for society, DRM systems are bad for business, That DRM systems are bad for artists

Circumventable DRM is not all that outrageous. It already happens with DVDs, think of all those multi-region DVD players. Opposition to DRM is not an opposition to copyright, in fact it is a call to strengthen the role of copyright. DRM often restricts the users rights in relation to media in ways that are explicitly allowed in copyright.

A short 3 minute video that gives a quick summary.

Users' Rights Versus Content Providers' Rights


John Naughton writing in the Observer:

DRM imposes serious restrictions on the consumer's freedom of action. If you buy a printed book you can resell it, lend it to a friend or donate it to the school jumble sale. But the licensing and DRM provisions on many e-Books take away these freedoms. It does not 'belong' to you: all you have is a licence to use it in ways that have been approved by the publisher.
A notorious case of this was the licensing terms of an early Adobe electronic edition of Alice in Wonderland which stipulated that 'This book cannot be read aloud'. (As it happened, the injunction referred to a utility program which would 'speak' the text, but you will get the point: for 'digital rights' read 'digital restrictions'.)

Fair use - I buy a song from iTunes I want to be able to play it on any computer, media player, listen to it in my car, etc. The idea that the use of that media once I have bought the content should be free.

Content Providers - The content creators, or the content owners, the people who own the music, videos, software, etc. Want to make sure its not possible or that its at least difficult to steal that content or share it broadly.

DRM can mean you have reduced rights, for example for ten pounds a month you can obtain 65 tracks from eMusic and "unlimited downloads" at Napster. While you can keep your eMusic downloads forever and put them on any kind of device, with Napster you'll have to pay extra to put the tracks on an MP3 player and, most importantly, the moment you cease to be a subscriber, your downloaded music will simply stop working.

Piracy is some thing that is often mentioned in relation to DRM and this is misleading, DRM is really about forcing people to buy a copy of a song for your computer then buy it again for your car and buy it yet again for your home stereo. This is clearly some thing that the content producers would like to do as it would be highly profitable.

DRM can not prevent copying of the content the reason why is that DRM relies on locking content away, and as long as we have general purpose computers capable of running whatever code someone cares to write then there will always be ways around those content locks. Often these ways round are so trivial that any one could do it. For example when a new sitcom The IT Crowd was released under DRM it took less than an hour for DRM free versions of the program to start floating about on the Internet. A example of how little effort has been put into preventing copying can easily be demonstrated with Sony's DRM on CDs which can be defeated easily with nothing more than a piece of masking tape.

Wendy M. Grossman, Digital Rights Manifesto revealed, The Inquirer, January 20, 2006. Some principles for making DRM compatible with user rights. Excerpt:

DRM should respect the public domain. That means [DRM on copyrighted works] should automatically expire, leaving the content freely accessible, on the date when the work enters the public domain....When a work is in the public domain, companies wishing to claim copyright in the design, formatting, typography, layout, and graphics they include in something like an ebook should be required to make it plain in their clickwrap licences that the public domain work is not included in the copyright, and should be required to design the product so that the raw text may be copied or circulated freely....Circumventing DRM should not be a crime (as of course it is under the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act) in and of itself.

Libraries have warned that DRM could make it impossible gain access to works, even for legitimate reasons

It is probable that no key would still exist to unlock the DRMs. For libraries this is serious. As custodians of human memory, a number would keep digital works in perpetuity and may need to be able to transfer them to other formats in order to preserve them and make the content fully accessible and usable once out of copyright. Many publishers put restrictions on how digital books and journals can be used. Such DRM controls may block some legitimate uses, the British Library has said.

David Berlind, executive editor, ZDNet suggests

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.

The EFF have produced The Customer Is Always Wrong: A User's Guide to DRM in Online Music. Law-abiding music fans often get less for their money than they did in the old world of CDs (or at least, the world before record companies started crippling CDs with DRM, too). Unfortunately, in an effort to attract customers, these music services try to obscure the restrictions they impose on you with clever marketing.


French bill was about competition.


Apple has locked tracks from its iTunes music stories using FairPlay, a proprietary technology which they do not license to anyone else. When RealNetworks provided a work around so they could compete Apple threatened threatened legal action under the controversial US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, arguing that RealNetworks was breaking the law by interfering with the Fairplay copy protection technology it is using.

Apple at first threatened in a press release to change the way that FairPlay works so that it breaks Real's Harmony.

We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA and other laws. We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real's Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods.

Then after a period of time Apple did just that The change makes it so that all music (past and present) purchased through the RealPlayer Music Store will not work on Apple's iPod.


During questioning by the public Brad Duea, Napster president said

While we are trying to make sure Napster music works with as many devices as possible, others - like Apple - do not licence their DRM and are instead electing to create a hardware trap for consumers.

This is a reference to the iPod music player. Because the only DRM-protected music iPods can play is that which has been purchased from Apple’s iTunes Music Store, there is some sense that Apple has created a lock-in situation. But this same argument could be used against Napster, neither party can claim to be innocent here.

UK music lovers are getting frustrated with restrictions placed on digital music tracks once they buy them from online stores, says PC Pro magazine. A reader had written to the magazine commenting on how he had to pay twice to download a song because of an error with the online store. When he tried to swap the song onto another computer, he found he was restricted from doing so. PC Pro says people are growing increasingly dissatisfied with restrictions on tracks they have paid for, especially if the price they pay is similar to that which is paid for a physical CD.

Shelley Taylor, analyst and author of a report about online music services, said the locks and limits on digital files were done to maximise the cash that firms can make from consumers. Ms Taylor said the limits legal download services place on files could help explain the continuing popularity of file-sharing systems that let people get hold of pirated content. "People want portability," she said, "and with peer-to-peer they have 100% portability." Cory Doctorow "Not one of these systems has ever prevented piracy or illegal copying,".

Arguments For DRM

To Prevent Copying

Often the first answer to the question of why DRM is to prevent copying. If the person answering truly believes this they have been misinformed.

Frequently how ever if you press the person saying there is not a DRM example out there that has had any effect on copying they give a different answer. They say DRM is 'to keep honest users honest'.

To Keep Honest Users Honest

From BBC NEWS - Digital film: Industry answers Dave Morris, Oxford, UK

Seeing as only one clever hacker is needed for films to appear on P2P networks, is it fair to say that digital rights management (DRM) does not prevent or even reduce piracy? If that's not fair to say, can you tell us of a single instance in which DRM has prevented a copyrighted film from appearing on these networks?

Dan Glickman, Motion Picture Association of America

No, it is not correct to assume that one clever hack dooms all use of DRM. Content owners use DRMs because it provides casual, honest users with guidelines for using and consuming content based on the usage rights that were acquired. Without the use of DRMs, honest consumers would have no guidelines and might eventually come to totally disregard copyright and therefore become a pirate, resulting in great harm to content creators.
DRMs' primary role is not about keeping copyrighted content off P2P networks. DRMs support an orderly market for facilitating efficient economic transactions between content producers and content consumers.

Cory Doctorow responds to the keeping honest users honest argument a consequence these systems turn into systems that are incapable of stopping infringement, every file ever restricted with DRM is currently available on the Internet and they are one click away on any general purpose search tool like Google. Instead these are systems that are banded about as keeping honest users honest, as Ed Felten has pointed out, keeping an honest user honest is like keeping a tall user tall. By the time a user hits DRM she has already chosen to acquire the DVD in the shop instead of downloading it from a BitTorent network, she has already chosen to download the iTunes and paid 99 cents, instead of downloading for free, that's the honest user. So what does DRM do to that honest user. What DRM does to the honest user is sees to it that she can't exercise the traditional rights that she's always had in her media. This is not a system for keeping honest users honest when you cant operate the fast forward button or time shift or take a screen shot or loan it or lawfully dispose of it by giving it to a school or what have you, that does not keep honest users honest, that keeps honest users in chains.
You can not incentivise a user to choose a legitimate distribution channel for media by adding DRM to the media. No one ever bought a iTune for its DRM there is not a single customer of any media company any where in the world who woke up this morning and said I wish there was a way that I could do less with my books, music and movies. As a consequence DRM is never more than neutral in respect of the decision to choose to go through the legitimate route and acquire media and compensate the artist and publishing entity and it is most of the time a powerful disincentive at least in the long run when peoples DRM comes back and bites them as it has many people. Last year people who own comcast pdrs a week before the Six Feet Under DVD came out that comcast pushed a message out to their DVRs that erased all of the Six Feet Under stored on their hard drives that is a audience of people who will run out to figure out some mechanism to acquire six feat under and store it on their hard drives with out going through the DRM.


Cory Doctorow sums up the technical problem with DRM: DRM is based on a flawed security model. The DRM security model, is that there is a sender and there is the attacker who is also the intended recipient of the message, in other words George Lucas sells you a star wars DVD and on that star wars DVD is an encrypted blob that when mated with the right algorithm and the right key will turn into a movie that is probably best watched in Italian. You can pretend that its opera and not listen to the dialogue. And George Lucas can't sell you a DVD unless he provides you with that key and that mechanism to decrypting it because other wise its just a drink coaster other wise it has no retail value. It has no utility value. So as a consequence every one who buys a DVD, every one who receives an encrypted piece of media for which they are the intended recipient, must have a mechanism on hand to unblock it, otherwise its of no use to them. DRM therefore relies on the idea that while your device is playing some one else's media or in possession of some one else's secret that your device will stop listening to you and stop allowing you to examine its workings and only allow the remote party to control and set policy on it. A technically sophisticated user can always find a mechanism to extract the secrets. Can always find a mechanism even if they can not extract the secrets to save back the clear text, both of these techniques have been used very effectively. Because of this DRM systems are broken in minutes, hours, some times months but never any longer than that because they are grounded on some thing that is scientifically bankrupt, the idea that you can keep a secret from some one from whom you have told the secret.

Apple DRM

Fairplay -- Apples iTunes software

Apples iTunes DRM is the least restrictive technology out there in that it allows you to use up to five mac and burn to CD. Microsoft and some other companies want to be able to use the fairplay format, but Apple will not licence it.

Apple also sells videos from their iTunes store that will only play on Apple hardware.

iTunes fails to prevent copying as you can copy your music to CD, and then rip it back of the CD in your preferred non DRM format. If that's too complicated you can use one of a host of programs that will strip the DRM, for example SharpMusique, the free iTunes Music Store interface, without the DRM.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a Rolling Stone interview shortly after the launch of the iTunes Music Store

Well, there's a lot of smart people at the music companies. The problem is, they're not technology people .... so they're fairly vulnerable to people telling them technical solutions will work, when they won't. Because of their technological innocence, I would say. When we first went to talk to these record companies -- you know, it was a while ago. It took us 18 months. And at first we said: None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have PhD's here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content.

If Apple knows that DRM does not stop copy why do they use it? Two reasons:

  • the recording industry seem to think it does and insist on it.
  • it helps to make it harder for Apples customers to switch to a competitor.

Microsoft DRM

  • Yahoo's music store uses Microsoft DRM
  • AOL Music Now uses Microsoft DRM
  • Napster To Go uses Microsoft DRM

There is DRM built into [wikipedia:Windows Media DRM|Windows Media]] WMV and WMA

  • Protected Media Path
  • Protected Video Path
  • Protected User Mode Audio
  • Janus is the portable version of Windows Media DRM.

Windows Media DRM is designed on the assumption that it will be cracked and must be constantly updated. Windows Media Player 10 does not exist for the Mac means that Mac users have no way of playing DRM-encrypted WMV and WMA files and given that Microsoft has ceased development of Windows Media Player for Mac it is unlikely they'll ever be able to. Using Windows Media DRM runs out the battery on mobile players 25% faster.

The Guardian reports that backing up your files, reformatting your hard drive, then copying the files back over only to find your music no longer works, with Windows Media DRM.

Windows Media DRM fails to prevent copying as there are freely available software out there but why bother, you do not need special software, there is a step by step guide assuming you still have Windows Media Player 9, I still have it on my computer.

Yahoo Music chief Dave Goldberg has said Record labels should try selling music online without copy protection. Rights management restrictions have created a barrier for consumers, he said, making it a hurdle to transfer music to portable devices, and creating incompatibility between music services and MP3 players.

"DRM is not a consumer value proposition, it’s a consumer cost," said Goldberg. "It creates a nice barrier of entry for the tech companies, rather than something that’s beneficial to labels, artists, or consumers."

October 17, 2006 Yahoo Music chief Dave Goldberg has said "The notion that a track I buy in DRM is protected and one without DRM isn't is a fallacy," Goldberg says. "It's all nonsense. Music is never going to be protected, and anybody who tells you that is not being honest. Yes, you can put up speed bumps, but the people who really want to steal music are going to steal it. So you're just making it hard for people who want to do the right thing to get the music they legitimately purchased on the devices and services that they want."

Real Networks

Real Networks has rejected DRM by providing its Rhapsody music service. This provides a large major label catalogue that Mac and Linux users can use.

As Fred von Lohmann of the EFF says

What strikes me about this announcement is the implicit rejection of DRM that it represents. After all, while Real touts Rhapsody as primarily a "streaming" music service, everyone knows that it is trivial to turn a "stream" into a "download" by using widely available software tools. Audio Hijack, for example, records Rhapsody streams without any problem on my OS X machine. And everyone knows that Linux users will have new "stream-ripping" applications aimed at Rhapsody before you can say "DVD Jon." So it seems clear that Rhapsody has managed to talk its major label licensors into allowing them to concentrate on attracting customers, rather than shackling them in a misguided attempt to restrict the music that is already available on P2P networks for free.

RealNetworks' CEO Rob Glaser told the Guardian in an interview with Kate Bulkley on May 11 2006 that the music industry erred in allowing Apple to create devices that used a closed digital rights management system.

Sony DRM

Sony used to put DRM on its CDs. It has been on the receiving end of a lot of bad publicity and some court cases because the software badly compromised the security of any computer running Windows that had such a CD placed in its CD drive at any time in the past. This received a vast amount of press coverage.

Groklaw page on Sony DRM issues and litigation

Sony DRM does not stop copying as there was nothing to stop you doing a like for like copy of CDs. Only if you placed the CD in the drive and allowed it to run its hidden software would it prevent some software but not all. If you want the prize for the most low tech solution gaffer tape defeats Sony DRM.

Google DRM

Google sells videos but they are in a proprietary format.

Googles DRM does not prevent copying, it took one day for the first program to come out that cracked Google Inc.'s new video viewer.

Gmail's 'View as HTML' functionality used to allow you to view a PDF attachments inside your browser, it ignored the copying restrictions defined inside PDF files, allowing you to copy or print them without any problem, Gmail has recently crippled its "View as HTML" functionality so as to comply with Adobe's PDF copy-control scheme.

Adobe DRM

Adobe's PDF format includes options that request that the PDF viewer does not allow printing or viewing the file on a different machine than the one encoded in the file.

Adobe DRM does not stop copying for many reasons but to list one of the simple ways Adobe's own Macromedia Flashpaper 2, will convert a DRM-ed PDF into a PDF with all the DRM stripped.

How secure is PDF

DRM on ring tones

OMA DRM is a DRM system invented by the Open Mobile Alliance.


The DVD DRM had nothing to do with copy protection and every thing to do with being able to restrict who could produce DVD players and also allowing region locking. There is no technical reason why a DVD bought in America can not be played in Britain other than a flag on the disc that says certain DVD players should not allow it.

The DRM has been broken - think of all those multi-region Korean DVD players. Because the DRM on DVDs has been publicly broken, the film industry does not want that to happen again, and they are backing Blu-ray as the most secure system. Blu-ray enables the encryption to be changed so that if (or when) it's broken, it isn't broken forever. Blu-ray also allows discs to be watermarked to make piracy harder. The other competing technology is HD-DVD and that also has DRM built in. The first reports of HD-DVD are that it is going to require a lot of processing power in built into the players just so they can handle the DRM.

In 1999, while on vacation in France, Norwegian teenager Jon Johansen bought a DVD-ROM and DVD movies. Frustrated by having to run Windows in order to watch his movies when he brought them back to his own country, he joined forces with two other programmers that he met online and together they created the proof-of-concept DeCSS application. The source code for DeCSS made it possible to play encrypted DVD movies on a Linux machine. The program spread quickly among Linux developers who were eager to create a DVD player for the Linux operating system.


Issues with technology for compression of content improving over time. Lossy formats

To get round the problem of general purpose computers being able to get around DRM, some companies are pushing for Trusted computing. Trusted computing may prevent many forms of copying but will never block the use of a simple cabling arrangement. Thanks to this ommission, amongst other things, DRM will never be able to prevent copying.

A DRM system that stops only 99.5% of users from copying is effectively worthless, regardless of what DRM system vendors say.


British Law

French Law You must not lock you formats to prevent competition. Apple says 'it will amount to state sponsored piracy'.

American Law

As a technology, DRM systems are usually not very effective. They are often easily bypassed. In order to make up for their lack of technological ability, DRM systems are often accompanied by laws that make bypassing them illegal. These laws are usually referred to as "anti-circumvention" laws. One problem with the combination of DRM systems and anti-circumvention law is that they give rights holders the ability to control the use of media in ways that are above and beyond the rights granted to them by copyright law.

This ability to invent new and exciting copyrights for themselves, to write private laws without accountability or deliberation, that take over your rights in your physical property to their favour are already limiting your use of your stuff. Region-coded DVDs are an example of this: there's no copyright that says that an author can control where you enjoy her creative work once you've paid for them. You can buy a book, throw it in a bag and take it anywhere from Toronto to Timbuktu and read it wherever you are. You can even buy books in America and bring them to the UK, where the author may have an exclusive distribution deal with a local publisher who sells them for double the US shelf-price. DVDs, on the other hand, use a DRM system that prevents you from watching a movie bought in American in the UK. Although copyright law does not give the movie studio any rights in law to impose this restriction directly, the combination of DRM technology and anti-circumvention law make it illegal to bypass this protection.

Senior research manager at the Cambridge-MIT Institute in England, Ian Brown partly covered DRM technologies in his doctoral thesis and reveals how DRM technology is so heavily flawed.


The European Commission held a hearing on Digital Restrictions Management--and arranged it so that the representatives of the public ended up with zero minutes to speak. Only the media companies were allowed to speak.

Cory Doctorow talking about DRM and historical lobby.

Fred von Lohmann of the EFF

DRM technology mandates are bad policy. Policy-makers should view calls for legislative or regulatory "tech mandates" to shore up DRM with special scepticism. When it comes to interfering in free markets for high technology, regulators are far more likely to do harm than good. DRM mandates are no exception.

Canadian music creators coalition a growing coalition of Canadian music creators who share the common goal of having their voices heard about the laws and policies that affect their livelihoods. "We are the people who actually create Canadian music. Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive. Without us, there would be no music for copyright laws to protect." Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41....


Cory Doctorow

  • "There's nobody out there who wants his next TV to be able to do fewer things than the one he has now."
  • "In the US, we killed the Broadcast Flag by convincing politicians it would be unpopular to start breaking people's televisions."
  • "It's a bad idea to build your business model on the idea that you can make bits of information hard to copy."

Yahoo Music chief Dave Goldberg

  • "DRM is not a consumer value proposition, it’s a consumer cost," said Goldberg. "It creates a nice barrier of entry for the tech companies, rather than something that’s beneficial to labels, artists, or consumers."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs

  • "Well, there's a lot of smart people at the music companies. The problem is, they're not technology people .... so they're fairly vulnerable to people telling them technical solutions will work, when they won't. Because of their technological innocence, I would say. When we first went to talk to these record companies -- you know, it was a while ago. It took us 18 months. And at first we said: None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have Ph.D.'s here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content."

Bill Gates chairman of Microsoft Corporation

  • " one is satisfied with the current state of DRM, which “causes too much pain for legitmate buyers” ... He also criticized DRM schemes that try to install intelligence in each copy so that it is device specific."

Jason Reindorp, head of marketing for Zune

  • "We've been saying for a while that we are aware that consumers want to have unprotected content."



  • is a collaboration between several independent organisations and individuals.
  • Canadian Music Creators Coalition Canadian artists that are opposed to DRM, as along with lawsuits against their fans.
  • INDICARE The INformed DIalogue about Consumer Acceptability of DRM Solutions in Europe


  • DRM: What is it good for Fred von Lohmann's talk at USC the. Fred is senior IP attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation



Google News - There are thousands of stories about DRM in the press


2008-07-29 - EFF - Yahoo! Offers Refunds to Customers Who Bought DRM-Crippled Tunes
Author: Hugh D'Andrade
Summary: Last week, Yahoo! faced a predictable backlash when they announced that they would be ending support for the DRM that came with music sold through its Yahoo Music service. EFF and others criticized the decision, saying Yahoo should either continue to support the DRM or compensate their customers with refunds and/or replacement mp3s. Now, Yahoo has happily chosen to do right by their customers and provide full refunds for any music sold through Yahoo Music that came wrapped in what is soon-to-be obsolete copy protection. ... Yahoo's decision sets a good precedent for when this problem inevitably arises again. Vendors that sold DRM-crippled music must either continue supporting tech that no one likes - as MSN Music chose to do - or take Yahoo's path and fairly compensate consumers with refunds. It's the right thing to do.
2008-07-25 - The Register - Yahoo! shoots DRM servers, swallows keys to tunes
Summary: Yahoo! plans to destroy the DRM servers propping up all those people misguided enough to purchase tunes from its failed music store. It's called Yahoo! Music Unlimited. But there are limits. The online tune store/subscription service will close on September 30, and when it does, Yahoo! will no longer provide licence keys for downloaded tunes. That means that buyers can't transfer their tracks to new machines or new OSes without burning them to CDs and ripping them back off.
2008-07-24 - EFF - Here We Go Again: Yahoo! Music Throws Away the DRM Keys
Author: Corynne McSherry
Summary: Just over a month after consumer backlash caused MSN Music to rescind its decision to deactivate the digital rights management ("DRM") servers that allowed MSN Music purchasers to "reauthorize" music files after upgrading operating systems or buying new computers, Yahoo! Music has decided to deactivate its own DRM servers. The ironically named Yahoo! Music Unlimited Store will shut its virtual doors in September, and, as of October 1, will no longer provide licence keys for music purchased from the store, nor will it authorize song playback on additional computers. That means Yahoo! Music customers will not be able to transfer songs to “unauthorized computers” or access the songs after changing operating systems.
2008-04-24 - The Inquirer - Microsoft Takes Back the Music
Summary: The Microsoft 'Plays-for-Sure' authentication servers will be taken offline on August 31, 2008, making it impossible to re-authenticate any music files protected with 'Plays for Sure' (or should that be 'Plays, for Now') after that date. The author opines that, once again, DRM schemes show that the record labels are pushing a product that is significantly inferior to that illegaly obtained.
2008-04-22 - Ars Technica - DRM Sux Redux - Microsoft to Nuke MSN Music DRM Keys
Summary: Customers who have purchased music from Microsoft's now-defunct MSN Music store are now facing a decision they never anticipated making: commit to which computers (and OS) they want to authorize forever, or give up access to the music they paid for. Why? Because Microsoft has decided that it's done supporting the service and will be turning off the MSN Music licence servers by the end of this summer.
2008-02-01 - Boing Boing - Sony kills DRM stores -- your DRM music will only last until your next upgrade
Summary: The Sony 'Connect' DRM-tastic music store is closing shop on March 31, 2008. Another failed experiment in DRM is leaving its paying customers out in the cold with soon-to-be unusable content (unless you violate the DMCA) in the form of audio files DRM locked to Sony's ATRAC media players. Yet another in a seemingly endless stream of examples of how media companies are punishing their paying, legitimate customers for the RIAA's own infuriating technological shortsightedness. ... You can continue to "enjoy" "your" music until you get a new PC or a new music player. And really, why would you want a new PC or a new music player ever again?
2008-01-11 - BBC - Amazon signs Sony download deal
Summary: Sony has announced a deal to put its entire catalogue of tracks on the Amazon MP3 store by the end of January. All of the songs on Amazon's store will be free of controversial Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls. In early January Sony announced a plan to sell gift cards that let customers download albums free of DRM.
2008-01-10 - ars technica - Amazon rounds out DRM-free music offering with Sony BMG
Author: Jacqui Cheng
Summary: Amazon will begin selling DRM-free music from Sony BMG later this month, making the retailer the first to sign on all Big Four labels without DRM.
2008-01-04 - Defective By Design - Don't let the EU sanction DRM
Summary: Yesterday, Viviane Reding, European Union commissioner for information society and media, issued a report sanctioning a "transparent" DRM framework for the EU. This irresponsible and senseless report comes just a day before Sony BMG announced that they would join Warner Music Group, EMI, and Vivendi's Universal Music Group in selling DRM-free music downloads in the United States. Help us take action now by reading and signing our open letter. Our signed letter will be sent to the commissions office, and will add weight to the dozens of phone calls that will be made next week to her office demanding that she retract her statement and letting her know that we oppose any attempt by the EU to sanction, promote, or endorse DRM technology platforms.
2008-01-04 - Gizmodo - DRM Officially Dead: Last Major Label Sony BMG Plans to Finally Drop DRM
Author: Matt Butchanan
Summary: It's over. The last major label to hold out on selling DRM-free MP3s, Sony BMG, is "finalizing plans" to sell music not locked down with DRM.
2008-01-03 - EUROPA Press Release - Commission sees need for a stronger more consumer-friendly Single Market for Online Music, Films and Games in Europe
Summary: The European Commission has decided today to give a new boost to Europe's online content sector. EU citizens should be able to enjoy easier and faster access to a rich variety of music, TV programmes, films or games via the Internet, mobile phones or other devices. The Commission therefore encourages the content industry, telecoms companies and Internet service providers to work closely together to make available more content online, while at the same time ensuring a robust protection of intellectual property rights. The Commission also wants to facilitate copyright licences for online content covering the territory of several or all of the EU Member States. According to Commission studies, a truly Single Market without borders for Creative Online Content could strengthen considerably the competitiveness of Europe's music, film and games industry and allow retail revenues of the sector to quadruple by 2010 if clear and consumer-friendly measures are taken by industry and public authorities ... "Europe's content sector is suffering under its regulatory fragmentation, under its lack of clear, consumer-friendly rules for accessing copyright-protected online content, and serious disagreements between stakeholders about fundamental issues such as levies and private copying", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. "We have to make a choice in Europe: Do we want to have a strong music, film and games industry? Then we should give industry legal certainty, content creators a fair remuneration and consumers broad access to a rich diversity of content online. I will work on these issues with my colleagues in the Commission and propose a Recommendation by mid-2008 on new ways for achieving a single market for online content. I ask in particular Europe's consumer associations to take a very active part in this debate. Because for online content, the demand and preferences of 500 million potential consumers are the strongest arguments for achieving new solutions at EU level."


2007-12-28 - ars technica - Wal-Mart's online movie failure: DRM, high prices to blame
Author: Ryan Paul
Summary: Let there be no question as to why Wal-Mart's online movie service has folded: high prices and DRM that stomps on fair use colluded to produce one stinker of an offering. Good riddance.
2007-12-28 - The Guardian - Wal-Mart drops video download service: DRM claims more victims
Author: Jack Schofield
Summary: Users cannot transfer their movies to another PC -- but that's what they agreed to when they licensed them. "The Wal-Mart Video Downloads Service closed on 12/21/07," says Wal-Mart's media downloads page. Customers can still play their movies, but only on the PC they used to buy them.
2007-12-11 - Macworld - New Western Digital drive blocks file sharing
Author: Jonny Evans
Summary: DRM in a Western Digital product limits customer actions over their own files. Unfortunately, the implementation of the technology to protect copyright also sees sharing of popular file formats completely restricted - even if the files to be shared are created by users themselves.
2007-11-26 - Tech Cruch - DRM-Free Classical Music: Deutsche Grammophon Launches Online MP3 Store
Author: Mark Hendrickson
Summary: Apparently Universal Music Group - which has been dipping its toes into DRM-free waters this year - is none too worried about music pirates getting into classical music. Deutsche Grammophon, a German classical music company founded in 1898 and owned by Universal, will be launching on Wednesday an online store for MP3s called DG Web Shop
2007-11-21 - ars technica - UK retailers to record labels: DRM is killing us
Author: Ryan Paul
Summary: In response to declining music sales in the UK, the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has called for the music industry to put an end to DRM. The organization—which represents retailers who sell music and DVDs—blames draconian digital copy protection technologies for the slow growth of the digital music market. Consumers are increasingly dissatisfied with copy protection systems that erode fair use rights and impose limitations on where and how content can be used. To make matters worse, market fragmentation has led to the emergence of incompatible DRM formats which often confuse consumers and leave them wondering whether or not the content they buy will work on all of their electronics devices. That makes file-sharing more attractive for some consumers.
2007-11-20 - Financial Times - Anti-piracy moves 'hurt sales'
Author: Andrew Edgecliiffe-Johnson
Summary: Retailers are urging the music industry to drop piracy protection for online downloads after new figures showed the average Briton has bought fewer than three digital tracks in the past three years. Incompatible proprietary technologies, aimed at defeating rampant piracy in the digital music era, are instead "stifling growth and working against the consumer interest", said Kim Bayley, director-general of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).
2007-11-20 - ars technica - Canadian report finds P2P might sell more CDs, CRIA sponsors objection
Author: Nate Anderson
Summary: It all began with Industry Canada (part of the Canadian government). The group last year commissioned a report into the effects of unauthorized file-swapping and handed the project to two researchers from the University of London, Birgitte Andersen and Marion Frenz. That report was released earlier this year. Such government reports are a dime a dozen, but they attract more interest than usual when they conclude that a strong correlation exists between downloading songs from P2P networks and buying more CDs
2007-11-14 - MacUser - Music boss: we were wrong to go to war with consumers
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."... Bronfman appears to be experiencing an epiphany when it comes to digital music. From threatening to withdraw from iTunes and suggesting that to drop DRM would be "without logic or merit", he is now heaping praising on Apple and recently opened a DRM-free section on Warner's own Classics and Jazz music store.
2007-11-09 - ars technica - UK music store: DRM-free music outsells protected tunes four to one
Author: Jacqui Cheng
Summary: DRM-free music sells at a much higher rate online than protected music, according to UK-based digital music store 7 Digital. In fact, customers buy it four times as often as they do DRMed music. As a result, almost 80 percent of the store's sales are of DRM-free content. 7 Digital may not sound familiar to some, but it carries over 3 million songs and has many selections from major artists in addition to independent labels.
2007-11-09 - ars technica - Blu-ray’s DRM crown jewel tarnished with crack of BD+
Author: Eric Bangeman
Summary: SlySoft promised that BD+ would be cracked by the end of 2007, and the company was on the money. Blu-ray's one DRM "advantage" over HD DVD has apparently disappeared, as the newest beta of AnyDVD reportedly can rip discs protected with BD+.
2007-11-08 - The Register - Music DRM 'dead by next summer'
Author: Andrew Orlowski
Summary: Killing DRM is saving digital music, reckons British retailer 7Digital. The company says DRM-free music sales now outnumber sales of DRM-enumbered music by 4:1 , and credits EMI with the shift. Removing the locks and keys also helps shift albums, with 70 per cent of MP3 sales by value being full albums.
2007-10-15 - ars technica - iTunes Plus DRM-free tracks expanding, dropping to 99 cents
Author: Jacqui Cheng
Summary: It's been a while since Apple launched iTunes Plus, its version of DRM-free tracks sold through the iTunes Store. ... Apple plans to expand iTunes Plus to include certain indie music labels starting Wednesday, October 17 (or sometime this week, at least). ... The bigger news on the iTunes Plus horizon, however, is that Apple plans to drop the price of all iTunes Plus tracks. Currently, each track is $1.29 while "normal" DRMed tracks are 99¢ apiece. That discrepancy will be no longer, as Apple will begin pricing all of its iTunes Plus songs at 99¢ apiece (DRMed tracks will also remain at 99¢).
2007-10-13 - Slashdot - EA Denies DRM Problems With Sims 2
Summary: For the past 2 weeks there has been an uproar on the Sims 2 forums concerning the inclusion of Sony's SecuROM DRM software in the latest expansion pack, Bon Voyage. It seems paid customers have been having problems since day one of release, but EA is only now, 5 weeks later, issuing an official statement on the matter. A lot of what's in the statement is outright fiction with proven reports of issues with disabling of disc burning software, optical disc drives, printers, cameras, system slowdown and even system crashes. Fan responses have been cold to say the least. Interestingly enough, the expansion pack was cracked and up on the internet less than 24 hours after its release.
2007-10-10 - The Guardian - Radiohead album is 160kbps MP3 - another little DRM corner cut away
Author: Charles Arthur
Summary: "In Rainbows", released today by Radiohead only through the band's site, has no DRM. Nine Inch Nails have no record label. The Charlatans album is free. Should Simon Cowell worry?
2007-10-09 - Boing Boing - Yahoo Music to record execs: No more DRM, ever
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: Yahoo! Music's Ian Rogers gave an inspirational talk to some music execs with two messages: one, I won't build DRM anymore for you, because Yahoo customers hate it; and two, let's focus on all the ways that free-as-in-speech music can kick enormous amounts of ass.
2007-10-03 - The Guardian - New Zunes plus Zune Social -- and current Zunes get updated
Author: Jack Schofield
Summary: Microsoft has extended its range of music players, and added DRM-free music
2007-10-01 - BBC - The obstacles in a DRM-free world
Author: Bill Thompson
Summary: In the global market online sales shouldn't be limited to one country, argues columnist Bill Thompson. The restrictions placed on downloaded music files using one of the various digital rights managements (DRM) systems have always annoyed me. ... Buying music on subscription is a dangerous habit, as customers of Virgin Music found out recently when they were told that their song collections would become unplayable once the store stops operating. ... Anyone who had purchased a locked video from Google's Video Store had the same experience earlier in the year, and others will certainly follow. ... News that Amazon was to launch a music download service was therefore well-received in my household, even it is only a beta service with a relatively small catalogue. It promised a competitively-priced music - especially at the current pound/dollar exchange rate - and best of all the songs were in MP3 format with no DRM.
2007-09-28 - BBC - Q&A: Virgin's digital shutdown
Summary: Retail group Virgin has announced the end of its internet music download site. ... Virgin Digital provided two different forms of access to digital music - either paid-for downloads or a monthly subscription service known as the Virgin Digital Music Club. The Club was essentially a form of music rental, with all songs subject to rights restrictions known as DRM (digital rights management). ... as a consumer, you are vulnerable if you sign up with a music service that involves DRM. Any digital store that sells or loans you music in a copy-protected format makes you a hostage to that format's commercial success.
2007-09-25 - Boing Boing - Amazon creates gigantic DRM-free music store!
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary:, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today launched a public beta of "Amazon MP3," a new digital music download store with Earth's biggest selection of a la carte DRM-free MP3 music downloads. Amazon MP3 has over 2 million songs from more than 180,000 artists represented by over 20,000 major and independent labels. Amazon MP3 complements's existing selection of over 1 million CDs to now offer customers more selection of physical and digital music than any other retailer.
2007-09-24 - Yahoo! News - Virgin drops Windows Media-based music download service
Author: Jeremy Kirk
Summary: The pending demise of Virgin Digital marks another casualty among online music stores, which have generally received lukewarm reception from consumers with the exception of Apple's market-leading iTunes service. Since Virgin Digital used DRM technology from Microsoft to manage how songs could be played and transferred to portable devices, the service was not compatible with Apple's iPod line, which uses a different DRM technology and file format. The Virgin Digital service allows customers to download tracks up to four more times to replace lost or damaged copies. Since that option will no longer be available when the store closes, the company advised customers who purchased tracks to back them up by burning the songs to a CD.
2007-09-23 - ars technica - DRM advocates getting nervous about consumer backlash
Author: Ken Fisher
Summary: The growing backlash against DRM is causing dissension in the pro-DRM ranks. Paul Sweeting's excellent report on the DRS conference records the frustrations of the DRM community at the tactics of the content industry. They apparently feel that an overzealous content industry is abusing DRM; this is a bit like Smith & Wesson complaining that bullets can kill.
2007-08-31 - Boing Boing - Amazon to launch DRM-free iTunes competitor
Author: Xeni Jardin
Summary: Site is slated to launch in September. Link to NY Post article, where news broke, Link to somewhat more sober account over on Gizmodo.
2007-08-31 - Financial Times - Sony moves to MP3 and open formats
Author: Paul Taylor
Summary: Sony is closing its online music store and abandoning its proprietory digital audio format in favour of more successful MP3 and other ‘open’ format options.
2007-08-21 - BBC News - Big names sign up to iTunes rival
Summary: Some of the world's biggest record labels including Universal and SonyBMG have begun selling music through a new download service, challenging Apple. ... The new service is offering downloads of Universal Music artists including Prince, 50 Cent and Johnny Cash without the customary copy protection technology known as DRM - digital rights management.
2007-08-21 - ZDNet - Wal-Mart hops on anti-DRM bandwagon
Author: Dan Farber & Larry Dignan
Summary: Wal-Mart is going DRM free too. Wal-Mart said in a statement that it will offer DRM-free music for 94 cents a track from record labels such as Universal and EMI Music. Universal was the latest to go DRM free and EMI made the move months ago. With a huge music retailer like Wal-Mart lined up against DRM it’s likely other outlets and labels will fall in line. Soon DRM will be a music liability.
2007-08-16 - The Guardian - Kiss goodbye to your DRM-protected Google Video clips
Author: Charles Arthur
Summary: Closure of service leaves a cloud over the future of copy-protected video files and leaves users with unplayable content. Google handed opponents of digital rights management (DRM) a huge weapon this week when it announced that DRM-protected videos bought from its online video store will no longer work, and that customers will not be reimbursed. "After August 15, 2007, you will no longer be able to view your purchased or rented videos," the company said in an email sent to customers who had bought items such as NBA basketball games or TV shows such as CSI.
2007-08-13 - BBC News - Google shuts down video service
Summary: Google is shutting down its premium video service, leaving users who have bought or rented content unable to view their videos in the future. ... Jupiter analyst David Card said Google's decision to stop people from watching content they had already bought from the service was a mistake. "No wonder consumers are still a bit cautious about digital content," he wrote on his blog. "He added: "We've seen a physical format-device combo go out of manufacture before: wax cylinders, 8-tracks. But can you think of any consumer-purchased medium that actually becomes unusable while there are players that still work?"
2007-08-12 - ars technica - Google selleth then taketh away, proving the need for DRM circumvention
Author: Ken Fisher
Summary: Google Video's commercial aspirations have been terminated. Yet now Google Video has given us a gift—a "proof of concept" in the form of yet another argument against DRM—and an argument for more reasonable laws governing copyright controls. Yet now Google Video has given us a gift—a "proof of concept" in the form of yet another argument against DRM—and an argument for more reasonable laws governing copyright controls. How could Google's failure be our gain? Simple. By picking up its marbles and going home, Google just demonstrated how completely bizarre and anti-consumer DRM technology can be. Most importantly, by pulling the plug on the service, Google proved why consumers have to be allowed to circumvent copy controls.
2007-08-09 - The Register - Hacker cracks Netflix copy restrictions
Author: Dan Goodin
Summary: A hacker has found a way to crack digital rights management restrictions in major movies streamed by Netflix, allowing those with a valid account to save, copy and share the videos.
2007-08-06 - PC Pro - Anti-DRM campaigners plan BBC protests
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: Anti-DRM campaigners are to hold demonstrations outside the BBC buildings in London and Manchester to protest about the usage restrictions embedded in the corporation's new iPlayer software. ... Becky Hogge, executive director of the Open Rights Group, notes. "What's really bizarre about the BBC's employment of DRM for the iPlayer is that their programmes can already be downloaded using PVRs that receive free-to-air digital transmissions," she says. "Media convergence means there is no practical difference between unencrypted satellite, free-to-air, DAB or the internet in terms of control of content."
2007-08-05 - ars technica - Survey says: only DRM-free music is worth paying for
Author: Ken Fisher
Summary: One of the largest surveys of music consumers to closely examine the question of Digital Rights Management (DRM) has an important two-part message for the music industry. The first is that DRM is definitely turning consumers off music sales, and charging them extra to get rid of it may be an uphill battle. The second message is that knowledge of DRM and its problems is spreading fast. ... conducted lengthy online surveys with 1,700 UK music consumers, selected from a pre-existing panel of more than 300,000 music consumers in the UK (PDF: 2007 Digital Music Survey). What makes this survey important is the fact that it was aimed squarely at the music-buying public, not the anti-RIAA crowd, not the techno-libertarians, and not our general readership. I've been told more than once that the views on DRM found at publications like Ars Technica are "not representative" of the general public. Perhaps this was once the case, but it can no longer be maintained generally. At least in the UK, the dirt on DRM is out, and it's spreading.
2007-07-15 - Boing Boing - Zune DRM cracked again
Summary: A new version of FairUse4WM v1.3 Fix2 from Doom9 is available that claims to remove the DRM licence protection from songs and music downloaded from Microsoft's Zune Marketplace allowing you to play them on any portable media player.
2007-07-13 - BBC - Sony BMG sues anti-piracy company
Summary: Record company Sony BMG is suing a firm that designed controversial anti-piracy software used on CDs sold by the label. Sony BMG filed papers in a New York state court seeking $12m in damages from the Arizona-based Amergence Group.
2007-06-20 - The Inquirer - EMI has DRM free sales boom
Author: Nick Farrell
Summary: Record outfit EMI is reporting that the sales results for its DRM-free music are better than those with protection. Since EMI ditched the DRM on iTunes it has seen sales of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon increase by between 272 and 350 percent.
2007-06-12 - CNET News - EMI licenses DRM-free catalog to PassAlong Networks
Author: Caroline McCarthy
Summary: The songs will be sold in MP3 format at a 320 kilobit rate--more than typical digital music bitrates of 128 to 192kb, and more than the 256kb premium songs offered by Apple's iTunes Store--but pricing has not yet been determined.
2007-06-08 - ZDNet - Why DRM won't ever work
Author: Jeremy Allison
Summary: Trying to make Digital Rights Management (DRM) work in the real world is like asking engineers to do "Star Trek" style magic, rather than real engineering. DRM simply cannot work. For less technical readers who might be wondering what I'm going on about, DRM is the attempt to control copying on a digital file, or sometimes even to add a restriction on how many times such a file can be copied.
2007-05-31 - ars technica - New AACS "fix" hacked in a day
Author: Jeremy Reimer
Summary: The ongoing war between content producers and hackers over the AACS copy protection used in HD DVD and Blu-ray discs produced yet another skirmish last week, and as has been the case as of late, the hackers came out on top. The hacker BtCB posted the new decryption key for AACS on the Freedom to Tinker web site, just one day after the AACS Licensing Authority (AACS LA) issued the key. The article proposes a simple description of the protection schema and a brief look back at how the cracks have slowly chipped away at its effectiveness. It seems it'll be a long way to an effective solution ... if any. One could also argue whether all that money spent by the industry in this race will be worth the results and how long it would take for a return on investment.
2007-05-17 - ars technica - Latest AACS revision defeated a week before release
Author: Ryan Paul
Summary: Despite the best efforts of the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administration, content pirates remain one step ahead. A new volume key used by high-def films scheduled for release next week has already been cracked. ... If keys can be compromised before HD DVDs bearing those keys are even released into the wild, one has to question the viability of the entire key revocation model. ... We are already seeing the music industry beginning to abandon DRM, but it doesn't look like the movie industry is ready to take the same logical step.
2007-05-16 - ZDNet - DRM-free movement snowballs; watch those song prices
Author: Larry Dignan
Summary: Amazon said Wednesday that it will launch a digital music store "later this year" that will feature DRM-free tunes. The online retailer said it will offer millions of songs from more than 12,000 labels. EMI’s music catalog, which went DRM-free with Apple, will be included in Amazon’s store. The official line from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: "Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device. We’re excited to have EMI joining us in this effort and look forward to offering our customers MP3s from amazing artists like Coldplay, Norah Jones and Joss Stone."
2007-05-16 - ars technica - Amazon announces long-rumored DRM-free music store
Author: Jacqui Cheng
Summary: Amazon dropped the bomb today by announcing its DRM-free music store. The previously-rumored store will be launched sometime "later this year" and offer unprotected MP3 files for purchase. The Amazon music store, which does not appear to have a name yet, will offer "millions" of songs from over 12,000 record labels.
2007-05-16 - Reuters - Amazon store to sell music free of copy protection
Summary: Inc. said on Wednesday the company will launch a digital music store later in 2007 with millions of songs, free of copy protection technology that limits where consumers can play their music.
2007-05-11 - ars technica - Hey, HBO: a turd by any other name smells just as foul
Author: Eric Bangeman
Summary: DRM's biggest problem is the name, according to HBO chief technology officer Bob Zitter. The solution, he believes, is simple: change the name to something that sounds a bit more friendly. "I don't want to use the term DRM any longer," Zitter told a panel at the National Cable Television Show in Las Vegas earlier this week, according to Broadcasting & Cable. ... Why stop there? How about Happy Fun Content Surprise with a smiling, large-eyed bunny (think Thumper with an iPod) as the mascot?
2007-05-02 - BBC - DVD DRM row sparks user rebellion
Summary: Attempts to gag the blogosphere from publishing details of a DVD crack have led to a user revolt.
2007-05-01 - ars technica - BBC Trust approves final plan for DRMed program downloads
Author: John Timmer
Summary: After extensive consultation with the public and media companies, the BBC Trust has approved final rules governing their provision of time-limited program downloads. DRM stays, and the downloads will be Windows-only at launch.
2007-04-27 - The Economist - Criminalising the consumer
Summary: The movie industry, which nowadays depends as much on DVD sales as on box-office receipts, still seems to think that making life difficult for its customers is a recipe for success. After likewise shooting itself in the foot for ages, the record industry is now falling over itself to abandon DRM (digital rights management) on CDs. A number of online music stores such as eMusic, Audio Lunchbox and Anthology have given up using DRM altogether. In a recent survey by Jupiter Research, two out of three music industry executives in Europe reckoned that dropping DRM would improve sales.
2007-04-27 - The Register - MPAA chairman promises legal DVD copying, interoperable DRM
Summary: Motion Pictures Association of America Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman was speaking at the Variety Digital Rights Management conference in Los Angeles and not only pledged the MPAA’s support for DRM, but for interoperable DRM and said that this year High Definition DVDs would be released which will enable customers to make authorized copies of the content they purchase. HD will achieve it this year and SD perhaps next, he said.
2007-04-13 - French-Law.Net - DRM watchdog established in France
Author: Nicolas Jondet
Summary: On Friday was inaugurated the French regulatory body in charge of ensuring that DRMs (Digital Rights Management) are made compatible and do not prevent users of copyrighted work to benefit from copyright exceptions . If successful, this DRM watchdog, the first of its kind in the world, might become a model in dealing with problems raised by DRMs. Already its mere introduction in French law eight months ago may have played a pivotal role in Apple’s recent decision to change its DRM policy and promote DRM-free music.
2007-04-06 - PC World - Microsoft Will Sell DRM-free Songs
Author: Elizabeth Montalbano
Summary: Following digital music pioneer Apple Inc.'s lead yet again, Microsoft Corp. said this week it will soon sell digital music online without digital rights management (DRM) protection. ... "The EMI announcement on Monday was not exclusive to Apple," said Katy Asher, a Microsoft spokeswoman on the Zune team, in an e-mail to the IDG News Service Friday. She said Microsoft has been talking with not only EMI but other record labels "for some time now" about offering unprotected music on its Zune players in an effort to meet the needs of its customers.
2007-04-05 - Times Online - Microsoft set to unlock EMI songs
Author: Jonathan Richards
Summary: Microsoft has hinted that it may be close to reaching a deal with EMI to sell songs without anti-piracy protection via its Zune platform. The comments from Jason Reindorp, head of marketing for Zune, come in the same week that EMI announced a deal with Apple to sell songs without the protection, known as ‘digital rights management’ (DRM), through iTunes stores. Mr Reindorp said: "We've been saying for a while that we are aware that consumers want to have unprotected content." "This does open things up a little bit. It potentially makes the competition more of a device-to-device or service-to-service basis, and will force the various services to really innovate."
2007-04-03 - The Register - Free music has never looked so cheap
Author: Andrew Orlowski
Summary: For the major record labels, yesterday's deal between EMI and Apple doesn't herald a new beginning, but the beginning of the end. From next month, EMI will distribute much of its repertoire without DRM through Apple's iTunes store. Independent labels have been distributing DRM-free songs for three years, avoiding the lock-ins created by competing hardware manufacturers. But EMI is the first of the "Big Four" majors to recognise that artificially recreating the inconveniences of physical product in a digital form isn't good business.
2007-04-02 - BBC - EMI takes locks off music tracks
Summary: EMI is taking software locks off some of its digital music songs sold via download sites. The "premium" versions of EMI tracks will lack the digital locks common to songs available via many online sites. ... EMI said every song in its catalogue will be available in the "premium" format. It said the tracks without locks will cost more and be of higher quality than those it offers now.
2007-04-02 - EMI Press Release - EMI Music launches DRM-free superior sound quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire
Summary: EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli today hosted a press conference at EMI's headquarters in London where he announced that EMI Music is launching DRM-free superior quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire and that Apple's iTunes Store will be the first online music store to sell EMI's new downloads. Nicoli was joined by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The event also featured a musical performance by The Good, The Bad & The Queen.
2007-04-02 - ZDNet - Apple, EMI strip DRM from music - for a price
Author: Caroline McCarthy
Summary: DRM-free EMI tracks will sell for a premium on iTunes, in a move that may force other big labels to follow suit.
2007-03-24 - Boing Boing - DMCA's author says the DMCA is a failure, blames record industry
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: The most interesting - and surprising - presentation came from Bruce Lehman, who now heads the International Intellectual Property Institute. Lehman explained the U.S. perspective in the early 1990s that led to the DMCA (ie. greater control though TPMs), yet when reflecting on the success of the DMCA acknowledged that "our Clinton administration policies didn't work out very well" and "our attempts at copyright control have not been successful" (presentation starts around 11:00). Moreover, Lehman says that we are entering the "post-copyright" era for music, suggesting that a new form of patronage will emerge with support coming from industries that require music (webcasters, satellite radio) and government funding. While he says that teens have lost respect for copyright, he lays much of the blame at the feet of the recording industry for their failure to adapt to the online marketplace in the mid-1990s.
2007-03-18 - ars technica - Musicload: 75% of customer service problems caused by DRM
Author: Ken Fisher
Summary: Musicload, one of Europe's largest movie stores, has found that 75% of its customer support problems are caused by DRM. Users have frequent problems using the music that they have purchased, which has led Musicload to try selling independent label music without DRM. Artists choosing to abandon DRM in favor of good old-fashioned MP3 have seen 40% growth in sales since December.
2007-02-26 - The Register - EMI: DRM stays
Author: Andrew Orlowski
Summary: EMI has broken off talks with digital music download services about providing a DRM-free repertoire. EMI was always tipped as the most likely of the "Big Four" to break ranks with its peers and supply music unencumbered by DRM. It's the smallest of the four major labels, the only one that isn't part of a major entertainment conglomerate, it's seen two mergers with larger partners scuppered in recent years - and it's in an ominous financial position.
2007-02-25 - The Guardian - BitTorrent to offer movies legally, using Microsoft's DRM
Author: Jack Schofield
Summary: BitTorrent will launch a download service offering movies, music, TV programmes and games tomorrow (Monday), according to the New York Times. ... So now you'll be able to use the same system to download a movie for free and keep it forever, or download it for $3.99 and have it expire a day later. Yeah, that'll fly....
2007-02-22 - The Guardian - Hollywood faces up to DRM flop
Author: Bobbie Johnson
Summary: The systems intended to lock pirates out of the new generation of high-definition DVDs have been cracked. Hollywood faces up to DRM flop. Both of the next-generation DVD formats - Sony's Blu-ray and Toshiba's HD DVD - use a protection mechanism called the Advanced Access Content System (AACS), a hugely complex and expensive beast aimed at rendering unauthorised copies useless. But what took countless dollars and years of work to create was undone in just a few weeks by a hacker who in effect unlocked every single Blu-ray and HD DVD disc now in circulation. ... "The developers spent billions, the hackers spent pennies," said Cory Doctorow
2007-02-21 - BBC - Government backs digital lockdown
Summary: The government has rejected a call to ban the digital locks that limit what people can do with the software, music and movies they own. A petition calling for the ban on the government's e-petition website gathered more than 1,400 backers.
2007-02-20 - ZDNet - Government rejects calls for DRM ban
Author: Graeme Wearden
Summary: The UK government has rejected a call for digital rights management to be banned in the UK, but has acknowledged that the technology could undermine consumer rights. ... In the UK, the Open Rights Group campaigns against technologies such as DRM, which it believes can undermine the rights of users. Becky Hogge, executive director at the Open Rights Group, believes that public awareness of the issues surrounding DRM is growing. "DRM had been seen in the past as a niche technology issue, but there is now rising consumer awareness about it," she told ZDNet UK. Hogge added that some DRM technologies put restrictions on users that run counter to their rights under copyright law. For example, a blanket ban on copying prevents an individual from taking a sample for review or illustrative purposes, as they are allowed to under the "fair use" provisions within copyright law. "DRM attempts to enforce copyright, but it does it badly," Hogge said.
2007-02-15 - The Guardian - Why Steve isn't going to upset the DRM Apple cart
Author: Jack Schofield
Summary: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs caused a stir this month by publishing Thoughts on Music, a 1,900-word essay on digital rights management (DRM). Apparently he's against it, and so are we. However, there has been a backlash, with people suggesting Jobs start practising what he preaches. At the Inquirer, for example, Charlie Demerjian called Jobs "the lowest form of hypocrite", pointing out that "the Mac, the iPod and the upcoming iPhone all are DRMed to the gills".
2007-02-14 - BBC - Music execs criticise DRM systems
Summary: Almost two-thirds of music industry executives think removing digital locks from downloadable music would make more people buy the tracks, finds a survey.
2007-02-09 - The Register - EMI set to drag majors into DRM-free future
Author: Chris Williams
Summary: EMI is close to removing rights management software from its digital music for good, in a move which would pile pressure on the rest of the recording industry to follow suit. According to the Wall Street Journal, the London-based label took a strategy to digital music retailers in December, which included a demand for a multi-million dollar "risk insurance" fee. Predictably, many retailers told EMI to go forth and multiply.
2007-02-08 - The Register - RIAA urges Apple to spread DRM far and wide
Author: Ashlee Vance
Summary: The RIAA has seized on the weakest part of Steve Jobs' anti-DRM manifesto by banging on Apple to license its FairPlay technology to other companies.
2007-02-07 - BBC - Will Apple pick music's digital locks?
Author: Jonathan Fildes
Summary: Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, has set out his stall on the future of the music industry. In an open letter on the Apple website, Mr Jobs argues that the copy protection software used to protect digital music downloads from piracy has not worked. ... many argue that any form of DRM harms consumers. "It locks consumers into specific products. It's anti-competitive and anti-consumer," said Becky Hogge, executive director of the digital advocacy organisation, the Open Rights Group. The European Commission agrees. It says the many different DRM systems should work together. Some member states, such as France, have already approved new laws that could force companies like Apple to share its digital technology with rivals.
2007-02-07 - Finacial Times - Apple sparks battle over copyright
Author: Joshua Chaffin, Kevin Allison, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and David Ibison
Summary: Apple’s demand that record companies do away with copyright protection for songs they sell online has set up a bitter battle between the two camps as they prepare for broad-ranging contract negotiations.
2007-02-07 - BBC - Apple seeks online music shake-up
Summary: Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, has urged the world's largest record companies to begin selling songs online without security software.
2007-02-07 - Boing Boing - Will Steve Jobs drop iTunes DRM in a heartbeat?
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: It's been a couple of hours since Steve Jobs announced that he doesn't like DRM and wants to get rid of it (this is new news -- Apple's previous position on this was that they'd have DRM even if the record companies didn't want it). He urges DRM activists to lobby Europe's governments to force European record giants like Sony-BMG, EMI and Universal to license their music to the iTunes Music Store without DRM -- and promises that he'd drop the iTunes DRM in a heartbeat if only he could.
2007-02-06 - Guardian - Steve Jobs suggests: get rid of the DRM on online music
Author: Charles Arthur
Summary: Hold your jaw before you read. Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, has posted a not-inconsiderably long chunk of "thoughts on music" in which he offers three alternatives for the music industry to move forwards in its move to the online world. And his favoured solution is not to protect music any more.
2007-02-06 - Financial Times - Apple urges end to online copy protection
Author: Chris Nuttall
Summary: Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive, on Tuesday called on the four major record companies to start selling songs online without the copy protection software known as digital rights management. Apple has been under pressure in Europe to make its iTunes Music Store compatible with players other than the iPod. Consumer groups and agencies in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden have made antitrust complaints against Apple in recent months.
2007-01-24 - ars technica - Blu-ray copy protection "cracked"
Author: Jeremy Reimer
Summary: According to a post on the Doom9 forums, enigmatic hacker "muslix64" has had some initial success in bypassing the copy protection of Blu-ray discs.
2007-01-24 - OUT-LAW.COM - Apple DRM is illegal in Norway, says Ombudsman
Summary: Apple's digital rights management lock on its iPod device and iTunes software is illegal, the Consumer Ombudsman in Norway has ruled. The blow follows the news that Germany and France are joining Norway's action against Apple. The Ombudsman has written to Apple to say that it believes that Apple's Fairplay system is illegal. "iTunes Music Store must remove its illegal lock-in technology or appear in court,"
2007-01-23 - The Register - Blu-ray DRM defeated
Author: John Leyden
Summary: The copy protection technology used by Blu-ray discs has been cracked by the same hacker who broke the DRM technology of rival HD DVD discs last month. ... Blu-ray and HD DVD both allow for decryption keys to be updated in reaction to attacks, for example by making it impossible to play high-definition movies via playback software known to be weak or flawed. So muslix64 work has effectively sparked off a car-and-mouse game between hackers and the entertainment industry, where consumers are likely to face compatibility problems while footing the bill for the entertainment industry's insistence on pushing ultimately flawed DRM technology on an unwilling public.
2007-01-22 - ars technica - iTunes DRM called out by France and Germany
Author: Jacqui Cheng
Summary: Apple is being challenged once again to open up its DRM by consumer groups in Europe. This time, Germany and France have joined the slowly-growing number of countries who are asking Apple to allow the protected songs purchased from the iTunes Store to be played on other music players besides the iPod. Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjoern Erik Thon told the Associated Press that France's consumer lobby group, UFC-Que Choisir, and Germany's Ferbraucherzentralen are now part of the European effort to push Apple into an open DRM system, with more countries considering joining the group.
2007-01-21 - International Herald Tribue - Record labels rethink digital rights management at Midem
Author: Victoria Shannon
Summary: Now that even digital music revenue growth is faltering amid rampant file-sharing by consumers, the major record labels are closer than ever to releasing music on the Internet with no copying restrictions -- a step they once vowed never to take. Executives of several technology companies meeting here at Midem, the annual global trade fair for the music industry, said this weekend that a move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format from at least one of the four major record companies could come within months.
2007-01-19 - EFF - Major Labels Block Zune Sharing of Certain Songs
Author: Derek Slater
Summary: Microsoft is trying to set its Zune media player apart from the iPod by showcasing its remarkably limited sharing feature. Many reviews have harped on how shared songs can only be played three times over three days. But the restrictions are actually even worse -- if you read the fine print, you'll find that "The Zune to Zune sharing feature may not be available for all audio files on your device." In fact, Engadget reports that certain songs bought at Microsoft's own store cannot take advantage of Zune's sharing. All the songs come wrapped in DRM, and apparently Microsoft doesn't tell customers at the time of purchase whether songs can be shared or not. The Zunerama blog tested the sharing feature on the top 50 songs sold at the Zune Marketplace and was met with this message: "Can't send some songs because of rights restrictions. 29 of 50 songs sent to Carrie's Zune." As usual, when you buy DRMed media, you may be getting much less than the online music service has promised.
2007-01-19 - ars technica - The Streamburst antipiracy plan: don't use DRM
Author: Nate Anderson
Summary: A UK startup has some interesting ideas about protecting video content: offer it as high-quality, unencrypted MPEG-4 files already formatted for various user devices. Instead of shackling users with artificial technological limitations on what they can do with their files, Streamburst hopes to secure content using a bit of personalization and a unique watermarking system, and they've already put their system to work selling the Ewan McGregor motorcycle trip documentary Long Way Round. Burn to DVD? Fine. Transfer video to any portable device? No problem. Don't treat users like criminals? Check.
2007-01-15 - ars technica - Privately, Hollywood admits DRM isn't about piracy
Author: Ken Fisher
Summary: For almost ten years now Ken has argued that digital rights management has little to do with piracy, but that is instead a carefully plotted ruse to undercut fair use and then create new revenue streams where there were previously none. Ken briefly repeats his argument here before relating a prime example of it in the wild.
2007-01-08 - BoingBoing - EMI abandons CD DRM
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: EMI has announced that it will no longer infect its CDs with DRM.
2007-01-05 - The Finacial Times - French court rules against Sony
Author: Delphine Strauss
Summary: A French court ruled Sony France misled buyers of its music downloads and digital music players when it described the music formats they could download. The DRM files only play on Sony equipment and the company had not made this clear to its customers in breach of the French Consumer code. The court said it did not have the authority to force Sony to stop using digital rights management protection but it ruled that in tying sales of music to a single type of player, Sony had breached French law forbidding such "linked sales".
2007-01-03 - SysOpt - Goodbye 2006, Hello Digital Rights Management
Author: Christopher Saunders
Summary: With the dawn of another new year, it's time for another "Year Ahead" preview. This one may be a bit different than most -- aside from the copious footnoting -- since it's going to focus on just one area of PC hardware and software. But it's a doozy, mainly because the subject is going to affect everything. I'm talking about Digital Rights Management,1 and for the first time, the DRM war2 is taking place on your PC hardware. This is far and away the most important new development in home PC use today, and for consumer advocates, it should be among the most worrisome.


2006-12-29 - PBS - Digital Rights Management is really just an ecosystem for selling our own stuff to us again and again
Author: Robert Cringely
Summary: Several readers asked me to comment this week on a very entertaining blog post from New Zealand: A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection
2006-12-28 - The Register - HD DVD anti-rip encryption cracked
Author: Tony Smith
Summary: Has the HD DVD next-generation optical disc format's anti-rip technology been cracked? That's certainly what's being claimed by a programmer going by the name muslix64 who has posted a Java-based app he maintains will free the video on a disc from its encryption shackles.
2006-12-27 - The Register - Windows DRM is the 'longest suicide note in history'
Author: John Leyden
Summary: Copy-protection features in Windows Vista make the operating system more bloated while giving few benefits to end users, according to a new security paper. Peter Gutmann, a medical imaging specialist, argues in the paper that Microsoft's cumbersome approach to DRM is doomed to fail and will only succeed in pushing users towards buying faster hardware to cope with degraded performance, effectively imposing collateral damage on the rest of the industry.
2006-12-26 - The Register - HD disk format wars are over
Author: Charlie Demerjian
Summary: The next generation disk format has been settled once and for all. Thanks to the due diligence, hard work and unprecedented cooperation between the media companies, the hardware vendors and the OS vendor, we finally have a solution. It is quite easy, Piracy, the better choice(TM).
2006-12-15 - BBC - Gates: Digital locks too complex
Summary: Suw Charman, of the Open Rights Group, said it was a "bit rich of Bill Gates to make his comments given how much DRM is stuffed into Windows Vista", the new operating system from Microsoft. "The problem with DRM is that it is very anti-consumer," she said. "It is bully-boy tactics by the media industry," she added. But backers of DRM argue it gives artists an assurance that their work is being protected. Ms Charman called for more information for consumers when they buy digital files and CDs. "Often consumers do not know what restrictions have been imposed on CDs or digital music until after they have bought them," she said. She added: "Apple have been known to change the rules after people have bought tracks."
2006-12-06 - Rough Type - Curtains for music DRM?
Author: Nicholas Carr
Summary: But won't selling songs as unprotected MP3s lead to rampant illegal copying? No. Because there's already rampant illegal copying. Most unauthorized copying is done either through online file-sharing networks or by burning CDs for friends. DRM schemes have little effect on either of those. All new songs are immediately available on file-sharing networks, DRM or not.... No, DRM is about controlling the business model for selling online music....
2006-12-07 - ABC News - Major Labels to Offer Unrestricted MP3s
Author: Alex Veiga
Summary: After years of selling online music digitally wrapped with copy and playback restrictions designed to hinder piracy, major music labels are beginning to make some songs available in the unrestricted MP3 file format. The releases are part of an experiment to gauge demand for tracks that can be played on any digital music player capable of playing MP3s, one of the oldest music compression formats.
2006-12-06 - ars technica - Testing DRM-free waters: EMI selling a few MP3s through Yahoo Music
Author: Eric Bangeman
Summary: Another label cautiously experiments with selling music in the un-DRM-encumbered MP3 format. Are we looking at the start of a new trend?
2006-11-17 - ars technica - MPAA sues over DVD-to-iPod service
Author: Eric Bangeman
Summary: After the iPod gained the ability to play videos, services sprung up that would rip your DVDs and re-encode them for viewing on your iPod. Useful, but illegal in the US (DMCA). The Motion Picture Association of America has decided to sue one of those DVD ripping and re-encoding services. It's perfect for the movie studios. As we've pointed out before, they get to sell you the same content multiple times for multiple devices.
2006-11-16 - - Channel 4 selling TV for 99p
Author: Wil Harris
Summary: Channel 4 will be selling episodes of its TV programmes online for 99p a time. Shows that have been transmitted recently will be available for download almost as soon as they air. However, whilst viewers will be able to pay 99p for the show, it will only last for two days after it has been watched for the first time - meaning that the DRM will cripple the file thereafter. Hopes of building up a permanent digital archive of your favourite shows, then, are false.
2006-11-16 - EFF - Movie Studios Sue to Stop Loading of DVDs onto iPods
Author: Fred von Lohmann
Summary: The MPAA studios are at it again, snatching away our fair use rights, so they can sell them back to us for an "additional fee."
2006-11-15 - Computer World - Vista and More: Piecing Together Microsoft's DRM Puzzle
Author: Matt McKenzie
Summary: If you ask five veteran Windows users to explain Vista's take on digital rights management (DRM), you're likely to get five different answers that have just one thing in common: Whatever it is, they know they don't like it.
2006-11-07 - ZDNet - Now that Microsoft’s licensed DRM doesn’t “Play For Sure,” will any DRM do it? Ever?
Author: David Berlind
Summary: The rest of the world is beginning to get hip to what happens when the provider of a digital rights management technology (DRM) decides to change gears as Microsoft recently did when it essentially forked its DRM into two versions: one that it keeps for itself and its Zune brand and the other, known as PlaysForSure that, for the time being, it continues to license to licensees such as Real, Yahoo, F.Y.E., Napster, AOL, Wal-Mart and MTV.
2006-11-06 - Zune problems for MSN customers
Summary: Plays For Sure Until It Doesn't. People who have bought music from Microsoft's MSN Music store could face problems if they decide to buy the firm's new Zune portable player. Microsoft has said it will stop selling music from MSN music from 14 November, when Zune goes on sale in the US. But in a move that could alienate some customers, MSN-bought tracks will not be compatible with the new gadget.

2006-11-03 - The Register - Big labels are f*cked, and DRM is dead - Peter Jenner
Author: Andrew Orlowski
Summary: Clash, Pink Floyd manager lifts the lid. The major four music labels today are "f*cked", he says. Digital music pricing has been a scam where the consumer pays for manufacturing, distribution, and does all the work - and still has to pay more. Labels should outsource everything except finance and licensing.
2006-10-25 - BBC - iTunes copy protection 'cracked'
Summary: The code that prevents music downloaded from Apple's iTunes store being played on any portable player other than an iPod has been "cracked".
2006-10-19 - ZDNet - Chuck D lays down the law on DRM
Author: David Meyer
Summary: Digital rights management (DRM) has its benefits, but should not overly restrict users, according to musician and mobile entrepreneur Chuck D
2006-10-17 - ZDNet - Frustrated consumers forced into piracy
Author: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
Summary: Finally, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) might be starting to realize that their attempts to control and reduce piracy might actually be having the opposite effect, and are driving honest consumers to piracy. Brad Hunt, the executive vice president and chief technology officer for the MPAA "I understand that if we frustrate the consumer, they will simply pirate the content," he said. "The issue we face today is that consumers are buying content that uses specific DRM and that, in turn, is gradually creating a world of separate DRM systems."
2006-10-16 - PC Magazine - MPAA: Frustrated Consumers Will Pirate
Author: Bryan Gardiner
Summary: Brad Hunt, the executive vice president and chief technology officer for the MPAA, spent the majority of his time outlining some of the ways the MPAA is working to standardize content protection controls in the age of digital home networking. But he also acknowledged that piracy is the consumer's answer to the content industry's inability to provide a simple digital-rights-management solution.
2006-10-16 - EFF - Yahoo Music Exec: DRM Is a Total Failure
Author: Derek Slater
Summary: In a Reuters article published yesterday, Yahoo Music general manager David Goldberg offers this choice quote:"The notion that a track I buy in DRM is protected and one without DRM isn't is a fallacy.... It's all nonsense. Music is never going to be protected, and anybody who tells you that is not being honest.... [Y]ou're just making it hard for people who want to do the right thing to get the music they legitimately purchased on the devices and services that they want." Nicely put, and this isn't the first time Yahoo Music's sharply criticized DRM and openly expressed its desire to sell major label music in unencrypted formats. When will the major labels come around?
2006-10-16 - Yahoo - MPAA: Frustrated Consumers Will Pirate
Author: Bryan Gardiner
Summary: During a question and answer session after the talk, however, Brad Hunt, the executive vice president and chief technology officer for the MPAA, conceded that many people already are frustrated at having to buy multiple copies of the same content to use on different commercial devices. "I understand that if we frustrate the consumer, they will simply pirate the content," he said. "The issue we face today is that consumers are buying content that uses specific DRM and that, in turn, is gradually creating a world of separate DRM systems."
2006-09-26 - InformationWeek - Opinion: High-Definition Video -- Bad For Consumers, Bad For Hollywood
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: Digital rights management gadgetry has turned high-definition video into a lumbering dinosaur that consumers won't want to buy. And a good thing too--because Hollywood doesn't know what to do with HD
2006-09-26 - ZDNet - Doctorow: HDTV is a Trojan Horse. DRM is the payload
Author: David Berlind
Summary: Cory Doctorow, who is probably the world's best communicator when it comes to the dangers of digital rights management technology, is issuing a stern warning about HDTV
2006-09-25 - ZDNet - British Library calls for digital copyright action
Author: Tom Espiner
Summary: The British Library wants copyright law to be updated to curb DRM excesses. ... Digital civil rights organisation the Open Rights Group said it "whole-heartedly supported" the British Library's call for a clarification of copyright law.
2006-09-25 - Groklaw - The British Library Gets It!
Author: PJ
Summary: Finally! Somebody gets it that DRM is altering the copyright law bargain, by not allowing fair dealing/fair use. ... I wish to say thank you to the British Library for issuing this document.
2006-09-25 - ars technica - British Library issues copyright manifesto
Author: Nate Anderson
Summary: The British Library issued a manifesto today on intellectual property law in the UK and offered six suggestions for cleaning up the current mess, all of which attempt to strike a proper balance between the rights of creators and consumers of content.
2006-09-25 - ZDNet - Engadget editorial on DRM completely misses the point
Author: David Berlind
Summary: Stephen Speicher has posted an editorial on Engadget that makes it sound as if the reason there's so much opposition to DRM is that people want the freedom to pirate content. The title of the post is Digital Content: Why the sense of entitlement. ... That's where he lost me. It reminds me of the Net Neutrality debate where the arguments (both for and against) have been distorted by people who haven't been paying close enough attention to the details.
2006-09-22 - Boing Boing - French DRM activists surrender to police
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: Under the newly adopted, very controversial DADVSI French law, it became illegal to bypass, help bypass, or suggest one bypasses DRM protections. Offenders are liable of up to a € 30,000 fine ($38,000) and six months in prison. Three DRM activists went, accompanied by a cheerful crowd of supporters, to their local police station and admitted the following ...
2006-09-22 - ars technica - DRM is old and busted, according to BitTorrent co-founder
Author: Jacqui Cheng
Summary: BitTorrent co-founder Ashwin Navin believes that DRM is not the answer to legal online video services despite his company's getting ready to launch its own DRM-based movie service in the near future. In an interview with IDG News Service, Navin said that he believes the only reason DRM is so widespread is that the industry is immature and doesn't know how else to protect their profit margins.
2006-09-21 - The Inquirer - Microsoft Media Player shreds your rights
Author: Charlie Demerjian
Summary: Think DRM was bad already? Think I was joking when I said the plan was to start with barely tolerable incursions on your rights, then turn the thumbscrews? Welcome to Windows Media Player 11, and the rights get chipped away a lot more. Get used to the feeling, if you buy DRM infected media, you will only have this happen with increasing rapidity.
2006-09-20 - ars technica - Zune's DRM not viral after all
Author: Ken Fisher
Summary: Zune's digital rights management (DRM) scheme will not add its own DRM to unprotected files, Ars Technica has learned. Trusted sources tell us that Zune's wireless sharing feature, which requires Zune's DRM to function, will only monitor the presence of shared songs for the purposes of controlling playback. Files themselves will not be modified, either on the player or on a local PC.
2006-09-19 - Variety - Yahoo tests 'Right' to MP3 downloads
Author: Ben Fritz
Summary: "We're trying to be realistic," said Ken Bunt, senior VP of marketing at Hollywood Records. "Jesse's single is already online and we haven't put it out. Piracy happens regardless of what we do. So we're going to see how Jesse's album goes (as an MP3) and then decide on others going forward."
2006-09-18 - it World Canada - Music download store uses watermark, not DRM
Author: John Blau
Summary: A German company is offering MP3 files for download, unencumbered by DRM. Instead, Akuma discourages copying by adding a unique "watermark" to each download.
2006-09-18 - ZDNet - TiVo sits at nexus of DRM conundrum
Author: David Berlind
Summary: Recently, I've been hearing a lot about how movie studios (and other providers of video content) are significantly more sensitive to the idea that the High Definition versions of their content might get pirated than they are to other lower resolution versions. ...
2006-09-18 - ZDNet - Risk of DRM/DMCA checkmate no longer a risk. It's reality
Author: David Berlind
Summary: By way of Cory Doctorow, comes a pointer to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's take on Microsoft's new Zune: a brand that has broken ranks with the Redmond-based company's previous digital rights management (DRM) strategy that attempted to establish an ecosystem of compatibility (under the name "PlaysForSure") between content merchants (ie: AOL, Yahoo, Amazon, etc.), the copy protection on the content they sold, and the software and devices that could play that content.
2006-09-17 - ars technica - Microsoft tells web site owners to take down FairUse4WM
Author: Jeremy Reimer
Summary: Last month, Ars reported that Microsoft's Windows Media Audio (WMA) digital rights management protection had been cracked, and a program called FairUse4WM had been written that would strip DRM data from purchased audio files. Microsoft was aware of the workaround, but did not seem too concerned, merely stating that "we designed the Windows Media DRM system to be renewable, so that if such events occur the system can be refreshed to address them." Now it seems that the company has gone a little further than that, sending out cease and desist orders to web sites hosting the FairUse4WM program. According to the owner of the web site BG4G, the orders came in via e-mail.
2006-09-16 - BoingBoing - Microsoft sends anti-FairUse4WM takedown notices
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: Microsoft is sending takedown notices to FairUse4WM hosters asserting that FairUse4WM violates Microsoft's copyright in Windows Media Player. This is an odd claim -- it may be that FairUse4WM is a DMCA violation because it circumvents Windows Media Player, but it's quite a stretch to say that it violates Microsoft's copyright. ...
2006-09-15 - The Inquirer - Microsoft to have another crack at updating Media Player
Author: Nick Farrell
Summary: Microsoft is about to have another go at upgrading its Windows Media Player to kill off FairUse4WM once and for all. Vole released an upgrade for WMP on August 28, only to find that the hacker program almost as swiftly released another version.
2006-09-15 - engadget - Wii to be region-locked after all?
Author: Paul Miller
Summary: Nintendo UK put it rather bluntly, stating: "We are region-locked,"
2006-09-15 - Wired - Microsoft Zune Still Doesn't Support PlaysForSure
Author: Eliot Van Buskirk and Sean Michaels
Summary: As more of the media awakens to the fact that the Microsoft Zune MP3 player won't play music from stores that use Microsoft's own PlaysForSure technology, thanks in part to the EFF's pronouncement on the topic today, now seems as good a time as any to point out that I've been talking about that for about a month.
2006-09-15 - Medialoper - Zune’s Big Innovation: Viral DRM
Author: Kirk Biglione
Summary: Yesterday Microsoft revealed that Zune's highly touted wireless file sharing will infect otherwise unprotected audio files with proprietary DRM. If users are sharing songs that are covered by a Creative Commons licence, this would be a clear violation of that licence. ...
2006-09-15 - BoingBoing - Microsoft Zune won't play purchased Microsoft media files
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: Microsoft's "iPod-killing" Zune player won't play music that's locked up with Microsoft's own anti-copying software. Music and movies sold through Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, Yahoo! Unlimited, Movielink and Cinemanow won't play on the Zune, even though these services are marketed in conjunction with Microsoft's "Plays for Sure" (AKA Plays for Shit) program.
2006-09-15 - The Register - US trustbusters to Europe: Apple DRM monopoly? What monopoly?
Author: David Berlind
Summary: In a story that still has my head spinning (and me wondering whether I need to go on medication or something), US antitrust officials are apparently lobbying foreign officials on Apple's behalf. Reuter's Peter Kaplan reports: A top U.S. antitrust official on Wednesday urged foreign governments to think twice before interfering with popular new technologies, singling out overseas scrutiny of Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes online music service as an example of misguided enforcement ...
2006-09-14 - ABC News - The Zune Is Official, But So What?
Author: Mike Kobrin
Summary: Noticeably missing is some kind of DRM import from Windows Media Player. While certainly no one expected Apple to suddenly license FairPlay, which protects its iTunes-purchased content, it wasn't out of the realm of possibility that Microsoft would offer some kind of transfers for protected WMA files purchased from the various non-iTunes online music stores....MS has limited sharing to players within wireless range of each other.
2006-09-13 - Wired - iTunes 7 DRM Already Cracked
Author: Eliot Van Buskirk and Sean Michaels
Summary: It's only been a day since Apple updated iTunes to version 7, but the folks over at the Hymn project have already posted a new version of a program that can be used to remove the DRM from songs purchased from it.
2006-09-13 - ars technica - DRM cracks continue to thwart iTunes 7
'Author: Jacqui Cheng
Summary: Apple's announcement of the newly revamped iTunes 7 during yesterday's "Showtime" event came with many new updates and features to both the software and the iTunes Store. One of those updates was an update to the FairPlay DRM encryption that Apple uses in the songs sold through iTunes 7, as it rendered DRM ...
2006-09-07 - BoingBoing - MSFT quicker to patch DRM than security vulnerabilities
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: But to Microsoft, this vulnerability is a big deal. It affects the company's relationship with major record labels. It affects the company's product offerings. It affects the company's bottom line. Fixing this "vulnerability" is in the company's best interest; never mind the customer. So Microsoft wasted no time; it issued a patch three days after learning about the hack. There's no month-long wait for copyright holders who rely on Microsoft's DRM.
2006-09-05 - ZDNet Australia - NZ draws line on DRM and trusted computing
Author: Rob O'Neill
Summary: New Zealand’s lead state-sector authority has drawn a line in the sand to ensure government information security is not compromised by new "trusted computing" and digital rights management (DRM) technologies.
2006-08-29 - BBC - Microsoft tackles anti-copy hole
Summary: Microsoft has said it is working to close a breach of its technology that protects music digital files from copyright infringement. A program called Fairuse4wm has been posted on the net and is said to be capable of bypassing Microsoft's DRM system.
2006-08-25 - BoingBoing - Windows Media DRM cracked, no one cares
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: Last night, I got a tip that the WM DRM was cracked; Engadget has now confirmed that the tool exists and works. While interesting news, it's rather irrelevant to online media services using WM DRM. Most users won't care about these decryption tools, not because the DRM is 'consumer-friendly,' but rather because there are already easily-accessible alternatives for acquiring unencrypted copies of practically any song or movie. Thus, users already could readily get around the DRM's unfriendly limits, without any actual decryption tool.
2006-07-31 - Information Week - Apple's Copy Protection Isn't Just Bad For Consumers, It's Bad For Business
Author: Cory Doctorow
Summary: Apple's copy-protection technology makes media companies into its servants. Other copy-protection technologies, like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, are just as bad. When it comes to anti-copying technology, there are two possible outcomes: either you have a popular single-vendor system that's bad for the industry and general public, or you have a multi-vendor system that's bad for the industry and general public.
2006-07-19 - The Register - Stoic Napster troubled by Grecian formula
Author: Andrew Orlowski
Summary: Notes the disparate situation between Napster (whose music is encumbered by DRM) and eMusic that without DRM has managed to move into the number 2 spot behind the iTunes Music Store.
2006-07-18 - Ars Technica - Hacking Digital Rights Management
Author: Nate Anderson
Summary: Great article on the past and present of DRM cracks -- where they came from and where they're headed. "Like a creeping fog, DRM smothers more and more media in its clammy embrace, but the sun still shines down on isolated patches of the landscape. This isn't always due to the decisions of corporate executives; often it's the work of hackers who devote considerable skill to cracking the digital locks that guard everything from DVDs to e-books. Their reasons are complicated and range from the philosophical to the criminal, but their goals are the same: no more DRM."
Summary: Linked to by BoingBoing Past and future of DRM and by Slashdot The History of Hacking DRM
2006-07-05 - The Globe and Mail - Who's killing Death By Popcorn?
Author: Val Ross
Summary: Artists worry over copyright legislation as a new film is pulled from Harbourfront program. Mounting concern from the Canadian artistic community about how copyright law is restricting their creative work. Hundreds of artists have jointed a coalition calling on the government to reject anti-circumvention legislation and to implement fair use provisions. The story notes how groups such as CRIA have called for the destruction of works alleged to have infringed copyright while Toronto's Harbourfront has pulled a film based on copyright concerns.
Note: Linked to by Boing Boing Canadian artists call for less copyright
2006-06-30 - BBC - France approves iTunes rights law
Summary: A law that could force Apple to share its digital download technology with rivals has been passed in France. . . . But the legislation leaves room for artists to sign deals with Apple and others, enabling them to restrict which systems their music will play on.
2006-06-06 - ars technica - Apple could find trouble in Norway
Author: Eric Bangeman
Summary: Apple is finding itself the target of criticism from another European government over its FairPlay DRM. Are we about to see a continent-wide backlash?
2006-06-05 - The Register - iTunes guilty of breaking Norwegian law
Author: John Oates
Summary: The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman has ruled that the Apple iTunes service breaks the law, and has given the company two weeks to fix the problem. The regulator said it was not reasonable that the consumer must sign up to a contract regulated by English law, rather than Norwegian law. It also said iTunes must accept responsibility for damage its software may do, and said it is unreasonable to alter terms and conditions after a song has been sold.
2006-06-05 - The Register - MPs call for DRM warning labels
Author: John Oates
Summary: The report says: "There is a significant mismatch between what consumers believe they ought to be permitted to do with copyrighted material and what the law allows."
2006-06-05 - PC Pro - MPs call for better labelling of digital content
Author: Simon Aughton
Summary: APIG has called on the Office of Fair Trading to quickly introduce labelling that explains exactly how digital content can be used and re-used, and the implications for the consumer if they attempt to break copy-protection systems. They have not, however, called for the practice to be made explicitly illegal, as it is in the US. Suw Charman, director of the Open Rights Group which campaigns for consumers' digital rights "We think people rightly feel that once they buy something, it stays bought,"
2006-06-04 - BBC - MPs in digital downloads warning
Summary: Consumers should be told exactly what they can and cannot do with songs and films they buy online, says an influential group of MPs in the UK. APIG report on DRM and lots of quotes from Suw Charman, executive director of the Open Rights Group.
Comments: The BBC report has been pointed to by slashdot so it has got a lot of traffic. U.K. Group Wants DRM'd Media Labeled
Keywords: DRM
2006-05-30 - zdnet - Abundance of DRM trainwrecks make them worth tracking
Author: David Berlind
Summary: Compiling a list of DRM trainwrecks.
2006-04-27 - the Inquirer - Canadian musicians declare war on DRM
Author: Nick Farrell
Summary: Canada's most famous popular beat combos have formed a coalition against moves in the recording industry to hammer fans in copyright lawsuits and stick DRM on their albums.The coalition includes names like Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41, Stars, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace), Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Billy Talent, John K. Samson (Weakerthans), Broken Social Scene, Sloan, Andrew Cash and Bob Wiseman.
Comments: Also available on Slashdot Canadian Music Stars Fight Against DRM.
2006-04-07 - ZDNET - DRM key to Linux's consumer success?
Author: Ingrid Marson
Summary: A RealNetworks executive has claimed that Linux risks being excluded from the consumer market if it does not add support for copy-restriction technologies. But the Free Software Foundation Europe countered this claim on Thursday, saying that consumers have made it clear that they do not want DRM restricting their use of digital media...."The sooner we bury the foolish notion of putting each and every use of a computer under control of the media industry, the sooner we can start looking for real alternatives."
2006-03-28 - ZDNET - DRM and the myth of the 'analog hole'
Author: George Ou
Summary: DRM has to be better quality and easier to use than bootleg content or consumers won't accept it. A mechanism called ICT (Image Constraint Token) that punishes law-abiding customers for content that they legally purchased. It isn't even for something bad that they've done, but for something they theoretically might do.
2006-03-20 - Guardian - Media firms open fire on digital pirates
Author: Bobbie Johnson
Summary: For some the issue isn’t DRM itself, it’s the proprietary nature of it. Everyone has an angle, and everyone is trying to lock you in. Others say that every one would be better off with no DRM. Users who accept that rights owners want protection, but don’t want to be treated like criminals or forced to stick with services we don’t like.
Comments: Also available on Bobbie Johnson's blog if you do not want to register with the Guardian web site. Is mentioned on the Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens.
2006-03-17 - BBC News - How to right the copyright wrongs
Author: Bill Thompson
Summary: Protecting rights may be acceptable, replacing copyright can never be. Earlier this week, the Westminster eForum held a discussion on digital rights management at which Derek Wyatt MP made some interesting proposals about getting the British Library to lead the debate on how copy protection and rights management should be regulated and managed. ... But today's digital rights management systems are not being used to promote a more open market in electronic content and are almost entirely concerned with enforcing restrictions on use.
2006-02-09 - BBC News - Digital film: Industry answers
Summary: Some of the leading figures in the global film industry have answered your questions about movies in the digital age. Q7. What's the point of DRM?
Notes: You also get to see a variation on the famous keeping honest users honest, as Ed Felten has pointed out, keeping an honest user honest is like keeping a tall user tall.
2006-02-08 - BBC News - Locking down our digital future
Author: Michael Geist
Summary: Hundreds of government officials, policy experts and companies descended on the Italian capital for a conference on the future of the digital economy. One approach, advocated by conventional content companies from the movie and music industries, as well as by US government officials, emphasised the need for DRM technologies to "lock down" content. While the emphasis on DRM was not unexpected, the alternate approach, which focused on user-generated content, took many delegates by surprise. Described as "amateur" content, the conference featured numerous presentations on how the combination of easy-to-use technologies and widespread internet access has unleashed an unprecedented array of new creativity.
2006-02-03 - BBC News - Libraries fear digital lockdown
Author: Ian Youngs
Summary: Libraries have warned that the rise of digital publishing may make it harder or even impossible to access items in their collections in the future. Many publishers put restrictions on how digital books and journals can be used. Such digital rights management (DRM) controls may block some legitimate uses, the British Library has said.
2006-02-02 - The Register - Parliament committee hears DRM rights and wrongs
Author: John Oates
Summary: The All Party Parliamentary Internet Group met today to hear oral evidence to help it prepare a report into Digital Rights Management.
2006-01-31 - PC PRO - Content owners pursue DRM despite Sony climbdown
Author: Bernhard Warner
Summary: Despite mounting consumer gripes about DRM, music fans and film buffs can expect to see more restrictive digital rights technologies attached to the songs and movies they buy, technology industry observers said at a conference here dedicated to the future of digital media.
2006-01-24 - BBC News - Digital music: Industry answers
Summary: Some of the top executives in the music industry have answered your questions about digital music. Given that every single digital rights management (DRM)-protected song on the music download networks is still very easily found on any file-sharing network, what has DRM achieved other than alienating legitimate, legal, paying customers? ... While we are trying to make sure Napster music works with as many devices as possible, others - like Apple - do not licence their DRM and are instead electing to create a hardware trap for consumers. Also, the restrictions associated with DRM technologies are sometimes the result of restrictions required by the labels. Brad Duea, Napster president.
2006-01-20 - BBC News - File-sharing 'not cut by courts'
Summary: DRM remains controversial, with some critics arguing it does little to prevent piracy but instead limits what consumers fairly should be able to do with their music. Earlier this week, the National Consumer Council complained that DRM was eroding established rights to digital media. Mr Kennedy, writing in the report, said DRM "helps get music to consumers in new and flexible ways". He said DRM was a "sometimes misunderstood element of the digital music business".
2006-01-17 - The Times - Watchdog says music downloaders need protection
Author: Holden Frith
Summary: The National Consumers Council today said that the digital rights management (DRM) technology used by record labels to control online music is "undermining consumers' existing rights under consumer protection and data protection laws."
2006-01-05 - Daily Mirror - BILL'S WINDOWS ON FUN
Summary: 8 million Sky subscribers in the UK will be able to access video content on their PCs via a Windows Media Center version of Sky's forthcoming broadband content service. It will let users download hundreds of movies and stream hundreds of sports clips. Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) will enable movies to be viewed for up to 30 days after they are downloaded.


2005-12-27 - ars technica - DRM vs. fair use, and why you're caught in the crossfire
Author: Anders Bylund
Summary: Wired Magazine can think of one more reason to go on a consumer electronics shopping spree, and soon: "2005 might be the last good year to get gizmos that aren't locked down." They are, of course, referring to the ongoing efforts by the RIAA and the MPAA to plug every last leak in their safeguards against unauthorized use and copying of their precious content. For fear of lawsuits or in anticipation of coming legislation, our gadgets are dropping consumer-friendly features—like copying media off of a ReplayTV box or ripping backups of retail CDs—at an alarming pace.
2005-12-18 - The Guardian - How Sony became an ugly sister
Author: John Naughton
Summary: Sony has a music division, that records music and distributes it on CDs. Some time ago, the company decided that it was sick and tired of having customers 'rip' (compress and copy) this music on to their computers, and thence on to their iPods and other devices. So it determined to implement some 'digital rights management' (DRM) measures on its CDs which would prevent customers doing such nasty things.
2005-12-14 - The Guardian - Sony strikes again
Author: Jack Schofield
Summary: I use MiniDisc for recording things, such as interviews, so I have exactly zero music tracks on MiniDisc -- nothing from CD, nothing from the radio, no downloads, nothing. Under the circumstances, you might think I would have no worries about DRM etc. Not so. Sony's latest MD players provide another example the company's brain-dead stupidity.
2005-11-13 - The Guardian - Chapter and worse: it's now publish and be downloaded
Author: John Naughton
Summary: Print publishers were quicker than their record and movie brethren to spot the potential of the net as a distribution medium. It was a no-brainer, for example, to perceive the network as an efficient way of distributing audio-books as MP3 recordings rather than boxes of clumsy audio cassettes. ... DRM imposes serious restrictions on the consumer's freedom of action. If you buy a printed book you can resell it, lend it to a friend or donate it to the school jumble sale. But the licensing and DRM provisions on many e-Books take away these freedoms. It does not 'belong' to you: all you have is a licence to use it in ways that have been approved by the publisher.
2005-10-18 - Daily Telegraph - Downloading music, part 2
Author: Rick Maybury
Summary: Almost all legal music downloads contain Digital Rights Management (DRM) data, which can restrict how and where you use the files you've paid for. You may be restricted to loading your tunes on just one personal player, or limited to the number of compilation albums you can burn to CD. DRM can also stop tracks from being copied from one PC to another over a network. Some stores also have subscription deals and you should check the fine print carefully. They can look quite attractive, offering unlimited downloads but in some cases the DRM will stop tracks being played if at any time you cancel your subscription.
2005-10-10 - Daily Telegraph - Downloading music, part 1
Author: Rick Maybury
Summary: In general these codecs are more efficient than MP3, resulting in better sound quality and smaller files sizes but they have one other thing in common and that is Digital Rights Management or DRM. Files downloaded from the various online music stores are embedded with DRM data that can be used to restrict how and where tracks are played and copied. DRM can be used in a number of ways, including limiting the number of times a track can be copied from a PC to a personal music player or 'burned' to a CD, it can also prevent tracks being copied from one PC to another over a network and even stop tracks stored on a PC from being played if the purchaser fails to renew their subscription to the online music store.
2005-09-09 - The Guardian - Playing by the rules
Author: Duncan Clark
Summary: How to get the best out of legal music downloading. For example, £10 per month will buy you around 65 tracks per month at eMusic, and "unlimited downloads" at Napster. But the devil's in the detail: while you can keep your eMusic downloads forever and put them on any kind of device, with Napster you'll have to pay extra to put the tracks on an MP3 player and, most importantly, the moment you cease to be a subscriber, your downloaded music will simply stop working. This last feat is achieved with a somewhat controversial software technology known as DRM, which allows the distributors of digital music to maintain control over the files they sell, even after you've downloaded them.
2005-06-08 - Daily Telegraph - Downloading video on the internet
Author: Rick Maybury
Summary: The BBC's decision to use a proprietary P2P download program should simplify the whole business by imposing a rigid set of standards. It will also help to limit piracy, control distribution and manage subscriptions. Downloads will be laced with digital rights management (DRM) components, which erase or disable the programme after 7 days and prevent copying.
2005-04-25 - BBC News - Online music lovers 'frustrated'
Summary: UK music lovers are getting frustrated with restrictions placed on digital music tracks once they buy them from online stores, says PC Pro magazine.
Comments: Includes several intresting comments by readers.
2005-01-21 - BBC News - Format wars could 'confuse users'
Summary: Shelley Taylor, analyst and author of a report about online music services, said the locks and limits on digital files were done to maximise the cash that firms can make from consumers. Ms Taylor said the limits legal download services place on files could help explain the continuing popularity of file-sharing systems that let people get hold of pirated pop."People want portability," she said, "and with peer-to-peer they have 100% portability." Cory Doctorow "Not one of these systems has ever prevented piracy or illegal copying,"


2004-07-01 - BBC News - Are Real and Apple playing fair?
Author: Bill Thompson
Summary: Who exactly is the goodie here? Is it Apple, whose shiny toy has sold in the millions and provides an easy-to-use way of listening to good-quality digital music on the move? Or is it Real, breaking down the barriers that exist between different file formats, different portable players, different online music stores and different digital rights management systems? ... it does not get around the fact that fair use rights built into copyright law are being eroded by DRM technologies.

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