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Old 09-03-2005, 05:39 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Online music stores (like iTunes and Napster) are misleading buyers

It's not very easy to tell exactly what you are buying at the iTunes store, or Naptster and other online music stores. People are jumping in with a lot of money under the impression that they own the music they pay for. But the EFF points out that this assumption is naive, and copy protection makes the reality quite different than the marketing sales talk.

For example, did you know that "For a monthly subscription fee, the Napster Unlimited music rental service offers you the ability to stream and download as much as you like from its entire catalog. If you miss a monthly payment, the DRM renders the downloaded music unplayable." Miss a payment and all that music you think you own is no longer available to you. You were just renting.

Get past the marketing talk and find out exactly what you can and can't do with the most popular online music services with the EFF DRM guide.

(via Slashdot)
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Old 09-03-2005, 06:16 PM   #2
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I'd have to say iTMS is better than the others, currently, because of things like the Hymn Project (standard disclaimer - it might not be legal in some areas - i.e. the USA).

And of course the nice fact that, although, as the EFF guide states, they can change the DRM terms, it is not a subscription service, like Napster.

Still, there's two more solutions - P2P and CDs. P2P is legally grey-area (again, especially in the US, where it's basically illegal - not so much in Canada, as long as no profit is made it still (apparently) is legal), and CDs are still rather expensive (depending on exactly which CDs you buy)...
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Old 09-03-2005, 06:58 PM   #3
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I think Napster etc are quite clear about renting the music, and its actually the more honest service, whereas iTunes pretend to sell you music, but with so much DRM restrictions that in effect you do not really own what you are paying for.

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Old 09-03-2005, 08:01 PM   #4
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I think Napster etc are quite clear about renting the music, and its actually the more honest service, whereas iTunes pretend to sell you music, but with so much DRM restrictions that in effect you do not really own what you are paying for.

Surur
I definitely have to agree. Does anyone think you can buy a subscription and get all the music in the world without having to pay for it. Granted, you dont get all the music, but if you got to keep the files you would only have to download them all, and then stop the service. It is actually a good deal if you like to listen to music alot, and there are currently a good number of players that support this.

As for pay music, I must say that this is true for Real, iTunes, and anything that uses WMA. If you read further, there is actually one service that sells MP3s, as well as offers MP3 subscriptions, which lets you permanently download a set number of songs per month (its a really good rate).

In all, CDs are really the best way to buy music still, because you do "own" the music, and you can convert it into any format. DRMs on CDs are a whole lot easier to break, because unless they start making CDs that dont work in most players, using a non Microsoft CD ripper should let you rip waves without DRM (If they dont allow this, DVD Jon will write a hack; its not something that is, or should be, illegal to break where he lives. Its fair use in its purest form.
 
Old 09-03-2005, 08:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surur
I think Napster etc are quite clear about renting the music, and its actually the more honest service, whereas iTunes pretend to sell you music, but with so much DRM restrictions that in effect you do not really own what you are paying for.
Have you looked at what iTunes lets you do, compared to other services? If you compare it to Real's or Napster's DRM restrictions, it is much more reasonable... It allows CD burning, more computers, and more players (although restricting it to only the iPod - but if you didn't have an iPod, would you really use iTMS? Probably not).

Sure it still sucks (all DRM sucks), but it's better than the alternatives at the moment. With Napster's subscription based services, as you were implying them to be 'better', you cannot burn CDs at all, according to the EFF guide. Seems being able to burn an audio CD will help alleviate the issues of if they ever change the restrictions, you can always get the copy you (hopefully :P) burned to a CD, and just rip it to a non-DRM format - or just use Hymn and skip the DRM altogether.

And really, think about the subscription model - you have to pay X dollars a month, forever just to listen to this music. That's for as long as you live. Or until someone cracks the DRM, so you can get busted by the DMCA.

And on the 'honesty' point, I have to say that it's my opinion that all of them are trying to trick you into believing you have any real rights.
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Old 09-03-2005, 08:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surur
I think Napster etc are quite clear about renting the music, and its actually the more honest service, whereas iTunes pretend to sell you music, but with so much DRM restrictions that in effect you do not really own what you are paying for.

Surur
Tell me how I don't own a song I purchased through the iTMS. With iTunes I can put my purchased songs on up to 5 different computers, put them on my iPod, share them with other computers on my home network, stream them to my stereo in the dining room using AirTunes with my Airport Express, and burn them to as many CDs (and then rip them as MP3s) as I want in custom playlists to play in CD players or listen to MP3s on my Zodiac.

Out of all of the music download services, IMO iTunes strikes the best balance between preventing piracy and providing "fair use" options to consumers. I'm "opting in" knowing full well that these restrictions exist. I own a lot more for my 99 cents per song than someone "renting" from Napster for a flat monthly fee.

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Old 09-03-2005, 11:43 PM   #7
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I use allofmp3 for my music. I can choose the format I want and it costs pennies per song and is DRM free. As I last checked it's in a legal loophole, but as far as I know it isn't illegal at least by any enforcable law so long as the buyer does not share it.
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