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Who does DRM really benefit?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by shadowritten, Oct 24, 2005.

?
  1. The copyright holder(s)?

    12.7%
  2. The record companies?

    87.3%
  3. The consumer?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    Given that I'm currently embroiled in an argument with Sony Connect over the right to play music I legitimately bought from them, I thought it might be an interesting exercise to find out what we all think of DRM. So, it's poll time ...

    My personal view? Record companies, pure and simple. It's they who benefit most directly. I certainly agree that DRM protects the copyright holders, but I disagree that this is the motivation behind its implementation. And I don't think the fat cat record bosses are THAT altruistic, do you?
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    IMO it is definately the record companies that benefit from DRM. But saying that, aren't they also the copyright holders of the music anyway? AFAIK if an artist is under a recording contract then anything they write and record is then 'owned' by the record company.

    Mark.
     
  3. pjskel

    pjskel
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    Depends on the contract they signed. An established act would have more control/say in their ownings, etc.
    Newbies to the industry, who'll be gone in a year or two's time - shafted left, right, and centre. S-Club 7 a prime example!
     
  4. vtah236

    vtah236
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    I think the question is missing one important option: Nobody.

    I would argue that the use of such technology ultimately backfires upon both the record companies and the copyright holder as millions of frustrated consumers see themselves criminalised
     
  5. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    Quite possibly. And I agree with the part about feeling criminalised. Which is not to say I've never copied music illegally; but now that I buy it all, I resent being unable to use it fully and effectively within the law. Like the stuff I got from Sony Connect which now won't play on my PC because the account I originally used to purchase it has been deleted (it was a duplicate). It's like money down the drain.

    In any case, the record companies themselves are clearly rather selective about which content they 'control' through DRM. New releases by 'hip' artists of today have their CDs Copy Controlled ... yet only yesterday, I bought a NEW CD of Paul Young's Greatest Hits (owned and released by Sony BMG, one of the biggest supporters of strict DRM) yet this disc was completely copy control-free. Is the copyright of Mr Young not then as important as that of Coldplay? It smacks of greed and hypocrisy :mad:
     
  6. shadowritten

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    Bit of an update on the Sony Connect thing:

    They're allowing me to redownload the affected tracks (how kind, seeing as they stopped them working) - only they've so far given me access to the tracks which ... er ... aren't actually affected. Terrific.

    They also put in their email - and this amused me - that DRM is essential for the music industry at this time. I couldn't resist pointing out that DRM is, in fact, circumventable (without being specific about how), and that knowing this, had I been of criminal mind, I wouldn't be in the situation I currently find myself with them. If that's not an argument against the need for using DRM to inconvenience honest customers, I don't know what is ...
     
  7. Steven

    Steven
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    Piracy - OK, it needs to be stopped

    DRM for legal downloads...grrr but understandable

    DRM on legal paid for CDs is taking the [expletive]
     
  8. shadowritten

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    Just for fun, I decided to punish Sony Connect's ignorance. Re-downloaded the tracks they'd given me re-access to (even though I didn't need them), used the burn rights available to me as a Sony Connect customer to convert these tracks to an audio CD format, then simply reimported them to SS. The question of SQ/generation loss aside, it was like stealing candy from a baby ... or, er, music from a record company/the copyright holders? Now have perfectly DRM-free copies of the music Sony's software engineers must've worked so hard to try to protect.

    Pathetic ...
     
  9. shadowritten

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    Before I settle down to sleep, thought I'd share the findings of my experiments with trying to break Sony Connect's DRM. And the news is good ... for Sony :(

    Man! Their DRM system is the best I've yet pitted my wits against! A worthy adversary indeed - so much so, that I've had to admit defeat (to an extent) and settle for a 'compromise'. What am I frothing about? You'll see ...

    First, the background: I had not one, but THREE different logins with Sony Connect. I had to create a fresh one each time I bought anything from them, as alterations to my PC's software environment rendered each successive login useless. Naturally, this situation grated after a while, so I ranted at Sony and got them to delete the last two logins and restore full rights to the original one. So far, so good.

    Then the trouble started ...

    Purchases from Sony Connect made using anything other than my original login were then totally scuppered. Still played on my HD5H, but not on my PC. Nor could I transfer back, convert ... or anything! First blood to Sony. Fair enough, after some further ranting, they sent me e-vouchers for two more album downloads, which I've since taken advantage of.

    Anyway, in a vain attempt to prove that I could still beat Sony's DRM system, you'll see from my post above that I burned an audio CD, then reimported to SS. And on the surface, all was sweet ... second round to me.

    Or not.

    When I hooked up my HD5H, it recognised that these newly imported DRM-free tracks needed auto-transferring to its HDD, but SS wouldn't play ball. So this time, I had tracks playable on the PC, but not my DAP! Well played, Sony - second blood to you, after all.

    Then I thought, 'Let's try good ole EAC/LAME - it's never failed me!' And indeed, when I used this trusty combo to rip/encode my DRM-free Sony tracks (which I'd earlier converted to normal audio by burning ... you're all still with me, right?) to 320kbps MP3, it did so perfectly. I imported these MP3s to SS, then successfully converted them to ATRAC3Plus ... it was beginning to look like I was going to score a point at last! But no, more trouble ...

    These MP3 to ATRAC converts wouldn't even import to SS, let alone play when double-clicked! Third and finally blood to Sony: game, set and match.

    My solution, then? Import these awkwardly made MP3s to SS, then transfer as ATRAC to my DAP ... which works fine, incidentally. My conclusion? Never, ever buy ANY MUSIC AGAIN from Sony Connect! Just not worth the bother in trying to get rid of its DRM - which, as far as my experiments have shown - isn't entirely possible anyway.

    So, I'm finally defeated on DRM. Well done, Sony. :clap:

    Now it's over to you chaps/chapesses. We've got a man down here (i.e. me!); we need reinforcements! Anyone got any brighter ideas?

    Night, night ... :boring:
     
  10. Aargh

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    A quick question here, if you have the files in 320kbps LAME MP3 why are you converting them to ATRAC3? I understand that there are arguments between the sound quality vs. size between the formats but wouldn't it make more sense to just leave them as MP3? you have a HD5 so it isn't like you need them in ATRAC3, and furthermore you are asking for further sound degredation by choosing to reconvert the files.
     
  11. shadowritten

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    Totally agree.

    It is a size vs quality issue for me. However, the main objective was simply to see if DRM could be beaten. Sony have clearly done something right with theirs - unlike WMA, which is child's play to get around. I'm :( to have been shown up for all my boasting about beating any DRM out there, but :) to be wiser for the experience. Actually, I'm pretty impressed; it shows that Sony can at least get some things right, even if those things make its customers :mad:
     
  12. Grey Area

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    Hard to decide on this poll without some hard numbers, and I wouldn´t know how to get these. I think DRM has a negative effect on the industry, after all, Sony lost its dominating position on the portable audio market with its insistence on very strict DRM, and now the whole company is suffering. Will the artists working for Sony also suffer from this?

    I don´t see how the consumers benefit, although the industry will probably argue otherwise ("DRM ensures that we can continue to supply the finest blah blah..."). Personally I do not even buy copy-protected CD´s anymore - I used to buy everything from Tool and A Perfect Circle, but the last APC albums are copy-protected, so no thanks; I don´t support DRM, and I don´t support people who support DRM. So this is a case where the presence of DRM means lost sales, but I guess the industry counts on the positive effects outweighing the negative ones, and maybe they are right.

    In the end, the only people who surely benefit are the lawyers, I guess.

    Björn
     
  13. mrtbag

    mrtbag
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    I think they did that by producing products not up to their normal standard. :thumbsdow Nothing to do with DRM.
     
  14. jason5_k

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    I am not a pirate[is that right?] I am a proud law obiding citizen but I HATE the likes of DRM, because If I buy music or whatever, I expect to be able to do what I want with what I bought. And anyway,how much extra money does DRM create?? Because judging by the lifestyles of ALL popular artists they don't seem to be short of cash and then think of the record companies who make the real money.
    As a stuck for cash student, I buy CDs from eBay when the price falls.
     
  15. WelshBluebird

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    although it is the record companies that obviously benefit from DRM. An atlhough it is annoying having limits put on what you can do with your own legally payed for tracks, it doesn't bother me because it is just so easy to get around.
     
  16. shadowritten

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    Having praised Sony not 24 hours ago for the relative effectiveness of their infuriating DRM system, I now have a warning to issue to anyone stupid/brave enough to copy my example and try to beat said DRM system on tracks bought from Sony Connect using the method I described above.

    In short: DON'T!!!

    I have tonight discovered that so comprehensive is Sony's DRM, it won't let you import tracks you've tried to tamper with back into SS, EVEN AFTER YOU'VE BEEN HONEST AND REPURCHASED THEM FROM CONNECT!!!

    Yes, this is true! I decided to admit defeat and simply rebuy the tracks I messed up with my meddling. Now, even these newly bought tracks CANNOT BE USED WITH SS - meaning I've just chucked more moolah in the bin!

    Frankly, it's my own fault. I appreciate this. What I don't appreciate, however, is this shocking example of Big Brother tactics from Sony. I am now determined NEVER to purchase music from Sony Connect again, purely out of principle! This is no way to treat customers ... and it's also making me seriously reconsider Sony as a choice of DAP (especially given the news just posted in this forum that Sony has withdrawn support for the HD5 in terms of backwards compatibility with new software releases).

    However much I adore ATRAC's gaplessness, do I really want to be dictated to like this?
     
  17. Grey Area

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    I guess that´s possible, but I have been happy with Sony´s quality except for the very recent (this year´s) products, and Sony had lost their position long before that. Are you referring to any products in particular?

    I remember articles in economy magazines (Forbes and Economist, I think) which regarded Sony´s decision to limit their devices to Atrac/SonicStage as the main reason for their defeat against the more open Apple/Ipod.

    Björn
     
  18. shadowritten

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    Remember the above rant? Well, I have news. I've found a way around the DRM once again. And I'm not sure, but I think SS 3.3 might've helped ...

    Quick recap: bought some ATRACs from Connect. Wanted to remove DRM using Ryzir's excellent technique - not possible on Connect-bought ATRACs. So I burned to disc, re-ripped to ATRAC using SS - still no joy. New files created, DRM apparently gone, but importing to My Library impossible. Transcoded to MP3, imported okay to SS, converted back to ATRAC en route to my device ... but still couldn't import these conversions into SS! Annoying.

    Now, the news:

    Took those MP3 transcodes and ran them through Convert Format in SS 3.3, turning them back into ATRAC. Then deleted these MP3s from My Library, and tried again to import the conversions from Optimized Files: IT WORKED!!! To complete the process and neaten things up, right-clicked the affected files, selected Properties, went to File Info tab, then used Move File to put these converts back in the folders where I want them. Hey presto!

    Long-winded? Yes. Pointless? Quite possibly. Satisfying to have gotten around another DRM system? Definitely! :clap:
     
  19. Beethovenian

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    Shadow, have you tried this software ? In the Atraclife forum, it was suggested that this could be a way of converting a Connect Atrac file to wav. If it works, seems like an easier way of preserving your legally downloaded music.
     
  20. DavidNZ

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    Regarding Sony's DRM, this might be of great interest:

    http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights.html

    Seems Sony might be installing root kits on people's computers if they buy CDs that have their own media player on the CD (and where that's the only way to play the CD).

    Shameful. I smell a huge lawsuit. Keep your auto-play turned off on your CD drive.
     
  21. eyeballKid

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    Well there's DRM as it should be ("if you pay for a piece of music you have the right to listen to it on any compatible device of your choosing") and then there's DRM as it can be ("if you format your hard drive or upgrade your pc or switch your mp3 player or other activity unrelated to the purchase of a piece of DRM'd content it's like you never bought it").

    DRM doesn't affect me that much for now, I don't tend to download and would rather just buy the CD then media-shift it onto my PC and Karma. But I have had a couple of CDs just not recognised by my PC, I fear it can only get worse, and I don't see anyone winning from poorly-implemented DRM. Ever fear that one day we'll be hooking old CD players up to the mic socket on the PC just to feed our MP3 players? (Or else have to suffer and buy low-bitrate gappy mp3s from a limited selection). Doesn't look like anyone wins (although with enough DRM people could get turned off music altogether and spend their money elsewhere).

    Of course the correct answer to who benefits can be determined by record company sales figures which prove that people who would have pirated a piece of music instead bought it (perhaps multiple times) purely because of the DRM. But you know no one's measuring that...
     
  22. shadowritten

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    Ladies and Gentlemean of the Anti-DRM fraternity, I have an announcement to make ...

    I'd like to publicly acknowledge our very own Beethovenian as a genius!! :clap:

    I have just experimented with converting ATRACs to PCM WAV files using the renderer program posted up by the good Beethovenian, and am happy to report that my long-winded method of removing DRM from legally owned ATRACs can be firmly kicked in the teeth!

    Seriously, folks, this program is so simple, fast and efficient I want to cry at its ease and utterly astonishing results! Now admittedly, I haven't yet tried importing these newly created WAVs back into SS 3.3, nor have I attempted to convert them back to ATRAC to see if a) gaplessness remains; and b) DRM is completely gone. But when I do, I'll post results (unless someone else would like to test this - I have an early start tomorrow!).

    Once again, all kudos to Beethovenian :smashin: :smashin: :smashin:


    EDIT: Okay, so I stayed up and tried importing these WAVs into SS. It worked. Then I transcoded them back to ATRAC. It worked. Then I checked for DRM restrictions. There aren't any. Then I chopped up a track to see if gaplessness remained. It did.

    Beethovenian, I want to have your babies! :devil:
     
  23. Beethovenian

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    Hey, all kudos to Marcnet, the developer, whoever he is, and to the people at the Atraclife forum who mentioned this little program. You won't want my babies when you can have theirs :devil: . But I'm glad it worked.
     
  24. shadowritten

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  25. vtah236

    vtah236
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    erm... apart from the challenge of outwitting Sony DRM, what exactly is the point of using the Connect store to buy music?
     
  26. jason5_k

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    Hang on, what is the point of DRM
     
  27. jason5_k

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    ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
     
  28. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    Good point.

    You know what they say: Try everything once ... except incest. And Morris Dancing. :D
     
  29. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    To stop freeloading cheapstakes from copying CD albums (usually in large quanities) and either distributing those illegal copies to friends for free, or making money out of selling them on the black market. Oh, and to stop folk from 'sharing' music files over P2P networks online - another form of stealing, really.
     
  30. jason5_k

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    It really must not be a huge problem as only Sony is/are trying to do something about it (apart from sueing loads of people) makes you wonder. Maybe Sony are in the same group of people who say that playing with conkers is dangerous!
     

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