Repeat after me: DRM hurts the customer

by Volker Weber

The latest Dave Matthews Band CD ships with a copy protection that prevents a PC user from reading the songs into iTunes and subsequently onto an iPod. Mac users don't have this problem since the copy protection scheme only attacks PCs.

Since there are a lot of iPod users with Windows PCs, the band explains on their homepage how to create a CD without the copy protection:

Once the WMA files are on your PC you can open and listen to the songs with Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher. Using Windows Media Player only, you can then burn the songs to a CD. Please note that in order to burn the files, you need to upgrade to or already have Windows Media Player 9 or greater.

Once the CD has been burned, place the copied CD back into your computer and open iTunes. iTunes can now rip the songs as you would a normal CD.

This proves once again that an DRM'ed CD is an inferior product. It punishes only the paying customer. The website then takes a shot at Apple:

Please note an easier and more acceptable solution requires cooperation from Apple, who we have already reached out to in hopes of addressing this issue. To help speed this effort, we ask that you use the following link to contact Apple and ask them to provide a solution that would easily allow you to move content from protected CDs into iTunes or onto your iPod rather than having to go through the additional steps above.

I am not really sure what they are hinting at. I assume it is the lack of support for "protected" WMA files in iTunes and on the iPod. Shouldn't they be talking to their record company instead?


Who would buy a Dave Mattews Band CD anyway :-)

Bruce Elgort, 2005-08-18

I'm inclined to believe that they were talking to Apple about cutting the prices on iBooks, Powerbooks and other iPod compatible Apple hardware so that the average user can easily afford a computer that's not as easily crippled as the average PC ;) At least that's the only scenario where talking to Apple would make sense. And on a sidenote I was really astonished to learn that the latest CD of Juli has no copy protection at all. Someone in the music industry wisening up at last?

Stefan Rubner, 2005-08-18

What's insane is that if you disable auto-play on Windows machines, it renders the copy protection moot. I have the latest DMB on my machine, and all I needed to do was hold down shift when I loaded the CD into my machine. This disabled auto-play and allowed me to rip the files.

This whole thing is ludicrous. If I can circumvent via a shift key, why have the damn thing at all.

Once I find a disc I can't rip, I'll download it off the internet. As simple as that.


John Roling, 2005-08-18

John, in some countries DRM laws do not allow to circumvent the DRM. So holding down the shift key when inserting a CD would be illegal?

Arnd Layer, 2005-08-19

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