Repeat after me: DRM is bad for the customer

by Volker Weber

I don't know whether I mentioned this before, but DRM is bad for the customer. There were just two more incidents this week proving the point.

What is your resolve? Do not buy media crippled with DRM. Ever. And if you did, remove the "protection" while you can.


Same happened to me just a week ago. I tried to burn the music I bought from the iTunes Music Store as mp3. But it was not possible.

iTunes even has a function, to convert m4a to mp3. But not for music bought from iTunes.

After a google search I found this. I never tried it, maybe someone can? I guess burning a cd with iTunes and ripping it afterwards is still the best solution.

Dimitrios Seitz, 2006-03-19

I use a program called Blue Coconut to remove the DRM.

Blue Coconut

We buy all of our music using one iTunes account and then use Blue Coconut to place the music in our own library without DRM.

Bruce Elgort, 2006-03-19

Do you get MP3 from Blue Coconut or AAC?

Volker Weber, 2006-03-19

AAC 128kbps, however it does in fact look like DRM is still in the file prventing burning/converting. DRM is not good for the customer.

Bruce Elgort, 2006-03-19

I *used* to use JHymn to get the protection off of the iTunes files so that I could rip the tunes that I PAID FOR to mp3 and play on my non-iPod mp3 player (I did recently buy an iPod, but still do not want the protection on MY files). Then a new iTunes version came out and JHymn was broken. The only solution I've found so far is to use a program to capture any audio going through the sound card and convert it. On my Windows machine I'm using dbPoweramp (it costs a very reasonable US$14 - and that is only to stay legal with the mP3 license)...I'm told there's a similar program called AudioHijack from Rogue Amiga, but I've not tried it.

Joe Litton, 2006-03-20

I’ve used AudioHijack on the Mac, to capture audio from an on-line radio show. It’s very good: does exactly what it says on the tin.

Ben Poole, 2006-03-20

The review is flawed. It says "Even the iPod, playing back only FairPlay AAC tracks, underperformed MP3s by about 8 percent."

But at what bitrate? AAC comes with Long Term Prediction, Perceptual Noise Substitution and Temporal Noise Shaping. According to the specifications, MP3 has a compression factor of 12, while AAC has a compression factor of 16. This means that you can achive better sound quality with AAC at the same filesize. Or you can achieve smaller filesizes at the same sound quality. Smaller filesize means less disk access, which is by far the highest power drain in a hard disk player.

So I guess that it is very well possible that DRM AAC actually gives you *longer* playback time if you use comparable bitrates.

I don't know if the same applies to flash based players, but at the very best, this comparison between MP3 and DRM AAC is incomplete. Don't listen to flawed arguments, whether they come from the good guys or the bad guys. Besides, there are more than enough perfectly valid arguments against DRM.

Timo Stamm, 2006-03-21

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