I was in the need to begin to understand DRM (Digital Rights Management) a bit. So I went on over to the MSN Music website and tried buying a song or two.
It was AMAZINGLY easy to buy stuff once I gave them my credit card info – I mean it is a single click away! You can spend money like crazy and not even feel it… scary!
I then tried the test – lets copy my .wma file I bought at work onto my home machine and try playing it… TADA! After a little server magic and license download and verification there I am listening to my new song. Very cool!
But then I wondered – what did I really get? I started reading around about DRM and your license can have all kinds of fancy features – play counts, time limitations, copy limits, etc.
So I wanted to learn how to view my license rights. The nearest I could figure was using WMA 10 and viewing my files license – there it was – I had 8 copies to DC left! So I paid good money for something I can only copy 8 times to CD – or maybe to anywhere?
DRM is still a bit of a mystery to me and I can see people wanting to curse it – being used to good ol MP3 files – but really DRM was created by us (well not me) but by us music thieves.
If people didn’t collect gigs of stolen music (like some people I know) there would never have been a need for protections like this. The music industry wouldn’t have seen it worth bothering with. But the fact is, a few (million) jerks have once again made the world a messyer place for the rest of us.
So if you hate DRM and the restrictions it imposes – ask yourself – how many songs have I stolen? Then imagine taking the time to compose, perform, record, remix, promote, tour and sell your own music only to have half of the copies stolen electronicly in the blink of an eye.
I think Microsoft knows how to get a buck out of the real problems of this world – I hope DRM, like door locks, can make us all more honest and help us value other peoples stuff and effort more.