Thursday, August 28, 2008

Piracy justified.

Tonight I bought a song on iTunes for the first time, and I hope it will be my last.

I came across this pretty cool song — Rentacrowd by a British trio called the Len Price 3 — and decided I'd buy it on iTunes. (Believe me, I looked for it in some not-so-legal places, but it's suitably obscure to not turn up on either the file-sharing network of your choice, the torrents, or my new favourite music source, Deezer.) Besides, what's 99 cents? Nothin', that's what.

Well.

Turns out the song that I paid for was delivered to me in a mysterious new (to me) format: a .m4p file. It also turns out that this is the dreaded "protected" music format, with the much-hated DRM anti-piracy encryption, which can only be played in iTunes, which I rarely, if ever, use. If I want digitized audio, I want an MP3, and that's final.

But alas, Apple, the company from which I bought this music, which I paid for with my own hard-earned money, decided to treat me like a criminal before I heard one single note of the song — again, which I paid for. With money. In a business transaction. Faciliated by my credit card.

* * * * * * * * *

Let's say I went to Moore's and bought myself a nifty shirt. I could do a lot with this shirt, now that I own it. I could lend this shirt to a shirtless friend, if they were (a.) in need of a shirt, and (b.) my size. Hell, I could even carefully slice open the seams, figure out the pattern, go buy my own fabric, and sew myself up some identical shirts. The point is, I paid for the shirt, and now it's mine.

I don't like my wrists covered up by shirt cuffs; it's one of my pet peeves. As such, I will usually roll up the ends of my sleeves, as I prefer my sleeves that way. Since I own the shirt, I can do whatever I wa—

WE SOLD YOU A LONG-SLEEVED SHIRT.
ROLLING UP THE SLEEVES VIOLATES
THE TERMS OF SERVICE OF THE SHIRT.

Dude... I paid for it. It's mine. I can have it any way—

IF YOU WANT SHORT SLEEVES,
BUY A SHORT-SLEEVED SHIRT.

Um, fuck off? I like this shirt, I paid for it, and I own it.

YOU WILL NEVER OWN IT.
WE ARE JUST NICE ENOUGH TO LET YOU
GIVE US MONEY FOR IT.
BUT YOU WILL WEAR IT THE WAY WE TELL YOU TO.

* * * * * * * * *

I think I've made my point with this little vignette. And, don't you worry, I managed to find a way around this stupid .m4p/DRM/copy-protected bullshit (there are always loopholes; if you can hear a sound on a computer, you can always re-record it the way you want). The moral of the story is, iTunes can eat a bag of dicks.

3 comments:

Riz said...

Try this to remove the DRM on the content you own:

http://www.doubletwist.com

Do it quickly before Bill C-61 makes you a criminal.

JTL said...

Thanks, Riz -- I was going to send you an email to ask for your advice on how to get rid of the DRM, seeing as how you're into this kind of stuff. But, in the end, I just exploited the "analog loophole" and re-recorded it as an AIFF file.

I will check out Doubletwist, though.

Eve said...

You haven't mentioned those wonderful CDs that decide that if you're planning on burning the music, you must be attempting to put it on the internet for other pirates to enjoy, so they only let you play it on a computer through the terribly-designed music player contained on the CD. You can't play it in any other player. No iTunes, not even the native CD player on Windows. Now that's class.

(Side note: you can pirate/burn most CDs on macs, even if they have DRM!)