Fun with DRM

Barry Ritzholtz bought a My Morning Jacket CD and was dismayed to find that it contained a DRM program that prevented him from shifting it onto his iPod with his Windows computer. He looked a little further and found that the DRM is merely a way to annoy music fans who use iTunes and iPod: The Big Picture: DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts: “This DRM is not at all about making the CD immune to piracy. Instead, its part of a pissing contest between Sony and Apple:  Variety writes that ‘the new copy protection scheme — which makes it difficult to rip CDs and listen to them with an iPod — is designed to put pressure on Apple to open the iPod to other music services, rather than making it dependent on the iTunes Music Store for downloads.'”
The band’s record label (Dave Matthews’ ATO imprint) isn’t happy with the decision of its distributor (Sony BMG) to implement DRM. Information Regarding Our Artists’ Music, Copy-Protected CDs and your iPod: “We at ATO Records are aware of the problems being experienced by certain fans due to the copy-protection of our distributor. Neither we nor our artists ever gave permission for the use of this technology, nor is it our distributor’s opinion that they need our permission. Wherever it is our decision, we will forego use of copy-protection, just as we have in the past.”
The label and fans have a reason to be unhappy. J. Alex Halderman describes how the DRM software Sony uses adopts some of the nefarious practices of spyware: CD DRM Makes Computers Less Secure

When XCP2 installs its anti-copying program, it also installs a second component which serves to hide the existence of the software. Normally, programs and data aren’t supposed to be invisible, particularly to system administrators; they may be superficially hidden, but administrators need to be able to see what is installed and running in order to keep the computer secure. What kind of software would want to hide from system administrators? Viruses, spyware, and rootkits (malicious programs that surreptitiously hand over control of the computer to a remote intruder). Rootkits in particular are known for their stealthiness, and they sometimes go to great lengths to conceal their presence

Posted in DRM.