I’ve been arguing DRM issues with several people of late. It’s a hot button for me. Several people have taken me to task for daring to disregard an agreement; I maintain it isn’t an agreement if I’m not given negotiating power, it’s a concession. The average user concedes that he is subject to corporate legal boilerplate if caught with his hands in the cookie jar. Case in point, iTunes has no legal basis on which to claim that I cannot modify my own files in any manner I deem necessary, but it’s in their contracts anyway. I can’t negotiate their unenforcible clauses out of the contract, so they remain in place. They’ll just have to catch me, I guess.
* Stealing Fair Use, Selling It Back to you
“Apparently, Hollywood believes that you should have to re-
purchase all your DVD movies a second time if you want to
watch them on your iPod.” That’s what we said last week,
commenting on the Paramount v. Load-N-Go lawsuit, in which
Hollywood studios claimed that it is illegal to rip a DVD to
put on a personal video player (PVP), even if you own the
Well, this week the other shoe dropped. According to an
article in the New York Times:
“Customers who buy the physical DVD of Warner Brothers’
‘Superman Returns’ in a Wal-Mart store will have the option
of downloading a digital copy of the film to their portable
devices for $1.97, personal computer for $2.97, or both for
So you buy the DVD, and if you want a copy on your PVP or
computer, you have to pay a second time. Despite the fact
that you bought the DVD, and you have a DVD drive in your
computer that is perfectly capable of making a personal-use
copy. Imagine if the record labels offered you this “deal”
for every CD you bought — pay us a few dollars extra, and
you can have a copy for your iPod. And a few more dollars,
if you want a copy on your computer, too! As LA Times
reporter Jon Healey puts it in his blog: “So from the
perspective of the studios and federal officials, consumers
have to pay for the privilege of doing the sorts of things
with DVDs that they’re accustomed to doing with CDs (and LPs
This latest bitter fruit from Hollywood is brought to you by
the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which treats
“protected” content (like the encrypted video on DVDs),
differently from “unprotected” content (like every audio and
video media format introduced before 1996). Thanks to the
DMCA, Hollywood believes fair use personal-use copies simply
do not exist when it comes to DVDs.
Let’s hope Congressman Rick Boucher is listening and will
reintroduce his DMCA reform bill first thing next year.
For this post and related links:
To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor
Contact: Rory Davenport of Qorvis Communications, 202-448-9292 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Press conference to address issues related to online music distribution and erroneous piracy characterization by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.
When: October 17, 2006
11:30am (Washington, New York)
8:30am (Los Angeles)
Special access will be granted to a reserved section on http://www.allofmp3.com
To participate, journalists must send an email to Rory Davenport at email@example.com. Reporters will receive a confirmation email with the link to the press conference location. Only pre-registered reporters will have access to the press conference. Registration will close on Monday, October 16 at 8 pm (Washington time).
Subject: Mediaservices will address issues related to a business dispute with the major record labels over the online music site AllofMP3.com.
Universal (V), WarnerMusic (WMG), SonyBMG (SNE) and EMI (EMI.L) have repeatedly mischaracterized the company as part of a campaign to secure a more favorable royalty structure. Those companies and their agents, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have enlisted the British and U.S. governments as part of their business campaign.
Mediaservices is convinced that its business model is legitimate and that it maximizes demand for music and spurs consumers to buy more music. The company believes that everyone wins, record labels, artists and distribution companies when the market is broader and deeper. Relying on a handful of artists for the majority of sales is an outdated business model and recipe for disaster for the music industry.
Note: A transcript of the press conference will not be available.
Contact: Rory Davenport, Qorvis Communications, 202-448-9292 or firstname.lastname@example.org