I feel that personal computers - and all things 'e' - should be simple to use like a light switch: on or off. Users of devices, for the most part don't care about the inner workings of those devices, about the gee whiz technology, they just want the devices to work.
Here's another analogy: when you turn the key in your car, you don't need to know how the car works, just how to to operate it and maybe how to conduct simple maintenance.
But after (how?) many years since their commercial introduction, PCs still don't have that ease of use, although they are moving snail-like in that direction. Walter Mossberg - the personal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal - stated it this way, in his very first column in 1991 (as quoted in the 14 May 2007 issue of the New Yorker): "Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it's not your fault."
I also believe that a consumer's use of those devices - and the things used with them - should be governed by "fair use". You pay for them - you own them. That's why I've railed against DRM in this blog. (The masthead does state that I will occasionally post on things other than beer!)
What is DRM? Scroll to the end of this blog for more links.
Amazon.com has just announced it is jumping on this (still tiny) fair use bandwagon: it will soon be offering downloaded music without (what I and many other believe to be) heinous digital rights management restrictions. And this from Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who was once quoted as believing that intrinsic ability trumps acquired skills and accumulated experiences!
Classless society... ha! But I digress.
I don't use peer-to-peer sharing networks, such as the old Napster or Kazaa: I don't steal. And, I don't want all that unfettered access to my hard drive. It invites too much danger from spyware, malware, viruses, trojan horses, and the entire menagerie of malicious software.
Thus I have been using services such as eMusic which have sold DRM-free music as downloads for a few years.
Some orchestras, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, have recently begun to offer their music as downloads. Chandos offers many choices from its classical catalog as well as others it licenses. (I like this from Chandos: they offer the entire booklet that would normally come with a purchased CD as a pdf file and the cover and back cover art. The other guys don't do that ... but should.)
And just last month, EMI and Apple announced a change. Apple will sell tracks without DRM for 30 cents more than copy-protected songs. Entire albums, without DRM, will not cost more.
Slowly, step by step, the music industry may be learning how to make money - fairly - in the digital age.
Here are other posts on DRM.
By ELIZABETH M. GILLESPIE, AP Business Writer
SEATTLE - Amazon.com plans to open an online music store offering only songs that are free of copy-protection technology and can be played on anything from PCs to portable gadgets such as Apple's iPod or Microsoft's Zune.
The Internet retailer decided to steer clear of digital-rights management technology because consumers want to be able to listen to their music on any device they choose, executives said Wednesday.
The market-leading iPod, for instance, can't play copy-protected music purchased from music purchased from Napster or RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody store. A Zune can't play tunes bought on iTunes. All players support music in the MP3 format."
Amazon's music store wasn't unexpected, and the company is tearing a page out of Apple Inc.'s songbook by offering music that's not locked down by digital-rights management technology.
Like Apple's iTunes Store, Amazon will offer DRM-free songs from Britain's EMI Music Group PLC. Amazon also said it will offer millions of tunes from 12,000 unnamed labels. Apple, however, will continue to sell copy-protected tunes.
Amazon said it would announce more labels when the service goes live later this year, but it did not identify a specific date.
Songs will be sold by the track or album, without a subscription option. Amazon didn't provide prices.
- More on DRM
- I don't steal music.
- Music for Old Folks
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (non-profit devoted to protecting fair use)
- Getting music off of your iPod (a DRM work-around)
- The Sound of Copy Restrictions Crashing (Washington Post's IT guy Rob Pegararo)
- Classical downloads done right
- No more DRM? [2008.01.15]