Saturday, November 05, 2005

I Hate the RIAA

I'm not a huge techie guy. At one point (back in the XDOGS days,) I was maybe heading that way, but that was several years and at least one tech stock bubble-burst ago. That being said, I'm technologically angry right now. What should have been a grand occassion, me receiving my copy of Civilization 4, quickly turned sour.

The RIAA broke my CD-drive. I've known about their evil/stupid ways for a long time: Evil in not letting me put music that I purchased (er, excuse me...licensed. Let's just say that copywrite law was not developed with digital media in mind. That's all I'm saying...Joe goes much further. Or at least he did before he had stupid 'judicial ethics' rules to worry about...), on my Ipod, because the record labels want in. (Try innovation one time fellas, rather then peddling us the same mass-marketed, lip-synch-it-on-SNL, look-at-her-chest-don't-listen-to-her-sing bullshit all the time...Apple came up with something sweet, and they are reaping the benefits. Eat it you untalented, MBA, hacks.)

Of course, the evil is only half of it. They are also stupid. Especially considering that it's holy hell to take stuff from an Ipod and put it back onto your PC, you'd think that allowing it onto the device in the first place doesn't really present much in the way of a piracy threat as say Napster (the good Napster. Like I was going to buy a whole Backstreet BoysSurivor album just to get "I Want it That WayEye of the Tiger") or KaZaa would. Of course to do that I have to, well pirate it anyway.

(quotations from their customer service email)

Dear [Angry Pooh],

Thank you for purchasing [generic crap] from [artist who finely splits the difference between has been and never was]

. . .

We are actively working with Apple to provide a solution for secure CDs like the one you have purchased. During the interim and at the request of some labels, we have opened a backdoor to allow the transfer of the music on the secure CD to your iPod.

Please note that the challenge with the iPod is it's proprietary nature. The iPod and iTunes only support Apple digital rights management. Because of this, the iPod is not compatible with Windows Media based online music stores like Napster, MusicMatch, PureTracks, Rhapsody and others. Files purchased from these legitimate services will not play on the iPod. We encourage you to contact Apple and ask them to implement an acceptable solution. Apple can be reached at:
Glad we've established its Apple's fault that your music doesn't work...
Now on to a solution - please follow the instructions below in order to move your content to the iPod.
If you have a Mac computer:
Just because I have an Ipod doesn't make me a complete tech-dork. At this point in the email, I'm half expecting a UNIX-based work around. Nerds.

If you have a PC you can do the following:
Place the CD into your computer and allow the CD to automatically start. If the CD does not automatically start, open your Windows Explorer, locate the drive letter for your CD drive and double-click on the LaunchCD.exe file located on your CD.
Of course, they neglect to mention the goodies that come with it.
Once the application has been launched and the End User License Agreement has been accepted, you can click the Copy Songs button on the top menu.
(emphasis mine). So at least I agreed to install your 'ineptware' on my brainPC. It's all my fault. Or Apple's. Perhaps even the liberals. Because if I pirate music, the terrorists (e.g. DJ DangerMouse or film satirists) win.

[blah blah blah, licenses, blah blah blah, Windows Media Player is great , blah blah blah] Please note, there is a different music license needed for alternate music players (non-Windows Media Player) to be able to play our protected WMA files. To download this license, you must be connected to the Internet. From the ‘Welcome’ screen, click on the link below the album art that says “If your music does not play using your preferred player, click here.” Follow the instructions to download the alternate license.
So you could make it work on the Ipod, you just choose not to. Very sneaky. But wait, here's the best part.
Once the songs are open, you can use the Windows Media Player or compatible software player to burn the songs to a CD. [blah blah blah Windows Media is super spiffy for burning CD's blah blah blah I wish I worked for Apple blah blah blah do you think they'd hire me after I worked here? blah blah blah]
So my way around your asinine copy protection to make a copy. Seems ok. Except for, why bother in the first place?
Once the CD has been burned, place the copied CD back into your computer and open iTunes. iTunes can now copy the songs as you would a normal CD.

We appreciate your patience and understanding while we work with Apple to come up with a viable solution to this challenge.
Or Apple, delightfully, tells you to piss off and come up with your own Greatest Invention of the New Millenium (with due deference to TiVo...BONG...)
Thank you,

[J. Edgar Minion]

Tech Support

[Luddite Record Industry Giant "A"]
So I've got my music on my Ipod. And my PC has Virtual VD, and my CD drive won't work to install CivCrack 4. Thanks to my tech-savior, Mr. Grackle, I at least have a link with some tips. Except, I'm not Johnny-5, so this is wayyyy too much input. I do recognize something about 'drivers' so I reinstall my CD driver (I think that's what I did, at least), and am finally able to expose my self to the Sid Meier-ian goodness.(Of course, what's the biggest new addition to Civ 4? Organized religions. I even have to argue abour Intelligent Design in my video games now.)

Not that any of this was really neccesary. As the Mavnificent Benefactor says, it really shouldn't be this way. But the RIAA is wedded to a outmoded distrbution method.

Of course when asked about the strategy which makes my laptop collateral damage in their war with Apple, Major Label Head Anonymous McJackass says with imagination typical of the profession: "Maybe they'll send Steve Jobs an e-mail."

I just might, but I can't open my email now for fear of spreading my PC Plague.

Tech Law Dorky Update: Professor Solove at Concurring Opinions, along with commentors, explores the legality of Sony's particular DRM. See also here and here for opposing views on the legality of this crap.

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