Wad Hates The DRM

DRM is like placing inside every home a cop with the right to search every room and remove anything he thinks wasn’t paid for, a cop that’s not particularly bright and won’t listen to reason. The RIAA and the MPAA and Apple and Microsoft and scores of other institutions with insufferable and obsolete business plans would like us to call it Digital Rights Management, but it’s really Digital Restrictions Management. Its only purpose is to prevent consumers from getting the most out of the media they pay for. Oh sure, the rhetoric is that it’s for preventing theft, but how can you steal something you paid for? Answer me that.

“But Wad, some people make illegal copies and sell them on the internets…”

Shut up. Seriously. Just shut the fuck up. The slope you’re sliding down with that kind of talk holds the consumer responsible for the woes of the manufacturer. That makes no sense. How long would I stay in business if I forced my legitimate customers to suffer in response to the actions of a few thieves? How about predicted thieves, or imagined thieves? Are we customers, or are we rape victims?

I’m not a fucking criminal. I paid for this stuff and now I’d like to use it. I don’t appreciate it when, after I buy something, the person who sold it to me keeps their grabbing hands on it. And no one is going to tell me how I can use my own stuff.

I’m at work. I have my iPod. I just downloaded onto my work computer a free MP3 that I’d like to listen to on the way home. But I can’t because of the fucking DRM. It’d be nice if I could just transfer the file onto the iPod and listen to it. It would be easy to do with a variety of existing methods, and in a reasonable world it would be done already. And right about now I’d like to fucking strangle somebody, preferably somebody in a suit with an MBA.

One night, I bought two songs from the Apple iTunes Music Store (I was drunk at the time and not thinking clearly). Recently, I updated my version of iTunes. Now those songs won’t play; it tells me that I don’t have the right privileges. Oh sure, I could contact Apple; I could get down on my purulent knees and beg, please, oh please, may I listen to the songs I paid for, please, oh great and mighty corporate pinheads? If it’s not too much trouble? And assuming you can pull yourselves away from sucking each other’s dicks?

I’m watching a movie on my computer and I see something cool that I’d like to show a friend. I just want to take a screen capture so that I can have a JPG to email. No. The screen capture program has been disabled because I have the DVD player open. Mother fucking cocksuckers have rigged my shit so that it only works the way they want. Whose fucking computer is this? I’d like to shove my fist down their overpaid throats and rip their fucking lungs out.

For Christmas, my mother gives me a cheap MP3 player full of eBooks that she paid for (one of which is Gilgamesh, a story thousands of years old and still under copyright somehow). Maybe I’d like to listen to them on one of my computers. Maybe I’d like transfer them to my iPod so that I can listen to them in my truck through the stereo. Maybe I’d like to play them on a fucking kazoo. But no, I can’t do that. I have to listen to them on the player because the files are “locked.” Oh sure, that’s great, that’s just fucking great. Yeah, that would just be awful if I could read the books my mother gave me any way at all. That would ruin everything. The authors of those books would suffer so much if that happened, even the dead ones.

That’s where we live today. Every single consumer of digital media pays inflated prices and suffers unreasonable hardships to use products we paid for because the manufacturers think some theft (that they can’t factually quantify) may occur.

So the real question is: how crappy can the customer’s experience become before the customer decides he or she doesn’t need that shit?

It’s as if purchased products were contained in a box with a locking lid, a lid that can be locked by remote control, a remote controlled by some bot or script that parses the data according to some random algorithm. Or worse, according to some random legislation rammed through congress and up all of our asses by corporate lobbyists.

If you don’t know what the DMCA is (and you are an American) then, please, do us all a favor and kill yourself. Kill yourself or stop buying digital media of any sort (you foreigners may have legislation at least as odious and you should also kill yourselves if you don’t know about it). The U. S. Congress has passed other travesties of legislation that bend over tax-paying consumers to fatten the coffers of lazy and ignorant corporations, but that’s the big one.

In the meantime, here are some links to products that seem promising* for making watching movies at home almost as easy as it should be.

MythTV is a DVR written originally for the Linux operating system. Yep, there’s a learning curve. It’s kind of like Tivo but with more features. For instance, with MythTV you can rip your DVDs to a hard-drive.

Pluto is an all-in-one solution that combines media & entertainment, home automation, security, telecom and computing into one package. Apparently, you control it with your mobile phone. And it’s free. Free, of course, means learning curve.

The Hannibal line of home media centers apparently takes care of that little learning curve thing by setting up MythTV in a ready-to-go box. Naturally, ready-to-go means it’ll cost you. Prices range from five bills to over a grand.

*I haven’t used any of this stuff, just fantasized about it. So I can’t tell you for real if it works or not. But it sure looks promising. Almost takes my mind off the fucking bullshit DRM spread like raw fucking sewage all over my goddamn digital media.

Wad out.

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