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Kindle, Zune DRM Restrictions Coming Into Focus 311

Posted by kdawson
from the lie-down-with-dogs dept.
It's not news that the media you buy for both Kindle and Zune are protected by DRM. Readers are sending in stories of some of the ramifications of that fact. First, Absentminded-Artist notes an account at Gear Diary recounting what an Amazon rep told one user about download limits on Kindle books. "One facet of the Kindle's DRM has reared an ugly head: download limitations. Upgraded your iPhone recently? Bought a new Kindle? You may not be able to reload your entire library. There's an unadvertised flag: 'You mean when you go to buy the book it doesn't say "this book can be downloaded this number of times" even though that limitation is there?' To which [the rep] replied, 'No, I'm very sorry it doesn't.'" Next, reader Rjak writes "DRM is a bad idea, poorly implemented. One of the many many valid reasons to drop Zune and its marketplace is the DRM validation error you see below. The vast majority of the music I had purchased last year is completely gone. There's no refund, the music doesn't exist on the service anymore, the files are just garbage now. Here's the error (screen capture): 'This item is no longer available at Zune Marketplace. Because of this, you can no longer play it or sync it with your Zune. There might be another iteration of it available in Zune Marketplace.'" Update: 06/23 00:28 GMT by KD : The Gear Diary blog has been updated with what may be more definitive information from Amazon on how the Kindle DRM behaves.
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Kindle, Zune DRM Restrictions Coming Into Focus

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  • by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:44PM (#28413381)

    iTunes
    You mean that totally 100% DRM free music service?

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:48PM (#28413877)
    This is precisely why I -don't- buy CDs anymore. I used to faithfully buy CDs from a band published through EMI. I play all my music from my PC and it's Very Fine (TM) sound system I spent a bunch of cash putting together. I do not own a stereo. One day, I bought the latest CD by this band and was surprised and confused as to why it stubbornly refused to play... turned out that EMI had put some copyprotection shit on the CD that resolutely refused to work with my CD playing software.

    Now, I'm technically literate so it was a simple thing to rip the CD bit-wise and produce lossless files from it and burn them to a CD, but I was so incensed by the whole experience that I swore an oath never to buy from EMI again, nor any company that put protection on its CDs. I PAID for that CD, dammit - I did the right thing because I wanted to support what they were doing. And yet I, the person who actually paid cash for it, was the one who couldn't enjoy it while Teh Evul Piratez could.

    Not only was their copy protection a waste of time, it was also lost them a faithful customer.

  • by KeithIrwin (243301) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:39PM (#28414231)

    Unfortunately, this isn't really correct. The way the copyright law is written, you're not buying a license, you're buying a copy. This has several implications. The first is that you don't necessarily have the right to duplicate it onto your portable player, you car mp3 player, etc. Although most people suspect that the courts would rule this to be fair use, this has never been established. If the music were licensed, it would say specifically whether or not this were allowed and would most likely have to allow it to get consumers to buy it. The second is that you don't have to destroy copies upon transfer of ownership. So when you sell your mp3 player, you don't have to erase it. Or if you make a copy of something to discuss it in class (education and critical fair use) you aren't required to destroy it once you're done discussing it.

    Now, what's been happening is that the media companies (RIAA, MPAA, BSA) don't like the second implication of this. So they tell people that they aren't buying a copy, but only a license. This is nonsense. You don't need a license to read a book you've bought and you don't need a license to play an mp3 you bought. If you went to the grocer and he told you he was selling you a license to eat an apple and then handed you an apple, you'd correctly assume that he was being silly and just consider yourself the owner of the apple. This is the same thing which is happening with digital music files. They may say "I'm selling you a license", but what they've actually given you is a copy. You own that copy. It's fixed on your hard-drive, which you own. They may in some cases argue that they can attach a license to that purchase to restrict what you can do with your copy, but they're selling you a copy, not a license.

  • by davester666 (731373) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:12PM (#28414457) Journal

    19 plastic disc's.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:29PM (#28414581)

    Oh you do? Tell me, which third party devices and software support iTunes DRM?

    They all do, except those where the manufacturer chose not to include AAC support.

    And it works on Linux?

    Yes, Linux can play the files also.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:12PM (#28415223)

    Actually, the Audio Home Recording Act lets you transcode digital media and move it between devices.

    The problem is, how does it interface with the DMCA if this portability requires breaking DRM to do so. That has not been clarified in any court case.

  • by _ivy_ivy_ (1081273) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @10:02PM (#28415513)

    Unfortunately, it is not quite that perfect. It seems that their offer to upgrade DRMed tracks for $0.30 has a hitch. If the label decides to alter the title of the album slightly, you can't upgrade. For example, if they change the album title from "Groovy tunes" to "Groovey Tunes (remastered)" you are SOL. This stranded nearly 100 of my songs in iTunes hell. ("My songs" might be an inappropriate phrase.) The net result of this:

    Bye bye, iTunes. Hello, Amazon.

  • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Monday June 22, 2009 @12:25AM (#28416701) Journal

    Squirt them.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 22, 2009 @12:40AM (#28416831) Homepage

    All I could see when I read that was the big honking word "LIMITED".

    Limited to time? Sure. Availability? Why not!

    Because ambiguity in a contract is construed against the drafter of the contract. [ct.gov] Provided you meet the limits explicitly specified ("personal, noncommercial use") you can do anything you want with the content, and Microsoft is barred from imposing further restrictions after the fact.

  • by flerndip (1191125) <flerndip.gmail@com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @02:47AM (#28417681)

    It should be noted that upon installing the iPhone 3.0 update, one must once again agree to the iTunes Store Terms of Service. Careful examination reveals this contract to be sixty-seven pages in length. I shit you not.

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