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RIAA Says "Don't Expect DRMed Music To Work Forever" 749

Posted by timothy
from the just-ask-what-and-whether-you're-buying-or-renting dept.
Oracle Goddess writes "Buying DRMed content, then having that content stop working later, is fair, writes Steven Metalitz, the lawyer who represents the MPAA, RIAA in a letter to the top legal advisor at the Copyright Office. 'We reject the view that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works.' In other words, if it stops working, too bad. Not surprisingly, Metalitz also strongly opposes any exemption that would allow users to legally strip DRM from content if a store goes dark and takes down its authentication servers."
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RIAA Says "Don't Expect DRMed Music To Work Forever"

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  • Forever? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:52PM (#28884889)
    As a proud user of GStreamer-based media players, I didn't expect it to work at all.
    • Re:Forever? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @04:28PM (#28887553)

      AS a proud owner of a Linux Box and DRM free MP3 player, I have no reason to ever support DRM media.

      Market forces can kill it.

    • Re:Forever? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dan541 (1032000) on Friday July 31, 2009 @04:48AM (#28893519) Homepage

      As I pirate with over 50GB of pirated songs on CD (I had allot of free-time at one stage) I am not at all affected by these fraudsters. Piracy has also been morally justified to the highest possible level. In fact it seems unethical to pay for music because in doing so you are aiding and abetting fraud.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:52PM (#28884893)

    ...doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:52PM (#28884899)
    NOT!

    you keep shooting yourself in the foot and pretty soon you wont have a leg to stand on, i already quit buying your products, this is a good way to get even more people to quit buying your products...
    • They don't care. Providing product isn't in their business model anyway.
      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:09PM (#28885233) Journal

        We're discussing Record Megacorps not the Sopranos. They eanr their money by providing product, not extortion.

        (somebody whispers in my ear)

        What's that? RIAA sends out extortionate letters demanding $5000 or else? Really? Oh. Well then I retract my statement. They really are like the mafia.

      • i think they do care and that it is their business model. my records (LPs/vinyl) didnt last forever (scratched/ broken/warped in the back seat of my car), so i bought them on tape(8track/cassette). tape player(s) ate those. i bought cd's versions of all my albums when that format came out. again they got scratched, ex girlfriend stole them or whatever. then, through the magic of PCs i could back them up. i could burn that disc over and over and over again. i could even burn a copy for that evil bitch GF who
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by zehaeva (1136559)
          I have some other copyrighted material thats been working fine for decades and still hasn't been replaced. they are books but many of the ones that i own still work decades after they were purchased. I even have a few that still work after well over one hundred years! I also still have many vinyl albums that still work some 50 years on as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865)

      They don't care about keeping customers happy. They care about maintaining the "introduce a new format and require everyone to re-purchase their entire collection" model that they've had for the last century. With digital music, that's difficult to do unless they literally introduce a new and far superior digital format. Since they're not likely to do that -- or at least to the extent that the same number of people would switch from current mp3 or ogg that would switch from cassette to compact disc, they ha

    • by Abreu (173023) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:26PM (#28885541)

      "The more you tighten your grip, Metalitz, more songs will slip through your fingers"

      (What kind of name is "Metalitz", anyway?? Sounds like an evil android)

    • by NotWithABang (1570431) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:41PM (#28885801)
      I keep thinking how these approaches would work when applied to books.
      Imagine buying a great book, a classic even, that you'd like to have a copy of to reread over the years and maybe introduce your kids to later on.

      Now imagine the ink disappearing or turning to gibberish after an allowable reading period (5 years? 1 year? 1 month?). I wonder what your average reader's reaction would be if they pulled their copy of their favourite novel off their bookshelf, opened it, and found it to be completely empty (actually, it would be amusing if the pages could just disintegrate in a puff of smoke!)

      And now imagine that you don't even know what this allowable reading period could be. Every time you open that novel, it could be for the last time.

      Honestly, I'm amazed we still have public libraries. I mean, they let people read FOR FREE for crying out loud. People are gaining knowledge, cultures are being distributed, ideas are being thought... and it's not being monetized?! This madness has to stop!

      But, never fear, this can be easily solved by applying lessons we've learned from the music and movie industries. We can have reader licensing fees, or perhaps usage-based models where we can charge by the book or by the page. We can offer incentives to keep people reading too, pay for 10 pages, read the 11th free! (This offer not applicable where the current literary work ends in 10 or less pages. Page credits not applicable to other works.)

      ...I'm going to have to kick my own ass if the RIAA-equivalent in the book world sees this and takes these suggestions seriously.
  • That's funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:54PM (#28884931)

    ... The money I gave you for it still works. I don't get to take that back, do I?

    People who buy DRM'ed media content are idiots. It's not as if the record companies have tried to hide their sense of entitlement, or their unethical beliefs and attitudes. It would be different if they had, but as things stand, there's nothing else to do but blame the "victims" who keep giving them their money.

    Stop feeding the machine [riaaradar.com], people.

    • Re:That's funny (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jerep (794296) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:07PM (#28885183)

      ... The money I gave you for it still works. I don't get to take that back, do I?

      Very good point, the RIAA's purpose isnt to distribute music, they do not care about the music nor the customer, they only care about their money and controlling the market to get more money.

      They say DRMed music isnt to work forever, I say the RIAA wont work forever either, they're getting desperate for attention and control, and they're losing bits of it everyday. Music existed long before the RIAA, and will live on long after.

    • Re:That's funny (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:17PM (#28885365)

      The money I gave you for it still works. I don't get to take that back, do I?

      Just start buying your CD's in bulk directly from the RIAA, with checks written in disappearing ink...

    • Re:That's funny (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ukyoCE (106879) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:20PM (#28885421) Journal

      Mod parent up, absolutely right. The only people who should be surprised when their DRMed media stop working should be the people who have no clue the media has DRM on it in the first place. And we should be educating those people and warning them not to buy DRM encumbered media.

      Really, laws should have been passed several years back requiring much more explicit notification of restrictions. It's no OK to market DRM-encumbered music as a normal permanent copy of the media, when in fact it's being treated as a temporary single-device license.

  • by bagboy (630125) <neo&arctic,net> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:54PM (#28884937)
    If you don't want drm, buy the cd and rip.
  • Dear Mr. Metalitz (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:54PM (#28884939)

    ... Fuck you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      Don't be so harsh. He isn't responsible for his mother being a hamster, and his father smelling of elderberries. It's a common mixup in cross-species relationships like this, to raise the placenta instead of the actual child.

      P.S.: Now I'm reminded of that South Park episode with Bono. ^^

  • Illegal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:55PM (#28884953)

    So they're knowingly defrauding the buyer by intentionally selling something not fit for purpose?

    I assume our wise and courageous Justice Department will hand down indictments any minute!

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:55PM (#28884957) Homepage Journal

    We reject the view that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works.

    Yes of course. But that's because the creative works should be public domain after a while. And I don't mean after 70+ years either.

    • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:07PM (#28885169) Homepage Journal

      Since they are using copyright to sell works which will stop working, doesn't that break copyright?

      Copyright was intended to as an incentive to create works which would eventually end up as public domain - it was intended to increase public domain. If you break that, don't you invalidate your copyright?

      Some people complain about "piracy" as being theft, but given the original intent of copyright, isn't the entire history of the extensions of copyright AND DRM and the DMCA actually theft from the public? After all, if copyright on existing works is extended, you're taking away from the public what was supposed to become theirs under the original deal when the work was created - and you're NOT increasing the incentive for the corpse of Ub Iwerks to create Mickey Mouse for Walt Disney 70 years previously when you extend the copyright...

      So isn't it simply a land grab? Taking something away from others simply because you have the greed and the power to do so?

      Can't the same be said for DRM? Taking the benefits of the copyright/public domain bargain while not holding up your end of the bargain?

      And can't the same be said of breaking fair use?

      • by careysub (976506) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:25PM (#28886453)

        ...

        Copyright was intended to as an incentive to create works which would eventually end up as public domain - it was intended to increase public domain. If you break that, don't you invalidate your copyright?

        Some people complain about "piracy" as being theft, but given the original intent of copyright, isn't the entire history of the extensions of copyright AND DRM and the DMCA actually theft from the public?...

        Right you are. The growing abuse of copyright that has been underway for four decades is in opposition of the express purpose and practice that is spelled out in no less a document than the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Powers of Congress):

        To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

        The whole notion of extending copyrights held by parties other than the originators indefinitely after the fact (and often after the originator is dead), clearly defies the constitutional basis of copyright in the first place.

    • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:15PM (#28885333) Homepage Journal

      Sorry to repeat myself here but... the deal was that in getting copyright, they are providing society, the public domain, with perpetual access. So the official RIAA position is they are rejecting the purpose of and requirements of copyright law.

      OK with me - the RIAA rejects their end of the bargain, I reject my end of it.

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:55PM (#28884967)

    Car Analogy, I choose you!

    I'd like to sell you a car, it's brand new and gets great gas mileage. Oh, but only you can drive it, no fair letting someone else borrow it without them paying us. And you can only drive it on roads that we say are ok. You also have to bring it in to the shop once a week, or it will stop working. If you're out of town and can't get it into the shop, it'll stop working until you do, and if the shop goes out of business or just doesn't want to work on your car anymore, well, that's just too bad; we reject the idea that you should be able to drive your car forever.

  • Terminology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chebucto (992517) * on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:56PM (#28884985) Homepage

    So, according to him, noone ever 'buys' movies or music; they just rent them until they break.

    I almost hope he wins; stupid restrictions like this only increase the incentive to avoid DRM.

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:57PM (#28885003)
    Record sales are slowing down, and you are trying to cash in on the digital economy. How do you go about it? Well, if you're the RIAA, you publicly come out and announce to everyone that you are going to sell them a product that can arbitrarily stop working. Ugh, I really hope that the RIAA is not long for this world. Oh, and if they start getting bailout money I am leaving the country, mark my words. They have undermined their own business and they deserve to fail.
  • double dipping (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rpillala (583965) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:58PM (#28885031)

    The only way right now to reasonably sell people the same, say, movie is to release it in a different format (dvd, now bluray) or to include some extras or a shiny box or whatever. Something different, no matter how small.

    Mr. Metalitz's view allows online store operators to simply go out of business, start a new store under a different name and maybe even with different names on the corporate charter, and go on about selling the same exact things over again.

  • They are Goblins. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:59PM (#28885055) Journal
    Everyone knows that when a muggle or a wizard buys a goblin made object, it is not really sold. It is licensed to the user but eventually it should be returned to the maker.

    "You don't understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with the goblins. To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is its maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs."

    "But if it was bought ---"

    "---then they would consider it rented by one who had paid the money. They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. [snip] I believe he thinks, as do the fiercest of his kind, that it [the Sword of Gryffindor] ought to have been returned to the goblins once the original purchaser died. They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft."

  • In Regards... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:00PM (#28885067)
    Dear RIAA,

    In regards to your notice that you feel it is fair to arbitrarily remove something I have purchased from my possession (via disabling DRM'd music), I wish to inform you that you will never, ever, ever get another cent from me. I wish you good luck in maintaining your failing empire as it crumbles down around you for I am certain I am far from the only person who is disgusted at your activities and your outright contempt for me as a "customer." Thus I am certain others will also forgo purchasing your latest CD from Pop Star X and chose to instead invest that entertainment dollar in something - anything - that is of value. Your product no longer has value.

    Thank you and goodbye.
  • by mejesster (813444) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:01PM (#28885069)
    Yes, what Metalitz says is true, that rightsholders cannot be expected to provide copies that work in perpetuity, but never have rightsholders had the ability to REMOVE the legally purchased right to consume said product. Either rightsholders must accept the burden of maintaining availability, or they must not require DRM. Not a legal opinion, a moral one.
  • This is simple. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Static-MT (727400) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:01PM (#28885071)
    Let's stop making such a big deal about this. The solution is simple. DO NOT BUY DRMed MEDIA! There's plenty of quality media available outside the recording industry. Articles like these need to go away IMO.
  • Warning/Disclaimer? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Sketch (111112) <`mister.sketch' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:07PM (#28885199)

    What if there was a warning/disclaimer before every purchase of DRM'd media (music, books, etc) that said something to the effect of:
    "This content contains digital protections to prevent copyright infringement. Part of these protections mean that if we decide to stop supporting this content or go out of business then you will never be able to legally access this content."

    Just so people know what they're getting into. After all, it would only be a fair full disclosure of what they're buying and it might make people think twice about buying DRM'd media, but then again, I doubt the warnings on cigarettes really make people think twice about smoking.

  • Ouch. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:08PM (#28885217) Homepage

    That's gotta hurt. How long before a retraction/denial/sacking?

    It doesn't matter. Most consumers learned long ago that this is the basic way of thinking with large music-related corporations. That's *why* piracy is so high. And the music industry still makes money (I have NO idea how, but it does... vast amounts).

    All this will do is increase piracy by another tiny percentage. That's it. The people who were borderline will think "That's enough" and everyone else will carry on as normal. And then there'll be another stupid announcemnt/technology/law/restriction and the borderline will shift again and again and again until, actually, *nobody* cares at all.

    Please, please, RIAA... consider what would have happened if you went back in the time to all the previous stupid announcements you've made and proclaimed the OPPOSITE. Consider what people would be using now instead of torrent'd MP3's - cheap non-DRM music from YOUR store (and now from Amazon nearly 10 YEARS too late). The next generation are being taught to ignore you, whether accidentally or not, and you won't exist to them - they have iPod's loaded up with MP3's and copy and share them indiscriminately, in the same way that schoolkids are basically taught to copy/paste images from Google Images into their coursework. The laws that *do* protect your business will become more like guidelines, until eventually they are never enforced at all.

    You're digging your own grave, and everyone is watching you, but you're the only one not to see it.

  • by argent (18001) <peter@AAAslashdo ... minus threevowe> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:08PM (#28885231) Homepage Journal

    This statement is completely wrong.

    "We reject the view," he writes in a letter to the top legal advisor at the Copyright Office, "that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works. No other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards. No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so."

    Computers and other products might wear out, but they do not have a "kill switch" that will stop them from working after a specific date, or at the request of the vendor. If you take care of computer hardware, automobiles, other physical objects, they can last a lifetime. The same is true for music, books, and other physical media. DRMed content contains such a "kill switch"... once the server goes down, it's gone.

    People used to joke about "having to buy the White Album again", but they didn't actually have to do it, they could keep playing the vinyl copy when CDs came along, and even iTunes didn't make the forty year old LP turn into dust. DRM gives the music industry a new capability, the ability to force EVERYONE to "buy the White Album again" by taking down a single server.

  • That's OK! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:12PM (#28885277)

    'We reject the view that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works.'

    That's OK, many of us personally reject the view that the copy rights you hold should last as long as they do. So you keep selling stuff with the intention of breaking it a few years down the road so you can sell it again, and we'll keep not buying it.

  • like the old days? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bb5ch39t (786551) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:13PM (#28885307)

    OK, for us oldies who used to buy "vinyl" records. The more you played the record, the faster it degraded in quality. If you really liked the record, you ended up buying it multiple times. This was before it was easy to record it onto tape. The RIAA wants to return to the days of yesteryear when they could sell a song, the same song by the same artist, multiple times. That appears to be their mindset. After all, in the days of records, you couldn't return a damaged record for a new one. So they had a limited life. And so, in their mind, should all "creative works". I imagine a number of book publishers hate me. I have books that I have reread many times over the years. All for a single "license fee". But, as with records, books "wear out" (paper ages and degrades). I now have a number of books in PDF form. They will never wear out.

  • by Wardish (699865) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:14PM (#28885311) Journal

    One could make a good argument that DRM is proof of a conspiracy to steal music as well as encouraging or even insisting that customers break the DMCA.

    They absolutely know that DRM encourages such behavior so that legal owners of the music must do so in order to retain the ability to play the music they have purchased.

    Last I heard we had the right to make a backup copy but the DMCA trumps that. So a legal right is made impossible which encourages customers to commit crimes. Now I'm not saying that they aren't breaking the law. But rioting does not excuse inciting a riot.

  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ratsalbnoiro>> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:18PM (#28885373) Homepage Journal

    I don't buy DRM'ed music, I only buy music that does not have DRM to it. Most of my music tastes are 1980's and 1990's music which are available in CD form via used CD stores and Pawn Shops for like really cheap.

    I listen to AM and FM radio for free, while I cannot choose the music they play I can change the channel until I find a song I like to hear.

    I still own a Sony Walkman and a lot of cassette tape music I bought. My wife still has a stereo system that uses LPs.

    I don't own an iPod or iPhone, but I do have a cheap MP3 player by jWin that uses SD cards and my songs in MP3 format barely fill the 512M SD card.

    I am on disability since 2002 and been out of work because I have been too sick to work. I cannot afford to buy too many songs or media players like the iPod or iPhone. I have to work with what I can afford to buy, and keep my "legacy music" technology working until it breaks and needs replacements.

    Owning DRM music that "expires" is stupid, if you bought something you should be able to own it until you get tired of it and sell it. With the audio CDs people would just sell their old CDs at garage sales or sell them to used CD shops or Pawn shops. But with a DRM music file, not only does it expire, but if you don't want it anymore you cannot sell it to someone else. Capitalism works with a "used market" as well for people to buy stuff cheaper because it is used. Shut off that "used market" and you shut off part of the economy. Thus the economy will suffer for it.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:22PM (#28885453) Homepage Journal
    Was to encourage artists to create and then have the work released into the public domain to give the country perpetual access to the work. Copyright was never intended to give the artist perpetual access to income from a single work!

    Copyright needs to be put back to the original 14 years and signing your copyright over to a third party should also not be allowed.

    • Moral Work Ethic (Score:5, Interesting)

      by copponex (13876) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:19PM (#28886371) Homepage

      This addresses a larger moral issue completely missing from modern discussion about the subject.

      In the past, charging interest rates above 5%, if at all, was considered immoral and known as usury. It was so frowned upon because people recognized that making money without working is immoral and unethical in and of itself. Likewise, Adam Smith recognized that a high interest rate would cause capital to flood out of every industry into finance, since you can't hope to build a factory and have the same return as you would simply lending the same money for 10%.

      The problem is that distribution of goods is now virtually free and worldwide compared to even a hundred years ago. Digital content even more so. It's understandable that patents and copyrights emerged as mechanisms to reward people for work, but the expiration of these rights is central to progress and promoting competition. Otherwise huge corporations will simply grow larger as they acquire the rights to human knowledge and creativity, and stifle any competition with their largesse and legal abuse.

  • Thanks RIAA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fooslacker (961470) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:22PM (#28885457)

    'We reject the view that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works.'

    In that case I reject the idea that the RIAA has a right to restrict my access to content once their DRM stops working...as far as I'm concerned that now represents out of print and unable to be obtained legally so I shall steal it. Treat me like a criminal and I shall become one. Great model RIAA...thanks for allowing me to self-justify my actions.

  • by hAckz0r (989977) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:23PM (#28885485)
    Because my money is now printed with disappearing ink.
  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:24PM (#28885493) Homepage

    They think it is fair to have perpetual, virtually "forever" copyrights while it is fair that the buyer does not get to own it "forever"?

    I think we are far beyond any sense of reasonable and it is just about time we have them committed to a psychiatric institution.

  • Rejecting copyright (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ioldanach (88584) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:24PM (#28885503)
    "We reject the view, ... that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works. No other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards. No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so."

    I reject the view that your works have been published in a medium where copyright is applicable if the medium is specifically designed to have its own safeguards against copying. Such safeguards are their own form of copy prevention and, if used, should be considered a replacement, not augmentation, of the copyright protections afforded by law.

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