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Japan's Cell Phones May Get DRM, At Music Industry Behest 189

Posted by timothy
from the pleae-don't-say-anonymous-coward dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Japanese Music Industry is currently in talks with Japanese cell phone providers to introduce a new anti-piracy system in all cell phones in Japan. This new system would make DRM software mandatory in all cell phones; this would connect to a DRM server on the Internet whenever the cell phone user would try to play a song. The song would only play if the response of the server would be positive. Otherwise no song would be played. The system raises several questions and concerns that the Financial Times article did not address. These include ripped legally bought music and music that has been released under a CC license or similar. Who would pay for the costs of the DRM checks, and what would happen if no connection could be established?"
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Japan's Cell Phones May Get DRM, At Music Industry Behest

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  • by postmortem (906676) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:03AM (#29410663) Journal
    you think that some global company would rather "decrease their profits and shareholder value"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      didn't get to read the article because it requires a fucking registration and I'm unwilling to register just to read this tripe, but how would a system like this even work? If I load a ripped mp3 file onto the phone (or a free song or even an original song I just recorded), it will not have a hash or checksum that matches anything in their database. are they just going to check the name of the file to see if it matches a song I have purchased from them? isn't that ridiculously anticompetitive because it
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Cheesetrap (1597399)

        didn't get to read the article because it requires a fucking registration and I'm unwilling to register just to read this tripe

        PrefBar [mozdev.org] allows you to change your user-agent, you may be able to use it to impersonate a GoogleBot (they seem to be indexed by google so it's worth a shot). I can't test it just now as I have 58 tabs open and some of them have large flash videos loaded, but this may be just the thing to facilitate your tripe-viewing in future. :)

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I use user-agent-switcher, never heard of prefbar, anyway your crack (well not yours, its pretty well known) worked flawlessly. it isnt even necessary to hide cookies. a simple Googlebot 2.1 worked for me.

        • Do a google search for "Japan aims to cut off music piracy". Click the result for the ft.com site. Full article loads.

          This also works on experts exchange, and any other site that wishes to have its paid content indexed-- if they present you something different than the googlebot sees (through javascript tricks) despite having the same referrer, google will delist them. Its part of their ToS.
  • by mr_stinky_britches (926212) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:07AM (#29410681) Homepage Journal

    Defective by design, as usual. I'm sure firmware hacks/mods will be created if this were to be implemented on a wide scale. No worries, really.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:17AM (#29410715)

      No, not really, most people don't want to deal with hacking their phone... but then again most people with music on thier phone in Japan bought it over-the-air anyway, since the interface to the computer isn't usually all that convenient and most people don't have computers.

      On the other hand, and people with computers and/or a lot of music probably already have iPods (or similar), so they won't much care.

      As far as passing costs onto consumers, sure, they can raise the prices, but demand will fall, meaning it will cost the phone companies.. which gives them an incentive to resist it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Odinlake (1057938)
      My Worry isn't that, but rather that laws and regulations are so hopelessly naive and outdated that industry can even consider these DRM stupidities.
  • Good Lord! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chef_raekwon (411401) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:08AM (#29410687) Homepage

    the skillz market for hacking phones just went up again. when will these music industries/RIAJ/RIAA/etc ever learn from Amazon/Ebay/etc? Its all about customer experience. This may be the same reason why top100 music generally licks balls.
    my 2 cents.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:09AM (#29410693)

    If the DRM system checks all songs against a server, regardless of origin, people will just end up using previous generation phones, or paying for a third party for a custom flash ROM to bypass this.

    If the DRM system only checks flagged songs, I'm sure another black market will pop up allowing songs to be downloaded from somewhere, likely offshore.

    Either way, Japan's analog of the RIAA loses long term for gains made in the short term. One can watch the lessons of DRM in the US, from the SDMI specs to FairPlay, to Apple just chucking DRM altogether to see what potholes are in store.

    • by Narpak (961733)
      One sometimes wonder when they will suggest some sort of DRM device crafted into a persons throat so they can check licensing rights when a person sings.
    • I suspect the Japanese won't protest.

      They have a culture that is strange from the Amero-European viewpoint - the individual is expected to subsume his desires for the greater benefit of society. In other words, you are expected to put-up with the inconvenience of not being able to play CD-to-MP3 rips on your phone, because it benefits the artists, businessmen, and society overall.

      • You have evidently never been to Japan, or even paid any attention to music in Japan. In Japan there are many places to rent cds, and it is pretty much a given that the people who rent them are going to rip the cd or copy it. This has quite a bit to do with the cost of cds in Japan. Although it is a bit of a chicken and the egg scenario...did cd costs go up because of this, or did high cd costs cause it?
        • by Reapman (740286)

          Your not kidding. When I was over there I wanted to buy a Japanese music CD just for the hell of it, but when I can buy a freaking BLU RAY MOVIE for less over here in Canada... it was quite shocking.

        • Um... yes I know. My point is that the Japanese will wake-up one morning and discover their Ripped MP3s no longer work, but they won't protest it. It's not in their nature to complain, if they think "protecting artist's revenue" is for the good of society.

  • Iam sure the RIAA will pay my internet connection charges or atleast the provider will make it free.
    If not, am filing a suit on using my money illegally without my permission.
    I will file the case against the provider, they are ones who connect my phone to 'net.
    If many people file, am sure they will either stop helping RIAA or bill them.
    If not, an legally obliged to defend my property against unauthorized assaults.

    • by solafide (845228)
      Japan. Recording Industry Association of America. What do they teach these days in school?
      • by magarity (164372)

        Not much, but he feels good about it.

      • by Blue Stone (582566) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:52AM (#29411439) Homepage Journal

        >Japan. Recording Industry Association of *America*.

        Same arseholes, different toilet.

        We still get shat upon.

        Questions?

      • But does the post make sense with s/RIAA/RIAJ/g?

        Iam sure the RIAJ will pay my internet connection charges or atleast the provider will make it free.
        If not, am filing a suit on using my money illegally without my permission.
        I will file the case against the provider, they are ones who connect my phone to 'net.
        If many people file, am sure they will either stop helping RIAJ or bill them.
        If not, an legally obliged to defend my property against unauthorized assaults.

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        The RIAA is not limited to America, just ask their lawyers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Imrik (148191)

      They wouldn't be using your money without your permission, by trying to play the song you'd be giving them permission. At least that's how their lawyers would probably argue it.

      • by umghhh (965931)
        GP assumes too much I think. The prices on fragmented and assward mobile markets (like in US and to some extent EU) do not compare to what people in Japan experience. Most likely the japanese boys and girls would not have noticed a difference (except maybe that some music would not play). This of course does not make the bandwidth stealing in any way correct and the whole process good. That the whole thing is unethical and wrong will not stop anybody of course.
  • There isn't likely going to be any fallout whatsoever from this. The technology will go into place, be pretty much invisible, and provide enough benefits for legitimate users that no one will cry except for people who aren't connected in any way to Japan.

    This is the way technology works. It gets implemented invisibly and no one ever knows they lost any sort of freedoms. In fact, they gain all sorts of benefits like better quality samples and higher bandwidth to support the increased usage.

    In the U.S., it's

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:35AM (#29410777)

      The technology will go into place, be pretty much invisible, and provide enough benefits for legitimate users that no one will cry except for people who aren't connected in any way to Japan.

      In what way will this provide _ANY_ benefit to legitimate users? They can already play their music, so they will see no benefit from having to 'phone home' to verify that they can, and will see significant risks of being incorrectly refused the right to play music they've been given or paid for.

      Users can only suffer from this nonsense, because they can only be denied the right to do what they've been doing up until now.

      • by ragethehotey (1304253) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:41AM (#29410805)

        In what way will this provide _ANY_ benefit to legitimate users?

        More music sellers will be willing to provide music through such a system, making the available amount of music larger as a whole. (Kinda like how the vast majority of legitimate paying mobile application developers have flocked to the iphone, where the largest successful DRM implementation is)

        I'm not saying I at all agree with this plan, i'm simply answering your question.

        • Having this system in place will make sellers willing to provide more music. Because there is lots of popular music that HASN'T been ripped into downloadable form. FInally, the long song drought is OVER!
        • by Svartalf (2997)

          If that were the case, why is it that you don't see more e-Books, etc. online.

          Your reasoning is flawed because you presume that the lack of DRM is the bar to bringing it online like they keep repeating.

          That's not the bar, as Apple's and PayPlay and a few others have shown. DRM's not going to make the content there and cheaper. If anything it'll be priced at what the providers think the market will bear. DRM, in essence, is not about preventing "piracy"- it's about control and making you pay as often as t

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          More music sellers will be willing to provide music through such a system

          Wrong; 90% of recorded music is indie, and only the majors push DRM (even though the indies actually sell only a fraction of what the majors sell... er, rent). The reason isn't to stop piracy but to stop the competetion, the indies, who can't get on the radio. Indies use P2P, internet radio, word of mouth, etc., which is why the majors want it stamped out.

          I'm not very damned likely to buy your CD if I've never heard your music, am I?

        • by selven (1556643)
          That's not a reason, it's a justification. The actual reason is most likely that the music industry is paying money for this to be included.
    • by socceroos (1374367) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:49AM (#29410851)
      Bullcrap. Your premise is all up the creek. Telecom companies are not going to upgrade their infrastructure just because the music industry wants DRM everywhere. This has never happened in the past and it will not happen in the future. You're basically saying that the only reason that Telecoms are going to upgrade their networks is because they have deliberately increased the traffic themselves, not because of demand?!?!?

      If this technology is getting implemented invisibly then why did it make front page news on slashdot?? Phail. Not even Echelon has been implemented invisibly.

      Are you really telling us that because some people download pirated material we are not going to get any service upgrades? If not then why do you equate having phones without DRM with a free life in squalor?

      Lastly, why on earth do you think that this isn't going to cause problems? DRM has caused major disruptions everywhere else it has been implemented. Do you think the Japs have the miracle fix for DRM that the rest of the world has been missing?
      • Telecom companies are not going to upgrade their infrastructure just because the music industry wants DRM everywhere.

        Quite right. What we'll get is QoS to ensure that DRM traffic gets priority.

    • by Draek (916851)

      The US' awful cellphone market isn't either standard in the western world, nor a result of being too 'free' (the opposite, actually).

  • No connection? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fucket (1256188) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:28AM (#29410757)
    What if you're on the subway and you want to play a song? You know, like 75% of all people do everyday on their way to and from work.
    • by Francis (5885)
      In Japan, they have cell coverage almost everywhere, including the subways. http://www.cellularabroad.com/japancellService.html [cellularabroad.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by KamuZ (127113)
        Not true. In the subway you lose the signal between stations.
    • What if you're on the subway and you want to play a song? You know, like 75% of all people do everyday on their way to and from work.

      My bet is that it would be easier in Japan to make non-coverage maps, than coverage maps. And I reckon phones work perfectly in the subway.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by coalrestall (973453)
        Phones are supposed to work in the subways but most of the time they don't. It seems to be limited to certain lines.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ConceptJunkie (24823)

      I would use my Rockbox'ed Sansa. If a user of this kind of phone wants to allow the corporations to control him like that, then that's his problem. Frankly, I don't want to hear anyone complain about it. There are always options. If you play by their rules, then you can't complain.

      I make it a point to only deal with non-DRM music, and I pay for everything that I use. No one can take that from me. I have nothing to fear, unless open and hackable devices become illegal and the ones I now own all die...

      • I make it a point to only deal with non-DRM music, and I pay for everything that I use. No one can take that from me.

        Sure they can. They can stop making non-DRM music available to buy. (I know, the trend seems to be slowly creeping in the opposite direction, but the possibility still exists.)

    • Re:No connection? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chetbox (1335617) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:24AM (#29410983)
      What if you're on a plane? There's no coverage there and it's one of the places I'm most likely to want to listen to my music.
  • by raju1kabir (251972) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:46AM (#29410831) Homepage

    What if I record something myself using the "voice recorder" function and want to play it? Will that have to be run by the RIAA first? Will I be forbidden from exchanging my own recordings (of my baby laughing or whatever) with my friends?

    If not, then surely someone will make a simple scrubber app that makes an MP3 look to the phone like a user-recorded sound.

  • It's Not Already? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dancingmad (128588) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:47AM (#29410839)

    I am more surprised that this isn't already the case. I lived in Japan for several years and owned a few au phones. My first year I had a low end au phone and the two years after I had a higher end Casio. The higher end had some great features - good camera, 1seg TV, Japanese/English dictionary etc., but it was locked down to all hell. I couldn't even get my own ringtones on it, let alone MP3s or apps. As much as I wanted to customize my phone and not pay through the nose for approved stuff, I could do nothing.

    Feature-wise my current Blackberry Curve is way behind my au phone, but I can at least use it's Bluetooth to connect to my laptop and use my own MP3s as ringtones.

  • by acehole (174372) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:48AM (#29410841) Homepage

    "Who would pay for the costs of the DRM checks, and what would happen if no connection could be established?"

    If anything the last decade has taught us about the modus operandi of music industries is that they simply dont care and want their dollars. Who would pick up the tab for the check? The phone user. What would happen if there was no connection? No music.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
      ... Resulting in network providers constantly receiving calls from phone users who couldn't play any music after only two days of ownership as the authorisation server was being hammered / poor network service, and thousands of consumers simply stopping the direct debits.

      What can they do? "Urrr... You're contractually obliged for 24 months to pay us £25 per month for the service." "Oh, right. You're contractually obliged to provide the service I pay for. QED, bitch."
    • by MadCow42 (243108)

      >> If anything the last decade has taught us about the modus operandi of music industries is that they simply dont care and want their dollars.

      Actually to be more specific, they want their dollars now. The actions they've taken are very short-sighted, and don't consider the long-term impact on the demand for music (or demand for "legitimate" music) in general.

      If you make listening to music a pain in the butt, people will do it less. This negatively impacts the size of their potential market (both le

  • will fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xigxag (167441) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:50AM (#29410855)

    All these hypothetical examples are beside the point. If the music industry wants this implemented, it will likely happen.

    But even so, it won't work. Japan's music industry is even more moribund than the US industry. It got fat and comfortable charging for singles the equivalent of what US consumers charge for albums, and for albums, the equivalent of US$30 or more. Meanwhile it pushes the same arthritic set of superstars that have dominated their pop scene for 10, 15, 20 years or more. The end result is that the cost of entry for unknown acts is too high, new music suffers. Japanese consumers have grown accustomed to buying albums used and ripping them. Locking mobiles will just increase the sales of walkmans and ipods and will make it more of a no-brainer to circumvent DRM'ed music.

  • This is ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Blue_Wombat (737891) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:51AM (#29410857)
    I't not just the legally purchased music that I can legally put on my ipod now - and will likely want to put on my new phone to minimise the number of devices I carry. Bad though that is, this is much nastier. For instance, one of my friends plays in an amateur band. He gives us MP3s of their material - in fact the 10 or so of us that get given this are probably the entirety of their regular audience. They do it for love and the delight that people are listening to their stuff - for the same reason they put cliups on youtube. Under this silly scheme, even the copyright owner couldn't listen to their own stuff on their own phone!
    • by libkarl2 (1010619)

      "this would connect to a DRM server on the Internet whenever the cell phone user would try to play a song. The song would only play if the response of the server would be positive. Otherwise no song would be played."

      Under this silly scheme, even the copyright owner couldn't listen to their own stuff on their own phone!

      That is the very first thing I thought of when I read the above statement. Essentially, the recording industry wants final say over which string of octets (bytes or data sent to an audio codex) are acceptable and which are not. Since there will (and can only) be a finite number of "acceptable" octet permutations, the number of unacceptable octet permutations becomes a mystery. If they leave it as finite, attempting to selectively target pirated copies, their DRM can be polymorphically (if not easily) circum

    • For instance, one of my friends plays in an amateur band. He gives us MP3s of their material - in fact the 10 or so of us that get given this are probably the entirety of their regular audience. They do it for love and the delight that people are listening to their stuff - for the same reason they put cliups on youtube. Under this silly scheme, even the copyright owner couldn't listen to their own stuff on their own phone!

      But how does he know that he owns the copyright on the song that he recorded? At least under United States copyright law, accidentally copying part of a song you heard a decade ago into your own song is infringement. Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music. Or does Japanese copyright law differ noticeably in this respect?

  • by Xin Jing (1587107) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:57AM (#29410885)
    I remember living in Okinawa back in 1993, JASRAC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JASRAC [wikipedia.org] cracked down (and again in 2006) on club owners that played pre-recorded music at bars and nightclubs and profited by selling drinks and food to customers. Some clubs faced retroactive fines in the tens of thousands of Yen and were forced to close down. Just outside the gate near Kadena was the 'A-Sign Sound Bar' that used to play requests, the entire side of an album, man those were good times. Ah, the good old days: Okinawa and lots of Orion beer.
  • That would be a phone I would never buy.

  • I'm increasingly glad that my Palm Tungsten E2 with its pathetic little 1G SD card is still my main source of music and e-reading when I'm out and about. I've got 90 songs (all at CD quality), 31 novels, and a bunch of pdf's and Office files, and a few games. And NO DRM! Yes, I shift songs in and out, so I don't have access to every song I ever listened to. So what? I use this stuff to pass time when I'm on public transit and sitting in waiting rooms, not when I'm in an environment where I want to kic

  • The like consequences would be:

    a) Slowdown in sales of new handsets.
    b) Bigger use of independent mp3 players
    c) Growth of the second-hand handsets market.
    d) Growth of Internet buys of foreign-made handsets.

    All in all, a bad thing for Japanese handset makers

    • e) Sales of new handsets move to really cheap ones because the (otherwise nice) features of the high end ones are too crippled by DRM.

      I agree that this will hurt Japanese handset makers. Independent importers who are not bound by the deal might profit (your case d).

           

  • iPhone influence? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gashwrecker (1636987) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:25AM (#29411181)
    This may be a response to the growing popularity of the iPhone in Japan. There's an increasing number of people who download mp3s or buy DRM-free music from sites like http://www.hearjapan.com/ [hearjapan.com], and this is cutting into the profitable cell phone mp3 market.
  • What if I recorded my own music and want to play that? Or any other legaly downloaded free music (or speech or whatever.) Most likely it will say something like: Unknown, so OK to play. That would mean that suddenly ALL the music will get such a signal.

    Either that or they will only allow cellphones to play OK downloaded songs. That would mean that people will find another solution. Can you say mp3 player?

  • by Wierdy1024 (902573) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:28AM (#29411335)

    This is just so they can get the infrastructure in place for per-play or per-minute music charging. It would be trivial to hook this server up to the phone companies billing system to bill users every time they played a song.

    The next step is then to provide addons to contracts offering "unlimited" songs, for only an additional $15 per month...

  • lets not for get who is actually behind the MPAA - RIAA, these are the companies that need to be targeted and boycotted into changing their ways, purchase only 2nd hand media, & avoid all sony products as much as possible, why allow these scum suits to dictate hardware/software DRM anymore.

    Name and shame the companies as all the **AA trade group name is for is to protect the corporate globalists gatekeepers from bad press.

    RIAA, CRIA, SOUNDEXCHANGE, BPI, IFPI, Ect:

    # Sony BMG Music Entertainment
    # W
  • Most young girls will not realize or care about this I expect.

    But to put this in perspective, yesterday I saw a tasty-looking home NAS on the shelf of a store in Akihabara, Tokyo. The high end model, which among other things has some terabytes of RAID and a mysql server in it, can download bittorrent without having a pc connected to it.

    I figure people will put music or video on their home-NAS, and maybe if it can be made easy even share the NAS with a bunch of friends. Then just stream to your phone. Encodi

  • Remember the Sony statements from 2000: ""The industry will take whatever steps it needs to protect itself and protect its revenue streams... It will not lose that revenue stream, no matter what... Sony is going to take aggressive steps to stop this. We will develop technology that transcends the individual user."

    In 2005, Sony came out with their rootkit [wikipedia.org]. This was met with less-than-wild enthusiasm (plus a few lawsuits).

    So in 2009, the industry takes a new approach: owning your cellphone.

    This will con

  • For a technical audience like /. this kind of crap is obviously going to fail on a dozen of levels; but those fucktards keep pushing this nonsense, and they probably even believe it. Without even thinking very hard,

    • What happens when you're out of coverage?
    • What about your own ripped CDs?
    • What about plain old mp3 you bought on eMusic or Amazon?
    • What about unencrypted AAC you bought on iTunes but want to listen to on your other phone?
    • Planes?
    • Going abroad?
    • Will the authentication servers always be up? All the time
  • Is Data free over there? if not then this may cost a lot?

    I can't see this working over hear as data and text cost a lot and some people have to block texts as they get billed for incoming and how about if you are roaming? hello big data bill.

    Just thing about how many i-phone uses will be hit will big roaming bill if they where to try to play music out side of the usa.

  • ...to redirect all requests to yes.thepiratebay.org in 3...2...1..

  • by XDirtypunkX (1290358) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:39AM (#29415255)

    Travel to another country, listen to your music. Enjoy your $20000 roaming data charge.

  • Keep dreaming.. that will be banned too.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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