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Cellphones Music Privacy

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

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 @02:03AM (#29410663) Journal
    you think that some global company would rather "decrease their profits and shareholder value"?
  • by mr_stinky_britches ( 926212 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:07AM (#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.

  • Good Lord! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chef_raekwon ( 411401 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:08AM (#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 @02:09AM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:17AM (#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.

  • No connection? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fucket ( 1256188 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:28AM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:33AM (#29410767)
    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 would force me to buy all of my songs from this one vendor that keeps records of what songs I am allowed to play? besides that, wouldn't it be easy to bypass? or maybe it will just refuse to play any unrecognized media file. wtf? what a USELESS, IDIOTIC system that will end up costing its users even more for a reduction in functionality.
  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:35AM (#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.

  • Re:Good Lord! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:39AM (#29410791) 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.

    Ebay and Customer service in the same paragraph? Incorrect..

    Ebay and generally licks balls in the same paragraph? Correct.

  • by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:46AM (#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.

  • Re:No connection? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:47AM (#29410837) Homepage Journal

    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... but if it comes to that extreme, I'll learn to build my own.

    This is a ridiculous situation, but the best way to fight the rules of the game is simply not to play. As a private person, you often don't have any other choice. The government is a bitch of the corporations.

    But they can't stop the individuals... yet.

  • by acehole ( 174372 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:48AM (#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.

  • by socceroos ( 1374367 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:49AM (#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?
  • will fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xigxag ( 167441 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:50AM (#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 @02:51AM (#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 Odinlake ( 1057938 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:08AM (#29410933)
    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.
  • Re:No connection? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chetbox ( 1335617 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:24AM (#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 @04:10AM (#29411133) Homepage

    No one needs to hear your baby laughing.

    My intention was to come up with an example in which there was no conceivable argument of corporate copyright interest. I should have thought that would be obvious given the context.

  • iPhone influence? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gashwrecker ( 1636987 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:25AM (#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.
  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @05:26AM (#29411331)

    If you are translating into English, you use an English word your readers will understand.

    What a depressing pandering to ignorance. What's wrong finding out who is involved and what they are? You know, actually stepping outside your insular little bubble and learning something new? Pinning this on the usual boogeyman is just lazy and dishonest.

    By your logic, when the Japanese Prime Minister does something Slashdot readers should be told in translation what "Barack Obama" is up to in Japan. After all, who knows or recognises Taro Aso? Who cares they are completely different people?

    Why stop there? I'm not sure about this "Japan", best translate it as "Hawaii".

  • by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @05:52AM (#29411439) Homepage Journal

    >Japan. Recording Industry Association of *America*.

    Same arseholes, different toilet.

    We still get shat upon.


  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:08AM (#29411767) Journal

    You're contractually obliged to provide the service I pay for

    You really didn't read that contract, did you?

  • Re:Good Lord! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roguetrick ( 1147853 ) <kazer@brIIIigands.org minus threevowels> on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:49AM (#29412865) Homepage Journal

    That or Slashdot articles are an echo chamber of similarly minded individuals and people read, comment, and moderate articles that inflame them.

  • Re:No connection? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcsqueak ( 1043736 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:51AM (#29414529)

    Given that there are incredibly strong cultural taboos in Japan against using a mobile phone on public transport

    Indeed, I was just in Tokyo and the surrounding cities for 8 days and I saw all of *two* people actually talking on cellphones while on the Metro or JR. Everyone had iPods or some sort of other music player crammed into their ears, and spent the whole train ride texting, it seemed.

    I really think when you have something like 12 million people jammed into a city, following the rules does a fair bit of good in ensuring that everyone gets along fine.

I've got a bad feeling about this.