Sorry Neil, I Didn’t Buy Your CD Today.


The Dude on the Right

I was faced with my first ever CD purchasing dilemma today.  I had heard of
the dilemma before, the fact that Sony music has been putting

copy protection
on some of their CD’s, but today it stared me right in the
face, at the f.y.e. store in my local mall, as I contemplated purchasing the
latest CD from Neil Diamond called "12 Songs."

It seems, unbeknownst to most
of the music purchasing public, you know, those who actually go to a store and
buy the CD with the sole intent of just listening to it on their CD player,
computer, or maybe iPod or other portable device, Sony has been encoding some
releases with a form of copy protection.  Pretty much if you put the CD in
your computer to play, the Sony player opens up, you accept their agreement
without reading it because that’s what you do, and in the background the CD
installs a copy-protection scheme on your computer so you can only rip the music
to the Windows protection scheme (sorry, no iPod installing for you), but even
worse, installs this copy protection scheme in what is known in the hacking
world as a
on your computer.  Suddenly your computer is actually more
prone to getting a trojan horse virus, and you didn’t even plan on it. 
That’s the easiest way I can explain this issue, but for more, head to your
favorite search engine and type in the phrase "Sony rootkit" and you can
research it to your hearts content.

So, there I was, seeing that there were
actually two versions of the CD, one with 12 songs, and another with two bonus
songs, and just as I was ready to shell out the extra bucks for the two bonus
songs, I turned the CD over, and low and behold, in what really just looks like
your standard "To run the extra features on your computer you need" box, it
vaguely referenced the fact it would load this crap on my computer.  I knew
some work-arounds to this issue, but really, is it worth my time and frustration
to get Neil’s new music on my iPod?  And yes, I know I could actually save
money by just downloading it from the iTunes store, even with the two bonus
tracks, but  for me, there is something permanent about actually owning the
physical CD, a fact I realized after downloading the latest Bon Jovi CD from
iTunes rather than buying it.  I was torn, because I really wanted the CD,
but it really pissed me off with the Sony folks trying to force copy protection
on me, and not even in what was really a secure way.

So I didn’t buy the new
Neil Diamond CD.  I took a stand, and Neil, as much as I love ya, until
Sony gets rid of this copy protection crap (and supposedly from the latest news
the Sony folks are pulling the CD’s from the stores and re-issuing them without
the protection, but we’ll see), and will let me put it on my iPod, I’ve got to
take that stand, although it probably won’t matter much, and in the end, I’ll
probably just download the songs from iTunes and save a few bucks.

The record
companies, still, just don’t seem to get it.  They didn’t get it when file
sharing started, they didn’t get it when Napster exploded, and they sure as hell
don’t seem to be getting it now, especially by installing hidden software on
your computer that can actually make it more vulnerable to getting a Trojan
virus, or if you try to get rid of it, you actually f-up your computer. 
Maybe instead of just someone who is a great business person, the record folks
might actually try to put someone in authority who has a clue to the buying
public, and how technology is affecting them.  "Don’t steal our music," and
"Dammit, we want more money from Apple" seem to be the music company’s current
mantras, and all those mantras do is make the music buying public seek out the
same ways to get music they have been continually been fighting, by downloading
it free from someone who has figured out how to get around the copy protection
scheme, or at least from their friend next door.  Really, until the record
company folks actually figure out a way to stop someone, in the most simplest
terms of copying songs, from A:  Purchasing a legal version of a CD. 
2:  Playing that CD on their stereo.  III:  Having microphones in
front of their speakers, plugged into the "Mic In" on their computer sound card
and using any generic sound recording software to record each track. 
Quatro:  Making sure that the individual songs are in an mp3 format. 
5:  Sending those songs to two of their friends, who then send them to two
of their friends, who then send them to two of their friends, and so on, and so
on, and so on, the record companies have no shot at really controlling music
piracy.  But if they want my ten to twenty dollars to buy it, and I will,
all I really ask is that they don’t fuck up my computer, and they let me put it,
easily, on my iPod.

I’m stepping off of my soapbox now.  My next Blog
will be about the proposed size of Garth Brooks’ unit, not by my recollection,
but by something our crack reporter Trash witnessed at a press conference, and
our dudette, Whammy, who really loves Prince, especially since he’s back to
using his real name, that being, of course, Prince, and her scientific study on
how to figure out the size of a dude’s unit.  I’ll bet you will all be
waiting for that.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!