back to article Entering a storage jail

Storage, at a consumer and personal level, has been about ownership. Our shelves are full of books, CDs and DVDs. How quaint. Is all this going away? Storage has been about ownership of data and information by business too, witness the ubiquitous filing cabinets and desk drawers. This physical ownership is beginning to …

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Silver badge

If you buy into the apple/amazon lock in

you kinda get what you deserve.

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Anonymous Coward

Really

amazon mp3?

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Silver badge

Still has control freaks

I live in Canada so no Amazon MP3s for me. I can buy a CD from Amazon.com and they will ship it to me, but I can't buy an MP3.

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DRM and media "ownership"

Great article, and excellent questions. Anytime you purchase media with DRM, you are ONLY purchasing a license to use/listen/watch - not ownership of the instance of the media itself. This is why I NEVER purchase media that is DRM-encumbered, and never will do so. If I want to sell/lend/give my legally purchased copy to someone else, then I will do so, and the copyright owners be damned!

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guess who looses with DRM

which is why I try not to buy anything that is DRM encumbered. I would like to legally purchase stuff, but if they are not going to allow me to have control over the stuff I own then I have to obtain it other ways.

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Linux

Well...I buy DRM encumbered stuff

But also go out and get DRM-defeating tools from the intertoobs and burn my own copy of whatever (DVD, game, etc) or otherwise sidestep the DRM.

Helps to do this outside windows or the Mac (ie, linux or *bsd) that are not encumbered in drivers and software with DRM/copy protection crap.

I will also (in future) refuse to buy devices that block MY data or MY software use/storage in hardware (or at least keep older open hardware around to defeat that nonsense).

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Bronze badge

Ownership

"Apple and Amazon own, in the traditional sense, both the media files and the playing devices"

Eh? How, in the traditional sense, do they own the playing devices? They may, "in the contemporary sense", think they have some rights over your purchased device but nothing else. I could buy a Kindle, resell it, throw it away, give it away, or whatever else with no say from Amazon.

They may claim that the software running on it can't be altered or hacked but no company claims your £111 is buying you a lease of their device.

What I would be more interested in is how, in this day and age, with anti-competition laws, the removal or RRPs on electronics and not allowing price fixing - Certain devices are exactly the same price wherever you try to buy them and even, sometimes, the restriction of store-wide vouchers being used on certain devices to maintain the selling price.

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J 3

@Ownership

Iḿ not sure, but maybe what the author meant was that they own the device's life, so to speak: if they decide to kill the device (i.e., not sell it anymore), you won't play your media anymore either -- since DRM won't allow other devices to do it. So basically we would be in their hands. Compare that with, say, a cassette player. If Sony never made another Walkman, we'd still have played our cassettes on countless other players.

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@J 3

But how is that ownership "in the traditional sense"? I would prefer it if people stopped perpetuating this myth that gives strength to the claims of these companies that they have ownership of your devices after you have bought them.

I see many people have down voted, which I assume they disagree and think the corporations should be seen to own their devices - however I don't. If I had bought one then I would've paid for it and therefore I would own it and that right should not be diluted.

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Silver badge

@Daf L: Because they can stop your device working at any time

In many (though not all) cases of DRM, your device is capable of playing/displaying the content you've paid for *only* because the manufacturer (Eg Apple, Amazon, Sony etc) permits it.

In the world of DRM, if either the copyright owner or device manufacturer so chose, they can stop your device from handling their content or from handling *any* content.

Some concrete examples: Amazon remotely removed George Orwell's "1984" from Kindle. (And they couldn't have picked a better title to do it to...)

Sony revoked the ability of PS3s to run OtherOS in a mandatory firmware update.

The BluRay standard allows for discs to refuse to play on an arbitrary set of BluRay players.

The problem is: If %Device_Supplier% closed down all their DRM servers, then would their devices still work at all? In the case of quite a lot of software, the answer is already no - I don't know if the same is already true of hardware, but it seems rather likely.

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Bronze badge

@Richard 12

But how is that in "the traditional sense". I'm not denying that they can nor saying that DRM is a good thing or that they may choose to render your device useless via software. My point is that they don't own it in the "traditional sense" only in the contemporary sense where corporations "think" they own their users and own the products they provide to them due to their ability to control it post purchase.

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Big Brother

Time to brush up on old predictions then?

Published in 1997 and getting more and more accurate and actual:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

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Unhappy

iTunes Audiobooks

Too lazy to read these days, but I love a good Audiobook to listen to in bed. Trouble is, I can't pass on the good ones to friends/relatives as they are DRM locked, really frustrating!

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FAIL

Not quite.

Music from iTunes is NOT copy protected, and can be sent or given to anybody. It hasn't been copy protected in years, yet this statement keeps getting repeated endlessly.

I only buy music from them I cannot fine on conventional media.

Mind you you can't say the same thing about books/audiobooks or video content. But the finger for that can be pointed squarely at the publishers.

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FAIL

Still not quite.

*Most* music from iTunes is NOT yada yada yada...

It's still perfectly possible to buy DRM encumbered content from iTunes.

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FAIL

RE: Still not quite.

"It's still perfectly possible to buy DRM encumbered content from iTunes."

...and then perfectly possible to convert that to an MP3 to send to your friends!

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Pirate

You can't...?

"I can tell the bank to send some of my money to a friend but I can't extract a music file from my iTunes collection on my MacBook and send it to the same friend, not unless it came into iTunes from me as an MP3 file in the first place."

Ahem... One end of RCA patch cable with stereo Y-adapter to audio output on MacBook, other end of RCA patch cable with stereo Y-adapter to stereo audio input on another Mac. Set your sampling software to the appropriate resolution. Hit "play" on iTunes; hit "record" on the other Mac. Use appropriate editing software to chop resulting stream into individual songs; export to aiff or wav (for archiving on audio CD) and mp3 (for listening in iTunes).

I used this method to extract the stereo audio from my (legally purchased) remastered DVD edition of the Grateful Dead's famous New Year's Eve 1978 Winterland gig. MPEG Streamclip was giving me odd-sized fragments with songs chopped off in the middle, so I just ran a patch to my G4 tower, set my sampling software to 320k, and rolled the DVD. Problem solved.

I also used a similar method to extract the footage from my (legally purchased) NASA 50th Anniversary DVD box-set: composite output from the DVD player into the composite input on my Canon HV10 miniDV cam using the Canon-supplied adapter cable. Dumped the resulting miniDV cassette footage into Final Cut Pro, chopped it up into individual movies, exported them to full-res mpeg4's for my unencumbered iBook viewing pleasure.

But, anyway, yeah... as Naughtyhorse says, if you willingly buy into Apple and Amazon's lockdown schemes, don't be surprised if you get "tootsie-frootsied" (as Groucho Marx once said). Sometimes, it's best to kick it old-skool. Yo ho ho!

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Stop

Re: You can't...?

Ahem.

<cough>Bit torrent</cough>

Plays on everything...

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Stop

Sounds like hard work

Yes, this illustrates the fundamental problem for content publishers attempting to control user behaviour - regardless of whether content is "streamed", "rented", DRMed etc., it has to be played at some point. In other words, the decoded digital 0's and 1's are present on your machine/device and can be recorded.

However, from your experience, it certainly seems that the publishers have succeeded in making you jump through hoops to free your purchased data. Recording the playback to an audio editor and manually cutting up and resampling the files? Really? You'll lose a lot of quality that way, not to mention hours out of your day.

May I suggest a little programme called eac3to? Using this, I've liberated HD audio from DVD-Audio discs, DTS Master Audio from BluRays, all in original bit-perfect form, packaged in nice portable FLAC.

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WTF?

:p

Why on earth would you record a signal that was mastered at *maximum* 48KHz, in all probability converted to analogue at 44.1KHz, and then sampled at a *maximum* of 96KHz*, at 320KHz?

Are you trying single-handedly to make an impact on $/TB ratios for commodity storage? If so, I applaud you. I guess.

*Assuming you don't have 3rd party audio hardware; Even if you do, it's waaay beyond moot.

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IT Angle

320k = 320kb/s != 320 kHz

I assume the original poster meant 320kb/s ...

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WTF?

experienced this just the other day

Rented a movie from the Android market, pined it and downloaded it to my tablet, and then *poof* one day it was gone like it never was there. A movie I had watched that had the 24hour period on it still showed up as having 20 days remaining, but the movie I didn't watch, was gone. AND it was gone from my market purchase history too, because the rights owner had pulled it from the market place without warning it was taken away from me with no notice.

And here is the kicker, while they deleted even the record of my purchase from my market place account, I had to ask for a refund to get my money back.

So how many peoples money have they kept who didn't notice this, or don't realize they have to ask for a refund, particularly given that it says they don't give refunds and you have to go a few levels deep before you come to the place where you can find a button for a refund.

The movie was The Adjustment Bureau, which looked interesting, but now that they have said they don't want my money I'm sure as heck not going to buy it when they put it back on the market place.

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iTunes music is DRM free

and has been since Jan 2009. Now try get the "rights owners" to drop DRM from films (since VHS macrovision the owners have imposed DRM on distributors) or the Book publishers.

So don't blame the distributors (Apple, Amazon, BBC, 4OD, etc) for the owners' licensing schemes.

The lending analogy does not work in the digital world as you are not lending your only copy, you are giving them a copy.

The right answer is to pitch the price low enough to make illegal copies a pointless risk .. Honest people would rather pay something for something.

I would rather pay for a DVD, rip a digital copy and keep the physical as a backup. The cost differential between physical and digital delivery (package design, manufacture and distribution) should be reflected in the purchase price but it's typically cheaper to buy the DVD rather than the digital download. And they wonder why piracy is rife.

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Happy

Don't give them your money

That's the simple answer. And it is that simple for audio.

There is an enormous amount of legally freely available music out there, mostly under CC license. Some is crap most is as good as what's commercially available, some is way ahead of the curve, both artistically and production-wise. I have standard ogg, flac as well as the inferior mp3 files scattered all over my music players, computers etc.

I listen to what I want, where I want, and when I want.

Many artists don't ask for anything in return (they always at least get a' thank you' from me). Those that put up a donation link get a contribution from me.

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Thumb Up

DRM mostly sucks...

This is one reason why I still buy physical media and rip it myself. Ogg and Mkv files don't have DRM, and never will.

And while I have a few eBooks, I have several times that amount in dead tree versions. (Although most of said eBooks are technical manuals, because they are loads easier to update then a paper book and errata sheets.)

In fact, the only possible constructive use for DRM is for company or government sensitive information like trade secrets or budgets, and even then it's surprising how easy it is to get around it.

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Meh

Meh

Particularly with DVDs, my shelf is nothing but a reminder of how much money I´ve wasted on movies that have been watched once, so quite happy to pay a monthly subscription to "lease" as many as I can get in the post in a month. Books fall into the same category for me, I don´t get precious about owning them - especially after reading it.

Music however? Gah. DRM Free all the way, and whilst we´re at it, stop charging me an additional license just to listen to the radio at work.

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unrealised assets

"Particularly with DVDs, my shelf is nothing but a reminder of how much money I´ve wasted"

Actually.....actually, this is aload of tosh, the DVD's on your bookshelf are an example of unrealised assets, they have value even after being watched. This is the biggest mistake people make when comparing physical media to digital media. I, for instance, have a $20,000+ book collection, its been valued, its insured, I can even borrow money against it. Physical media has a value apart from its entertainement value. Try popping into your insurance agent with a Kindle full of exactly the same books and ask them to insure it for $20,000, oh, expect laughter.

Strangely enough, since my books have all been purchased from second hand shops and dealers it is quite likely that my collection didn't cost much more than the equivelant Kindle tied books. But there's more, I can leave my books to a relative in my will, I can sell them if I desire and not be breaching any usage agreements, and, as the guy on TV says, there's even more! My collection, as digital media becomes more pervasive, will actually increase in value, your digital collection, however, is worth exactly what it was worth when you purchased it, and that's not $2.99 or whatever, its exactly $0, because its not a realisable asset.

This is the business plan of large media copmpanies, to get people to pay for something that is worth nothing after the purchase, you can't sell it, sure they can give it away with the Kindle, but that's exactly what it is worth, nothing, you can't sell a Kindle and charge for the Kindle and the value of the books in it, nobody would buy it. So if you do have a shelf full of DVD's and lament buying them, realise their worth by selling, a mint condition second hand DVD is worth almost as much as a new one, and some are in fact worth many times the value of the exact same DVD re-released.

To me this is the biggest issue with digital media, and why I never pay for digital media. Everything you buy has a value. Even transient things like food actually have a value after they have been consumed, yes it may appear to be a hard one to call but its true. The value of food is that it enables one to live and work and earn money, if you spend $10 on food for the day the value of that food is reflected in your activities of the day. You buy a newspaper (physical), it can be used to light a fire, a realised asset, can be recycled to make cardboard, a realised asset etc. But the media companies are inventing a new paradigm, they are selling something thats worth nothing, how can you possibly get a better business model than that?

Now the inevitable argument is that is indeed worth something due to the fact that an artists had to record it, the studios had to spend time to make it worth listening to (often a lot of time and effort at this stage), the distribution channels have to be maintained. But they are all irrelevent to the value of the end media. The previous model of physical media worked well because all that effort by artist, studio, distributor etc came out as an asset worth buying, an asset that retained and even appreciated in its value, but now we have all these people putting a huge effort in producing something that, to the end purchaser, is worth exactly $0, currently the only value in digital media is contained in the licence to distribute it.

My personal idea is that purchasing a piece of digital media should give one a perpetual license to that particular piece of media, but not just an imaginary license, an actual, well maybe not physical, but solid license. So the media companies have a license to distribute, I have a licence to use it in whatever form I choose. I could make a personal copy on CD, copy it to my mp3 player, if it's a book put it on a ebook player of my choice, if I need a new ebook player and it doesn't accept the format of the old one then I can get a copy of that book from wherever I like (as long as I don't steal physicall media, thats a crime) or even print it out on paper. Embedded in that license would be the right to sell that license to another person or leave that license to a relative in my will. The fact is, until digital media becomes as valuable to the end user as physical media the business model is a broken business model.

And yes, to avoid the inevitable, "but if you lose a physical book you don't have the right to walk into a shop and walk out without paying", that's true, but I am insured, I take care of my books, but accident are inevitable, you could lose your kindle, and while many ebook distributors allow you to redownload books you have already paid for, what happens if the distributor goes bust, or closes down, or changes DRM type. We all remember the MLB.com fiasco right? How about MSNmusic, Yahoo! Music Store. I could go on with examples but there's no point, the point is that you can pay for music, listen to it for years, and suddenly find you can no longer listen to it due to the distribution service shutting down. At least with physical media the loss of that asset is entirely in your hands, the loss of digital media, on the other hand, isn't.

With a perpetual license you could just download that book/song/movie again, even get a friend to give you a copy, and that would be legal because you have a license for it (assuming he also has a license, if he doesn't then your action in getting would still be legal, his action in giving it wouldn't). In the end digital media ends up with a value to the end user and people pirate less because they now have a valuable item, (the license, not the media, the media is stil worth $0)

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RE: unrealised assets

Several points well made there, though I think I would struggle to get much back from my original purchase price of the DVDs. I could be wrong, maybe I should try selling them. But I didn't buy my movies and books to sell them. I bought them to enjoy reading or watching them, which I have now done and this media is now gathering dust.

The companies you mention are just distribution companies. Yes if my Kindle breaks and Amazon goes bust I can't get a new Kindle, but the books themselves are available elsewhere. The insurance should cover the cost of replacing them as I still have the reciepts for the purchases*. The same applies to the analogue world. Your local bookshop may go bust but you can still replace the item from another shop. DRM downloads are one method of distribution, and all it does is enforce the restrictions the companies wish they could enforce in the analogue world. The original article mentions that the author can't copy a DVD and send it to his friends to play on a different device. You can't copy a physical DVD and send it to your friends either, that would be illegal, and I bet if the media companies could prevent you from doing it they would too.

Right now, you still have the choice to purchase a physical or a digitized item. I personally believe the demand for tangible items items will be around for a long time - humans like tangible as much as humans like making cash - so all the while there is a market there, someone will sell to that market.

(*I've not tested this with my insurer, but I have known people to recover the cost of replacing music from broken ipods.)

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Thumb Up

Re: unrealised assets

The points you make are correct, however if you consider 'buying' a digital movie as being more akin to going to the Cinema to watch a movie then the viewpoint changes. Instead you need to be asking yourself if you're prepared to pay £x to watch it, if the answer's yes then it is worth *to you* that amount of money. Once you've watched it its gone. If you happen to watch it again before it expires then that's a bonus.

In short, it doesn't matter that you don't own the media, *providing* you realise this and value it accordingly. The problem is that the vast majority of people don't realise this, so are effectively getting fleeced.

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asset pricing

Your precious assets are only worth what someone will pay for them, and as everyone stops reading dead trees and starts reading bits, your assets will decline in value to the point they're no longer worth anything and you're massively over-insured.

I have a few hundred books and got a Kindle in January. I pirated around 2000 books for nothing from a bittorrent site, and am now sat here with shelves and shelves of dead trees wondering wtf I'm going to do with them. There are some books in there that are rare and unavailable in electronic form, and I'm seriously considering digitising them, and there are some workshop manuals that I don't think I'll ever use electronically because I don't want the Kindle anywhere near the power tools. Apart from that, the rest of my carefully-accrued collection is just dead weight now.

The DRM issue is a non-starter. Books that I buy from Amazon I remove the DRM from and store on a hard drive. Books that I pirate don't have DRM in the first place. (no, I don't feel guilty pirating them, same as I don't feel guilty buying a second-hand book. Nothing goes to the author past first sale, and I stopped buying new books years ago).

Insisting that your real books have real value and your digital books don't is confusing the map with the territory. A book is a container for information, nothing more. It's the information that matters, not the container. If you don't believe me (and I was of the same opinion a year ago) buy an e-reader and try it. The reading experience is the same (if not better), and suddenly your shelves of valuable assets don't look so valuable any more, they suddenly look like a huge liability.

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Anonymous Coward

Physical is nice but...

rather bulky. My house is full, literally, of physical assets that I could realise (like hundreds of DVDs, CDs, a few thousand books, dozens of computers [retro-computing], the wife's handbags, shoes, clothes, etc) and one day I will (or my Will will). I'm in the process of digitising paperwork to make room.

So the nice thing about digital media is how compact you can make it. I have a couple of HP Microservers with ZFS raided 14Tb of disk space that will keep me going for a few more years yet and they take up the same space as a single bookshelf. I can also keep them in diverse locations (e.g. loft, garage, shed) to physically protect them (plus small fireproof safes, alarms). With digital it's all easier ... just not as pretty to look at.

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Silver badge

Electronic vs physical books

There is nothing yet that I have seen that would make me prefer e-books to real ones. Yes, they are both storage of information, but one can be used without an electricity supply and the other can't. Once the Kindle or whatever runs out charge, it is absolutely useless unless there is a way of charging the batteries back up, and those batteries have a finite life. Real books have none of those drawbacks, and the supposed advantages of digital (portability being the only one ever put forward) does not make up for the drawbacks. Because of this, real books will always be a realisable asset, whereas e-books are ephemeral, and the readers just junk waiting to be scrapped.

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value

"The insurance should cover the cost of replacing them as I still have the reciepts for the purchases*."

"(*I've not tested this with my insurer, but I have known people to recover the cost of replacing music from broken ipods.)"

Given that you have receipts and proof of purchase thats possible, but again it just re-iterates the point, they are valuable because of what is paid for them, not for what they are. A book or DVD don't become worthless if you lose the purchase receipt, why should a song you purchase online become worthless without proof of payment?

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Stop

Misinformation

Quote: "We're vulnerable. Apple and Amazon own, in the traditional sense, both the media files and the playing devices."

Wrong. They don't own the device or the media "in a traditional sense". You bought it, you own it. But neither you nor Apple/Amazon own the media. The owners of the media have always been the producers of the media. You don't own the music on CDs either - you merely have a license to play/watch them, and then only within specified parameters (e.g. you can't screen them in your local community hall). I agree that this is crap, but it doesn't originate from Apple/Amazon. If they want to sell music, they have to abide by the labels' terms.

Quote: "I can't extract a music file from my iTunes collection on my MacBook and send it to the same friend, not unless it came into iTunes from me as an MP3 file"

You haven't noticed that DRM was removed from iTunes music some time ago? Or that you can right-click on a song you bought from iTunes and select "Create MP3 version"?

Come on Reg - this isn't up to scratch. More informed analysis please!

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FAIL

The myth about licenses

"You don't own the music on CDs either - you merely have a license to play/watch them, and then only within specified parameters (e.g. you can't screen them in your local community hall)."

That is not true (at least not in Europe and the UK, in Gods Own Country the situation is different, though), but you're not the only one falling for the crap that the content industry wants you to believe in.

If you go in a store and purchase a music CD then there is no license involved. Most sales of music CDs or movie DVDs are sales of goods, and the good is the physical storage medium with the information on it. There may be 'license terms and conditions' printed inside the cover but since they never became part of your purchase contract they are legally irrelevant. Also, the contract is only between you and the seller and not between you and the producer/publisher/artist. A music CD is in no way different to buying a book, where again you don't just buy a 'license to read' but actually own the physical medium (paper, cardboard) *and* the information on it. And you can do with it what you want in the framework that the law allows you - smash it, sell it on, lend it to your friend, etc.

The reason you can't play a CD in your community hall is said framework, which in this instance is the copyright law. While you own the information on your CD, you don't have the copyright, which limits the audience you can make the content available to. In the UK, the stringent copyright law doesn't have provisions for private copying, and thus yes, copying the CD or converting it into a different format for your MP3 player would be illegal.

So no, buying a music CD doesn't involve any license, as does buying a book, a movie DVD/Bluray disk, or even a standard software package. Of course the media industry wants you to believe that you have no rights on the goods you purchased, as this way they can dictate consumers what to do and what not.

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J 3
Holmes

Fine, but...

If I can not do whatever I want with the information, then I don't own it. That's pretty obvious to me.

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@J 3

I was about to invoke a /. car analogy, but I don't need to.

Do you own your (dead-tree) books?

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DRM removal and you.

Question: If I buy a book from amazon in kindle format and remove the DRM in order to convert it to epub and read it on my phone. Where do I stand legally?

Yes, I know I can run kindle on my phone but I prefer aldiko.

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Silver badge

What happens at the end of copyright protection ?

I know that for many items there is a while to go, but what happens when you get something that is DRM encumbered and keep it for a few years ... once that song/book/film/... goes out of copyright you should be able to give it to all of your friends. But if it is DRM encumbered it may be technically hard to do so -- will whoever sold it to you give you the key to unlock it ? I doubt it.

I suspect that DRM means copyright in perpituity.

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Re: DRM removal and you.

You're in breach of the agreement under which it was licensed to you, as simple as that. Easier and just as legal to torrent it.

Morally of course you're in a different position - you have in good faith paid the vendor what they were asking, but wish to use the 'product' in a different manner to that which they intended.

Of course, there's probably a kindle app for your phone anyway, so no need!

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Joke

@What happens at the end of copyright protection?

I don't think anyone would live long enough to see anything get out of copyright protection... (if the work is new-ish, then this is actually not a joke!)

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Stop

copying files...

"I can't simply copy a file from iTunes or Kindle and send it to any of my friends like I could loan them a physical DVD or book"

Oh yes you can! Download a song using iTunes and then convert it to an MP3. You can send that on to whoever you like...

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iTunes to MP3

Okay. I was wrong. Tried it and iTunes let me do it. Mea culpa.

Chris.

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Silver badge

It's a lesson that needs to be learned by every industry

The music industry already learned that DRM-free files sell considerably better than DRMed ones. Now it's time for the film and book industry to learn the same.

They already had a chance. If you look at the sales of DVDs you will find that they went up right after their DRM was broken.

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Anonymous Coward

You THINK you have ownership of the money in your bank account.

By letting banks become so important, we've become vulnerable to a very simple attack. Get your bank account locked up by some other party. It doesn't matter whether it's an angry creditor or the tax man acting on a wrong calculation. Suddenly you can no longer pay the bills or the rent or even for your food in the supermarket or in a restaurant.

I have had bank accounts stolen from me this way, yes. Some clerk had invented a goodly chunk of nonexistent income to tax, then became obstinate about it. It happens. Such things in fact happen more and more as increasingly payment processors are pressured to not deal with parties for this or that moral reason. It really doesn't matter whether it's crooks, terrorists, whistleblowers, or sites excercising freedom of speech such as wikileaks. It's happening especially in western countries. "Follow the money" taken to the extreme means banks are the new moral guardians.

So yes, I keep some spending money at hand. I pay cash as much as I can. I must for I can afford to trust banks less and less as they increasingly aren't there for me any longer, but for carrying out policy, helping the tax man and the plod alike. Is this paranoia, or more of a once burned, twice shy thing? You decide.

As long as money cannot be exchanged anonymously online the transition is incomplete. In fact just about all "digital payment" schemes and models are incredibly one-sided, and for a reason. It'll not happen, we won't get anonymous electronic money or even electronic schemes that are close to the flexibility of cash, for it'd make banks if not obsolete then at least much less inflatedly important. And that's bad for their bailout money and their bonuses.

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Anonymous Coward

In case it was indeed banksters disagreeing, let me expound.

In the greater scheme of bailing out the banks, the bonuses aren't really important, so they're a bit of an underbelly argument. Right?

Well, no. Yes indeed, the bonus money isn't important, no. But the fact that bonuses were and even had to be paid according to court order, even at the height of the crisis, that is quite a lot indeed important. At least as much if not moreso than the fact that the financial trickery enabling the massive boo-boo that caused the bailouts was not merely possible but hailed as great progress.

Bonuses were originally incentives to do exceptionally well. Now they're more of a way to make bankers' "regular" income look less obscene. The simple fact that plenty of bonus-paying contracts don't contain performance conditions tied to any semblance of reality means that everybody could do "exceptionally well" and still the whole banking system was at the verge of collapse. Or so the bankers said.

Bottom line: Nobody was actually responsible.

What then, were all these people being paid for?

I don't know but I do know it's not me that's profiting, monetarily or otherwise. The banking system as it stands is costing me banking fees as well as quite the chunk of tax money, privacy, and choice. As in, I have very little choice not to use it and it keeps tabs on my every move, often for parties like the government, or even third party credit raters. The current banking system no longer is worth its price to me. Break open that market and let the rotten parts fail, I say.

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WTF?

How many banksters read El Reg?

Looks like at least 3 City employees have managed to work their way to the keyboard on a Saturday evening...

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Not so

You haven't actually _read_ the iTunes EUA, have you? Here are the relevant bits:

"USAGE RULES

(i) You shall be authorized to use iTunes Products only for personal, noncommercial use.

(ii) You shall be authorized to use iTunes Products on five iTunes-authorized devices at any time, except for Content Rentals (see below).

(iii) You shall be able to store iTunes Products from up to five different Accounts at a time on compatible devices, provided that each iPhone may sync ringtone iTunes Products with only a single iTunes-authorized device at a time, and syncing an iPhone with a different iTunes-authorized device will cause ringtone iTunes Products stored on that iPhone to be erased.

(iv) You shall be authorized to burn an audio playlist up to seven times.

(v) You shall not be entitled to burn video iTunes Products or ringtone iTunes Products.

(vi) iTunes Plus Products do not contain security technology that limits your usage of such products, and Usage Rules (ii) – (v) do not apply to iTunes Plus Products. You may copy, store, and burn iTunes Plus Products as reasonably necessary for personal, noncommercial use."

Note: You can burn ANY DRM ITUNES MUSIC FILE UP TO SEVEN TIMES PER PLAYLIST without penalty. The file which was burned to a disc DOES NOT HAVE DRM. You can send that disc to anyone, anyone at all, and they can do whatever they want with it. And if you need to burn a song more than seven times, just generate a new playlist. I have songs on my system which are in at least a half dozen playlists.

Furthermore, the iTunes Plus (that is, the high bit-rate) version of the songs DOES NOT HAVE ANY DRM AT ALL. You can burn _those_ songs as many times as you want, without penalty. I have, for example, made copies of certain songs on a playlist of my choosing and burned them to disc for use in, say, a car. If someone wants a copy of a song and they have a blank CD, then it's a matter of seconds before they have that copy. Back in the days before iTunes, it was a more lengthy process to hand out a copy of a song on tape. Not to mention more expensive, as good tape cost more then than a CD does now, after correction for inflation. And I don't _have_ to burn a disc, either. I can export the file from my library and then attach the result to an email or post it on my Dropbox, and the other person need never touch a disc.

I don't know about how Amazon does things, never having purchased any music from them, but I suspect that it would not be difficult to generate a copy from a file purchased from Amazon, as well.

If Apple turned off the iTunes store this minute, I would have no problems, even if there was some Evil Secret DRM attached to any music I may have purchased from the iTunes store, because the first thing I do when I download a song is to make a backup of it offline... which is, in fact, one of the things that Apple tells you to do. I _know_ that those backups don't have restrictions, as they have been played on machines which are _not_ authorised. Worst case would be that I would have to replace the DRM crippled songs with my backup. And I've replaced most of my original iTunes purchases with the high bit-rate versions, which sound better and don't have DRM, in the _TWO YEARS_ since iTunes Plus has been available. So you haven't bought anything from the iTunes Store in _two years_? Or did you just fail to notice that the DRM's gone, gone, gone?

And then there's the fact that at least 90% of the songs in my music collection are items that I've ripped from LPs and CDs myself, not stuff I bought from the iTunes Store, and never had any DRM at all, and were ripped at a higher bit rate than even iTunes Plus! I've got a turntable for the express purpose of ripping my remaining LPs (I have _30 years_ of LPs, including stuff that was rare then and simply doesn't exist on CD now) and I'll get around to uploading the last of my old LPs Real Soon Now. And even if Apple wanted to, they can't do thing one about this.

Sheesh.

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FAIL

iTunes = DRM free, example you gave is easy to do

Article wrongly says: " I can't extract a music file from my iTunes collection on my MacBook and send it to the same friend, not unless it came into iTunes from me as an MP3 file in the first place."

Super wrong, it's easy:

Step 1: Right click song in iTunes and choose Show in Finder/Explorer

Step 2: Drag or copy and paste into email

This works with any song purchased from the iTunes store.

iTunes also lets you convert to any other music format in one click by choosing Convert from the Advanced menu. The format is chosen in Preferences > Import Settings

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It's easier than that

Just drag the track(s) from iTunes onto your email program to create a blank message with the files attached.

Makes you wonder if the author has actually installed iTunes, or bought any music from Apple or Amazon.

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