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Livven 1581 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite



And this once again is why I still prefer to "pirate" music.

Most "legal" services are either very vague about format, quality and DRM, not available in my country and/or have a limited collection.

The effort involved in buying something legally and DRM-free is just ridiculous, and the notion that I can trust pirates more to be honest, transparent and upfront about their offering really takes the cake.

Only in the copyright exploitation industry is the legal business more shady than the "criminals".


If I want a copy of an album, I can go to iTunes/Amazon/etc. and download the copy they offer, in a format I don't really want, encoded at 256kbps or similar. I have no idea what happened behind the scenes; which version of the album I'm downloading, what the source material was, how it was transferred from the source to their systems, so on and so forth.

Alternatively, I can go to a not-so-legitimate website, and be presented with 10+ different versions of the same album (originals, remastered editions, reissues, international releases, vinyl rips, etc.), each of which is typically available in all the popular formats (FLAC, MP3 320kbps, V0, V2, etc.)

I can plump for the FLAC, along with which I will often get high resolution scans of the source material, as well as a LOG file to verify the veracity of the copy. If I want to re-encode it, I'm free to do as I please.

Then to top it off, the legal services have the audacity to charge as much as a physical copy of the CD. I despair...


Illegal activity is okay if it's convenient? come on.

In the end, they created the product. Under US law, they have the right to sell it any way they like. They could charge $10000 per digital download and load it with DRM. If you don't like the rules, don't buy the product, that's the choice. But please don't play the victim and justify what you're doing with a "it's their fault for dressing too damn sexy".


This is a discussion about service issues in the legal music download sector.

I'm only referring to 'alternative' means of acquiring music as a benchmark to elucidate these service issues. I'm not interested in justifying copyright infringement, and I have better things to do than get dragged into that tired old debate.


Whenever a comment compares copyright infringement to rape, it's probably best to not respond to it. Nobody takes the argument seriously and it's only there to make you mad.


How about being perfectly legal?

There are companies which do geo-IP checking on their web site. If you're out of the US, you can't see anything. Just a page saying "we don't want you as a customer".

If you're a US person, with a US credit card, and a US billing address, tough. You need to be in the US to buy. People in the rest of the world are treated worse.

Look at Kodak (http://www.google.ca/finance?cid=10501). They've lost 90% of their value in the last 5 years because they didn't sell what customers wanted. They kept an archaic product, and then went into chapter 11.

If they were able to prevent competition through legislation, they would have. That's the main reason why the music labels are still around.

I don't like their rules, but I have no choice, because they have biased the legal framework against me. It's not the customers "fault for dressing too damn sexy". It's the music labels fault for jumping on me, rifling through my pockets and underwear... then claiming to be a victim.


The point I take from it is that there's a clear demand for something that isn't being met. This is presumably because the industry prefers to focus on lobbying and litigation, and, to paraphrase, won't negotiate with pirates.

I also disagree with your point about playing the victim, because with the current state of affairs, legitimate consumers are the victim. They're the victim of criminalisation by private companies, who choose to employ all sorts of tactics to stop piracy, all of which affect the legitimate customer more than the pirate.


>Alternatively, I can go to a not-so-legitimate website, and be presented with 10+ different versions of the same album (originals, remastered editions, reissues, international releases, vinyl rips, etc.), each of which is typically available in all the popular formats (FLAC, MP3 320kbps, V0, V2, etc.) I can plump for the FLAC, along with which I will often get high resolution scans of the source material, as well as a LOG file to verify the veracity of the copy. If I want to re-encode it, I'm free to do as I please. Then to top it off, the legal services have the audacity to charge as much as a physical copy of the CD. I despair...

Yeah man. That's the spirit. I propose everybody does that to the digital things you sell too, if they don't find the format, the price or any service detail conventient.


have you ever tried living outside of the united states of america or europe? most content owners or distributors (music, books, movies) will tell you "fuck you, you're too far and too small for us to bother". Anything but blockbusters that I don't watch (pirated or not) is not even in theaters. Presented with the alternative pirate-or-don't-watch, I for one choose to pirate.


> Yeah man. That's the spirit. I propose everybody does that to the digital things you sell too, if they don't find the format, the price or any service detail conventient.

I'm not foolish enough to be in the IP business.


This is why I'm a huge fan of Spotify. I'm not going to buy music (in either CD/MP3 format) so I'm happy enough to pay the small fee to have access to a huge music library across all devices.

They also have a Linux client that works perfectly for me which is also a huge bonus.


> I'm happy enough to pay the small fee to have access to a huge music library across all devices.

As long as it lasts.

I want my music collection to be accessible also when Spotify will go out of business, sued into oblivion or acquired and shut down.


Doesn't have to be one or the other. Pay Spotify $10/month to discover new music and then go buy lossless copies of the albums you really care about. Most records I could live without but those few special ones I have backed up in S3 in FLAC.


Notwithstanding something exceptionally rare, why the need to back up FLACs on S3?

I back up my music collection locally, and I have double-redundancy of sorts (it's backed up to a RAID 5 array on a file server, so in theory it could withstand the failure of the original drive and one of the back up drives), but if worst comes to worst I could just acquire everything again.

With a couple of exceptions they're just lossless copies of widely available music recordings...


Are you suggesting backing them up on pirate music sites?


Not advocating copyright infringement, nor was I suggesting that in particular.

That would be a viable back up strategy, though. Have a rare copy of a recording? Make it widely available, then if your copy is destroyed, the odds of you being able to acquire an identical copy again are much improved.


Why would they be sued? Last I heard Spotify was very much running a legal business.


Just because they are running a legal business now, doesn't mean they will run a legal business in future. Either they can change, or more likely laws will change, rendering them a vulnerable target for suing.

Plus, I'm sure they are breaking some ridiculous patent somewhere anyway.


It was only announced this month that spotify would add Metallica's back catalogue. They hardly have a complete library of music.


They have a complete enough library for 90% of the Internet population.


Does Spotify have access to "entire album only" tracks?


>And this once again is why I still prefer to "pirate" music.

Even read TFA? It has no DRM at all, this is a BS misunderstanding by the blogger.


Can some mod change the title? There's no DRM, only the file extension is different (.m4p instead of .m4a). While .m4p is usually used for DRM'ed files there appears to be no DRM in this case, you can simply rename the extension to .m4a and it'll play fine.

I have updated the post accordingly.


From the article:

"Update: You can simply rename the .m4p extension to .m4a and the file will play fine."

No DRM whatsoever.


No, it's not DRM protected!

There is an update to the article:

Update 26 December, 12:12 UTC: You can simply rename the extension from .m4p to .m4a and the file will play fine. There appears to be no DRM at all. I have no idea why Apple would do this since many apps and devices don’t recognize the .m4p extension, which only leads to unnecessary confusion (and posts like this), but whatever.


Read the update on the post. They are still DRM-free. Just a different file extension(.m4p instead of .m4a to distinguish them from tracks that can be sold individually).


This is the sort of reason I buy my stuff from Amazon / 7digital. The mp3 container format has no provision for DRM so it cannot be abused.


Just to be sure I checked Amazon before writing my "pro piracy" rant elsewhere. It's a) not available in my country, and b) between any specific mp3 offering and telling me the usual "fuck of, you're from the wrong country", and no point does Amazon inform me about the nature and quality of the download, other than the mp3 format.

Yeah, I can infer the fact that it is non-DRM from the mp3 format, but other than that it's still shadier and less informative than the average piracy side.

Not to mention insulting and utterly useless to me and 16 million fellow countrymen in one of the richest Western nations, were, oh surprise, piracy rules.


Just pirate it then.

To be honest, I download the track elsewhere always and pay for it if I think it's worth it and delete it if it's not.

You can't tell much from a 30 second clip most of the time, especially when the motivation is still to produce albums filled with padding (shit).

They need to just release singles and do away with the whole album principle.

As for quality - if you want that, you need to buy the damn CD and rip it how you want. Most of the decent quality mp3 rips are rubbish enough to notice if you have a high end setup but for casual/normal users and ears, it's fine.


I honestly like the album format. But then, that's because most artists I really like tend to have coherent albums that are best listened to as a whole(eg, Pink Floyd or Dream Theater). I agree that for most music the album format doesn't make sense. But for some, a set of 5 minute singles just doesn't do it for me, I like longer pieces that all tie in together.


I'll give you that for pink Floyd :)

Perhaps they should ship as one mp3 with a cue file?


The clips have been 90 seconds for a long time.


Usually the worst 90 second example which is my point.


Well yeah theoretically you're safer but Apple announced that iTunes music would become completely DRM-free back in 2009. And they've kept their promise, up until now that is. I don't think anybody thought they'd sneak it back in. I was really surprised when I found out they did. Hope it's just a glitch they'll fix soon.


Yes I was there then - in fact I had a load of DRM'ed tracks from iTunes back when I owned an iPod.

Why would you trust Apple not to do it though? They haven't exactly been trustworthy on any front over the years.


Two odd things:

1. The report is only that the files have the 'm4p' extension. There seems to be no-one confirming that the files actually have DRM, just that they have the extension the old DRM'd files used to have.

2. Reports of people being able to convert to m4a from within iTunes. A DRM system that has a "remove the DRM from this file" option... isn't DRM.

Which makes me wonder whether they're just the same normal non-DRM'd files, but being offered up with the wrong extension.


Indeed, see the update. It's just a fle extension mistake.


That makes absolutely no sense. Apple wants us to buy music, it's not going to deliberately serve us the worst parts of a song so that we can't judge whether to buy it.


I wonder whether there is a hidden clause in the EULA. If not, this could be legal trouble.


Wow. I didn't notice this. It's affecting anything that I've bought since the 14th of December.

I did open one of the .m4p tracks in VLC.app and it played back fine.


Yes VLC supports (some?) .m4p files, but most other apps and devices don't.


Then, there is no DRM.


[deleted]


Except it doesn't work, at least not on my version of iTunes (11.0 163). I get "'___' could not be converted because protected files cannot be converted to other formats."


Is this with a new .m4p file downloaded recently (i.e. same situation as me) or an old pre-DRM-free-iTunes file?


That's not a fix. It re-encodes the file.


There's some quality loss but the DRM seems to be gone. Guess it's an acceptable workaround for now. Though I'm confused, since iTunes shouldn't be able to just strip DRM. Maybe not all .m4p files actually have DRM?


You could always convert them to ALAC?


Transcoding from one lossy format to another decreases the file quality. Converting to ALAC would not decrease the quality -- quality would remain lossy -- but would drastically increase the file SIZE.

DJ online music stores such as beatport and stompy sell WAV or FLAC files. I really don't understand why iTunes and Amazon don't sell lossless. The bandwidth is there, the demand is there, I guess FLAC isn't supported by major players but at the very least have iTunes sell ALAC... Please.


Interesting, it gives Apple nothing and serves to fuel the "post-Jobs Apple turns to shit" buzz.




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