Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Now (or actually, a while ago) I realize why we had so much trouble getting a certain song to play in conjunction with the slide show that played at my wedding. Digital rights management! At the time I (and others) were irritated because hello, we BOUGHT the thing on iTunes - why didn't it work how we wanted? Why couldn't we use it how we wanted!?

As I'm ripping CDs borrowed from the local library to my computer (to sync with my iPod to listen to at work) I'm wondering exactly how I should be able to use the audio files. Sensibly and legally. It would seem that in this era those terms aren't compatible, especially when it comes to music and other forms of digital media. Who owns what and in what forms and for just how long, exactly? I copied them, but only because I don't own a CD player. I'm not selling them. Nor do I plan to mass distribute them via some peer to peer network. I'll listen to them a few times and then delete them. Exactly how I would listen to something checked out from the library. Perfectly fair and acceptable use, in my opinion.

The library is a sort of gray area. It has DRM material and the way it prevents people from taking the material and running with it is that it's due back in two weeks. And if you don't bring it back, you pay and give it back or pay more and keep it. Except now we are able to take it and run if we want - and all for free.

What do we need? A virtual library where we sign something saying we promise to delete it after using it for two weeks? How is that going to be enforced? Shorter time before something is in the public domain would be nice, too. Ah. I'm pretty sure the books I'm ripping are already in the public domain (or maybe they're almost there) so either way I'm good. I think.

I don't have any more time to devote to this topic, though I know it's quite controversial. It's interesting to see how technological advances cause laws to adjust to the times.

All I know is that I'll be listening to works by C.S. Lewis all day tomorrow which means I'll have to decide right now not to write down any quotes. I'll never get any work done if I do.


  1. Ooh, I could write a really, really long note about this, but... I won't. (Not right now, at least. I'm short on time.)Oh, and FYI: There are two songs. (When you do arrive, I strongly recommend chronological order reading, as each entry references the previous one, for the most part.)

  2. Your blog no longer has a "preview" button, but I suppose that "evoke" is just as applicable (if not more poetic) as "invoke".

  3. Contrary to your expression, no one has ever *bought* anything on the iTMS: they have merely licensed the content for a specifically enumerated set of purposes.Actually "buying" would evoke the first sale doctrine, as well as allow you to actually take advantages of Fair Use rights that are not prohibited by the DRM.DRM, in my opinion, has exactly one legitimate use: rental, or the "subscription" model to content, which has a previously-defined time limit and set of restrictions that are well-understood by both parties.I am in agreement with you about time to enter public domain: the benefit to society of a work entering the public domain has increased with digital distribution technology, and the ability of producers to monetize their creative content with a smaller amount of time and resources have increased with the same technology: therefore the amount of time that the government grants temporary control to producers as an incentive to create (for the benefit of the public) should be re-adjusted accordingly.

  4. Interesting discussion. I wonder if there's ever been as much concern over people photocopying books from the library? It's more time-consuming and the product isn't of the same quality as the original, true, but I wonder how much of the issue is tied to how much money record companies make compared to book publishers...Something tells me that you'd probably get in less trouble having copied an audio recording of C. S. Lewis than you would having copied the latest Britney single (not that you would copy the latest Britney single, but you know what I mean).

  5. Interesting post. What I do with Library material is that I keep it on my iPod only for as long as I have the CD checked out. So when I return the CD, I delete the music or book.

  6. http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/" rel="nofollow">This is an interesting read on the subject.