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Thursday, May 10, 2007

More on DRM...

Article written by: stevekMay 9, 2007, 11:05 pm

I was recently able to solve a problem I was having with my "The Matrix Revisited DVD". Namely, I was having a digital rights management issue.

On the DVD are some forty-plus audio tracks that were either featured in or listened to while writing the Matrix series of films.

Anyone who knows me knows how big a freak I am for the Matrix movies.

Understandibly, I wanted to upload these tracks from the DVD to my computer so that I could listen to them on my MP3 player.

The problem is, the music tracks on the DVD aren’t layered as MP3 files, but are embedded in a DVD playback layer. This means it is impossible to just drag and drop them from the DVD to the computer.

Why was this done? For the same reason some CDs require you to register them before you can make a limited number of copies of the audio files therein.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that shows that file sharing can actually help boost CD sales, the RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America has been fighting against online file sharing for quite some time.

No one can deny that a lot of the file sharing going on is abusive, but we’ve also heard from new artists over and over again how useful file sharing is, in promoting unknown, unsigned and even newly-signed artists.

Likewise, file sharing is no different than buying a CD and then giving that CD to someone else who then gives it to someone else after, or checking a CD out at a library.

So far, the compromise on online file sharing has been downloadable music stores like iTunes and the new Napster, but there are still P2P networks like Morpheus, LimeWire and IRC networks that make file swapping very easy.

One of the retaliatory countermeasures against this has been to put copy protection algorithms onto music CDs, and limit the availability of those music files.

We all remember a few years ago when one of those countermeasures was effectively a malware that crashed any PC that attempted to play the “protected” CD.

Similarly, by layering in the songs on the “Matrix Revisited” DVD as a DVD layer, it meant that I had no digital access to songs that I own as part and parcel of that DVD.

I don’t intend on redistributing those songs, nor do I intend on making any kind of a profit from them. I just want to be able to listen to them and enjoy them on my MP3 player.

With the guidance of one of those sages who understands the ways of the Internet Tubes, I discovered Audacity (, a lovely open-source software that allows you to record any audio source on or connected to your computer to the hard drive.

If you’ve experienced similar frustrations when trying to circumvent DRM blockades to fair proprietary use of music you have purchased, I wholeheartedly recommend the software.

Likewise, I’d like to hear from you, dear reader, about any digital rights management issues you’ve had. I want to know just how prevalent the problem is, and what solutions or work-arounds you might have.