January 1, 2006
New Year, New Stupid DRM Scheme

EMI insert

Via boing boing:

Coldplay's record label, EMI, has inserted a pleasant little note into all of their new CDs which discloses all the ways they've crippled the CD with DRM. The big problem, however, is pointed out by Cory Doctorow:

Of course, these rules are only visible after you've paid for the CD and brought it home, and as the disc's rules say, "Except for manufacturing problems, we do not accept product exchange, return or refund," so if you don't like the rules, that's tough.

What are the other rules? Here are some gems: "This CD can't be burnt onto a CD or hard disc, nor can it be converted to an MP3" and "This CD may not play in DVD players, car stereos, portable players, game players, all PCs and Macintosh PCs." Best of all, the insert explains that this is all "in order for you to enjoy a high quality music experience." Now, that's quality.

As I've noted before, the major problem with DRM is that it's designed to make inaccessible the exact same content which a media company wants to sell people in the first place. I'm certain that some bored code monkey will find a way around EMI's DRM any day now, and even without that happening, anyone with a CD burner, $12, an iTunes account, and a little sense can already make pirate copies of the album. I'm not even going to go into the level of consumer annoyance this has the potential to produce. People hate being forced to buy the same content twice, and given the trend towards people using iPods and other mp3 players to tote around their music collections, that's essentially what this kind of DRM entails for a large section of Coldplay's fanbase.

(And seriously, who is stupid enough to believe the 'this will maintain your high quality music experience' line? Are they going to change back to releasing albums on 8-tracks if they don't put DRM on CDs?)