Archive for September, 2007|Monthly archive page

Digital Restriction Management bites back – or – when companies advise users to break their own copy protection systems

So, it’s official; Sony Connect is no more.
For years now Sony Connect has tried to mirror the success of Apple’s iTunes store. But Sony did not get a toe into that business. Now they pulled the plug and are burying Sony Connect. And along with it the ATRAC format.
ATRAC was always Sony’s music compression format of choice. They used it on the MiniDisk and tried to make it popular on the Internet, tried to make it to the standard format for the music business. But it never caught on.
And not ATRAC is getting the shoe. Sony’s future music player won’t support ATRAC. And that brings Sony’s customers in a very awkward position; what to do with the DRMed files they bought from the Sony Connect store? None of the new Digital Music Players will play it, so those files are practically useless. Sony’s advise? “Break it!”.
On the Sony Connect Site the Connect Customers are advised to burn the music files on CD and rip them again; into MP3.
Now, that’s something, isn’t it? Sony’s Customers are advised to circumvent copy restriction schemes. Now forget the data degradation that occurs if you transcode data from one lossy format to another. Forget the trouble the customers have to get trough. Let’s focus on another thing.
Imagine if the big entertainment companies would get what they wanted for years; the complete control over the data stream, the removal of all unrestricted high-definition date outlets. What would the Connect Customers do in this case? Buy the files again? Resort to more drastic methods of copy restriction circumvention methods? I don’t think that the media companies would lift just one finger to help their customers. After all, they already paid.

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