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The Truth About Piracy

Just because I don't download movies doesn't mean I don't think about it pretty much for this reason:

If they made a DVD player with a giant red "play the freaking movie right freaking now" button, I'd buy it. Wouldn't you?

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Beware Blu-Ray Surprises

(Image is in the Public Domain)

Simply put, media should be media, programs should be programs. Putting code or commands into media like movies, music, e-mail etc allows for viruses or worse and no one should have to worry about that. Well, worry.

If you put the new Blu-ray Iron Man movie into your computer it will try to connect to the Internet and download something (some horrible DRM program probably?).

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RIAA Victim becomes Victor!

Freed from a bogus judgement
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

The Thomas v. Captiol case was something we all watched with horror as some poor woman was slapped with a fine of $220,000 simply for having downloaded some music. However, that case has recently been overturned due to the fact that the RIAA's argument that merely having copyrighted music available for download is a crime.

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Spore Slapped With Class Action Suit Over Invasive DRM

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.5 [SRC])

It's hardly surprising that there has been a huge backlash against Spore due to the decision to include DRM. I'm a little surprised, but very happy, that someone had the tenacity to file a class action lawsuit against them for it.

In the end, no company has the right to control your game playing to this degree. It's a shame that a game from such a well-renowned company would be smeared and tarnished because their foolish decision to treat their customers like criminals.

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Possible Trend: Movies on USB Drives

To the movies!
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Ghostbusters has become the first movie to be distributed on a USB drive. It includes a strong form of DRM that they hope will prevent people from copying it. Whether that proves more effective than the DRM they've tried on DVDs remains to be seen.

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One More Reason To Be Against Digital Rights Management (DRM)

With DRM, what they give, they can take away
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

From Ars Technica:

Yahoo e-mailed its Yahoo! Music Store customers yesterday, telling them it will be closing for good—and the company will take its DRM license key servers offline on September 30, 2008. Once the Yahoo store goes down and the key servers go offline, existing tracks cannot be authorized to play on new computers. Instead, Yahoo recommends the old, lame, and lossy workaround of burning the files to CD, then reripping them onto the computer. Sure, you'll lose a bunch of blank CDs, sound quality, and all the metadata, but that's a small price to pay for the privilege of being able to listen to that music you lawfully acquired. Good thing you didn't download it illegally or just buy it on CD!
Here's a brilliant spoof of the Yahoo announcement that was sent to subscribers that I found at Digg.com:

Dear Consumer

We would like to thank you for being a customer of the DRM Clothing Store. Unfortunately, DRM'd clothing has not been as successful as we hoped, and we will be discontinuing service effective as of noon today. At the time that we suspend operation, all the DRM'd clothing that you have purchased will spontaneously cease to exist. We appreciate that this may be inconvenient to many of you, particularly to those of you who are currently wearing our DRM'd clothing at, say, a business meeting, a funeral or a formal dinner.

The DRM features in our clothing primarily affect the seams and stitching. If you use a sharp knife to separate your DRM'd clothing into separate fabric pieces, and then re-sew the clothing using your own needle and thread, the clothing will continue to function much as it did before. However, you must do so before noon today.

We regret the inconvenience caused to our loyal customers and thank you for your custom. We trust you will look back on your time as a customer of the DRM Clothing Store as an exciting adventure in digital living. And to those of you who don't receive this message in time, and find yourselves standing stark naked in a crowded subway car, trying to protect your modesty with an empty Starbucks cup and a day-old copy of the "New York Post", we'd just like to say "DRM Clothing – life on the digital edge!"

Yours sincerely, DRM Clothing

P.S. No refunds will be issued.

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New Games Require Internet Connection or You Can’t Play (PBBBBBLLTT!)

It's a trap!
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

Some new game manufacturers are requiring that the game system you play with have an Internet connection so the game can authenticate itself every few days. Most people are pretty adverse to being treated like criminals just to play a game much like they'd resent a screeching corporate harpy who strikes their hands with a ruler every time they do something that the company deems "unworthy".

Well since the company can't afford to train and assign a corporate harpy to each and every player, they instead put restrictive software that calls home and says, "yup, this guy's still ok". Should the software not be able to call home, like a spy under strict orders to lie low, the game will refuse to operate until given an Internet connection by which to phone home to command.

The funny thing about this is that most of their market will happily and quickly buy their games, but when they put in the screws, those same customers will refuse. However, being avid gamers and fans, when presented with the ability and opportunity to download a cracked copy, they are much more likely to do so since they will still want to play the game.

A not-so-suprising reaction from the gaming community: Penny Arcade Comic
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Western Digital Puts Restrictions On Types of Files You Can Copy

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

Here's a western Digital Hard drive has Digital Rights Management (DRM) built in. It's an external hard drive which is advertised as making it easy to store and share your files, as long as those files aren't music or movies.

Don't buy these. If you did buy them, return them.

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Amazon Launches Online Music Store with No DRM

(Image is used under the Pixabay license)

I'm not thrilled about Amazon since they are one of the worst privacy offenders on the web, but they are now offering music downloads without any DRM.

Though shopping with Amazon is like dancing with a hungry wolf, for now they may be one of the best places to get music content. Certainly if you had a choice between iTunes and Amazon for the same music, Amazon would be the better choice.

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Opinon: Microsoft Should Abandon Vista

(Image used under: Fair Use doctrine)

Vista has been a rough release for Windows. I would say that it's probably the first time since Windows 95 that a new system wasn't better than the previous (other than ME, but that didn't last long). Some people think Microsoft's mistakes with Vista are such that they should just abandon it and move on.

Much talk has been given to Service Pack 1 and how this update should address many of the issues users have with Vista, but I simply don't agree. Will SP1 eliminate the ridiculous Microsoft licensing schemes? Will SP1 drop the price on the higher-end versions? Will SP1 eliminate the need for users to buy a new computer just to use the faulty OS?
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