I had a sarcastic rant bubbling in my head all day. But frankly, sarcasm takes energy and I’m just too dammed tired and in too much pain this morning, so this will probably come out as a rambling diatribe rather than the humorous bit I had planned. Also there is a cat sitting in my lap (the Grey One, AKA the Fat One, AKA Kenai) who occasional likes to help with the typing (he has some kind of fascination with the touchpad, who understands cats?). You pays your money and you takes your chances, you’ve been warned.
The whole DRM thing stems from my attempts to download Metisse’s albums My Fault and Nomah’s Land. I’ve had a Rhapsody account for some time, but I haven’t used it in a long while. The few times did I use it, it worked like a charm. So anyway, last night I logged into my Rhapsody account and attempted to download the aforementioned albums. No dice. I got a message saying that I needed to install a new updated Rhapsody client. Bah. But I really wanted the albums, and you can’t buy the dammed CDs here in the states, so… The update package downloaded fine, the install went fine, the Rhapsody client started fine, then things went to hell. Rhapsody wanted some kind of security update, which would not download. I even went so far as to disable my firewall and security packages (not something I do lightly) – nada. I got tired of screwing around, so I brought up Urge which is semi-integrated into WMP v11. Again I downloaded the client portion, and again it wants a “security update,” which would not work – until I downloaded WMP v11 again and reinstalled it again. Then and only then would Urge install correctly and allow me to download the albums. Finally, after 4 hours of screwing around, I got the music. Hallelujah.
Now we need to take a little detour here: I should mention that there are anywhere from six to ten computers running in my network at any one time (I’m a geek, sue me) – including the monster HP server in the den where I store data, music, pictures, home movies, etc. This machine is my life, the data there goes back to 1978 (through endless data transfers and upgrades of course), there is well over a terabyte of information stored on its drives. Several months ago I began to notice a slowdown in processing; this is significant because the machine is a dual Pentium 4 with gigs of RAM, its processing power approaches that of an Alpha Station. And the drives were running continuously. Hmmm, classic virus behavior. Yikes! But I run very good scanners and my security software is custom designed, defense in depth, running active and aggressive all the time - and indeed a full scan detected no virus, no worms, no trojans. Long story short, a custom process scanner finally uncovered the culprit: iTunes. iTunes was inventorying the data on my server, and more than that, it was communicating with somebody on the internet, uploading a significant amount of packets. This is extremely weird because, see, I never installed iTunes on my server. Detailed examination of the system logs, including router logs, showed what happened: somewhere Quicktime updated itself automatically(despite the fact that I specifically disable any automatic updates on this machine) – and installed iTunes without asking. When the server rebooted following a power-outage, iTunes started as a hidden process. Then iTunes decided to poke around my system and see what was what - and it was telling somebody about it. The IP address traced to Mountain View (Sunnyvale), Ca, you do the math. Like I said, classic virus behavior. It took hours to eradicate this piece of insidious sneaking shit from my machine – along with QuickTime. Then I updated the firewall and scanners to make Goddammed sure that it is never, never, allowed back into the house. I am no Microsoft fan, but I purely loath Apple. After I become Emperor the Universe, everybody responsible is going to be enjoying winter on Pluto. Trust me on this. So, anyway, for this reason, and a couple of others, I am very careful about what goes on the data server. However, this is where I store music files, and it's the machine I use to sync my ZEN.
Back to the original story: So, I transferred the albums from my laptop to the music library on the server via the network so I could update my ZEN. And everything goes to hell, again. I use WMP v11 because it is the only software package that can handle the size of my library (over 100k music files), everything else just chokes and dies. Also WMP works very well with the ZEN. However, WMP tells me I am not authorized to play the albums on this computer without a security update and I have to purchase the music again. Arrgh! The recording industry can kiss my fuzzy white ass. Eventually I burned the albums to CD using the laptop, and then ripped them onto the server, stripping off the DRM encoding. Then sync’d the ZEN so I can listen to Matisse in the shop. So, happy ending, but Jeebus H. Christmas it shouldn’t be this hard. I paid for the music, it’s mine, and I’ll damn well listen to it whenever and wherever and on whatever machine I friggin’ feel like.
Look, I'm all about protecting the intellectual property of the artist, but this is bullshit. I'm an artist myself, but I don't tell people who purchase my woodwork what they can do with it. Once they've paid me, they can do what they want with my stuff. They can sell it to others, hell, they give it away. I don't care, I got paid. Not exactly the same thing as copying and distributing music files, sure, but you get where I'm coming from here, right?
Attention Recording Industry: Up yours, Jackasses. DRM is not about protecting the artist, it’s not about protecting intellectual property, what it is about is protecting recording industry CEOs’ incomes. It’s about making my life difficult. It’s one more layer of aggravation. And it pisses me off – and you know what that means. Pluto. Here’s how it’s going to go down, after I crown myself Ultimate Emperor of the Universe you assholes are going to be laboring in the phlebotinum mines right alongside the anti-tamper seal idiots, see here for details, except your spacesuits will be specially modified to take only certain oxygen bottles. That’s right, you’ll have to pay for each bottle, every time, and each bottle can only be used on a specific suit – no refills, no sharing. How you like me now? Dickheads.