Fan of the Foo Fighters or Dave Mathews? Own an iPod? Want to rip the tracks from their latest CDs to your iPod for a little jammin’ on the go? Well, you CAN’T because Sony BMG decided to put the Fairplay copy protection on the latest releases and Apple doesn’t have a license to allow iTunes to import the files to your iPod.
“This (Foo Fighters) CD has a copy protection scheme that makes it totally useless to 30 million iPod owners,” wrote C. Anderson of Plano, Texas on Amazon.com’s customer review link. “How could a band be so stupid as to alienate such a huge percentage of their fans?”
About one-third of the 252 customer reviews of the Foo Fighters’ CD this week on Amazon, which prominently displays the fact the album is a copy-protected CD, complained about the copy protection.
Despite the complaints the CDs are selling pretty well with over 736,000 units sold—including 23,000 digital copies—so the inclusion of Digital Rights Management (DRM) doesn’t appear to be having a negative impact on sales. The whole point of DRM, though, is to try and stop illegal file sharing of the music in question. So does it work? Absolutely not as the folks at P2Pnet inform us that one of the tracks from the new Foo Fighter’s CD is currently the number 1 most traded song on the various file sharing networks.
Let’s review, shall we? The newest Foo Fighters and Dave Mathews CDs have DRM copy protection in place to prevent music piracy. This copy protection is preventing the legal copying of music tracks to iPods by legal owners of the CDs. However, the DRM has completely failed to prevent either CD from showing up on the file sharing networks where they are heavily traded. Yet sales are excellent despite the fact that both CDs are highly popular downloads on the P2P networks.
The end result? The only people who can’t use these CDs with their iPods are the ones who have every legal right to do so. If they want to use the CDs with their iPods they either have to break the DRM (a felony) or download the illegal MP3s being traded on the file sharing networks (also a felony) or write angry letters to Apple and hope that the company will license the Fairplay DRM for use with the iPod and then sit back and wait to see if they actually do so (Apple has said they currently have no such plans). Ultimately the DRM protection only causes problems for legal users of the protected content while doing nothing to eliminate the piracy it’s supposed to prevent which doesn’t appear to be affecting sales at all.
Found via Broadband Reports.