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Dealing with DRM - the remix

posted by ClifNotes, responses from readers, Aug 2006 Permalink


Last week I responded to a reader who asked a question about Windows Media Player and music files with DRM (Digital Rights Management software or encoding) in them.


While it may be okay for the rest of the world to copy DVDs and music CDs, in the States, we are strapped by a law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It basically tells us that if a piece of software or media has DRM on it, we can't break or circumvent the protection, if we do, we have broken the law. You can keep copies of DRM protected media for your personal use, but the only way to get the copies involves breaking the law or simply buying another copy. Most people would be thinking "I just bought this, and now I can't make a copy for safe keeping?".


Quote from EFF.org

In practice, the DMCA and DRM have done nothing to stop "Internet piracy." Yet the DMCA has become a serious threat that jeopardizes fair use, impedes competition and innovation, chills free expression and scientific research, and interferes with computer intrusion laws. If you circumvent DRM locks for noninfringing fair uses or create the tools to do so, you might be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.


So, just in case I talk about copying a CD or DVD, it's a theoretical excercise, not something I'd advice you to do.


My Dad was recently playing a Jazz CD of his that he loves and I noticed a skip or pause in it. I told him that I could rip the album and create a backup CD for him that wouldn't have the skip in it.


In theory, I could have downloaded MusicMatch Jukebox, then ripped the CD into mp3 files, and then burnt them onto a new CD for him. After using MusicMatch, I decided I didn't like it because it's just way to commercial for me. Instead, I'll recommend people try out CDex instead, if they can legally use it. CDex is open source freeware.


Another reader wrote in about my suggestion to use ScreamerRadio to rip music streams from websites like ShoutCast.com.



From Bob C.

You're REALLY starting to freak me out here. I just started using Screamer Radio a couple days ago and even sent it out to all my friends and posted it in a newsgroup because I was so impressed by it. I'm getting nervous about reading the rest of the newsletter...


Check out Live365.com for stations - they have some great stuff that Shoutcast doesn't.


It's easy to figure out the how to get the link from Live365, and it works fine until you exit Screamer. But Live365 wants you to log in when you restart Screamer and play a Live365 station. It's only been a couple days so I haven't had a chance to follow up on it and figure it out. Not that it's such a bad problem, and I really do like my Live365 stations.


Thanks for the great tip Bob!