Apple DRM Brouhaha: Big Deal or Big Yawn?

itunesA topic that has been getting some heavy blog-time this week is the discovery that the DRM-Free music purchased via Apple’s iTunes isn’t really so DRM-Free. True, the music file is actually devoid of any playback preventing DRM encryption, but what it does contain is the purchaser’s iTunes user account info.  And while there are several ways to remove this embedded info, (One method is to use a conversion feature built right into iTunes.) I’m trying to come up with a good reason to do so that doesn’t involve deliberate theft.

Now, please don’t get me wrong.  I have never been a big supporter of the DRM movement.  I understand the need for Artists and Labels to protect their assets, but it seems that protection of our fair-use rights has always taken a back seat.

On the other hand, I’m definitely not looking to beat the Artists out of their paycheck.  It’s no picnic choosing a career as a musician.  These people work damn hard and if they’re lucky or talented enough to have some success, they deserve the few cents they get from me paying for the music that I enjoy.

What has always cheesed me off was the inability to play my LEGALLY purchased & downloaded media on any device I choose, not just the ones with fruit logos on them.  That is, without having to go through the tedious process of converting the tracks to a more generic format. 

In this DRM-Free model, Apple is now saying “Listen to the music anyway you like, but remember you’re on the honor system…”  Ok, yeah my name is written in the media file.  So what?  My name is written in my underwear too.  As long as I’m the guy wearing em’ what difference does it make?   Any way I slice it; this looks like a step in the right direction.

So, to all the people out there that are screaming that Apple needs a spanking, I ask: Why?