DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT – AN OPEN DISCUSSION – Part 3
Iâ€™m on an oldies binge with my new iPod. I convert entire CDs using iTunes, then shuffle the songs for random order playback while driving to private computer tutoring appointments. Many of the tracks â€œbtBâ€ (before the Beatles) have a â€œsoundalikeâ€ aspect. Think of Chuck Berry, Beach Boys, or the Phil Spector tunes. I grew up with this music, and thanks to CD reissues I can hear more of it now than ever before. The same can be said for golden oldies from the big band era that preceded rockroll by a decade or two, and rhythm-and-blues music that is one of the main tributary branches in the river that flowed into rock music.
Iâ€™d be willing to pay a buck per track for the privilege of a forever license to enjoy each of the 681 songs currently in my active playlist, but it would bust my budget to have to spend that much all at once. I accept the inherent costs of digital or CD music distribution, but in a mature industry (which it should become in my lifetime) a fair use license of 25Â¢ is closer to the value I place on music from nearly fifty years ago.
Music is my life. It courses through me day and night, making my more recently acquired interests and skills mere accessories in a showdown. I can create and perform whenever I wish; yet I need nourishment and replenishment via readily accessible recordings. I am the perfect potential music customer, with sufficient time, money, and experience to buy recordings until I croak.
But I am reluctant to buy more retail music. All my recent purchases are from Appleâ€™s iTunes Music Store, for all the appropriate reasons. If I never bought another CD I could get along just fine with my current collection PLUS free listening from the public libraryâ€™s and friendsâ€™ archives PLUS occasional paid downloads.
As a part-time music instructor I need open access to an unlimited catalog of recordings, and Appleâ€™s online store suffices, most of the time. The companyâ€™s landmark prototype digital rights scheme changed the music buying universe forever, and I applaud it. But in real numbers, Apple would need to sell in a day what they currently do in an entire year to make a substantial impact in the overall ratio of paid-to-unpaid music buying-versus-sharing.
Owenâ€™s argument is well supported, and I thank readers who read through it. We welcome your comments below in our Article Discussion area, but not before Owen gets the last word on DRM.