Related link: http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/366191
I subscribe to bugtraq among other mailing lists, and this week I noticed an interesting post about DRM software included on the new Beastie Boys CD. Apparently part of the autorun process on the CD is to silently install a copy protection system on Windows and Mac–a system that apparently includes a uninstaller for Windows, but not MacOS.
I mostly listen to punk, but I have a nostalgic place in my heart for the Beastie Boys dating back to License to Ill. I actually picked up this CD this week (pretty good IMO if a bit too “why can’t we all just get along” at some points), and personally had no problem ripping it to MP3 for my archos av340 under Linux.
Other sites have reported apparently that this DRM software install is common practice for all EMI CDs except for those in the UK and US (so my disc doesn’t have this “feature”), and that the Beastie Boys didn’t want DRM on the disc but couldn’t overrule EMI’s policy.
This is tough, because I suppose one could respond with the kind of “consumer outrage” that would call for everyone to not buy the CD until EMI takes off the DRM (but then I don’t know that most people here in the US would go to bat for such a cause especially since the DRM doesn’t affect them directly), but that sort of thing would end up punishing the Beastie Boys, who other than signing with the label probably don’t have much say in EMI’s policies. But then again, the buck can be passed so far that noone ends up being at fault.
Personally, I think we as consumers give media distributors too much leeway when it comes to installing extra software like this on our systems. If some 13 year old kid did the same thing, he of course would be tracked down and thrown in jail for causing some umpteen million dollars of damage.
I guess the fine line between a Trojan Horse and “spyware” or other piggy-back software, is whether the writer of the software has corporate backing.
Is there anything we should do to combat this? Or is DRM on CDs just an inevitability, with this case being a quick kludge until full DRM on all music becomes a reality?