Monday, October 17, 2005


Two of my most anticipated albums of the year were Paul McCartney's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard and My Morning Jacket's Z. However, when trying to upload them to my computer, I ran into a problem that thousands of music consumers are running into: copy protection. Now up until recently, I didn't have a problem with Copy Protection because the protection on CDs wasn't invasively done; I could still upload albums to iTunes and copy them normally to CDs for other family members. However, in recent months two of the four major label groups, EMI and Sony BMG, have begun to make their CDs compatible only with Windows Media Player in response to Apple refusing to license out FairPlay iPod compatible copy protection or raise prices of songs in iTunes. As a result, the albums are incompatible with iPods, the leading digital music player in the world.

What I find asinine about the debacle is that amidst a season of low CD sales, EMI and Sony BMG have decided to inconvenience potential customers in a way that many, like New Jersey banker Ryan Kuczynski, are deciding to cease being customers entirely. In this case, the labels are directly driving many consumers to download the album illegally or through iTunes. And without the support of Warner and Universal, the latter of which is the world's largest label and fundamentally disagrees with copy protection, EMI and Sony BMG don't have enough clout to force Apple to cave.

In this scenario, who am I to support: Apple, a company that may be legally inconveniencing other companies but has provided me with great and consistent products and service, or two major labels who are directly inconveniencing me?

I wonder.

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