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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Your music will be "free"

If you've joined the iPod (or "portable music player") revolution, then you've probably encountered digital rights management (DRM). It's that thing that asks you to "authorize" the playing of iTunes songs on different computers (if you paid for them via the iTunes store). The whole business is pretty much designed to make copying harder to do. It also has the side effect of making legitmate backups difficult, as well as sharing music with friends.

It's started with some individual artists, spread to iTunes, and now is planning to sell music without DRM. That means you'll buy an mp3 without any kind of copy protection. You'll be able to copy it to three of your home computers, two music players, and burn it to CD.

Many folks have argued that this sort of music copying falls under fair use provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the godfather of DRM. It seems that the argument's likely to become moot, since the Southern slaves of DRM will be able to escape to the free North of unprotected music.

So share in the free music revolution. Check out the music of Jonathan Coulton, an artist who's been providing his music free for a long time, and making money doing it.

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