Unprotecting iTunes vs. Unprotecting Napster
I just read an article on CNet News.com about how Steve Jobs supposedly wrote emails to a bunch of music executives pointing them to a blog entry which explained in easy steps how to turn Napster-protected tunes into unprotected tunes. The purpose of the e-mail was allegedly to show the music industry how unsafe Napster DRM is.
Hey, guess what? Aside from all the hacks people have put together to also un-DRM iTunes Music Store tunes, the method below will always work. Always has, always will:
- Purchase album from iTunes Music Store
- Burn album to CD
- Rip CD to MP3 using iTunes
Your album is now unprotected in less than 5 minutes, you’ve used Apple’s own software with no hacks, and you haven’t done anything illegal. So what’s the big deal? Unprotecting music without first burning to CD is bad, but if you burn to CD first, it’s ok? I don’t get it. I know there is a miniscule loss of quality doing a second transcoding, but most people won’t even notice (hence, the explosion of the MP3 market).
I’m definitely not one of these people who thinks all music should be free, but I do think it’s time to finally start admitting that all DRM is breakable and always will be. One side of me thinks that a combination of “stealing music is wrong” messages, difficult-to-break DRM, and easy-to-purchase legal music is enough to keep the economics of the music industry afloat, but the other side of me thinks that Wilco might be on to something.