The other day I went do buy a song (yes, people do buy music) on the iTunes store. There’s nothing unusual about this, I’ve probably spent a couple hundred dollars on the iTunes store by now. But this time was different. “This computer is not authorized” it told me. That’s odd, it was authorized a month ago. Then I remembered, I recently upgraded the mother board and had to do a partial reinstall of windows to get it running again. That must have thrown it off. “No biggie”, I say to myself, “I’ll just re-authorize.” My computer responds, “5 computers have already been authorized with this account.” Hmm, let me think…
- My Primary Desktop Computer
- My Wife’s Laptop
- My set-top computer (a Mac Mini)
- My Laptop that I re-formatted and no longer have iTunes
- My Work computer that I re-formatted and no longer have iTunes
Gee, I guess Apple didn’t realize that Windows users reformat their computers a lot. This is most troubling since I’m still running the same iTunes install on my desktop. I can just hear the Apple fan boys screaming now ( I know, because I used to be one ), “Wait Stupid! You can de-authorize all 5 computers at once!” Not so, you see I had already done that once before, 6 months ago (long story, I had some trouble with computers at work for a while). And, like Christmas, Apple’s magic de-authorization can only happen once a year.
So I did the only thing I could do. I bought the song on my Mac Mini, stripped the copy protection, and copied it to my desktop PC. There’s just one tiny problem that I have with this. This seemingly innocent act qualifies me as a felon under the DMCA. I believe the RIAA says it’s worth $750 to them.
Because of the DRM, I was forced to break the law just to make a purchase. Don’t forget that I couldn’t even buy the stupid song, let alone play it. When Apple forces you to commit a felony just to use their product, that sounds like entrapment to me. In fact, I would love to see the argument brought to court some day. Then maybe we can all move beyond this DRM absurdity. But I’ll leave my argument against DRM for another rant.