Sunday, January 01, 2006

Are you selling your soul to a cold gun?

Via RJ Eskow and Atrios, from Boing Boing we learn that Coldplay has given their fans a complete and utter steaming pile of insult packed in a shiny jewel case:
Coldplay's new CD comes with an insert that discloses all the rules enforced by the DRM they included on the disc. Of course, these rules are only visible after you've paid for the CD and brought it home, and as the disc's rules say, "Except for manufacturing problems, we do not accept product exchange, return or refund," so if you don't like the rules, that's tough.
What are the other rules? Here are some gems: "This CD can't be burnt onto a CD or hard disc, nor can it be converted to an MP3" and "This CD may not play in DVD players, car stereos, portable players, game players, all PCs and Macintosh PCs." Best of all, the insert explains that this is all "in order for you to enjoy a high quality music experience." Now, that's quality.
(Note: emphasis mine)

Some who read here may be surprised by my saying that, considering that some called me a corporate fascist and worse for suggesting that artists have actual, you know, RIGHTS regarding the music they WRITE, RECORD, SELL, and otherwise CREATE.

I annoyingly capitalize those words to make a point: that when you create something, you have some say in how it is distributed and marketed, including the right to charge for use. To those who criticized my previous post about copyright, and said that all music should be free, my reply is that kind of socialistic attitude should make the work you do free as well, so come on, fix my car, paint my house, and give me groceries for free, too. No? I thought not. I know that's an over-simplistic analogy, but still, work for reward is a pretty basic concept.

But for Coldplay to do this, apparently disallowing me from ripping the CD into iTunes and loading it into my brand new shiny iPod is not only mean-spirited, but it's a terrible business model. When I buy a CD, I have the right to do anything I want with it as long as it doesn't infringe on the copyright. That means I can load it into whatever media player I own, and play it anytime I want. That doesn't give me the right to re-sell it, or make and give away copies, but I should otherwise be able to listen to it any way I want. To refuse me the right to do this is incredibly short sighted. And, I wonder if it also might be considered actionable, as everyone buys CDs today with the intent to play them in many players, as well as ripping them into MP3s. Seems like this CD might be considered a flawed product, with false advertising.

And to think I actually liked some of their music.