Friday, November 11, 2005

Sony Relents? Sort Of...

Well, as of Saturday, Sony (not entirely unpredictably, and only begrudingly... i.e. without admitting how badly it had screwed up) agreed to stop using its current copy-protection technology with the built-in and concealed spyware program. Of course, Sony's announcement begs the question: Will the company (and others) continue to use copy protection, albeit with modifications to the spyware aspect of the program? As I've been ranting all week, I'm not just pissed off about having spyware loaded onto my computer by Sony; I'm pissed about not being allowed to listen to music I PAY FOR in the manner I want (i.e. on my iPod, on a home-made mix, etc.). And even if Sony has been bitch-slapped about the former, the latter problem is still there. Bottom line: I still ain't buying the damn things until I know they're going to work on my hardware and that I'm going to be able to make 1, 2, or 500 copies for my own personal use.

At this point, I'm racking up a fair number of discs I'm stuck boycotting. I'm not sure yet whether I'll keep the My Morning Jacket disc or not; the band was nice enough to offer to work with me on a work-around, so we'll see. I was planning to buy recent discs by former Phish dudes Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon, but, as both discs are copy-protected, those purchases are indefinitely on hold. (I wrote an e-mail to Phish's management, but as the band itself is no more, not sure if this will do any good. For now, I ain't buying, and about all I can do is post silly rants on the review pages.) I was also considering (and please don't laugh) checking out the new Neil Diamond cd, as it's drawn rave reviews from the sort of critics unlikely to rave about a Neil Diamond album... but it's on Sony, so forget it. (And the only contact info on the Neil website is for Sony itself, which has already completely blown off my prior e-mail, so I'm not going to bother complaining to them.)

Meanwhile, though I enjoy seeing Sony kicked around (and hope the litigation continues against them... and, dammit, where the hell is Elliot Spitzer?), I imagine we're still stuck moving in the direction of copy protection, and the days of making mixes and enjoying music in various formats without having to deal with God knows how many tech workarounds, are behind us. But I'm not quite ready to give up hope.


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