Friday, November 11, 2005

There was much rejoicing

The Washington Post reports today that Sony has backed off from its CD copy protection scheme -- you know, the one that installed malware on your PC, wouldn't let you copy the CD to an iPod, and limited CD-to-PC rip quality to a measly 128 Kbps. Seems Sony didn't like the bad press. Awww, I feel for them. Those rat bastards.

It's time that honest consumers stood up for their rights against these greedy fat cat record labels. The labels obviously don't care about their customers or their clients (the recording artists), they only care about the bottom line -- and only then in the short term. So maybe they cut back a teensy-weensy little bit on copying with this DRM scheme (and that's quite arguable), while in the long run they drive more and more formerly paying customers away. When you combine greed with stupidity, that's what you get.

The record labels blame music downloads and CD copying for all their woes. But study after study has failed to prove that downloads and copying affect CD sales one iota. Here's what's really happening. CDs cost too much (should a 60-minute music CD really be priced higher than a two-hour movie DVD?), and the music they're putting out sucks. It also doesn't help that the Clear Channels of the world so rule the radio waves that (1) there's very little opportunity for potential CD buyers to hear new music and (2) the market is so scattered among subgenres that there's little or no chance for a true mass market hit anymore.

So the labels are crying the blues over declining sales, and trying to make up for it by suing their customers, infecting their PCs with worms, and restricting the use of the products they sell. Yeah, that's smart business. I do not feel their pain.

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.

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