David Berlind Pushes Some Buttons

� FSF’s Stallman pitches new definition for C.R.A.P.

To wake people up, I’ve come up with a new acronym for DRM: CRAP. It stands for Content Restriction Annulment and Protection. With CRAP technology (aka DRM), your ability to view or listen to the the content you acquire, record, or play in real-broadcast time (ie: a Cable TV or radio program) is easily resticted by its distributors. They can restrict whether you can record it and what devices you can play it on (including the portable players and the type of computers you can use for playback). You may agree to a certain license when you’re first exposed to the technology. But the people at the CRAP controls can revoke those terms and issue new ones whenever they want (thus, annulment). And, the worst scourge to many: you’re prevented by both the technology and the law (the Digital Millenium Copyright Act or DMCA) from tampering with CRAP technology, even if it’s only to make a copy that works on an unsupported device for your own personal use (the protection part).

Another Datapoint

Warner Music’s Earnings Nearly Double [pdf]

“The shift to digital revenue streams is happening faster than previously thought,” said Richard Greenfield, an analyst at Pali Capital Inc. “But the key question remains: How well can digital revenues compensate for declines in physical sales?”

[…] In a conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. attributed the company’s profit increase to a continuing rise in digital sales, which grew 30% from the previous quarter, to $69 million, nearly triple the year-earlier figure. The CEO singled out a mobile phone marketing campaign as having driven digital sales of Madonna’s latest album, “Confessions on a Dance Floor.”

[…] The music industry is benefiting from increased digital sales. Nearly 20 million songs — a record — were downloaded by U.S. listeners during the last two weeks of 2005, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Worldwide, more than 420 million tracks were downloaded last year.

By contrast, U.S. sales of music albums fell 7% last year, to 618.9 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.