Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/12/letters_1212/

Giant willies take on Doomed DRM

It is a fight to the death

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Bootnotes, 12th December 2006 18:31 GMT

Letters We've gone all musical this week, thanks largely to the Gower review of the future of copyright, followed by the news that you can get enough of Apple's iTunes afterall. A broad theme emerges in your letters, you will not be surprised to learn.

Later, we'll wander through your thoughts on the carbon footprint of the average SecondLifer, or inahbitant of Sadville, as Mr. Orlowski contiues to insist upon calling them.

But back to the music. We'll get off to a colourful start with the following.. er..well rant isn't quite strong enough, so we'll have to call it an explosion of venom from Reg reader Mark Splinter. (It doesn't qualify as flame of the week because it is not directed at any of our staff):

Dear Record Industry,

For the gajillionth time.

You take away copyright from musicians the minute they sign. That is what musicians are signing, a document giving you the rights to their music. "Rights holders" are not musicians. Real musicians don't even see music as "property" they see it as an essential part of their personal self expression. You exploit that. I hate you for it.

People actually tell me that "stealing mp3s hurts the artists community". Congratulations on the success of your poisonous propaganda. It's strange how they never tell me "clueless execs bury the best music and greenlight the worst".

You do not represent artists, you represent shareholders. When artists stop being wildly profitable, you drop them. You don't "protect" them. You drop them. You prefer to make Beatles box sets. So stop freaking lying about it and pretending you are some kind of Happy Music Friends Club where Art Comes First!!!

In fact, fuck you, you are a stain on the planet, you decrease everybody's quality of life and you stifle the expression of truly heartfelt emotions and ideas. Parasites. Leeches. Assholes. Fucktards. You don't know how to make music, you don't care about music, you don't care about artists, you don't even know what real music feels like. Shove your full page advert up your arse you despicable lazy crunts.

You're lucky I live in Lithuania where I didn't have to see your filthy lies in print, and where copyright receives as much respect as the Presidency, i.e. none.

Sincerely, Mark Splinter.

How about this for a question: if you haven't made any money on a copyrighted piece of material in not only the author's lifetime but 45 years after as well... will you EVER make any money on it? What use would an extra 45 years bring?

Personally I find the whole argument of the "after artists death" to be pretty pointless as the money isn't exactly going to do them a lot of good when they're buried 6 feet under!

I still like the idea that was floated on TheReg a while back, in that a copyright is free for the first 10 years, then a modest fee for the next 10, then a larger fee, and so-on and so-forth until 70 years or 50 years at which point it's stupidly expensive and only the most profitable ones are worth keeping up.

Makes sense to me... but then I think the majority of people are excused from the crazed world of the Record Company execs who seem to live is this weird fantasy land where "stealing music" is worse than armed robbery, rape or murder...

Name withheld

And in response to an interview follow-up on the Gower review, and its impact on Europe:

If a record company/artist/movie company cannot make enough money off a record/movie in 50 years in this age of CDs/Radio/iTunes/ringtones or Cinema/DVDs/Sky box Office/Terrestrial viewing then something is lacking, probably the audiences willingness to watch/listen.

What with releases, best of compilations (1 or 2 newly released versions with 12 that are on OTHER compliations) special editions, remastered editions, the companies have every oportinity to sell the product to us over the 50 years.

- Alister

  "any European moves to bow to pressure and ignore his evidence-based assessment would be 'politics getting in the way' "

Wow, am I ever reassured. I'm happy to know that the decision will be made based purely on substantiated, legal and scientific arguments - like all major economic decisions have been since at least . . umm . . yesterday.

Yes, it sure is good to know that any lobbyist meddling will be quickly labeled as such for the world to see. They might even get a yellow card if they push to much.

I'm glad all that political stuff is being so strongly kept in check. Wouldn't want the European Institutions to fall for some lame political trick, now would we ?


As we mentioned at the top of the page, Apple's iTunes did not hit all the right financial notes. According to analysts, restrictive DRM is to blame.

The collapse of DRM.

I would pay more than 99c to see this happening.


Your article on iTunes mirrors exactly my buying habits on iTunes. I'll go to iTunes when I can't get a track legal or illegally. I'll use it to hear snippets of a track I'm trying to find then I'll probably go and get it on CD. As a Google-type search tool for music, it's great.

Other than that, I haven't got much use for it. First music is encoded at too low a bit rate. Speech is even worse. I bought Peter Kay's "Live at the Top of the Tower" that was encoded at only 32kbps and was only 1 pound cheaper than the CD in the stores. To date, for this ysar, I've bought 5 tracks off iTunes plus the five free ones I got from drinking Diet Coke. One other problem I feel with iTunes is it's just a poor investment; for 79p I can download a track of only average sound quality, limited to five devices, can't be re-downloaded if I lose it and is absolutely guaranteed to be technologically obselete inside five years. My oldest CDs are about 17 years old and sound as good now as it did then.

I mean, my 1988 copy of Wet Wet Wet's Popped In, Souled Out (sorry...) cost me about 14 quid and has been in and out of dozens of CD players in that time, has crossed the Atlantic four times and is (crucially) still the same as the one I can get at Virgin now. Now, the thing about a music collection is it isn't emphemeral, it isn't a disposable thing that we forever replace. We buy CDs and music lovers keep them and look after them for years. Imagining there is nothing more to music than a collection of zeros and ones shows a total ignorance of the culture.

May be that should be on Steve Jobs' notepad: "it's the culture, stupid..."

Best regards, Kevin.

Is it possible that the only segment of the music industry that is actually showing retail sales growth is AllOfMp3.com?

Maybe music just isn't worth $10 for a CD or $1 for a track any more.


The lovely Mark Splinter sent us his thoughts on this, too, but we think he'd calmed down a little from the previous time he put finger to keyboard:

Again interesting to read that DRM is unpopular. Again frustrating to read only about major record labels, as if they are important to anybody except their shareholders. It is pure industry propaganda that they are "representing" artists and it is totall bullshit that without the industry there would be no art. It is obscene to ignore the millions of bedroom musicians and argue about how to pay for U2 downloads.

You can give me all the legal rights in the world to rip music from sony and universal, and it won't change the fact that the music sucks, and the people in charge don't know good music even if it hits them in the face.

In Lithuania we are starting a show on a radio station that has opted out of the official blanket radio license. We will pay no license, and we will broadcast music from indies and bedroom musicians. This gives us a choice of millions of mp3s which are happily given to us for free, on the understanding that we will acknowledge the artist and promote his work respectfully.

The radio station will barely make enough money to power the generator, and i doubt we will get rich from DJing, but the people of Vilnius will have mindblowing and diverse music to listen to every week, and nobody will die. We still have our day jobs, we'd prefer not to, but you can't have everything in life. The fact is that if an artist joins a collection agency we will simply play SOMEONE ELSE, we won't be paying him either way. But we won't be driving around in BMWs moaning about "piracy" either.

Mark Splinter

Back to Second Life, its inhabitants and their carbon coated feet. Oh, and poor latin grammar, but that was us:

At the risk of being sadder than the Sadville inhabitants, since when has the plural of penis been penii?

Penis, being a 3rd declension noun is declined:

Sing. Plural

Nom. penis penes

Voc. penis penes

Acc. penim penis

Gen. penis penium

Dat. peni penibus

Abl. peni penibus

So, it should be giant furry penes.

It is second declension nouns (e.g. dominus, populus, radius) where the plurals end -i (except for neuters).


Avast ye!

Global warming be caused by a lamentable decline in pirates, as this (http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/) letter in a bottle makes clear to any but the most lubbery of landlubbers.

Aye, Saddville, it be needing more pirates. That'll stop global warming and keep the beer cool.



"In the discussion that followed, Sun's Microsystems Dave Douglas calculated the annual carbon footprint of 1,752 kWH/year as around 1.17 tons of CO2. "That's the equivalent of driving an SUV around 2,300 miles". Only a lot less fun".

Hmm, driving an SUV at 0.26 miles per hour doesn't seem like much fun to me. 1752 kWH assumes that a "Sadville" avatar is active 24/7 all year and consumes power at 0.2 kW.

The correct comparison is driving an SUV 24/7 every day of the whole year. Compared to driving for recreation or taking jet holidays, virtual reality is a _lot_ more energy-efficient.


Happy birthday Doom. Ah, the nostalgia. But as ever, there are those with longer, dustier memories of earlier, even more pixelated FPS games than even the legendary Castle Wolfenstein:

Just read your article about Doom 13th birthday. Just wanted to comment on the fact that Wolfenstein 3D was not the first 'first person shooter', I cannot offer about any guarantee about which game was really the first first, but I can at least say that Midi Maze, released in 1987 on the Atari ST machines was here before Wolf 3D. Agreed, it was not using fancy textured walls and characters, but it was first person view, in a 3D maze, you could shoot at other players, and it was possible to play networked up to 16 players connected with midi cables (hence the name).

You can read more about Midi Maze here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIDI_Maze



Concerning your article on Doom's 13th birthday, you say that Wolfenstein 3D is the first first person shooter...

...I refer you to the freescape games on the 8 biit computers of the 80s (ZX Spectrum etc...) that not only predates the iD Software games by several years, but also is in true filled polygon 3D, not 2D tiles with sprites to simulate 3D.

Just thought you'd like to know!

The Starglider

Nice to see you commemorating Doom which was indeed a milestone and kickstarted a PC gaming boom.

It wasn't the first FPS by a long shot though, and not even the first FPS that allowed head-to-head network play.

That accolade goes to MazeWar (http://www.digibarn.com/history/04-VCF7-MazeWar/index.html) at the minute. I remember playing it on a Mac network in college in the late 80's, however it had been around for a while even then.


And that's all she wrote. Back on Friday, so keep 'em coming. ®