Monday, March 28, 2005

Looking after number one will be my only creed

On DRM micromanagement in cell phones, particularly in the form of popular and desirable ringtones: "Customers get frustrated because they don't see what they want day one. That's understandable. Unfortunately, we have bad guys out there who want to do other things" such as illegal file-sharing. Verizon's explanation jibes with statements by several producers and aggregators of mobile entertainment. Walt Disney Co., for one, won't allow its wireless partners to deliver any of its ringtones, video games and other content to phones with Bluetooth or infrared, another technology for direct connections between devices, until the industry adopts a more secure format to prevent unauthorized sharing and copying. Simply because I can, I just uploaded an MP3 clip of "That's All I Need" to my phone, which is capable of using such files as ringtones. (It does MIDI a bit better, but no one's arranged a MIDI orchestration of the song, alas.) Amazingly, I didn't have to break any kind of copy protection, hardware or software, to do it; I ripped the track from the CD, manually edited it down to a nice short clip from the middle, and then sent it to my phone via USB. Not just to spite a wrongheaded rights-management strategy that considers keeping the customer's grubby hands off intellectual property in any form (even though legal) to be the only safe option, mind you; it's a delightful song. But there's some spite in there somewhere, I'm sure. (Via BoingBoing>.)

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