DRM and Self Defence

Theoretical arguments are always fun, but nothing makes a point better than a real life example.

I don't hate DRM. I understand why some content owners think it helps. I don't necessarily agree that it does, but I get what they are trying to do and I don't think it would be fair of me to become a foaming at the mouth DRM hater over what is honestly a minor inconvenience in my life.

Now, my hate for DRM can grow, and it already has to some degree. I've already documented two cases where DRM got in my way. Now, I'll add a third.

The real life example comes with the purchase of the latest UNKLE release. Self Defence is a nice little box set of recent UNKLE singles and all of the remixes available across all release vehicles. It goes to ridiculous levels. There are 15 releases of their hit single Reign. For those that whine about there not being any good music, and that when there is, it costs too much, you get 41 tracks for $20. Put up or shut up. You can also buy track by track from the iTunes store.

So, because I let Global Underground sell me the same music over and over again, I happen to have many of the tracks in this box set. I purchased the Reign EP, and then I purchased the Never, Never, Land album re-release. Both of these came with the Anagram remix of Reign. With the purchase of Self Defense, I now have 3 copies. Only one of those is smothered in DRM, but that's enough. I don't need all of these copies, they're all the same. I'd love to just give the extras away to friends. Maybe I can spark an UNKLE fan. Too bad I can't even try. I have no way to transfer ownership of the DRM file. I can't even sell it back to Apple, at any price. Yes, I knew this when I bought it, but I didn't know that UNKLE would release sets in the future that would entice me to buy the same music again. Shame on me.

I hate the end result here. A kick ass band now gets their name muddied because of DRM. I'm left wondering why I pay again for the same music, when I can't sell the other copies. Apple gets a black eye because the labels force them to use DRM. New customers can't be snagged because they aren't given the hand-me-down copies. It's all quite sad.

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