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DRM Ruins Family Gathering

Okay, maybe DRM did not “ruin”, but it certainly was a major bummer to a few people involved in the gathering.

On Saturday, I went to my wife’s aunt’s 50th birthday party. It was the typical family gathering — good food, good drink and good conversation among the 20-30 guests.

Jen and I arrived around three hours before the party to help put the finishing touches on the decorations and setup. Right when I walked in the door, Jen’s mom said, “Oh good, Aaron can help get the sound to work on the slide show.”

I didn’t know what I was in for.

After fiddling with the laptop, the mini speakers and the software settings, I decided that I needed to return to my in-law’s house and re-burn the presentation to the CD from the original. I assumed that the powerpoint file needed to have the music embedded in a different way (I wasn’t entirely sure since I try to stay as far away from powerpoint if at all possible).

The presenation was a pretty typical photo-slide-show with music. Jen’s mom and sister had spent many, many hours scanning photos, recording music, and setting up the timing on the 87 slide presentation. It was a very nice thought and everything could have worked out fine. They simply hadn’t planned on being considered a thief by their software. And why should they?

My troubleshooting continued for two and a half hours, I wasted three CD-R’s, and I learned more than I could have wanted to know about MS Powerpoint before I finally saw where the true problem was. Clicking on the “.wma” file on the desktop computer played the song fine in Windows Media Player. The same file on the laptop opened Windows Media Player, but gave a message about the License not being found. I didn’t need to dig any further. A very nice creative “gift” had been twarted by the earliest of Microsoft’s DRM, and it’s only going to get worse.

The really sad part in this story is that of the dozen of songs that they had in the presentation, all but one were ripped from CD’s that they own. The one song that they did download from the internet was the only one that played correctly on the laptop.

I didn’t have time to really check further into the technical aspects of what was going on with the *.wma files and the licensing. The party was starting and I needed to return with the laptop with or without sound.

I guess this is just a preview of what’s to come if we don’t change the way we think about copyright and the accompanying “digital rights”. I’m looking forward to hearing some ideas about the future of copyright/digital rights at SXSW interactive.

Originally published on Monday March 3, 2003 at 6:49 pm

[1] Comment

i'm assuming the music cd was ripped using the new mp9. by default the "protect content" option under the "copy music" tab is checked. uncheck that and you should be good to go. sucks that it's checked by default. drm is going to be tricky and ugly. let's hope someone does it right so we can live happy lives!

osterday said this 18 years, 3 months ago §

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