Panasonic: “please don’t buy pur cameras”

You would think that by now everybody knows how DRM kills your sales.

Panasonic doesn’t:

“Panasonic Digital Still Cameras now include a technology that can identify a genuine Panasonic battery. For the protection of our customers Panasonic developed this technology after it was discovered that some aftermarket 3rd party batteries do not meet the rigid safety standards Panasonic uses.

Some of these aftermarket batteries are not equipped with internal protective devices to guard against overcharging, internal heating and short circuit. If these aftermarket battery packs were used, it could lead to an accident causing damage to your camera or personal injury.

Panasonic’s Digital Camera firmware has been updated on this website to detect these aftermarket 3rd party batteries so such serious safety issues can be avoided.

[ Warning ]
After this firmware update your Panasonic Digital Camera cannot be operated by 3rd party batteries (non genuine Panasonic batteries).”

So, if I update my firmware carelessly (I’m sure that extra warning will not be in all the next firmwares release notes…), my (not so cheap) aftermarket batteries will be worthless.

How long until a customer sues? How long until battery manufacturers sue for anti-competitive behaviour?

Stupid. Soooo stupid….

Canon Digital Rebel DRM alert!

You may have heard that the latest Harry Potter book has appeared in digital form before its release, people have published digital photographs of the books pages.

Now The Times reports that the camera owner may be identifiable thorugh the pictures EXIF data:

“By examining the vital information – or ‘metadata’ – built into each photo, the company’s technical officers have established the serial number of the camera that was used, which could in turn lead to the identity of the camera’s owner.

The information, known as Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif) data, has already revealed that the camera used was a Canon Rebel 350. Because the model is three years old, the device would likely have been serviced at least once since it was purchased, in which case the owner’s name would be known.

The serial number itself would not necessarily give away the name of the owner, Canon said, as it can only match serial numbers with owners if the purchaser registers the device after buying it. Every time a Canon camera is serviced, however, the serial number and owner are logged together. “

Spooky. But it goes on:

“”The Exif data is like the picture’s DNA; you can’t switch it off. Every image has it. Some software can be used to strip or edit the information, but you can’t edit every field,” Mr Solomon said.”

You can’t? I bet you can…

After the fuss around user data stored in iTunes songs, will we see EXIF cleaners next?

iTunes workaround for non-US users

Don’t you hate it that APple makes movies. TV shows and even some songs available exclusively via the US store? Jenneth from Gear Diary has a solution:

“Lucky for me, a recently-discovered workaround lets Aussie users buy TV shows and movies through the iTunes US store – just sign up for PayPal using a US address! Naturally I’ve tried this out myself, and it works just as promised. Sweet! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some TV shows to watch …”

I’m not sure if PayPal will like this, but I’ll take it as just another occurence of people voicing dissatisfaction with DRM.

To say it in Volker’s words: “Repeat after me: DRM is bad for the customer.

EMI: No more DRM

WHOAH!

“London, 2 April 2007 — EMI Music today announced that it is launching new premium downloads for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital repertoire available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions.

The new higher quality DRM-free music will complement EMI’s existing range of standard DRM-protected downloads already available. From today, EMI’s retailers will be offered downloads of tracks and albums in the DRM-free audio format of their choice in a variety of bit rates up to CD quality. EMI is releasing the premium downloads in response to consumer demand for high fidelity digital music for use on home music systems, mobile phones and digital music players. EMI’s new DRM-free products will enable full interoperability of digital music across all devices and platforms.
[…]
Apple’s iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) is the first online music store to receive EMI’s new premium downloads. Apple has announced that iTunes will make individual AAC format tracks available from EMI artists at twice the sound quality of existing downloads, with their DRM removed, at a price of $1.29/€1.29/£0.99. iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay $0.99/€0.99/£0.79 for standard sound quality tracks with DRM still applied. Complete albums from EMI Music artists purchased on the iTunes Store will automatically be sold at the higher sound quality and DRM-free, with no change in the price. Consumers who have already purchased standard tracks or albums with DRM will be able to upgrade their digital music for $0.30/€0.30/£0.20 per track. All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price.

EMI is introducing a new wholesale price for premium single track downloads, while maintaining the existing wholesale price for complete albums. EMI expects that consumers will be able to purchase higher quality DRM-free downloads from a variety of digital music stores within the coming weeks, with each retailer choosing whether to sell downloads in AAC, WMA, MP3 or other unprotected formats of their choice. Music fans will be able to purchase higher quality DRM-free digital music for personal use, and listen to it on a wide range of digital music players and music-enabled phones.”

Click here to listen to the audio webcast from today’s announcement.
Click here to download the pdf presentation.

This rocks. Not only that, but it will get the ball rolling. The other players will have to answer to their customers saying “what about you”? In my opinion, this is a HUGE competitive advantage for EMI. I hope Apple provides assistance in showing how (if?) the numbers change in regard to non-DRM vs. DRM.

Exciting times.

Shame based DRM

Tim Marman reports on streamburst.tv‘s DRM system (quote by TechCrunch):

“Instead of handcuffing viewers who want to view films they purchase on multiple devices and otherwise use content legitimately in ways DRM blocks – Streamburst takes two steps to prevent movie piracy.

The first is that every film begins with a 5 second display of the name of the person who purchased that copy, as it appears on their credit card. The second step is that Streamburst eliminates an undetectable but unique series of bits from each copy of a file downloaded. That idea is that the psychological barrier of being named will stop many people from illegally distributing the files and those whom it doesn’t stop can be identified by the unique series of bits stripped from whatever copies make it into illegal file sharing networks.”

Tim suggests:

“Shame may in fact be the best DRM we can come up with.”

I fully agree. I was happy to pay for the copy, I’d share it with friends, but I’d be very cautious as to whom I’m giving the file to, because I wouldn’t want it to end up in somebody’s file sharing folder by accident.

Steve Jobs – Thoughts on Music

Steve Jobs openly takes a position against DRM

“Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy. Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music. That’s right! No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player.

In 2006, under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves. The music companies sell the vast majority of their music DRM-free, and show no signs of changing this behavior, since the overwhelming majority of their revenues depend on selling CDs which must play in CD players that support no DRM system.

So if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none. If anything, the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system has limited the number of participants selling DRM protected music. If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies.

Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly.”

Sounds a bit flower-power’ish, but still – bold move.

But Steve, why not lead by example? There are artists that are not part of any of the above mentioned studios that would probably *love* to sell their music DRM free on the iTMS.

Will you offer them a path?

QTFairUse6 v2.5: Now a GUI and full iTunes 7 support

GUI version and library conversion routines by ATOM_alac. Support for iTunes 7.0.1 and 7.0.2. Fast dumping for iTunes 7.x. Patch offsets are now specified in an external file. Invalid m4a files which were sometimes produced by 2.4 are now detected and reconverted. List of protected files is now retrieved from the XML library file.

read more | digg story

Love it – works like a charm.