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0488: "Steal This Comic"

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:01 am UTC
by embolalia
Image

Caption: "I spent more time trying to get an audible.com audio book playing than it took to listen to the book. I have lost every other piece of DRM-locked music I have paid for."

http://xkcd.com/488/

Totally agree. Reminds me of the story about Wal*Mart.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:03 am UTC
by lastscattering
Yeah, I bought a couple songs from Itunes before I realized what bullshit it was.

Now I go to record stores and buy my music old-school style. (an unmentioned third option)

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:04 am UTC
by stormoftara
I recently couldn't play ANY of my songs I bought from Itunes. What crap is that? It's my music, I bought it, but it wouldn't let me play it. It's almost like they want me to steal music.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:05 am UTC
by GodShapedBullet
This comic is pretty late. Talk Like A Pirate Day was almost a month ago.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:05 am UTC
by Shale
This is why when I do buy digital music I either buy it from eMusic (no DRM) or rent it from the Zune store (all-you-can-eat buffet, so even if it does stop working I've got my money's worth). iTunes can bite me for any number of reasons, although the DRM is pretty near the top.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:05 am UTC
by 1337geek
RIGHT ON!

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:06 am UTC
by madhollywood
Well, if I am going to be a criminal either way...

Also, in general, I have no qualms at all about being a pirate.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:10 am UTC
by cranberrytuna
I like having the actual cd, so I don't have much need to pirate. Plus, thanks to iTunes, cds are cheaper than they ever were (a dollar a song instead of the 20 bucks for 11 songs I remember from junior high).

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:10 am UTC
by VigintiTres
what ever happened to the lost art of buying cds?

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:11 am UTC
by themuffinking
http://xkcd.com/14/

I get my music from Amazon. 256kbps whenever possible, DRM-free. The problem with this, of course, is the suggestions.

Recommended for you:

Men At Work - Business as Usual
Men Without Hats - Rhythm of Youth
Vanilla Ice - To The Extreme
Shu-de - Voices from the Distant Steppe

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:12 am UTC
by Lure+Breaker
I used to play .avi files. Recently, many sources I used to visit have changed to .mkv files. I cannot play.mkv files. I weep.

(I buy CDs :D)

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:12 am UTC
by sunami
If you want to vote with your wallet, and want DRM-free music, the Amazon Music Store serves up usually higher bitrate music with no DRM, and from what I've seen usually 89c a piece rather than the 99c from itunes.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:17 am UTC
by Panama1984
I like how the name is reminiscent of the SOAD album

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:20 am UTC
by phlip
I definitely agree here. Note to execs who think DRM is a good idea: when your customers are unable to use your product and/or service, you're doing it vastly wrong.

Lure+Breaker wrote:I used to play .avi files. Recently, many sources I used to visit have changed to .mkv files. I cannot play.mkv files. I weep.

Get yourself some VLC. Or MPlayer, if you live in the console, like I do.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:21 am UTC
by leebenningfield
I haven't had any problem with Audible yet. I canceled my subscription some time ago, but I can still sign in and get access to the stuff I had bought. And the files play fine on my computer, my iPod, my PalmPilot, and now my Zune. Of course this is anecdotal, and I still agree that Audible's DRM is probably a bad thing in the long run.

As far as iTunes, I was able to convert everything I had bought there with one of those programs that stripped the DRM, but I don't think there are any nowadays that work (without lowering the quality on the songs). And I've avoided buying stuff on there since then, except for a few things that had a pre-release on iTunes and I planned on buying a physical copy later.

My main source of digital music, as someone else mentioned, is eMusic which is DRM free, and 1/4th the price of iTunes. I don't really like eMusic's audiobook service though... the monthly credits don't roll over like Audible's do, and mp3 isn't a great format for audiobooks, Audible's .aa format and iTunes' .m4b formats work better with devices that support them than mp3; you can bookmark them, play them sped up or slowed down, and they don't get played when I hit "shuffle all" on my portable devices.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:21 am UTC
by vodka.cobra
I wholly agree with this sentiment. :D

*looks up*
BUT WHO WAS LINK?

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:22 am UTC
by MiffTheFox
Lure+Breaker wrote:I used to play .avi files. Recently, many sources I used to visit have changed to .mkv files. I cannot play.mkv files. I weep.

(I buy CDs :D)


Go go gadget Community Combined Codec Pack!

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:25 am UTC
by tetromino
Lure+Breaker wrote:I used to play .avi files. Recently, many sources I used to visit have changed to .mkv files. I cannot play.mkv files. I weep.

Use MPlayer or VLC. And if you are stuck on Windows, you could also install MPC and a recent version of a good codec pack.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:26 am UTC
by lethesoda
First page FTW.

There's a lot of artists (Nik Kershaw, or Herman's Hermits) I can't find on a hard copy. I don't mind buying them online, from either Amazon or iTunes. :shrug:

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:26 am UTC
by Cooley
This reminds me of Randal's old comics about copyright laws. A nice return to themes in my opinion.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:30 am UTC
by syckls
Do what you want 'cause a pirate is free,
You are a pirate!

Yar, har, fiddle dee dee,
Being a pirate is all right to be!
Do what you want 'cause a pirate is free,
You are a pirate!
You are a pirate! (YEAH!)

We've got us a site (A site!)
Where you can find a bunch of songs
Without paying those dongs (Those dongs!)
Piss off, RIAA!

We'll go to the site (The site!)
We know their music's DRM-free!
We'll download the songs
And then we'll say hooray!

The songs/dongs rhyme is really forced, I know, but it's the best I could do.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:31 am UTC
by ubergeek09
Hey pirating should not be illegal. Whats wrong with sharing bits?

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:32 am UTC
by Dezign
Information IS free and always has been. It's just when a post-scarcity world clashes with a scarcity-bound economic system that we get crazy problems with no solutions like DRM software and intellectual property.

More on that: Scarcity is really the issue here. Computers essentially make information totally free (unless we place restrictions on it for our particular purposes), and our access to it is only a function of the value of whatever ELSE we do with our time and how LONG it takes us to use computers to do what we want. Electricity is folded into time, and everyone remembers Moore's Law for free computers. All that's left is how time translates into things with less than total abundance, and that's where money comes in... Money is crucially tied to getting material goods and material-restricted services, which includes food and shelter (and computers and medicine, in the US). If we had Star Trek replicators working for us, would we really NEED money to give incentives to create culture? No, people would create and distribute culture and science for free because those are things we love to do.

Admitting a bit of purpose-placing, it's still possible to see this in the difference between societies with high standards of living in the present day. The most technologically "advanced" nations with the highest standards of living/lowest poverty rates tend to have service-based economies, the most scientific research and more people with careers devoted to participating in culture.

I'd love for someone to contradict me as long as they can cite something, since I don't have any handy citations for this and I'd like some.

Edit: This is not an endorsement of communism.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:36 am UTC
by ameretrifle
Does ripping music from library CDs count as piracy?

If so, well... Yarr. ;)

I never liked the whole iTunes software anyway, it's a pain in the ass to run on my laptop. I'm definitely gonna go to amazon for any of my future music-buying needs. If, of course, it's not at the library

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:36 am UTC
by firestar27
If you use a CD, then you can use whatever format the program uses.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:38 am UTC
by Crysm
I praise the return of and wholeheartedly concur with Black Hat Man.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:39 am UTC
by Phasma Felis
I totally agree with the comic, except that ITUNES HAS BEEN SELLING DRM-FREE MUSIC FOR A YEAR AND A HALF JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE.

Edit: I mean, seriously, I am all for DRM-free music and sticking it to the man, but iTunes is not the man. A year and a half, and all the Slashbots are still bitching about Steve Jobs tryin' to keep them down. If you want to throw a fit at somebody, throw it at the labels who refuse to sell using iTunes' DRM-free option. It's not Apple's fault.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:39 am UTC
by Timequake
Panama1984 wrote:I like how the name is reminiscent of the SOAD album

The Suicide Machines did it first (their "Steal This Record" was in 2001, SOAD's "Steal This Album!" was in 2002).

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:40 am UTC
by PatchMonster
I agree, I am not ashamed to say I pirate most my music. Artists should be happy people are listening to their music/buying concert tickets. They can easily make a good living off concerts alone. I do buy their CDs when the talent warrants it, however.

Instance where a band/label has no right to whine about "piracy": 212M gross band tour (The Police): http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/art ... 1003685265
They shouldn't be whining.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:42 am UTC
by VHBT
I get my music from http://www.newgrounds.com/audio, so this isn't a problem. There are some fairly good songs there, too.

In fact, I almost exclusively play free games and use open source programs. The only non-free programs that I use regularly are Flash and Fireworks, though I could easily find a replacement for Fireworks if I hadn't bought it.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:44 am UTC
by Brandon
Or you could buy MP3s from Amazon.com.

Just saying :)

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:45 am UTC
by Aglet
I predict that this comic will quickly become very popular on Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:46 am UTC
by Rodan
As I was reading this comic, a little bubble told me my torrent finished.
I think I'll go out and buy a cd.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:48 am UTC
by gompers
Timequake wrote:
Panama1984 wrote:I like how the name is reminiscent of the SOAD album

The Suicide Machines did it first (their "Steal This Record" was in 2001, SOAD's "Steal This Album!" was in 2002).

Abbie Hoffman beat you by about thirty years.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:48 am UTC
by skeptical scientist
It makes it harder to steal the comic when it's licensed as creative commons. Fortunately, the license requires attribution, so I hereby present:

Image
-A comic by yours truly.

Stolen, bitches!

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:49 am UTC
by dr7
Timequake wrote:
Panama1984 wrote:I like how the name is reminiscent of the SOAD album

The Suicide Machines did it first (their "Steal This Record" was in 2001, SOAD's "Steal This Album!" was in 2002).

Ahem.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:50 am UTC
by Shale
gompers wrote:
Timequake wrote:
Panama1984 wrote:I like how the name is reminiscent of the SOAD album

The Suicide Machines did it first (their "Steal This Record" was in 2001, SOAD's "Steal This Album!" was in 2002).

Abbie Hoffman beat you by about thirty years.



The fact that this had to be pointed out makes me a sad pop culture nerd.

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:50 am UTC
by roc314
Panama1984 wrote:I like how the name is reminiscent of the SOAD album
Their album name was based off of the book Steal this Book. I believe that was the original.

In other news, its nice to see Randall outraged about copyright laws again. I support. The flow chart is a nicely succinct way of expressing the problems with DRM. If only more people would realize how the cycle goes...

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:55 am UTC
by FearfulFerret
The main problem with the whole business is that, ultimately, businesses that sell something that can be replicated quickly, accurately, and effortlessly (and can also be distributed as such) have no idea what they've got their hands on. Pretty much hand-in-hand with the capitalist system comes the idea that consumers pay for a product. Now that we've got a medium of distribution and storage that breaks all the traditional rules, the whole system gets turned on its head. Ultimately, DRM simply cannot exist. I fully support Jonathan Coulton for his business model (and music, I suppose) and I also love Stardock's "gamer's bill of rights". I can listen to music without paying, I can play games without upgrading, and I can do it all without any fear that DRM will come in to ruin my experience. And it's legal.

I don't support pirating copyrighted material, though, because it seems like, instead of getting the hint, businesses tend to just complain to their security people, who then implement tougher restrictions, which then exacerbates the problem. The digital medium will be a difficult market to stabilize, and it'll take a radical shift in economic perspective, but I dearly hope that it does happen. Until then, people will rationalize immoral and illegal actions (and I'm not saying that all illegal actions are immoral, but rather, that pirates tend to cross the line when it comes to protesting unfair treatment and just plain old theft) and businesses will continue to blame lost profits on said people, thus rationalizing policies that cut into their profits for entirely different reasons. It's just difficult to imagine large companies making expensive products when the only way to pay for it is by whether or not gamers choose to support it. However much we may support the Indie games, it still holds true that, without some method of guaranteeing a profit from making a game, big-budget games simply won't exist.

Bottom line, I'm growing out of active gaming (and into heavy passive gaming) and will simply sit back and laugh as the industry tries to respond. This should be interesting.


Doooon't download thi-is so-ong...

Re: Steal This Comic

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:00 am UTC
by guyy
This is kind of disappointing.

I mean, iTunes DRM is annoying, but it's not like it's hard to get rid of. Just burn a CD of each album you buy; if the DRMed files stop working, just copy new non-DRMed ones off the CD. If you buy too much music to do this, well, you buy too much music. Amazon MP3 pretty much destroys the problem, since their music is higher-quality, less expensive, and DRM-free.

Yes, DRM is stupid, but pirating just gives companies an excuse to continue using DRM, or even make it more evil.