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December 2005

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I love iTunes.

But I hate DRM.

For those who don't know, Apple encrypts all your purchased music using a DRM scheme known as "fairplay." It's totally incompatible with anything other than iTunes and it locks you down with ridiculous restrictions.

Now, I use MythTV, and it plays AAC files. That's good. I also use mt-daapd, so I can connect to my home network and stream to any iTunes client. That, also, is good.

But I can't play fairplay music. That is not good.

So, for the past year or so that I've been using ITMS, I've been using a utility called jhymn to fix my broken purchases as soon as I made them. It let me turn DRM'd files into standard AACs that would work with all my devices. Rock.

Then came iTunes 6, and it stopped working.

So here's something Apple needs to understand - there are exactly two reasons that I used ITMS instead of just downloading whatever the hell I want from a peer to peer network. Reason 1: it's easier to find and download a usable copy of the stuff I want. Reason 2: I, you know, actually WANT to support my favorite artists.

In no way is the convenience of iTunes worth the price you pay. NEVER. It's in my best interest in every way to use a peer to peer network, even when the DRM is breakable - if I didn't have some nagging notion in the back of my skull that I should be paying for the stuff I use, I WOULD NEVER USE ITUNES.

So get this - when I get *defective* files from ITMS that don't even play on most of my devices, what exactly do you think I'm going to do? PAY you guys for an inferior version of something I can get for FREE? Not likely. I use ITMS to donate to Apple/the RIAA/the artists because I'm a fucking nice guy - and you're trying to stick it to me by selling me defective merchandise?

You're fucking yourself over - enjoy. Needless to say, I'm not buying anything from ITMS again until this is fixed.

It's something that most people are probably already aware of - if you're an average Joe, working for an average company, getting by in an average sort of way, you really have no say in how vast chunks of your life will play out.

Democracy ends where the company begins. There's so much chatter about "ownership" in this country, how every individual can have his slice of the 'ol pie. But really it's all just that, chatter - ownership doesn't mean you actually own anything. Sure, you may own your car, or some day you may even own your house. But your fate is not your own - at the very least, 40 hours of your week will be spent doing something which you have almost no say or control over.

The notions of "ownership" and "democracy" don't extend to the private sector. You may be able to vote in a Presidential election, but what impact will that have on your daily existence? Very little, I'd wager, unless you work in the politics business. When one considers that so much of one's life is spent in duty not of one's country, but of one's *company*, it's interesting to note that on a personal level your freedom is sharply curtailed, and a large portion of your life is ruled by the "dictator" of your company.

They talk about ownership... stock options, 401Ks, what have you. But what sort of "ownership" is that, really? You're giving them your money to play with - you have no real say in what they do with it. You don't really "own" a part of your company, your company owns a part of you.

In a true capitalistic democracy, a company would not exist only to enhance its profit - a company would exist to serve both the people who work for it and the people who do business with it. I suppose that's the dream of the "big L" Libertarians - but it really is just that, a dream. In this day and age, companies are seldom groups of people working together; they're far more likely to be faceless entities run by a few corrupt individuals who shuffle people around to maximize profit.