37 names of Brazilian music

Find 37 names of the Brazilian music scene
72 bands may be hidden in the Virgin-picture, but it’s an idea that was to good to be left alone – so why not repeat it?

In this image, 37 names of Brazilian music are hidden.There are bands and artists, operating or extinct, of the rock to funk music.

I can’t say I’m particulary knowledgeable of the Brazilian music scene, but this makes me curious. So if anyone knows of any names hiding in the picture, please comment. 🙂

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Artist label fighting RIAA

If we listen to RIAA, it sounds like the only sensible stance to take against piracy and file sharing is to sue your own customers, and with the exception of several of the artists themselves, this seems to be the view of the rest of the music business, too. Except – it’s not so.

Canadian artist label and management company Nettwerk Music Group has joined the fight against the RIAA on behalf of consumers who wish to download music. This happens after RIAA sued a man for alleged file sharing of 9 tunes, including one by Avril Lavigne, a Nettwerk Management client.

“Suing music fans is not the solution, it’s the problem,” stated Terry McBride, C.E.O of Nettwerk Music Group.

I wonder if RIAA will ever see it this way…

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Want a good offer on music? Use Opera!

While Opera users sometimes find sites that discriminates them due to bad browser sniffers, the music site eMusic seems to make its own twist on the situation: According to this article on about.com, eMusic presents different offers depending on which browser you use, and which OS. Opera users get the best offer, and Firefox users the least.

How long will this situation last, now that it’s brought forward in the news? No idea. Maybe I should go and have a look? With Opera, of course.

Hmmm – just had a look. I didn’t get such a good offer as the article writes about, so it may be changed already – but I haven’t tested with other browsers.

UPDATE: It seems to be completely random after all, not dependent on which browser you have. I just saw the same thing mentioned on Opera Watch, and the comments there show very different results.

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A call to boycot CDs

David Byrne is a musician. As a musician, the DRM-schemes are set out to protect his CDs from being pirated, so that he won’t lose any money. Thus, he must love DRM, right?

Well – maybe not. In his journal, he start the latest entry by encouraging us to not buy CDs from the Big 5, because of DRM. Doesn’t sound like he’s too fond of DRM, does it? Quite the opposite, he thinks that it ruins everything for everyone, and ponders about the record companies:

So, first they start off suing their customers, and now they are maliciously making it hard for their customers to even listen to music, and they will cripple your music and media player to boot. These guys deserve to go out of business, they obviously don’t love music, and they don’t understand their own customers. They must have a deathwish or be run by….who? FEMA? Rumsfeld? Bin Laden?

Of course, as we’ve seen, he’s not alone in thinking that.

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DRM

DRM is:
Digital Rights Management (Whose rights?)
Digital Restrictions Management (It certainly restrits me from doing what I want with my own property.)
Digital Rights Mismanagement (Now we’re talking about my rights – but not my management.)
Disastrous Rootkit Mistake (Indeed!)
Digital Restraining Methods (That’s the whole point, right?)
Delibrately Ruined Music (The reality.)
Dense, Retarded Mindset (Just to sum it up.)

With the continuing saga of the Sony Rootkit blunder going the rounds on internet and other media, DRM is being scrutinised again. But, what is DRM?

No matter which words we’d like to substitute the letters in DRM with, it’s all about one thing: Control. Not protection from piracy, but control – a lot of control. First of all, it’s control over competitors: If you can control which equipment your music can be played on, or ripped to, you can prevent your customers from using your competitors equipment, be it CD players, mp3 players or whatever. And what do we get then? “You can’t rip our CDs to your mp3 player from our competitor? Too bad – you’d better ask our competitor to fix their stuff then.” Replace relevant words and passages with Sony, iPod and Apple, if you like.

Fun isn’t it, to have to take into consideration which music player you can play which music on? Following the above aspect of DRM to its end, we’d have to buy different equipment to play music from the different providers – and we don’t need too much of an imagination to see how this will be: It’s here already! Buy music from iTunes, and you need an iPod. Buy from a different music store, which provides DRM’ed music in WMA format, and you need a different player. And so on.

Technically, there’s nothing in the way of it all being playable in all players – but there are obstacles put in the way for you and for the competitors. But that’s not all – when you’ve got the music, you’re not allowed to do all what you might like with it. Different DRM schemes varies, restricting you in different ways. You may discover that you can’t make a backup of your music files, that you can’t mix your own party CDs, can’t play in the car stereo, or brand new home entertainment studio – if you’re real unlucky your equipment may even be damaged – sharing with friends are out of question of course, and – well.

What happened to our rights as consumers? They’re soon gone, if this continue. Who will benefit from this? After all, it’s all justified with the artists and how they risk being deprived of their income if there’s no DRM, as otherwise they would be pirated rampantly.

Not all artists see it this way; more and more feel that pissing off their fans – who don’t like DRM – is worse than letting more people learn about their music through sharing for free. Several studies have shown that this usually is an advantage for the artists, and that the sharers buy more music, not less. And artists have experienced renewed interest in their older albums from new fans, due to the sharing.

The exception seems to be the top artists that are heaviy marketed by the music companies.

So if it’s not the artists that benefit from DRM, it may be the record companies? Many seem to think so, and that DRM is a way to hold off the inevitable change that the internet and broadband has brought about, so they can keep their current business model. DRM may help for a while, at the expense of us – the consumers. Because as we see, DRM is a way to let others make decisions on our behalf about what we can do with what we buy (not just music, even if that’s the example here.)

So, what can we do about it? There are two alternatives:

  1. If having others control what you can do with what you’ve bought and own, by all means, buy DRM’ed music and other DRM’ed stuff; e-books, films, and more. This is saying “I don’t mind transferring control over my stuff to you, and pay you for it.”
  2. If you want to decide for yourself what you can do with your stuff, don’t buy into DRM. It can be hard if your favourite artists are released with DRM, but maybe it would help writing to those artists, saying you won’t buy their albums if they’re DRM’ed? Artists want people to buy and enjoy their albums, not alienate them and turn them away. Previously DRM’ed albums may be rereleased without DRM – I believe this happened with Switchfoot.

Personally, I’m going with the second option.

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72 Hidden Bands

Image where 72 bands are hidden
This seem to be all over the place now, but as far as I can see, the image linked to is very often the wallpaper at Virgin Digital – and this lacks some vital hints at the left, where the image is cut off. So, I cloned it back in.

Have a look at the high resloution picture, and see if you can find all 72 bands. (Hey, maybe it’s possible to find some that the artist(s) didn’t think of, too? ;))

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That Sony rootkit – and its side effects

Not many days have passed since Sony got negative attention for its DRM protection of Copy Protected CDs, to which they were quickly issuing an update to remove it.Or – did they? The update is 3.5 MB, seems to update all the files, and leaves some more files there, according to Ed Felten, who had looked a bit closer at it:

The update is more than 3.5 megabytes in size, and it appears to contain new versions of almost all the files included in the initial installation of the entire DRM system, as well as creating some new files. In short, they’re not just taking away the rootkit-like function — they’re almost certainly adding things to the system as well. And once again, they’re not disclosing what they’re doing.

No doubt they’ll ask us to just trust them. I wouldn’t. The companies still assert — falsely — that the original rootkit-like software “does not compromise security” and “[t]here should be no concern” about it. So I wouldn’t put much faith in any claim that the new update is harmless. And the companies claim to have developed “new ways of cloaking files on a hard drive”. So I wouldn’t derive much comfort from carefully worded assertions that they have removed “the … component .. that has been discussed”.

But, there’s more – related to the rootkit, unrelated to the “fix”.

Use the rootkit to cheat other companies

Players of World of Warcraft don’t like the game makers, and the controversial tactics to avoid cheating in the game. (To my limited understanding – I don’t play it myself.) The program ‘Warden’ scans the players’ PCs, to make sure there’s no processes running tohelp cheating in the game.

Sony to the rescue – their rootkit DRM helps War of Worldcraft hackers to fool the Warden. After all, with the DRM rootkit installed, all that is needed to hide a process is to start the filename with $sys$ – right?

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DRM – what’s the point?

The industry calls DRM a way to prevent their content from being illegaly copied and spread. Ignoring the other problems arising, concerning the rights of the consumers, this may not sound too unreasonable. The artists should get paid for their work. However – what if the artists themselves don’t want the DRM on their albums? It should be easy enough not to release the album with DRM then. Or – are there other reasons for implementing DRM?

In “DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts” it looks like caring for the customers is not important. Blaming the competition for the problems their customers get is.

Does anyone wonder why so many shows distrust in DRM?

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Sony apologises – not!

When it was discovered that Sony took its DRM-implementation too far it was something that didn’t escape the news. It was discussed all over the place, and didn’t give Sony high thoughts.

Sony has reacted, and posted a service pack/update that removes the cloaking technology. But does it apologise? No – instead it downplays the problems, saying it wasn’t malicious and didn’t compromise security.

Funny. I thought the previous article showed how easy security could be compromised…

Bad move, not to apologise. If Sony doesn’t regret the actions, what can we expect from the company later?

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Digital Rights Mismanagement: Sony takes it a step too far

Today I was made aware of an article called Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far by Mark Russinovich – and it’s scary news. Mark had bought a Copy Controlled CD made by Sony, and as a result from playing it on his PC, Sony had taken the liberty to install software on his computer – and hidden it.

One thing is to try to limit what can be done with the music on the CD, but trying to hide that you’ve installed software, and make it very difficult to uninstall, that’s going too far. Especially as the software in question takes up resources, poses a security risk, and may also be unstable in itself. This sounds too much alike what is commonly known as malware.

Another question that begs to be asked is: Is what Sony has done here legal? Sony may write about this in their EULA, (but it is not certain that they actually do this, even after they updated it after the fact,) but an EULA can’t override laws – not everywhere at least – and may even be known before the product is bought to be valid.

Maybe it’s time for consumers to sue?

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