Copyright Protection? This is nothing short of ridiculous…

This is ridiculous. I have paid for the CD, I have no plans to pirate it, BUT I want to be able to listen to it at work. Gone are the days when I would lug a bag full of CDs into the office to listen to on my antiquated CD player while doing more the menial tasks that make up part of my job. Earlier in the year I finally upgraded to an MP3 player and transferred my entire CD collection onto it (with space to spare for new CDs as and when the urge to buy them took me). Well up until now I have had no problems, I even managed to transfer some of the more safely protected stuff onto the marvellous piece of electrical gadgetry (for this read the newer Avril Lavigne, Norah Jones and Michelle Branch) but yesterday it seems my Creative Zen finally met its copyright protection match in the soundtrack to The Chronicles of Narnia.
Initially it seemed as though the soundtrack (which spouted about the protection in teeny tiny letters on the back of the CD packaging) was going to copy okay – in fact, until this morning I was under the (unfortunately totally wrong) illusion that I had managed to bypass the problems that the iPod users had come across when trying to copy the soundtrack, and then I tried to listen to it. Amid a jumble of awful squeaks and whines you can sort of make out that it is meant to be music, but that is all I managed to get, squeaks and whines, much to my frustration and irritation.

I get that companies want to protect their work against copyright theft, but surely there is a better way around it. Limit the number of times something can be copied, give people an access code so that when they buy the goods they can download it ONCE from the net to copy onto their iPod or other forms of MP3 media and then lock it. Something, anything rather than the disaster and chronic WASTE OF MONEY that this has proved to be! I never listen to CDs; in fact all of my CDs once purchased are copied onto the Zen and then put in a box in a cupboard and forgotten about. Sure, I have the means to play them, but I like being able to transport my music around without the encumbrance that a CD player and many discs proved to be in the past.

I can’t help wondering how many people sent back their copies of the soundtrack to the store where they purchased it with a comment about how MP3 players are the next generation and therefore to immediately alienate anyone who owns one by backtracking and making it impossible to copy the soundtrack from the CD to the alternative media was ridiculous and a money-losing scheme. I know that I am tempted, but at this time of year queuing up to take something back in my local branch of MVC is nothing short of torture, and I only have a limited amount of time before I am off for the rest of the year, and I have enough to do in those few days to keep me busy for a few more days than I actually have (yes, I am still referring to a 1,500 word essay about Napoleon that I just can’t seem to get done despite knowing that to not hand it in will chronically affect my grade for the year).

To put it in the words of Queen Victoria (one of the only monarchs I can say I admired) “We are not amused”. Disney are taking the copyright protection thing into another realm. By putting these limitations on their products they are doing nothing more than alienating perfectly legitimate customers (like me) and tech-ing themselves out of purchases. The funny thing is that the soundtrack was released here over 2 weeks ago, and yesterday was the first time that I had seen it in a shop. It is as though the more ‘high street’ shops aren’t stocking it because it’s just not selling – being honest now, having found out what I have – I am not completely surprised. While it is indeed a very moving and wonderful soundtrack (brilliantly written) the hassle that I have to go through in connecting up something I haven’t used for almost a year to listen to it is something that I find to be putting me off listening to it at all. It seems as though this particular CD is one likely to be delegated quickly to the bargain bin in shops and in my house to the back of a cupboard never to be seen again.

In short, “wise up, Disney”. Cut your losses on the Copyright protection front, make things more accessible to people who don’t want to carry boxes of CDs around with them when they are travelling. Wise up to the new media, take advantage of new ways to get your music and movies out to people.

My recommendation to anyone who wants to listen to Narnia, but no longer uses a discman or CD player to listen to their music – wait a while and see if the countless returns (of which I am sure there are bound to be many) don’t make the company who thinks they are bounding ahead in the protection racket (LOL) change their mind about the way they are going with things.

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