By Russell McOrmond 12/02/05
It's great when a musician and a label reaches out to a fan.
I've followed the Barenaked Ladies for a number of years, but haven't bought any albums since 2000 because they got caught up in my boycott of major labels.
Their label, Nettwerk Music Group, was listed as a member of the major label monopolist lobby group the CRIA, and I'd decided wasn't going to pay money to companies that were lobbying so hard to attack my rights as an independent creator and user
You might have seen my recent question wondering if Barenaked on a stick was DRM-free.
DRM doesn't protect "copyright" related rights, as is often claimed, but it is a "technical measure" used to digitally enforce often hidden contract/licensing terms. If adequately accountable and transparent, it's unlikely these contract/licensing terms would be enforceable, with some of them being plainly illegal.
Before the p2pnet story, I'd posted to my own blog, and got an answer from lBNL ead singe Steven Page:
Indeed, the whole point of the USB stick release is to give our fans content that they can play wherever they like. DRM holds people back from being able to use the music as they want it, and from being able to use it as the creators intended. We in BNL endeavour to never use copy-protection of any sort (unless, of course, it's foisted on us by the reatiler a la ITMS - but it will always be available elsewhere in a "vendor-neutral" standard file format).
p2pnet also received a comment from Megan Healy of Nettwerk Records which said:
On behalf of the label, I can tell you the answer is that BNL USB does NOT contain any:
The majority of the content is in vendor-neutral standard file formats. Specifically non-DRM MP3 formats. Although the videos are Apple QuickTime but they do not contain any DRM. Same is true for downloads sold directly from our website, www.nettmusic.com. We are all about offering DRM-free alternatives!
I ordered Barenaked on a Stick on November 28, and I'll write a review when I receive it. It's a great seasonal gift to feel I can purchase from Barenaked Ladies again without feeling I'm funding an industry which is attacking my rights.
I'll be interested to see if the band or their label will be involved in stopping the attempt by the old-economy majors to push anti-circumvention laws through Canadian parliament (with the help of misinformed politicians). If we can get more musicians and labels to speak out, we might be able to bring the music industry to one that not only are more musicians able to make a living, but also where music fans no longer have to feel that their rights and their computers are under attack.
Russell McOrmond, the editor of Digital Copyright Canada, is an independent author (software and non-software) who uses modern business models and licensing (Free/Libre and Open Source Software, Creative Commons).
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