Murs, performing "L.A."

Since the dawn of filesharing and CD burning's partnership, record company folks, particularly at the major labels, have been tearing their collective

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When Watermarking Albums Goes Too Far

Murs, performing "L.A."

Since the dawn of filesharing and CD burning's partnership, record company folks, particularly at the major labels, have been tearing their collective hair out trying to come up with workable technologies that will prevent the masses from copying and distributing albums before their release date, or, in some cases, from being reproduced at all. And they're succeeding. See, I got an advance copy of Murs' new Warner Bros. release, Murs for President, in the mail a couple months ago. I like the Living Legends and Murs alright. So I tried to give it a listen. But Warner Bros. put some kind of watermarking/locking technology on the album that worked SO well that the album neither plays on my work computer, nor my personal laptop. Turns out that Warner Bros.' CD protection technology prevents us from listening to the advance copies they send us on ANY of our work computers. Including Brian Barr's computer.

It's gotten so bad that the disclaimer I agreed to by opening the package, which is a "restricted release," included the following text:

"In consideration of receiving this and future promotional CDs, by opening or using this CD, the authorized recipient and his/her organization ("you") agree as follows....Until the CD release date, this CD is to be listened to solely by the authorized recipient, and you agree not to reproduce, transmit, distribute or otherwise make the music on this CD available to any third party."

Damn. Leaking is one thing, but I can't even let other people LISTEN to it before it comes out? Does that mean I'm in violation of some contract if my boyfriend comes home while I happen to be listening to an advance copy of a Warner Bros. album and he overhears some of it? Give me a fucking break!

Just to clarify my position, here, I'm not saying it doesn't suck when members of the entertainment press leak albums all over the Internet. It hurts the artist's sales, and when we're talking about an independent like Murs who's trying to break into the mainstream after years of working his ass off, it's even worse. But if you're going to such extremes to protect the music that it can't be played at all, well...you're not going to get coverage. And that lack of coverage doesn't hurt the label. It hurts the artist.

So, folks. What do you think? Has this CD protection technology gotten a little out of hand? Or am I overreacting?

 
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