1. Editor's Note: Digital Music: Rent Or Own? 2. Today's Top Story - Judge Approves Deal In Google Click-Fraud Case - Google Gives Advertisers Click-Fraud Tool 3. Breaking News - Infamous File-Sharing Network Settles Record Industry Suit - Microsoft Patent Envisions Free Hardware, Software - Microsoft Hedges On Vista Timetable - Hackers Face Prison Time For Boosting Grades - Mozilla Patches 13 Firefox Flaws - Government Hearing Reinforces Push For U.S. Control Of Internet - With Gates Away, Ballmer Takes The Stage - Mobile-Phone Complexity Driving Rise In Customer Support Calls - Motorola Gears Efforts To Usurp Nokia's Top Spot - EU In Antitrust Probe Of Rival DVD Format Creators - Google Revamps Customer Support With New Help Center - Microsoft Sees Windows Unit Sales Growing 8% To 10% 4. Grab Bag - Portable Navigation Systems Going In More Directions (NY Times - reg. required) - Eco-Heating System For The Lazy (Wired News) - What Dell Should Do (BusinessWeek) 5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech - Review: Napster And Rhapsody For OS X And Linux? Sort Of - Review: Dliveo Delivers Easy File Transfers - Review: Dragon's Upgraded Voice-Recognition Software - Coming Soon To Your Cell Phone: Emergency Alerts From Homeland Security - From Flying Mice To Bluetooth, Here's How To Cut The Cord - What All Those Wireless Terms Really Mean 6. Voice Of Authority - The Myth Of The Flying Car 7. White Papers - Storage Savvy: What IT Organizations Need To Know 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote Of The Day: "There is no delight in owning anything unshared." —Lucius Annaeus Seneca
1. Editor's Note: Digital Music: Rent Or Own?
For music lovers, the advent of the iTunes online music store has been an incredible boon. The ability to legally download individual tracks from a huge catalog at 99 cents a pop is delicious (and a little dangerous for your wallet).
If that sounds a bit pricey, there is an alternative: music subscription services, which offer unlimited downloads for a flat monthly fee, usually around $10. The catch? With these services, you don't own the music you download — you just rent it for as long as you pay the monthly fee. As soon as you stop paying, the digital rights management (DRM) coding in the music files prevents them from being played.
Of course, there are those, such as Internet activist Cory Doctorow, who argue that even when you pay for individual tracks or albums from iTunes and its competitors, you don't really own the music. That's because those files, too, contain DRM coding that places restrictions on what you can do with the music you've paid for. And there's always the possibility that the DRM coding will work improperly and prevent honest paying customers from playing their own music. Indeed, several readers reported just such problems at last week's blog post from my colleague Barbara Krasnoff.
Nevertheless, most of us are willing to put up with DRM to get the music we want. But the debate rages on: Is it better to rent all the music you want for a low monthly fee or pay more to own all your downloads?
Two groups that have largely been left out of this debate are Mac and Linux users. The major music subscription services use a DRM scheme in their client software that was developed by Microsoft, which has little interest in making it compatible with non-Windows platforms. This has left Linux and Mac users with no choice but to purchase digital music outright—or download it illegally.
However, two of the biggest music-subscription providers, Rhapsody and Napster, have recently launched Web-based services that do work with Linux and Mac OS X. Music junkie Matt McKenzie took both services for a spin on OS X, Fedora Core 4, and Ubuntu Linux (as well as Windows XP for the sake of comparison) and found mixed results. Can OS X and Linux users get unlimited plays via the Web player for $10 per month? Yes. Do they get as many features as subscribers using the Windows-only client software, who also pay $10 a month? No. Is that fair? Not in my book.
If Linux and Mac users want to partake of the all-you-can-eat musical buffet, though, these services are their only option for now. As McKenzie notes, it's at least worth trying out Rhapsody (but not Napster) for a month or two.
And if you're looking to really own your music outright, not some DRM-saddled version that might go poof someday, the story provides a list of alternative music-download sites. You won't find the same mass-market, major-label fare that the big boys provide, but you will discover a great variety of off-the-beaten-track tunes from small labels and independent artists.
What's your digital music preference—rent or own? DRM or no DRM? Tell us about your favorite music-download site at my blog post. (Don't forget to include URLs.)
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6. Voice Of Authority
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7. White Papers
Storage Savvy: What IT Organizations Need To Know Database storage, e-mail record management and archiving, security requirements, and multiple storage system requirements create a continuing IT nightmare. Find out how you can get a handle on storage management.
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