I was one of the unlucky people who happened to purchase a copy-protected CD from SonyBMG last year. It was the Foo Fighters album On Your Honor, and I remember at the time cursing the fact that I couldn’t rip it to put it on my hard drive to listen to at my leisure. Turns out that was the least of my worries, as they also left my hard drive vulnerable because they decided that the simple act of purchasing a CD from a band I’ve always liked meant that they could do anything that they wanted to do with my system.
Gee, thanks SonyBMG!! Thank you ever so much for that!! And by the way,this whole fiasco actually kept me from buying another SonyBMG album that I had borrowed and actually quite liked: My Morning Jacket’s Z. Sheesh. No wonder people like Kirk have given up purchasing physical CDs, even while the record companies try desperate measures to force people to do just that.
In any event, thanks to the EFF call to get the settlement, I am now going to get whatever restitution that I am offered, and I thought that it might be fun to track the process.
So let’s start with the actual settlement site, and find out what I am entitled to. Not much, as it turns out. The Foo Fighters album had their MediaMax (nice bit of doublespeak, that) copy protection software, version 3.0, and this is the entire extent of what I am entitled to:
For Version 3.0: you may receive free downloads of the music on the CD and software fixes for known security vulnerabilities.
That’s it!?! Well, OK. All I have to do is fill out an online claim form, and they’ll direct me to my free downloads, right? Well, not so much:
Filing your claim will require that you submit either your CD, copies of proof of purchase, or other purchase documentation to the Settlement Administrator. Any submission that is required for the acceptance of your claim must be postmarked within thirty (30) days of completing the online claim form. You will receive further instruction regarding the documentation required to submit your claim in the claim-filing sections of this website.
If you fail to submit your CD or proof of return within thirty (30) days of completing the online claim form, the Settlement Administrator may reject your claim as incomplete. If your claim is rejected as incomplete, you may file a new claim.
Proof of purchase? I bought that fracking CD when it came out last June! As if! Else, I have to pay the postage to send the actual physical CD — which plays fine in all non-computer devices — back to them so that I “may” receive free downloads of the music.
Bollocks! Does Dave Grohl know about this?!? Seriously, this is how the major labels treat their customers; it’s how they’ve always treated their customers; it’s how they will always treat their customers. With complete and utter contempt. And yet, they wonder why those same customers have no compunction whatsoever sharing their music.
I need to think about this, but I’m leaning towards filiing a claim without returning the CD. More later.