David Berlind declares InDRMpendence. Wins the "Rant of the Month" award. Well, OK, it's only the 4Th. Is DRM-protected content a Trojan Horse? Berlind thinks so. Should consumers boycott DRM protected content? Berlind thinks so. Yet he is fairly clear on the right of artists to be compensated for their creations.
This generation of DRM is often difficult to use and doesn't provide for much in the way of "fair use" uses. We're early in the 3rd coming of DRM. Hopefully the 4Th will see more sophisticated uses of DRM.
What you need to know is that DRM can be, and has proven to be, a Trojan horse. In a back and forth thread of e-mails, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's John Gilmore described to me how DRM technology basically allows those who sit at the controls of it to arbitrarily change the rules. For example, one day, with Apple's iTunes, we were able to burn the same playlist as many as ten times. A day later, it was seven. Unlike before, when we could take our vinyl records and CDs and do pretty much anything we wanted with them (to facilitate our personal use) or even sell them (or will them to family members), the "R" in DRM is much less about what we have the right to do and more about the Restrictions that can be arbitrarily and remotely asserted over something we paid good money for. So far, the best suggestion I've heard to dodge the CRM bullet is seek used CDs. It may not be a la carte song buying. But it's not a premium price for a bunch of music you may not want anyway....
You shouldn't take any of this to mean that I don't believe in compensating content copyright holders with whatever royalties they're due (DRM's other role is to assure such compensation to some extent). But as long as DRM technology stands in the way of legitimate use of the content that I've paid for, I as an informed buyer will vote with my dollars by going elsewhere for my content (for example, sites where the artists offer their music for free). You should too. That's my Declaration of InDRMpendence. Don't let this plague spread beyond the epidemic level that it has already reached. Just say no to DRM (stop buying DRM-wrapped content before it's way too late and oppose any DRM-related laws under consideration by any legislative body).