Good for Amazon, and for Sony

Yes, Sony. A few days ago, it seemed that in order to download DRM-free MP3s of music on the Sony BMG label, you had first to go to a store.

But Sony will start selling DRM-free music on AmazonMP3 at the end of the month. This is good news for those of us who see shopping as an expensive form of surfing, rather than as a reason to leave the house.

It’s also good news for Amazon. AmazonMP3, unlike iTunes, will offer DRM-free music from all four major record labels.

Sony: Online Music Via Stores

Blogs are buzzing about Sony BMG’s bizarre decision to require customers to buy a card from a store (as in real world, as in having to leave the house) in order to buy DRM-free music online. Here are a couple of theories as to why Sony is doing this:

I’m inclined to wield Hanlon’s razor and lean toward the latter explanation.

DRM: Another Nail in the Coffin, and EU Regulation reports that:

In a move that would mark the end of a digital music era, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is finalizing plans to sell songs without the copyright protection software that has long restricted the use of music downloaded from the Internet… Sony BMG would become the last of the top four music labels to drop DRM.

This via Mashable Stan, who hopes that “DRM will soon be a relic, forgotten by everyone except tech blogger-fossils like us.” But we tech bloggers are a lot less fossilized that the European Union, which wants to establish standards for DRM.

IBM Concedes Sippy Award to Sony

Sony just collected a Silly Intellectual Property Award (Sippy) when IBM withdrew its entry. Here’s a quote from the Big Blue concession speech (via Glyn).

IBM has put into the public domain and withdrawn its application for patent number US2007/0162321 – Outsourcing of Services. This patent application covers analyzing work flows, skills, economic costs, etc.

Sony’s concluded its comic horror show in style, winning its suit against Jammie Thomas. The jury awarded $222,000 in damages. Star of the final scene was Richard Gabriel of the RIAA, with his grim warning “that both downloading and distributing music is no joke” proving that he’s not just a straight man to the wackier Jennifer Parsier.

Having collected the Sippy, which IBM was wise to concede, will Sony try to collect the $222,000? Will it try to win the song-Sippy with “It’s fun to sue with the RIAA”?

Sony Seems Set to Sue Us All

The Ars Technica comedy column continues to report the stand-up of Jennifer Pariser. She has an excellent straight man in Richard Gabriel.

Pariser has a very broad definition of “stealing.” When questioned by Richard Gabriel, lead counsel for the record labels, Pariser suggested that what millions of music fans do is actually theft. The dirty deed? Ripping your own CDs or downloading songs you already own.

Gabriel asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser replied, “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’,” she said.

I’m sure that further gems will follow, and that Mashable (among other sites) will bring them to our attention.