Digital Rights Management

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is not being used on this website at present. During the development of this website we have tried to ensure that the requirements of our artists, MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) and PRS (Performing Rights Society) are met at all times, but we have come to the conclusion that the application of DRM is too complicated and the resulting complexity of applying the DRM will confuse and baffle our customers.

The lack of DRM has several benefits for you as a customer:

  • You can burn a copy of your download onto CD-R or DVD-R
  • You can play your download using your media player
  • You can transfer your download to your portable device

We ask that you use our music sensibly - please respect our artists by being responsible about copying the music for your friends.

So far we have had a very positive response from customers regarding the lack of DRM on our downloads.  See our customer comments page.

We have been testing the only known commercially available system (Microsoft WMADRM) and come to the conclusion that it is neither robust nor "developed". The faults and problems we have encountered are:

The "system" is a two part handshake license agreement that requires Linn and the customer to meet certain technical requirements. These requirements include for Linn:

  • Check the computer that is downloading the music is "compliant". This means that we must check that the computer that is downloading the music has not been hacked (Microsoft DRM has been hacked quite recently and not for the first time) to remove all DRM information and capability.
  • We need to interrogate the downloading computer via our web connection and to do this the contact has to be via Internet Explorer (only) which needs to have both ActiveX and cookies turned on. (If customers don't have these system requirements they won't be able to receive the licence to play the music they have bought).
  • By doing this, Microsoft will then be able to update the customer's computer to remove the hacked files.
  • There are versions of Windows Media Player in use and only the most recent ones can be checked. If a customer doesn't have this, they will need to download an up to date version of WMP before being able to play their music.
  • There are many operating systems in use and only some are supported in the test code. Once all three variables (the browser, Media Player and Operating system) are considered it is easy to imagine that we will only be able to download music to a very small subset of contacting customers.
  • Once we implemented the new system we tested it and it fails to deliver files with the correct "rights". The files we tested did not operate as intended.
  • Microsoft has dropped support of WMA (the only audio file format that can have the DRM applied) on the Mac platform. (7% of our customers are Mac users). Plug-ins are available but they require considerable user knowledge and skill. These Plug-ins only work on recent Mac operating systems and are third party support rather than Apple or Microsoft.
  • Microsoft DRM does not wok on a Mac meaning that any music downloaded to a Mac will not play in iTunes even when the Plug-in is used.
  • WMADRM'd files downloaded to a PC cannot be imported to iTunes for PC meaning that customers cannot add their legitimately purchased music to their iPod. The files only work when imported into Windows Media Player.
  • There is no other platform independent DRM systems that are commercially available.

As you can see from the above it is our opinion that the Microsoft DRM system does not work and that until such time that something does work our best endeavours to protect our artists' music will be to include the usage rights as above and ask our customers to agree to these rights when making a purchase.