Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do Canadians finally have a feasible and fair option for DRM-free music downloads?

Here is a very quick review of the music download service available in Canada.

urMusic.ca
- Is limited to Rogers Wireless customers (can only register if you have a Roger's phone number)
- other features like selling tickets to concerts and events.
- Appears that only the pay per song and pay per album downloads are DRM Free
- Fairly good rates for per track download in Canadian dollars
- Very confusing language and clauses in urMusic's Terms and Conditions. They have a number of sentences existing in the Terms and Conditions that ostensibly portray all downloads from urMusic are limited to registered devices (whether technologically enforced by DRM technologies or only enforced by acceptance to the Terms and Conditions). But there is also language in there that suggests Content is not protected by DRM technology. The Terms and Conditions appear to be out-of-sync with the service's marketing department's pitch that they have DRM-free tracks. The language makes it unclear what you get exactly with a monthly membership plan. See below.

urMusic's Terms and Conditions (as of 2011 January 27)

The following Rogers urMusic (the "urMusic Service") terms and conditions supplement and are incorporated into the "Terms&Conditions of Use" of rogers.com and the "Rogers Terms of Service", both of which are available at the "Terms&Conditions" link throughout rogers.com.
PLEASE CAREFULLY READ THE FOLLOWING TERMS AND CONDITIONS. BY CLICKING THE 'ACCEPT' BUTTON/LINK, YOU ARE AGREEING TO BE BOUND BY THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO ALL OF THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, THEN YOU MAY NOT USE THE URMUSIC SERVICE AND MAY NOT CONTINUE WITH REGISTRATION. These terms and conditions are effective once you have agreed to same. Rogers may change, at any time, the fees, features, structure or any other aspects of the urMusic Service, as well as any term or provision of these terms and conditions including, without limitation, the Usage Rules, upon notice to you. If you do not accept any such change, your sole remedy is to terminate your urMusic Service within 30 days of your receipt of our notice of change, by providing us with advance notice of termination pursuant to the Rogers Terms of Service. You agree that your streaming and/or downloading of sound recordings ('Songs'), whether individually or in multi-track album format ('Album(s)'), information related to the sound recordings and artwork related thereto in connection with the urMusic Service (collectively, the "Content") is further acknowledgement of your acceptance of and agreement to use such Content solely in accordance with these terms and conditions and the applicable Usage Rules as set forth below, and that any other use of the Content will constitute a breach of these terms and conditions and may constitute a violation of law, including copyright infringement.
The urMusic Service consists of both the Membership Subscription Services, as defined further below, and the Pay Per Download Service, as defined further below.
1. GENERAL
(a) Definitions/Descriptions.
'CD Burns' means the number of times you may copy a purchased Song or Album to a compact disc, as set forth in the applicable Usage Rules. You shall not evade song playlist burn restrictions through creation of new playlists containing identical songs or otherwise.
'Dual Delivery' means delivery of a Song or Album to both a PC and Wireless Device as part of a single transaction.
'PC' means a traditional personal computer designed for an individual user (i.e. a laptop or desktop computer).
'PC Only Delivery' means that delivery is only delivered to a PC.
'Portable Device', if and when supported for the Membership Subscription Service, shall mean an easily transportable, portable secure hardware device approved by Rogers that supports the applicable digital rights security technology determined by Rogers from time to time with respect to Content but, for the avoidance of doubt, does not include a PC and does not include devices able to receive Content "over the air" via wireless transmission.
'Registered Device' means each of your PCs, Wireless Devices and, if and when supported for the Membership Subscription Service, Portable Devices which is registered for use with your urMusic Service account. The maximum number of Registered Devices which may be used with your urMusic account is set forth in the chart below. With regards to the Non-Portable Subscription Tier of the Membership Subscription Service, you may only download and access Content on your registered PCs.
REGISTERED DEVICES FOR URMUSIC SERVICE ACCOUNT
Maximum Number of Registered PCs Permitted 3
Maximum Number of Registered Portable Devices Permitted, if and when supported for the Membership Subscription Service 3*
Maximum Number of Registered Wireless Devices Permitted 1*
*Note: If a Wireless Device is registered, then the maximum number of permitted Portable Devices shall be 2 rather than 3.
"Redownload" means you can redownload a Song or Album onto a PC or Wireless Devices (as applicable, depending on whether the Song or Album, as the case may be, was originally purchased via Dual Delivery, PC Only Delivery or pursuant to a Membership Subscription Service) up to the number of times set forth in the applicable Usage Rules if the applicable PC or Wireless Device is damaged.
"Unlocked Tracks" means Songs and/or Albums which are purchased via the Pay Per Download Service in the MP3, MP4 or APL format. Usage of Unlocked Tracks hereunder is not limited to your Registered Devices.
"Wireless Device" means a mobile handset that supports the applicable digital rights security technology, if any, determined by Rogers from time to time with respect to Content and is able to receive Content "over the air" via wireless transmission.
(b) Digital Rights Management.
You acknowledge and agree that the Content may include digital rights security technology which is an inseparable part of the Content. In order for a Registered Device to access such Content, such device must support the digital rights security technology determined by Rogers from time to time. You shall not circumvent the digital rights security technology.
(c) Monitoring; Change/Discontinuance.
You acknowledge that some aspects of the urMusic Service, Content, and administering of the Usage Rules entails the ongoing involvement of and/or monitoring by Rogers and its affiliates and/or their licensors including, without limitation, the number of plays of the Content. Some licensors have required that the Content they have provided to the urMusic Service contain metadata, which includes data related to the Content and its sale. You acknowledge and agree that the information contained in such metadata will be retained by Rogers, reported to its licensors and may be later used to identify the sales transaction. In the event that Rogers or any of its licensors changes or discontinues any part of the urMusic Service, which Rogers or its licensors may do at their election, you acknowledge that you may no longer be able to use Content downloaded pursuant to a Membership Subscription Service or you may not be able to use such Content to the same extent as prior to such change or discontinuation, and that Rogers shall have no liability to you in such case.
(d) Property Rights.
The Content you are purchasing and the copyrights therein are the valuable intellectual property of the copyright owner and are solely for your own personal, non-commercial, lawful use. Other than the Unlocked Tracks which you may store and use on your other devices in addition to your Registered Devices, you can only store and use Content purchased through the urMusic Service on your Registered Devices (subject to the Usage Rules noted below). You may not forward, sublicense or disseminate any Content to another recipient. You are not granted any commercial, sale, resale, reproduction, distribution or promotional use rights for the Content, including rights for uses that require a synchronization or public performance license with respect to the underlying musical composition. In addition, any copying, redistribution or other use of the sound recordings is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of the copyright owner.
You must comply with all applicable laws with respect to your downloading and use of the Content.
For avoidance of doubt, you may not export Content in a renderable form to any application, including but not limited to CD burning applications, that is not a Trusted Application, where "Trusted Application" means an application that in all respects enforces and conforms with these terms and conditions and the Usage Rules set forth herein.
Rogers does not guarantee that your devices including, without limitation, PCs, Portable Devices and Wireless Devices, will reproduce the Content accurately.
(e) Representations and Covenants.
You represent, covenant and agree that:
(i) you shall primarily reside in Canada while you maintain a urMusic Service account; and
(ii) you will not copy, sell, distribute, share or otherwise transfer Content to others or sell, transfer or share your urMusic Service account to others; and
(iii) , other than the Unlocked Tracks which you may store and use on your other devices in addition to your Registered Devices, you will not copy, sell, distribute or otherwise transfer Content from your Registered Devices to any other audio record or playback device.
2. MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES
(a) Description.
The Membership Subscription Services consist of the urMusic Service offered to you for a monthly fee which, when paid, will enable you to engage in conditional downloading of full Songs, Albums, or, when available, on-demand streaming of full Songs or Albums together with on-demand streaming of previews thereof from the available catalogue with as many plays of such full Songs or Albums, as the case may be, as you choose for personal non-commercial use on your Registered Devices, subject to the Usage Rules and the subscription plan you chose, as set forth below.
"Conditional downloading" means the downloading of Content to your PC hard drive and/or Wireless Device and/or transfer to your Portable Device (as the case may be) (provided that such devices must be Registered Devices) following which such Content may be accessed by you for your personal non-commercial use for the duration of your valid subscription, meaning, as long as you keep paying the monthly subscription fee, you will have the ability to continue to listen to your library of conditional downloads as many times as you choose.
The available Membership Subscriptions Services consist of the Portable Tier Subscription Plan, as described below, and the Non-Portable Tier Subscription Plan, as described below.
(b) Membership Subscription Service Fees and Cancellation.
You will be billed monthly for your applicable Membership Subscription Service on your Rogers bill. At the end of each billing period, depending on the subscription plan you select, your subscription will automatically renew at the then-current rate, unless you notify Rogers that you are canceling your subscription. You may cancel your Membership Subscription Service at any time by changing your account profile from "subscription" to "pay per download". Cancellation will result in the termination of your ability to access the Membership Subscription Service and related Content at the end of the then-current term for which you have paid. If you cancel your Membership Subscription Service before the end of the month for which you paid, you will not receive a refund.
(c) Portable Tier and Non-Portable Tier.
If you subscribe to the Portable Tier Subscription Plan, then you will be able to transfer and access downloaded Content on each of your Registered Devices.
If you subscribe to the Non-Portable Tier Subscription Plan, then you will be able to download Content only to your PCs which are Registered Devices and shall only be able to access such Content on such registered PCs. You shall not be permitted to download, transfer or access the Content on your registered Portable Devices or Wireless Devices.
Usage Rules for the Membership Subscription Services.
Number of Permitted CD Burns - 0
Number of Permitted Redownloads - Unlimited
(but subject to applicable data usage charges for downloads to Wireless Devices)
3. PAY PER DOWNLOAD SERVICE
(a) Description.
The Pay Per Download Service consists of the urMusic Service offered to you on a pay per download basis. Pay Per Download Songs and Albums shall be available by either
(i) to PC Only Delivery; or
(ii) to Dual Delivery.
Once you have downloaded an item of Content onto your PC and/or Wireless Device via the Pay Per Download Service and/or transferred such Content to your Portable Device, you may play such Content on your applicable Registered Devices (and with respect to Unlocked Tracks only, your other devices), subject to the Usage Rules set forth below.
(b) Usage Rules for the Pay Per Download Service.
Pay Per Download Service
PC Only Delivery or Dual Delivery
Songs and Albums other than Unlocked Tracks
Number of Permitted CD Burns - 7
Number of Permitted Redownloads - 3
Unlocked Tracks
Number of Permitted CD Burns - Unlimited
Number of Permitted Redownloads - 0


After enabling the DRM ActiveX addon and purchasing an album from the urmusic website, it was not immediately clear where I had to go to download the mp3s. I tried the Downloads link on the left and from that screen the service listed the pending downloads available to me. When I clicked on a track to download it, the following message appeared at the top of the webpage "To download content from the Rogers music shop, you need to download the player first."

Once the urMusic Player was installed and I had logged into the urMusic service within the program, I began downloading the mp3's. I chose to Download All, and it downloaded each track successively, it was quite fast and stored the files in "My Documents\urMusic Player\My Media\"

References: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/~rakerman/digimusic.html