March 13th, 2006

Amelie

Legal mp3s

Today is Purim, when Jews are supposed to: get drunk, read the Biblical book of Esther, cross dress, give charity (specifically, small change to beggars; other kinds of charity are a general good thing, but not particularly associated with Purim), and give gifts to friends, traditionally edible ones.

This year, I have failed to go to the purim party cos my mother doesn't really like purim, and had just done a big teaparty for all the old people in the community so she didn't feel like going out this evening. I am not drunk, but I only very rarely get drunk on purim; it's not one of the commandments that I find most personally meaningful. But I would like to give gifts and charity. pthalogreen had this very cool idea of celebrating a Bahai gift-giving festival (that I can't spell) by giving all her friends list mp3s, and I want to copy this idea.

The trouble is that I don't want to take part in illegal filesharing. Partly because I personally believe that artists should get financial rewards for their work, and partly because, well, it wouldn't be very appropriate to celebrate Purim by giving stolen gifts! So what I originally planned was that for every mp3 I uploaded, I would make sure to buy a legitimate copy of that mp3. However, I can't find a way to buy mp3s that doesn't involve dodgy business practices. I don't want to use a subscription service, because I want to own the mp3s permanently, not pay a stupid amount per month to "rent" them. And I don't want to pay to download mp3s in a way that requires me to install lots of icky software on my computer, and which can only be played using a particular proprietary program, and which has all kinds of restrictions built in on making even perfectly legal copies for personal use.

So I'm asking my knowledgeable friends list: is it even possible to do what I want, namely: pay a sensible price to an above-board company (who will then pass on the appropriate licensing fee to the musician), in exchange for being allowed to download a normal, unadulterated mp3 file? If this isn't possible, what I might do is give away my own (normal) mp3s from various sources, which technically isn't legal but I don't feel too bad about it, and also buy a legit copy with DRM so that the artist gets their fair share. But not bother to actually use it, because it's too much of a nuisance.
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