Four Ways to Reclaim Your Digital Rights

The Hole Truth

Even more onerous is DRM for video. You can't burn copies of videos you purchase from the iTunes Store, and all DVDs are copy protected. The legal solution? Get a device, like the Archos 604 Portable Multimedia Player and DVR station ($430), that records via analog inputs.

I connected my DVD player to the A604 and recorded a Discovery Channel DVD as it played; then I copied it to my PC via USB. The video was less than DVD quality, but it looked fine on my computer.

Hollywood wants to plug this "analog hole" by requiring electronics manufacturers to honor digital flags that limit how video can be copied. So far, it hasn't succeeded. Eventually content owners will have to fix the DRM problem, either by dropping it or by using one scheme that works across different devices.

For now, I have a little less DRM in life, which makes me a little more free.

Contributing Editor Dan Tynan is the author of Computer Privacy Annoyances (O'Reilly Media, 2005). You can send him e-mail at gadgetfreak@pcworld.com.
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