I’ve written here a few times about DRM (specifically the Sony “root kit”) and now I realize that, as a result, I don’t quite trust my computers with music anymore. I’ve been a consumer of CD music for a long time now, with several hundred discs overflowing my current storage solution (yes, I still like having jewel cases and liner notes around). When I buy a CD, it usually makes a quick trip to my Linux box that runs custom software I wrote to rip everything to MP3s for my convenience. After that, it usually gets dropped into one of my higher-end home stereo systems for thorough CD-quality listening.

Today I got the new Tool album and was surprised to find that I was afraid to drop it in the CD tray of my Windows laptop at work. Might I be installing software unknowingly? Could listening to this new music damage my computer? What if it installs software that allows my machine to be compromised next time I fire up wireless at a coffee shop? Could that cost my company money or intellectual property?

I’m a huge music consumer, and I feel betrayed by the business that has thousands of my hard earned dollars. I feel like they’re likely to screw me, the customer, at any moment to “protect” themselves against the imagined threat of mass-piracy. Sure, music is being stolen. But does that justify what they’ve done and how that has affected me, the straight-arrow consumer?