Amazon’s new music store has stirred up the DRM arguments again. Sigh …
In the absence of DRM software music can be copied as many times as you wish. Obviously, this should be done within the terms of your contract. This normally means that you can copy it onto CD’s/mini disk/MP3/(or even tape!) for your own use and your own computers.
DRM at its essence is simply a method to ensure that these usage restrictions are followed. If DRM were correctly implemented it would not hinder your legal use of software you have purchased. However, as yet we lack such a perfect implementation. For example, ITunes, the current dominant music store only lets you copy (the majority of) its music to 5 different computers. This is totally useless if you replace your computer more than five times (currently that will only take me 4 years!)
At the present time the majority of an individuals music collection is ripped from your own CDs. Something that very few people are aware of is that according to UK law you may not make copies of a CD for use at all. You are merely permitted one backup copy which is subject to silly restrictions which make it only useful stored in a cupboard. The point here is that you are not actually permitted to copy your CD on to a portable device (such as iPod) under UK law.
So, sure, Apple restrictions are a pain and Amazon may be on to something with it’s new music store, but what is to stop the recording companies chasing after you for the manipulation of your private music libraries?