If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


MP3: All Right Now?

I had to draft one of my standard all-IT-staff circulars today. The removable media logs have started going to Risk and they read them with great delight, asking what Genesis\[album name]\[track name].mp3 could be. I think they know, really.

We don't block media types anywhere. Nothing says "*.mp3: DENY". There's plenty of business reasons to use media files. But it does mean the personal media files can flow through our systems.

It seems that Something must be Done. But the landscape has changed since the last time I sent out that note. It's possible, now, to be in possession of a legal MP3 of pretty much any track. I've been buying mine from Amazon. (And, yes, I checked, Genesis is on the list -- I just added Many too Many and Follow You Follow Me to my shopping basket.)

So why am I objecting? Personal use is legitimate, and these IT users have removable media access to do their jobs. I'm not entirely sure, but I think it's this:

  • MP3s moving through work PCs raises the possibility of sharing. That's not OK, and it would be directors liability if it was happening.
  • It's unnecessary. Decent media players are so cheap these days that if you can't work without music, you don't need to play it off your PC.
  • And I just don't like to see IT types exploiting their extra privilege. We have rules about not using admin access for personal purposes, and while removable media doesn't directly arise from admin status, it's in the same sack as far as I'm concerned.
So I drafted something, but I haven't sent it out because there has been another change, and it's this. We've acquired some serious object access audit over the holiday, and one of the facilities is the file type search. This is my chance to locate the famous invisible media repository. Tomorrow I'm going to search for *.mp3 and we will see what we will see.

In the meantime, I see today that Apple are giving up on DRM, but the track price won't change. I couldn't help thinking of all the poor saps with their vast itunes collections of DRMed music suddenly devalued by Apple's Amazon-forced coup. Still, serves 'em right for buying overpriced music players that can't do .OGG....

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