Most of my downloaded music collection comes from allofmp3, which I have yet to see a convincing argument is illegal. Prior to that it came from tescodownloads.com, which is indisputably legal but has the annoying habit of slapping DRM protection on its files. Before playing each track it has to check with HQ that you are in fact the genuine owner. But at least you can move tracks between machines, as long as they're connected to the internet, though this does preclude playing them on portable players or converting them to other formats.
I also had three tracks, for some reason, from Napster - the reborn, legal version which is even more paranoid and requires you to install its software on your machine before it will let you play a track. Move machines, reinstall software - or so I thought. I reinstalled the software at the weekend. When I try to play those tracks I get the message:
"Sorry, this track is not currently available in the Napster service. We are working hard to make it available so please check back later."In other words, it turns out I didn't purchase the tracks way back when - I simply hired them.
Okay, the loss of Hazel O'Connor's "Will You?" and "Eighth Day", and (ahem) They Might Be Giants's "The House at the Top of the Tree" doesn't leave a bleeding hole where the heart of my collection used to be. But it's one more item of evidence, if one were needed, that the best way the corporate downloaders could get one up on allofmp3 would be to scrap their paranoid, overprotective and frankly insulting DRM. Dunno why, but something deep within human nature resents forking up money and STILL being viewed as a potential criminal.