Totally Mad

See this? It’s a picture of a seven-disk collection called “Totally Mad.” It has every single issue of Mad magazine from 1952-1998. That’s over 500 issues, running all through the 60s, 70s, 80s, and most of the nineties. By reading through this, you get a taste of how America dealt with ideas like Vietnam, the sexual revolution, the rise of the Internet, and other cultural milestones.

I bought this about a decade ago for about $60, and have had it in storage for a few years. Recently, I came across it and thought I’d check it out again. All that Sergio Aragones, all that Spy vs. Spy. These disks had fold out pages just like the covers, which let you simulate folding the sheets over. They would let you turn the page around and zoom in on sections so that you could read the border cartoons as well.

But I quickly found out that it also came with DRM. Windows 98 DRM. Non-portable DRM. They could have made the magazine out of images, and then built the wrapper around it. The content would outlast the viewer, but it would be portable and future-compatible. However, that’s not what they chose to do. They chose to lock it down so that only people who purchased the data and used it on that operating system would be able to view it. Maybe it made them a sale or two. We know it didn’t stop piracy, because they were just CD-ROMS, which were cracked before these disks were ever made.

On a lark, I did a search for “every issue of Mad Magazine”, and on the first page was a link to a torrent where I could get issues from 1952-2005. So, because I was an honest consumer, I got less than the pirates did, and paid for it. This is why SOPA and PIPA won’t work. This is why the MPAA and the RIAA are being slowly phased out. They insist on crippling their products, and making people pay for the right to be honest. There’s only so long people can take being penalized for their integrity.

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  1. My dad was a great fan of Mad Magazine(as we call it). He had a good collection of these magazines. I did like to check with him if he still has it and borrow some after reading this post.