A fascinating article in today’s Wall Street Journal discusses some of the ways that software manufacturers are going to cooperate with the recording industry and attempt to kill the .mp3 format. The competing formats – Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio, Real Networks’ Real Audio, and others – all have more or less effective ways to lock up the files and prevent you from burning CDs, sharing the files, or loading them onto portable devices. The .mp3 format is open, not really amenable to “protecting” the songs in the same way. You’ll be under lots of pressure to use other formats – the kind of insidious, nasty pressure that’s hard to resist. This is a big war, and the guys in suits have powerful weapons . . .