News.com sat down for an interview with Cary Sherman and Mitch Bainwol, the president and chairman, respectively, of the RIAA, who did little to improve their maligned reputations. Some of their answers to the reporter's questions are such bad non sequitors, you almost wonder if something's gotten screwed up in the transcription. When asked if they regret suing people like 12-year-old girls and grandmothers, Sherman says no, and that they're "feeling pretty good", then goes on with some lines that pay lip service to the idea that they're interested in coming up with new business models, rather than just using litigation as the cornerstone of their strategy. The most egregious comment, though, comes from Bainwol, who says "nobody" has any problem with DRM and copy protection. While consumers might not know what DRM is, they know when they songs they've purchased won't play on their new MP3 player, because it's not compatible, or when they can't burn a CD to their computer because a record label thinks they're a criminal, or when the copy protection on a CD opens their computer up to hackers. People understand the restrictions copy protection and DRM impose on them and content they've legally bought, even if they are unfamiliar with the term. Bainwol's belief that "nobody" has a problem with DRM fuels his efforts to mandate the use of copy protection by law, and it's a belief that ultimately undo the music industry. Continually frustrating customers by rigidily controlling how they play back content and making the digital content world a morass of incompatibility will come back to haunt it.
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