Microsoft's been trying to get all touchy-feely with bloggers lately, and had a bunch of them up to its HQ for, among other things, an audience with Bill Gates. Apparently he was asked for his thoughts on DRM and copy protection, and his reponse was that it's pretty much broken. While not dismissing it out of hand, he says nobody's gotten it right, and that it causes too many problems for legitimate buyers -- which it does. So if Bill thinks it's such a problem, why doesn't he do something about it? It's all well and good for the likes of us to sit here and explain how DRM hurts content providers' businesses, but somehow, it seems that Hollywood's more likely to listen to somebody like Bill Gates when it comes to these things. Instead, we get Microsoft kowtowing to the recording industry and enabling all sorts of DRM-related problems with its Windows Media DRM, in particular its lack of support for devices like non-Windows PCs, and even its own Zune. It's high time that influential people who know better start explaining this stuff to the big content companies, whether it's Bill Gates, Steve Jobs (though his affinity for DRM seems to have changed), Yahoo execs or the few in the content business that seem to understand what's going on. Content owners need to wake up and realize that getting rid of DRM is good for their businesses; the idea just needs some influential evangelists to get them to listen.
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