Are Tech Companies Selling Out To Hollywood?

from the here,-let-us-lock-up-our-users... dept

Dan Gillmor is noticing a disturbing trend of tech companies agreeing to the entertainment industry’s demands to include various copy protection mechanisms in what they sell. He talks about boycotting HP until they change their mind (though, he doesn’t seem to mind Apple, who also promotes copy protection technology). I’m not as worried about all of this as he is – as I still believe the market will work this all out. The more these companies agree to lock down their machines, the more incentive there is for other companies to come along and offer products that let consumers do what they want. For example, he mentions TiVo’s silly lock-down mechanism on their TiVo-To-Go offering. While lots of people have been trashing their plans to lock the content down via a dongle of some sort, the story I heard from CES was that they’ve announced this as a way to make their investors in the entertainment industry stay calm – but knowing full well that by the time they launch it, they will probably have to ditch the protection plan. The idea was to announce the product with the lock-down system, wait until there was news of other, competing products that don’t use such a scheme, and then release their own product without the lock-down, and tell people they needed to respond to what the market was telling them.

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Comments on “Are Tech Companies Selling Out To Hollywood?”

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shawn (user link) says:

what do people expect?

I understand why techies all have problems with DRM and such, but I really don’t understand what they expect tech companies to do about it. There are these huge media corporations that own all of this content that everyone wants to watch, and they’re deathly afraid of losing any control over it. A small company like TiVo is not in any position to make demands from a corporation like that when their business model is reliant on the big media’s content.

Now a huge company like Microsoft, or to a lesser extent, HP; you might expect to see the techies take a stand. However, MS is apparently pushing DRM for it’s own purposes, and HP isn’t run by techies, it’s run by business people.

Apple does use some DRM, but they at least went and had serious talks with the record companies, and negotiated a compromise well beyond anything anyone had gotten before. And if a relatively small company like Apple could get the music producers to move in the opposite direction from which they’ve been ranting and raving for the past 5 years or so, then I really think it’s just a matter of time before the compromises can favor the consumer more and more.

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