Discussing All Things DRM, Except The Point

from the but-wait... dept

There’s a conference this week about DRM copy protection technology that seems to be entirely focused on why DRM is good without taking any time to look at the other side of DRM technology. While the conference claims they will look at the “economics of DRM,” they quickly point out that that’s only “who will pay for it,” and not how will DRM impact the economics of information. Reading the article linked here suggests that folks in the DRM industry have a complete blindspot for the idea that DRM may actually cause more trouble than it solves by giving less to consumers. The conference chair person even is quoted suggesting how awful a world it is when DRM isn’t used because your content is free. Of course, as we’ve pointed out plenty of times before, sometimes free is good – as it opens up plenty of other opportunities. There are some areas where DRM technology may make sense, but before everyone assumes that DRM is great, shouldn’t there be more of an investigation into how DRM technology may cause harm to the content industry?

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Comments on “Discussing All Things DRM, Except The Point”

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frumiousb says:

No Subject Given

They’re aware of the issues that you raise. A lot of the work on DRM technology is going into providing solutions that actually add some kind of value by incorporating value adds for the consumer as part of the buying process.

So what’t the problem? Why aren’t these kinds of conferences addressing the issue?

Truth is that there’s a kind of fundamental disconnect between players in the value chain who need to act together to make anything out of it. Technology companies want someone to accept DRM because with electronic download services will come this nice new wave of technology spend on back end. CE companies want to have these kind of services offered so that they can flog new devices. The companies who are likely to actually offer electronic download services (retailers and carriers) don’t really care about DRM as long as it’s reasonably secure and consumer friendly. Content providers don’t care if it’s consumer friendly so long as it leaves all their other business models intact (ha!).

And the consumer? By all accounts, from electronic content delivery services what the consumer wants are roughly analogous rights and additional convenience and selection. All the rest is confusing gravy to them.

So. What do you end up with? CE companies and tech vendors developing solutions that try to meet everyone’s requirements and in doing so they meet nobody’s. Carriers who try to start content services but who are only allowed to have content in a narrow window of opportunity (generally the same one as is offered to airlines and hotels). Content providers aren’t giving an inch until someone makes sure all their ridiculous requirements are met (or until someone makes money with the services– witness iTunes).

Result: Microsoft moves in the middle of the confusion and rules the world. Watch this space.

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