Universal DRM Standard Now The Cure For Nonexistent Problem

from the reverse-psychology dept

Every once in a while we hear about someone working on a new DRM scheme, despite growing evidence and admissions that it can only hinder product innovation and adoption. The latest variation on this theme is developing some sort of universal DRM mechanism, and the cause is being taken up by a research outfit that blames the lack of said mechanism for hindering the advancement of “connected homes.” The argument goes that technology providers are still waiting for content producers to agree on a framework for DRM compatibility, which is producing less compatible media-sharing devices and holding up consumers’ ability to “connect” their homes. This research is pretty humorous for a couple reasons. First, consumers are already creating their connected homes quite nicely, thank you very much. Just because transferable DRM-encoded Seinfeld reruns aren’t flowing from broadcast media doesn’t mean people aren’t wiring their homes. If anything, it’s the lack of restrictive technologies such as DRM that has spurred digital media adoption. DRM by its very definition restricts flexibility, not encourages it. Second, the idea of DRM compatibility is a highly incongruous one at best. As Ed Felten has noted, DRM requires some amount of incompatibility between approved devices and unapproved ones in order to be effective. The arguments made in the research report sound like the type of twisted logic that emanates more from Hollywood board rooms than market analysis.

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Comments on “Universal DRM Standard Now The Cure For Nonexistent Problem”

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sniggles says:

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But don’t you see, Mike? If only we create the pipelines through which the content will flow (with permission), everyone will want to create content for that (walled) garden. If we don’t build it, they won’t come. It is precisely because we don’t have restrictions that people haven’t built end-to-end home-area networks.

We have a duty to consumers to restrict their options, so that they can have consumer choice.

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