Accenture Invents DRM So Complicated We Can't Explain It

from the designed-to-confuse dept

One of the main complaints about DRM is that it limits the listener’s ability to consume their media across all of their devices. Not only is this an inconvenience, but it decreases the value of the sold product. Trade publication Techweb reports that Accenture is developing DRM that would tie the media to its owner, while allowing it to be platform independent. It’s hard to imagine how this would work (a biometric thumbprint maybe?), and it would seem to limit other rights, like the ability to borrow and share music with friends (not necessarily file trading). Unfortunately the article reads like a college term paper, written by a student who didn’t do the reading. For example: “A consumer can’t finish watching the $6 movie in their bedroom that they began to watch in their living room the night prior because the content provider non-repudiates the box rather than the person… Companies are pouring “hundred of millions” into various projects to initiate change, Le Vine estimates. And change already is underway. Telecommunication, satellite, movie studios, and content providers have put together an architectural blueprint that describes the required equipment and processes.” Yikes. Non-repudiates? Projects to initiate change? A few of us have gone over this article a dozen times and we’re still not sure what’s being offered here. One of the following must be true: The trade publications need to do a better job in their reporting (which we already know), we’re just too dim to comprehend the article, or, most likely, this is just another example of DRM designed to confuse and trick people out of their fair use rights.

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Comments on “Accenture Invents DRM So Complicated We Can't Explain It”

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mike says:

this sounds really odd

Content providers that stream movies into the home, for example, from online or through cable identify “the box” as the valid network device. A consumer can’t finish watching the $6 movie in their bedroom that they began to watch in their living room the night prior because the content provider non-repudiates the box rather than the person.

that really makes no sense

sounds like a pay-per-veiw to me

Adam says:

The major reason DRM is not dead is because companys like Sony have entire divisions with the sole purpose of developing DRM, they have hundreds of people on payroll who’s job description involves nothing but furthering DRM. Obviously the concept of getting rid of DRM is hard for them to grasp when they are forced to think in terms of “How well is our DRM division doing?”. The CEO’s have a much harder time thinking things like, “Do we really NEED that division at all?” And anyone who works in said division is not going to recommend that their boss fire themself just because they believe what they are doing is wrong. They got a family to support you know. So they will keep on lieing in their quarterly meetings with the rest of the company and claim that they made GREAT STRIDES in protecting their content, cause regardless of how many news articles, blogs, and scientific papers show how DRM is worthless, they will continue to say otherwise to make sure they get their yearly bonus. And thats the TRUTH!

Let’s face it, if rich people who did not need money worked in DRM, and found it to hurt customers including themselve, they would boycott or quit. But when you have people who need money, regardless of what their job entails working to support their family and buy their children that new Xbox 360, they won’t care that they are supporting DRM, and as long as they get their paycheck, they will continue to lie to the CEO’s and share holders with exagerated spreadsheet and powerpoint presentations using baseless statistics that make it seem like their division *IS* worth keeping up and running to the company.

Yep.. sad but true.. And the CEO’s are silly enough to believe their hype too.


Xanius says:

I like how this is thrown in there...

“Many of today’s pirates wear $100 jeans and carry $3,000 laptops and never run out of the restaurant without paying a bill,” he said. “So they aren’t really looking to break piracy rules, they are just rebelling against the business model because it’s broken.”

As far as I know the majority of pirates do it and give it out for free,the ones that try selling it are the ones that get caught usually.. so if they have $100 jeans and a $3000 laptop it’s because they bought it using money they made at a real job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I like how this is thrown in there...

“Many of today’s pirates wear $100 jeans and carry $3,000 laptops and never run out of the restaurant without paying a bill,” he said. “So they aren’t really looking to break piracy rules, they are just rebelling against the business model because it’s broken.”

As far as I know the majority of pirates do it and give it out for free,the ones that try selling it are the ones that get caught usually.. so if they have $100 jeans and a $3000 laptop it’s because they bought it using money they made at a real job.

i think their point is that people aren’t pirating because of the cost, but because they want to rebel. they’re willing to buy overpriced stuff in other places, so they still may be willing to buy overpriced DVDs just as long as they don’t hate the business. they’re point isn’t *how* they got the money.

Just One Guy says:

A better proposal for DRM

Hey, you know, I have the solution, the real, honest-to-god, undeniable answer to all these issues about copy protection and defending content from pirates. It works, it cannot but work.

It sort of flashed across my mind this morning while shaving in front of the bathroom mirror. I am so excited to share it with you. I don’t want to make money with it, I am really willing to release it to the world for free. But I would appreciate it if the world will someday rememeber that the definitive answer to copy protection came from me.

It is sooo simple: for any human behavior that is socially perceived as improper, the government or the stakeholder can either impose with force a mechanism that prevent the improper behavior (police, courts, army, locks, DRM, whatever), or create the conditions for such behavior never to happen. One of such methods surely is to remove motivations causing the behavior.

Now, it is clear that people copy music and moves because the feel there is value in these artifacts. Cultural value, entertainment value, whatever. But by removing any value whatsoever from music and movies, you can guarantee that the urge of pirates to access protected content will cease immediately. So the answer to the issue of copy protection is to produce content that nobody will want to copy!!!

It is so simple, really, isn’t it? Just produce incredibly horrible and boring movies with no value at all, and music so ugly and irrelevant to pale in comparison with elevator’s muzak, and you will never run risks to have your content stolen. End of story

So this is my proposal. Thank you everybody for the support to this simple yet so powerful idea, and please remember it came from me. Another fine product from Just One Guy… oh, but what is the commotion over there? What? What are you saying?

Oh, that I wasn’t the first to propose this, was I? That, actually, they have been doing exactly this in the last years? That the quality of current movies and music is exactly reflecting the ideas of the majors’ upper management of the kind of value they want to be accepted by the masses? That movies and music from majors nowadays sucks because they are choosing artists and ideas that they are sure will create no value at all? Oh. Is that so? Oh.

Oh, well, another neat proposal from the mirror in my bathroom. Remember I was the first to expose the hidden policy of most majors. It came from Just One Guy!

DoxAvg says:

It does make _some_ sense...

> .. if rich people who did not need money..

If all the rich people who did not need money stood on a scale, it would still read “0”. But that’s beside the point.

Other than the unfortunate “non-repudiates” (they could have just said “OKs”), they’re targeting one of the fundamental complaints of DRM – there’s a disconnect in the model that the customers perceive as ownership (“I” own this thing) and what technology can support (“These 5 computers” own that iTune). If they make it very easy to authorize the _person_ in stead of the _machine_, things will go a bit smoother.

My buddy’s Prius opens the doors and starts up easily because it regognizes _him_. Well, it recognizes the RFID key in his pocket that it associates with him, but to the consumer, it’s great when all you have to do is walk up to the car and the doors automatically unlock, and you can start the car with the push of a button. I can imagine a world where you carry an RFID token that your iPod, set-top-box, Windows workstation, and Starbucks all recognize as you, and do the right thing whenever “you” are present.

bafh (user link) says:

Software DRM

Content providers really need to get it into their heads that software DRM will never work. As long as you can use sofware on your computer play content and the content is streamed from the software to the hardware, you will always be able insert a seperate program in between the software player and hardware output and capture the stream. You could pay for a monthly subscription music service, get a copy of Audacity and copy streams until your heart is content and their is no way to stop it. What we should be worried about is hardware manufacturers getting involved. If Windows Media player began streaming encrypted data and only your hardware could unencrypt it, copying would stop. However, as an accountant with a background in economics, the only thing you have done at that point is reduce the value of your product. The content provider’s product has increased value now because I can play it in my car, my house, my computer, my Ipod, etc. When you limit my use to just a single device, the content has limited or no value. This is the problem the large content providers don’t seem to understand.

Jeremy (user link) says:

Re: Software DRM

Actually even with hardware encryption you don’t have a foolproof system. The Audio and video has to become analog at some point to be displayed. Even if it’s recording with a video camera and or voice recorder. The problem here is the kind of content. The content represents an Idea not an object. Music and Movies can’t be considered in the same way that a car or a priceless painting can be. Those are objects. You may be able to forge them but you can’t copy the original exactly. Music and Movies are a whole different ballgame. The DRM folks want the impossible. Someone needs to tell them before they waste any more money.

Anonymous Coppertop says:

Re: Software DRM

What the Content Providers need is a new corporate BioTech division, to create the decryption hardware implant that everyone must implant in their brain in order to decode the content stream. This stream of data will be delivered directly into the brain of the recipient — the music/video will never actually enter the analog realm where it can be captured by other digital devices (at whatever quality).

Of course, within a few days of the first implant trials, there would be a South Korean eBay store selling another implant with an output port to capture these streams to external devices. It will be based directly on the leaked plans for the encrypted/DRM brain chip technology!

Anonymous Coward says:

“Accenture is developing DRM that would tie the media to its owner,”

So that means if the RIAA owns the music it’s tied to them and we can’t have it.

Fine by me.

Because – if *we* actually “owned” the media we bought, we could DO WHATEVER WE WANT WITH IT.

They need to quit saying people “buy Cd’s” – it’s more like renting the BS.

Jyotheendra says:

Basic laws of Digital copying


I have a few basic laws or rather Axioms about digital content ,can any one please comment

1.All content which can be seen(on TV(Digital etc),on computers) or heard(pods,players ,radios) can be theoritically duplicated or copied

2.It is theoritically imposssible to create DRM protection
unless the content is custom made per User / per Device

3.copy protection can only be achieved if and only if there is a single entity/conglomerate which controls the production, distribution and processing of content


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Basic laws of Digital copying

You are 100% right on 1 + 2, 100% wrong on 3. The long term success of any copy protection scheme is demand and use environment dependent.

Anything appealing to a broad market is dead, even if it means a digital->analog->digital conversion, which I think is something we will see a lot more of since the digital originals are such high quality.

Popularity also introduces a “puzzle solver” factor: cracking the code is the challenge. Delivering the solution to the public is the reward. This is nothing new.

The only solution is to make legitimate prossession so cheap and easy that the vast majority will accept what they are offered without argument or resistance. 40+million iPods have been sold because they made it relatively cheap and dirt simple to download music. Nothing that couldn’t be done on any MP3 player – if you know how. Most don’t and have no interest in learning.

All this and the RIAA amd MPAA still don’t get it. Amazing.

Jyotheendra says:

Re: Re: Basic laws of Digital copying

my third law was something like this:

say you live in a world which hypothetically has such a conglomerate then you cannot even burn music onto your CD’s (since all cd writers either might be stopped frtom production or a mechanism is introduced wherein some one verifies the content you are going to burn which any way was bought from this very totalitarian entity )…

and even the mp3 codec technlogy is not available to citizens(i.e it is regarded a military property like the current laws which govern encryption algorithms in US)

for eg:some years ago in India ordinary people needed license to buy a CD witer

what i meant was unless and until such a totalitarian

environment exists no one can stop us from actually copying music or,reformattiing it,or playing it on whatever we like..

(we can’t buy iPod’s here in India athough we love them they are so costly for us so we have cheap 40$ chinese players that play only MP3)




the reason why people download music, movies and so forth is convenience, freakin convenience, and also, price, who wants to buy a music cd that costs 24 dollars, when there is only a few good songs on there, people want THEIR favorite songs on ONE cd, and you can do that by downloading INDIVIDUAL songs, and making your mix. As for movies, it is also a major convenience factor, who has been sitting at home and said, man, i wanna watch this movie, which requires finding it at a movie store, or renting it, having to make 2 trips and so forth, what if yo dont have a car, blah blah, anyways, you can download it, which is so convenient, if they charged like 2 or 3 dollars for a movie, people would probably download them and burn em to a dvd, but thats just my opinion, AS LONG AS YOU CAN GET IT FOR FREE, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DO DOWNLOAD THEM, and thats the bottom line

TriZz says:

The problem with all this is...

…they’re trying to come up with a protection for a $20 item.

A CD roughly costs $15 (at it’s highest)

A DVD roughly costs $25.

A song cost $1 (on legal online music stores)

…but they’re trying to spend millions to come up with technology to protect it.

It’s a bit silly.

Essentially, what’s going to happen is that the guy who goes to Tower Records and buys a CD is going to purchasing the security on the CD rather than the music…

Dude@Home says:

My Own DRM Solution

I have a solution for music DRM and I’m going to patent it. My plan would actually grow all on it’s own and it would even police itself without going against the end users rights (well not significantly) and it would work if the record producers put it to use. Once I have a patent I’ll be sharing my plan with the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

So before I got all teched up, I used to lose CDs. If I have the receipt, or credit card record of the transaction, do you think Sony will send me new copies of those discs for the $1.50 cost of a new disc and shipping? If I see a movie in the theater, does that mean I own it on DVD now for only the price of the blank disc?

I’m just saying, if these companies get what they want, they’re backing themselves into some very uncomfortable areas.

Jeff says:

legitimate protection

You have to at least admit that there is a legitimate concern that needs to be protected. That is: wide-spread unauthorized reproduction and distribution. And while Joe User says “hey, it’s just me sharing with my buddies – fair use” if everyone in America says that it’s instantly “wide-spread.” Moreover, it is important to recognize that it is still TECHNICALLY infringement – fair use just provides a DEFENSE to the infringement.

The fair use defense is not absolute. What was once fair use, will not necessarily always be fair use. It is always evaluated on a case-by-case basis and the courts use the fair use factors spelled out in the copyright statute and in case law. Two of those factors are the nature of the copying and how easy it is to monitor the copying.

Most of the reason why the law tolerates “personal copying” between friends is simply because the courts have said it is too difficult to monitor, and we won’t tolerate discrimination just because you happen to catch this one guy doing it. But, if it becomes easy to monitor all of the copying on a non-discriminatory, non-arbitrary basis then the defense of “fair use” is no longer necessary.

Thus, I believe that this proposal is an attempt at non-discriminatory and non-arbitrary monitoring of content, so as to eliminate the “difficult to monitor” reasoning for the grant of the fair use defense in these instances. It’s a perfectly legitimate strategy on the part of the content owners. The question is whether the courts are willing to uphold the fair use defense for this “personal copying” on some other grounds.

Glorious D says:

DRM not meant to be foolproof

You guys dont get it. everyone involved with DRM, from the content producers to the technology providers, frankly don’t care whether a DRM system is foolproof. Of course, they’d love it if such a system were possible, but they understand the various reasons why it won’t happen anytime in the near future.

What they want to do by installing DRM is a) show that they are at least trying to protect their content, thus making it possible to pursue a legal strategy against supposed pirates and B) make it difficult enough that your average consumer finds it just inconvienent enough to find or rip pirated content that he decides to ‘do the right thing’ and buy the content through legal means.

And frankly, the success of Itunes is just one example of a DRM system that has worked as millions of people have decided that the 99 cents per song cost is less expensive than the time and legal riskassociated with downloading that song from a P2P network.

BTW, the suggestion that because these products cost $20 or less that DRM investments aren’t worth it is of course patently ridciulous. These are huge markets.

Wind says:


In my perspective, I don’t see the government or any company being able to produce any kind of protection that will keep people from taking data that they didn’t purchase.

If you look in the past you will see that there was something developed that kept people from having a free ride (some people call it stealing). I.E. Pay Phones were designed to take your money and make a pulse that enabled you to make a call… After someone who helped make this technology got fed up with the company or got fired he probably said hey! I could make a device that scams the pay phones into free calls! If you remember back that did happen. Then the company found a way to null the device for free calls. I bet some hacker is sitting in their basement thinking up ways to do it better.

If they develop finger print scanners then people will develop finger print key generators. If they place a serial number requirement, people will figure out the algorithm. Copying has been done and will be done! DRM is a way of paying people to keep up with hackers and pirates. Further more it’s a way of psyching out the pirates and the people that made the media into thinking its safe or one day going to be safe.

The creation of defense against piracy is giving the hackers and pirates what they want… A challenge! Having no challenge at all would make the work worthless. Not saying that the stuff people are scraping off of the modern day knowledge tree (the internet) is worthless or it should be worthless and crap to keep them from taking it.

There will always be walls in the way… And there will always be wrecking balls to tear them down…

Jerry White says:

DRM-bla bla vla

How about if you bought a car but your friend couldn’t drive it because it wasn’t really yours. It was just your right to drive it because you gave up a fourth of your salary to buy this ridiculously overpriced car to begin with. How about you not being able to resell the car because you didn’t build it yourself.

Why do we keep killing ourselves over this subject but nothing ever seems to get resolved? We need someone on the opposite end of the spectrum with money? We need everyone to donate to this cause? Because as individuals, remember we all fall. But if we unite, poll our money together and fight, we can win this. We have learned by simply not buying their stuff they just take all their corporate money and stick it in politicians mouths and voula, start suing hard working citizens because we’re sick of paying too expensive prices. And then they blame it on us that the prices are going up.

What about when CD’s first came out and they promised prices would come down only to climb higher over time. It’s time to stop typing in these stupid little forums and blogs and start doing something about it. AAAHHH.

scatman says:

content owner and sharing

The whole system is jacked up. The “content owner” should be (in the case of music) the actual artist(s) that created the content and not the record company. As such the artist/group should have the final say about sharing (P2P) and copyright.

In the case of software (s/w), the content creator depends on whether or not the software is open source–if it’s OSS then the creator(s) of the s/w is the content owner…otherwise the company responsible for creating the software is the content owner. As such the coder(s) or company (of coders e.g. Microsoft) should have the final say about sharing (P2P) and copyright.

In the case of movies it would be a little different. The writer of the original screenplay (or play, or story, or whatever) should be the majority owner, and the studio (if a studio’s equipment/expertise is used to create the movie–otherwise it’ll look like a home movie–which is OK if that’s the writer’s original vision) should be the secondary owner of the content. Therefore, in the case of movies, since the original writer owns the majority share of the content, he/she has the final say on whether or not the content should be shared (P2P style or whatever).

Following this system, some musicians, s/w designers, and writers will realize the value of free (shared) content as a form advertising/promotion, while others will choose instead to copyright/DRM their works.

Wind says:

Re: content owner and sharing

I agree that the origional artist should have the right to go solo on such things, but if you are video taping a movie in a theatre then you are not really copying the movie. Instead you are making your own movie about another movie! I.E. it seems similar to star wars but its not. Star Wars would not have people standing up in the theatre or have an audience laugh at a joke one of the characters told. In result you are revising or creating a new movie. Then theres the trademarks they might have used. Jar Jar Binks is a trademark of Star Wars, Yet if you give him a mustache and changed his name to Bar Bar Links hes your character and should be your character. Alothough Jar Jar Binks with a mustache is a bit far from the subject, he is one of many things that some rich dude would get off making money demands for drawing a picture of him with a mustache. I can see little kids drawing little doodles of jar jar and the FBI breaking down the school room door, yelling and throwing the kid on the floor at an attempt to cuff him like all the other people that copy. even if they were to enforce a strict enough plan of defense against piracy there is allways loopholes, backdoors, government or diplomatic immunity, and/or age issues involving what age is it illegal and if the parent should be fined for a problem that a child does.

I say their is too much law in law enforcement that emplies on misdemeanors. theres not enough enforcement on the laws that keep people safe (and piracy does not keep people safe!!!)

I see the people that are trying to keep up with the pirates as little kids wineing and telling the teacher that someone hit them or someone stole their lunch money!

We shouldnt worry about the stuff they got to protect content. I think we just want them to shut up!

Patrick Mullen says:

Generally, people don’t want to pay money for something, they would rather get it for free. Its that simple. The studios want to keep people from getting things for free, because that kind of hurts their business model. Recording artists don’t generally care about DRM, because they make most of their money off their tours rather than the album sales anyway.

It is a fact though, if an artist or a studio eventually finds out that they won’t make money off their efforts, they will stop producing their art.

Ex Android says:

Accenture's name sucks worse than DRM

Think about it. They used to be Andersen Consulting. They lost the name in a court battle with Arthur Andersen, and have since changed their name to Accenture.

On the day they announced the new name, their website had an explanation/apology for the new name: “Did you know that almost every word has already been used/copyrighted? It is very difficult to come up with a new name for a company. We had a contest, and the winner was from Germany, Accenture. It means that we have an Accent on the Future.”

Something like that. I wet myself I was laughing so hard. What a bunch of losers. I CERTAINLY HOPE THEY ARE FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE, NOT THE PAST, BUNCH OF LAMETARDS!

maybe me maybe not says:

I know the guy interviewed in the article and saw him speak at Digital Hollywood. He was right on. The reporter got a lot wrong. The person who posted #20 gets it. DRM does not have to be perfect. Business models and usage models have to evolve to allow the kinds of things people want to do, or they’ll just do them anway. Many of the people the record companies call pirates are not pirates at all, altho they are doing something that is technially illegal. They’re pioneers and they are producing change in the way content is distributed and sold. They forced the music industry to change.

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