DRM Supporters Changing Their Story?

from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed... dept

A few months ago, we wrote about why strong DRM supporters’ argument that copy protection is somehow “necessary” for content creators didn’t actually make much sense. It appears that even some of those DRM supporters are recognizing this as well. Ed Felten has noticed that supporters of stronger legal backing for copy protection laws have started to shift their argument, relying less on “stopping file sharing” (which copy protection doesn’t do) and moving on to “it allows new business models” including things like price discrimination. He also claims that they’re promoting how DRM helps support lock-in of customers — which it does, but I’ve yet to hear that argument made as a positive reason for DRM. Even the price discrimination argument is a risky one, since even when it’s more efficient, it adds in unexpected economic friction in the form of pissing people off. Though, as Felten points out, neither of these arguments (whether or not they make sense) have anything to do with copyright — yet, supporters still seem to be focusing on bolstering protections for DRM within copyright law. It’s great that these content providers want to introduce new business models, but there’s no reason that those business models should need to get extra special legal protection.

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Comments on “DRM Supporters Changing Their Story?”

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craig says:

Well, at least they are finally being honest. DRM and the push for tougher copyright laws has ALWAYS been about “creating new business models.” Years ago the RIAAA chief admitted they were aiming towards “pay-per-play.” DRM, and new laws outlawing the circumvention of DRM are necessary to have these business models work.

It used to be that in order to create a new business model, a corporation had to create a new product, new service, etc. Not any more. A more accurate way of saying “create new business models” in this sense would be “force people to pay us 5-10 times for what they used to pay us once for” or worse – “make people pay us to use the product they already bought.”

It’s as if I were a baker and paid lobbyists to get a law passed allowing me to not only charge you for the loaf of bread, but also charge you every time you make a sandwich. This would “create new business models” for me. Wanna make a BLT? Sorry, you’ve only bought PB&J rights. Please remit an additional $1.99 for 2 BLTs.

Frankly, it’s theft and it’s immoral.

cycle003 says:

Up to the consumer...

Nothing will change until enough consumers voice their opinion about DRM with their $$. Therefore, we all need to make a stance to not support labels that use DRM. We can find plenty of titles that do not employ DRM. Initially, the greedy corporations will blame piracy until it’s clear that labels without DRM are actually making $$.

It’s up to the consumer to change the business models of companies belonging to the RIAA and the MPAA.

Bob says:


DRM – Digital Rights Management is about managing the rights established by copywright law related to copywrited material. How is it that copywrited material that will one day fall into the public domain is allowed to be managed by DRM software that exercises perpetual restriction of access? Obviously the ever extending term of copywrite is disturbing, but the current situation effectively extends it forever.

James says:

They STILL don't get it...

…the unprotected MP3 has WON !! They can spout all the psycho-babble they want, sue people and come out w/100 variations on how to restrict their content… it doesn’t mean anyone is, or will, buy it.

Even iTunes music can be burned to a CD then turned back into MP3s so I can do whatever I want with it. You can hear the music execs crying even now as I type this…… “WAHHH WAHHH WAHHH MY PUSSY HURTS!!”

Reality Check says:

Time for a Reality Check

The iTunes Music Store has sold over one BILLION dollars worth of music via download, all of it has DRM.

It will be many years before the entire rest of the market sells a billion dollars of downloadable music as unprotected mp3s. It may never happen.

The consumers have spoken. They like DRM.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Time for a Reality Check

The consumers have spoken. They like DRM.

Well there’s a logical fallacy.

It’s not that consumers “like” DRM. They like the convenience offered by iTunes and the compatibility with the iPod. They like the selection iTunes offers.

However, the limitations of Apple’s DRM actually present a huge opportunity for a new entrant to come in and wipe out Apple’s dominant position. So, concluding that consumer “like” DRM is a good way to miss the boat when tide shifts…

Reality Check says:

But that’s the whole point, SD. There IS no “big name competitor” who will release their catalog online without DRM. The studios are convinced that the iTunes Music Store with is the only way they can ship their product. I don’t see that this is likely to change, since ITMS is a huge success. At this point, DRM-protected AAC files from the ITMS are only modestly protected, it’s not going to stop anyone from converting them into unprotected files, it is “just enough” protection to convince the studios to ship, without causing excessive encumbrance to the purchaser.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There IS no “big name competitor” who will release their catalog online without DRM.

Not yet. But the more frustrated they become with having to deal with Apple, and the more they see the success of things like eMusic, the more they may rethink.

Besides, you claimed consumers *like* DRM, yet when we point out that’s not true, you suddenly claim something different.

The point isn’t whether or not it makes the LABELS happy. It’s whether or not it makes consumers happy. And when you do something that adds friction, it’s an opportunity for someone else to come along and get rid of that friction.

James says:

Reality Check... Yeh You Need to...

Consumers may put up w/Apple’s version of DRM, but only ’cause its been mildly flexible (ie get music, burn to CD, rip to MP3, do with as you please).

Consumers want their music, and will pay for it, but not at the cost of being locked bs restrictions. Technology has moved us beyond the bs we used to have to just accept.

Apple would be 10x more successfuly if they’d get a clue…. same goes for the recording industry.

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