Is The Recording Industry Realizing That DRM Is Bad?

from the we-shall-see... dept

We’ve never quite understood why the entertainment industry was so fascinated with copy protection schemes. It doesn’t actually stop content from being copied, but basically makes life difficult for legitimate purchasers. Any content will eventually (usually quickly) be copied and make it online, at which point the copy protection is no longer useful at all. Anyone who wants a copy will simply go online to get it, while those who have legitimate reasons to make a copy of their own will be frustrated by the copy protection — and eventually be forced to just obtain an unauthorized copy online. It’s hard to see what good that does, other than add an additional expense and annoyance to CDs. Add to that Sony’s little rootkit adventure in exposing all kinds of security holes in typical copy protection and it’s a recipe for disaster (and no actual benefit to the recording industry). It’s not clear if recording industry execs have fully realized this yet, but it appears that there’s some hope. In addition to recent experiments with DRM-free downloads, BoingBoing is reporting that EMI has announced that they won’t be using copy protection schemes on any new CDs. It’s not clear how widespread this really is, or if they’re that serious about it or are simply waiting for a “new” copy protection system to replace the old ones. However, it is a good sign that perhaps the industry is realizing that when a particular practice doesn’t work no matter how many times you try it, the answer isn’t to keep on doing the same thing.

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Comments on “Is The Recording Industry Realizing That DRM Is Bad?”

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happymellon says:

Problem is...

The problem is that the vast majority of CDs are DRM free, so what they are doing is not really a lot. Especially when music companies are pushing for digital downloads as they make more off each purchase due to lower manufacturing pricing and not having to share as large a cut with the artists. The news I’m waiting for is “EMI has announced that they will not be using copy protection schemes on any new digital download”.

Besides they say on any new CDs, does that mean they have CDs out there containing rootkits that they are going to keep pressing? Since that would imply that all music CDs that have been recorded up until this point could still have rootkits embedded or even more elaborate schemes cooked up to put on those “older” CDs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Please let me pay more money for less convenience

Just set up my Xbox 360 to stream music from my computer. However, it won’t play any of the music I downloaded legally from iTunes (iTunes won’t allow it), but it plays all the illegally aquired files perfectly. Now I’m off to illegally download tracks I have already paid for just so I can listen to them the way I want. Next time I’ll skip that enoying “pay for the music” step which just caused me extra work with no apparent benefits.

mmrtnt (profile) says:

Aw, Come On Mike

We’ve never quite understood why the entertainment industry was so fascinated with copy protection schemes.

This is a bit disingenuous. You know why they’re so obsessed with copy protection – at least, you should.

As you have pointed out numerous times, their business model is/was largely based on scarcity. DRM, along with lawsuits are their last-ditch attempt to restore scarcity to a full-blown, long-tail, mega-copy market.

Your basic horse/barn door situation 🙂

There is supremely delicious irony in the fact that it was the music industry’s insistence on moving everyone to CD-ROM that nudged the door in the first place.


chris (profile) says:

Re: Music control laws

the problem with DRM is that it is a technology, not legislation. yes, it is true that gun laws only affect legal gun owners, but that is nothing compared to the problems that a technical solution for gun control would cause:

let’s say that a technology is developed to prevent guns from working on people. they can shoot at targets or animals, but not humans. now, let’s say that you want to defend your home from an intruder…

the point is that DRM is a technical solution for a problem that has no technical solution.

Stefano Quintarelli (user link) says:


Let’s not confuse Digital RIghts Management with Technical Protection Measures..

Together with Leonardo Chiariglione (who happens to be the president of MPEG, alas the guy who’s done the most to ensure that we have content in digital form on multiple interoperable platforms) and some other italian technology, law and media experts, we founded a group called Digital Media in Italy.

we published a proposal (summary: to use DRM in order to be able to track content usage and not necessarily to lock it.


why tracking ? because of advertising remuneration, artist remuneration, ensure creative commons compliance, and tons of other reasons.

are we going to arrive to a point in which record labels are unneccessary ? asks alex.


in the meantime they must be able to do as many mistakes as they wish, and we need to build a different schema in order to remunerate directly the artist.’s proposal goes exactly in this direction.

but in order to be able to do so, you need to have a way to digitally manage rights (although not locking the content)


Joe Schmoe says:

Copy protection on CDs should not be confused with the protection-systems applied to music-files which are distributed via the internet.

There’s no victory to be read into this article. They still believe that online distribution can still be magically controlled. They’re just not going to throw any more money at a statistcally dying format (CD’s). This is a decision of numbers, not conscience.

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