MPAA Chief Sings The Praises Of Interoperable DRM

from the like-the-philosopher's-stone dept

Good news, the MPAA has heard your cries and is now committed to letting you watch your movies on whatever device you want. It even wants to let you rip your DVDs to your home network. There’s just one catch (you knew there would be a catch): you’ll have to wait until the MPAA can develop a system of interoperable DRM. In other words, you’re probably going to be waiting a long time, if not forever. This was the message from MPAA head honcho Dan Glickman, who spoke at a conference this week on the need to remove restrictions on consumers. Unfortunately for Glickman, the whole point of DRM is to restrict the use of whatever media is being protected. As for the idea of interoperable DRM, this is basically an oxymoron. If you could play a file anytime on any device it wouldn’t be DRM anymore. Unless Glickman and the movie industry have no idea how the technology works, it’s obvious that all of this talk about interoperable DRM is just a smokescreen to obfuscate the real issue. The sad thing, for movie studios, is that they’re investing so much into a concept doesn’t even do that. Still, at least Glickman is acknowledging his industry is hurting itself by being so unfriendly to consumers. He’s still searching in the wrong place for the answer, but a step (even if it’s a very very tiny one) is a step.

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Comments on “MPAA Chief Sings The Praises Of Interoperable DRM”

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Jeremy Baker says:

DRM inter-operability

I don’t like DRM – but it is clearly not true to say that DRM “inter-operability” is an oxymoron. It is quite easy to concieve (but much harder to put into practice) a DRM scheme which operated on *all* devices. So *I* would be able to authorise the use of the product I have purchased / licensed on any 1 or more devices at a time; but not necessarily be able to play it on *all* devices *at once*. This is similar to Apple iTune’s limit of 5 “authorised” computers – but having no limits on the *kind* of computer or device that can be authorised – just the number at any one time for any given person.

But like I said – I don’t like DRM… so I hope it dies 🙂

Enrico Suarve (user link) says:

The journey of 100 miles starts with a single step

…but it doesn’t necessarily have to go via Tibet

And that’s what Head Plank Dan is insisting on

DRM is killing his user base and turning his loyal customers into pirates from what I have experienced

I already made a promise to myself to avoid tunes with DRM – why would I want to go anywhere near it for movies?


Chronno S. Trigger says:

Interoperable DRM

It’s still an oxymoron. To have a DRM that runs on all devices, all devices must support that DRM. Thus all your current devices that aren’t software upgradable won’t work.

And since, as far as I know of, no CD player can support DRM, There’s still a way around by burning and ripping. (Don’t confuse DRM with the current copy protection on new, pressed CDs.)

Avatar28 says:

reasonable DRM is the answer

The problem with most DRM is that it is too restrictive. For example, DRM so that I could, say, store it on a home file server and play it on any computer on my network or to a portable device without having to jump through hoops.

That is the model that I believe, ultimately, will be the future for home entertainment. A central server stores all of our media. We decide we want to purchase the latest blockbuster movie that just came out in theaters last month. I go to my favorite retailer’s website and purchase the movie. A signal goes out to my media server and it logs in and pulls the movie down to the hard drive in whichever format and quality I chose to purchase.

When I’m ready to watch it I turn on my TV which might use a set top box or which might eventually have a built in capability to play media directly off the server over my network without any sort of set top box required. Alternatively I can watch it on my portable device or a computer, streaming it over the network if I’m at home or I can have my portable device download it over wireless from the server with the press of a button. A few minutes later it’s stored and ready to go, the movie having been transcoded to a format optimized for my portable device automatically by the server when I downloaded it.

The download has DRM, I couldn’t copy it and give it to my brother or my best friend, but I can freely use it around my home and portable devices all day long and it doesn’t get in the way, it doesn’t jack up my system and it really doesn’t get in the way of using it how I would like. In the interim, of course, they would need the ability to burn to DVD so a computer or STB is not required to view the media on your television but eventually I think the capability will be built into the hardware.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: reasonable DRM is the answer

Nice try, but… This is what Vista ran into. Your “server” supports the manufacturer DRM and thus can decode the content. Then your server streams the content to various devices. Fine, but with what protection? With no protection, you could stream the content to your DVD burner or directly to your brother and friend.
M$ apparently created their own encryption, then required everyone (viz ATI) to maintain that encryption and to protect the content from physical extraction. What did that solve?
The whole point of DRM is to *prevent* portability. Truly portable DRM, which is what everyone really wants, is the oxymoron. Apple came the closest to a solution by allowing a limited list of devices. Even that sucks, if you have only one device, and something happens to that device, such as iTunes getting wiped out along with the rest of Windows.
My policy is to buy DRM’ed music and then to immediately remove the DRM. Then I can safely back up *my property*. If M$ figures out how to stop that, I’ll stop buying music at all. DRM, from the Windows registry (what else is it for?) to music files to movies, is the worst for consumers. I can’t wait for it to go away.

Anonymous Coward says:

Please... someone tell me

To those that say its not an oxy-moron, how would you define interoperable DRM?

Digital RESTRICTIONS management is all about restricting usage. Its not about preventing piracy, and everyone should be aware of that.

It’s all about creating revenue streams by limiting the consumers ability to do for themselves what a content provider could alternatively charge said consumer for.

What does that mean? It means convincing you to buy “Movie X” on DVD, and then again in itunes for the iPod, and then again in PSP disk (yeah, right…), and then again. Then they will also prevent you from taking screenshots form the movie to put on the background of your cell phone so they can charge you to do that for you.

DRM is the EXACT OPPOSITE of interoperability.

What the MPAA has just said, is that they want to be the leader of a consortium that gets a stronger capabillity to dictate your usage rights to you. If they create and license this “interoperable DRM” then they will have ABSOLUTE say over what each device can do.

Giving absolute power over consumer rights to an entity that has shown it just wants to restrict you so it can sell you the same thing again and again isn’t exactly a very bright idea.

Is there another reason for DRM that I don’t know about? Besides the MPAA wanting to obtain greater power then they already have (suprise suprise!) is there any other reason why they would want to implement such an incredibly weak drm that it would actually allow you to do what you want with your content?

Sanguine Dream says:

Straw grasping and medai spin...

It looks like these are trying to come up with some angle that will allow them to trick everyone into thinking that DRM is a good idea.

I think the spin doctors at the MPAA (as well as the legal teams of the RIAA) are finally running low on ammo. Yes their ammo was always weak to start with but now that the masses are getting sick of those lame excuses they have to move on to something else. Expect the excuses to get weaker and weaker…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Straw grasping and medai spin...

“It looks like these are trying to come up with some angle that will allow them to trick everyone into thinking that DRM is a good idea.”

But it’s working. Look at the previous posts and you will notice that while most say DRM doesn’t currently work, they believe it *can* work. This is brainwashing by RIAA / MPAA.

DRM will never work for two reason:

1. It will always restrict in some way.
2. People will always find a way to remove it.

End of.

William says:

Former head of the MPAA dies

Jack Valenti former head of the MPAA died from a stroke yesterday. This is the MPAA’s statement.

“He helped chart a dramatic transformation of the American film industry. He was the visionary who created the voluntary movie ratings system that has stood the test of time, both safeguarding our nation’s filmmakers from censorship and providing parents with an unparalleled resource to use with their children. He ushered the movies into the digital era and condemned intellectual property theft.”

IMO the only way.. says:

It would work is to have all device makers create a hardware/software standard that connects to the interweb and checks ( just like itunes AFAIK ) to see how many devices are authorized to or currently playing the material being “protected” the problem with that is 1I don’t want to have to log on to a server to play my copy of the matrix ( if anyone has a harmony remote then you know what I am talking about.)
There is no way you are EVER going to get all the big device makers to agree on anything that will potentially cause them to lose/pay money.
Imagine if sony said “yea sure well drop our home grown DRM for your DRM” or how about MS or any of the big studios or product makers in both music and Movies. Not to mention how we will have to buy all new devices to support this new protection scheme.

Juanito (user link) says:


…here we go again. I’m amazed DRM is still around, it’s like cancer and people are sick of it. Don’t these guys realize that people can easily convert stuff and also find DRM-free files on the net? Especially today, what with all of these new encrypted and private peer-to-peer programs coming out (GigaTribe is the best example of them: )…I give DRM a few months before it dies a well-deserved death…

Avatar28 says:

I should probably clarify

I DON’T think DRM is a good idea. Put John and Jane Q Public will accecpt DRM as long as it is not obtrusive and allows them to do what they want, which is generally going to be what I wrote about, the ability to use their media how and where they want. As long as they can do that, I think they will be happy. I could also tolerate something mild like that. I wouldn’t necessarily like it. But, I could deal with it to the degree that I would probably use the products. I’m also a realist enough to realize that the only way the MPAA et al are going to stop fighting stuff like what I described is going to be if it contains some form of DRM. It is sort of like taxes in that regard. The key, like with taxes, is to make sure that it’s not too onerous and burdensome. That is where DRM has failed so far.

SailorRipley says:

As a theoretical concept, I am not entirely against DRM.

After all, on principle, I have no problem with someone getting some guarantee I don’t illegally distribute their IP.

Provided I am not limited in my fair use rights…which in my opinion, as a consumer, means that I should be allowed to play a movie or music I have purchased, on any medium I want and transform it into any format I want, so a CD I bought, I can play on my computer, stand alone CD, iPod, etc… same thing for a movie: I’d have no problem if I would be able to download it a movie as a 20 GB HD object, stream it over my network, convert and burn it on a DVD so I can play it in a DVD player, or convert it so I can watch it in the plane on my iPod, etc…

If I’d be given the freedom to do with the content whatever I want/can for personal use, I would have no problem with “the industry” putting in some protection so that is “all” I can do

slightly off-topic: I know the idea I am going to express is flawed, but just thinking semi-abstractly here: why not implement a system based on a public-private key encryption system?
For every consumer there is a personal (private) key, which would be programmed into any hardware one buys at the time of purchase (stand alone dvd player, mp3 player, CD/DVD-ROM,…) Then when you buy content, a copy of the master is made, encrypting it with your personal public key, thus making it only play on your equipment (and of course your equipment only plays content that is encrypted with your public key). Thus resulting in the consumer being allowed to play anything he buys on everything he owns (he can convert it from the purchased base hd format to anything he wants) but ensuring the IP owner a consumer can’t distribute his content illegally.

^^ just thinking from an scientific point of view, how it might be done to have a really “fair” DRM system. As a consumer I am of course offended by the “industry’s” mentality/assumption that everyone is a crook by default

SailorRipley says:

high horse and all

I’m sorry, but even if EVERYBODY, every single person, except me, did it, it would still be a valid argument, regardless of whether or not you consider it getting on my high horse.

What’s the general rule? Innocent until proven guilty…that’s the law, so I am sure as hell not willing to tolerate that an industry, whom I, the consumer give money to, deviates from this principle, just because it is convenient for them.

Whether the illegal sharing of content is rampant, whether most people think nothing of downloading material illegally is not relevant. Even whether or not I download things illegally is not relevant, as long as “they” don’t have any concrete proof that I do, they’re not allowed to treat me as, or consider me, a criminal.

Having their content not shared illegally is their problem as content provider/owner, not mine as a consumer, and as a result, whatever previsions they take, I as a consumer should not be hindered by them (definitely not the situation right now). That is a prerequisite, however, if/when the industry does come up with a system that allows to me enjoy the content I have purchased any way I want and prevents me from sharing it illegally, they should be thankful that I agree to purchasing it and not get on my high horse about being offended they assume I’m a criminal.

or I guess you’re the kind of person who would continue shopping in a store where somebody follows you around t make sure you don’t shoplift every time you set a foot in the store?

steer says:

Re: you are a rationalizing hypocrite

If DRM bothers you this much, I’d like to see how upset you get when you are forced to pay before you pump gas. How dare the gas station treat you like a criminal by assuming you’d pump and not pay, right?

Why don’t you refuse to pay for gas until the gas station treats you with sufficient trust and respect? Or, only go to gas stations that show more credulity?

What’s the difference between that and your rationalization for illegal downloading? Just the fact that you might get caught?

Nasty Old Geezer says:

Re: Re: you are a rationalizing hypocrite

The difference in your bad analogy — once I pay for the gas, I can use it in a car, a van, a lawn mower, an outboard motor, or just use it to start a fire — all without permission from the refinery. I should be able to listen to music or watch a video with the same ease.

DRM, by definition, violates my rights to fair use of copyrighted material.

If the studios wanted to add a “watermark” that would uniquely identify me as the culprit — that would be fine. No difference in having a serial number on my car (or my firearm) and having a serial number on my music, as long as it does not ‘phone home’.

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

Come on, stores have cameras, does that bother you? Stores check your shopping cart on the way out, does that bother you? Airlines make you go through security, does that bother you?

Ever consider that maybe prices are higher than they should be because of piracy? If piracy didn’t exist maybe the songs, movies and albums would cost all of us less?

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