There They Go Again: Movie Industry Takes Yet Another Shot At DRM

from the wasting-time,-money-and-energy dept

It seems that every few years the entertainment industry thinks that if it can just create a better new form of DRM, all its business model problems will be solved. Usually, it talks about how DRM will somehow enable new business models, when all it really does is remove value from content, shrinking a market, annoying legitimate customers — all while doing absolutely nothing to slow down unauthorized downloading. It’s a huge waste of time, money and energy, but the entertainment industry still doesn’t realize it. Because here we go again. The movie industry is working on yet another DRM standard, which it insists will be much better than everything before, because it will be more open and interoperable. But, the problem is that it will never be as open or interoperable as no DRM. Until the industry recognizes that, it will continue to throw away more money and more time when it could actually be focusing on improving its business.

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Comments on “There They Go Again: Movie Industry Takes Yet Another Shot At DRM”

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Anonymous Coward says:

This just keeps making their overhead higher, eventually it will cost so much to make movies and distribute the content they will effectively make it impossible to turn a profit. If the market has stated that 20 bucks is the highest they will pay to make a DVD, a proper business strategy would be to figure out how to make the cheapest damn DVD they can and sell it for 20 bucks to maximize profit. All this DRM does is either make them sell their $15 cost DVD at $20 for a $5 profit, or jack the price up to $30 to make the same amount of money. In the second scenario, they will certainly make LESS GROSS MONEY. You wonder how stupid these old fogeys are that make these decicions….

Change with the times for be forgotten forever! The indie studies are already make better movies, if you miss on digital distribution you will certainly lose the war. Holding on to these archaic models from the early 1900’s is a sure fire way to die a horrible death as a business.

some old guy (user link) says:

Seriously now...

Seriously… these champions of drm.. WTF is wrong with them? How can they possibly still think drm will help them increase profits? ALL KNOWN EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE CONTRARY! So what are they smoking that leads them to believe the solution to their business problem woes is more technical and legal restrictions?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Seriously now...

I think the problem is they don’t care about profits so much as control. Not being in charge of all entire production and distribution networks scares them; they retaliate by attempting to control the end user.

Why would they fear loss of control? Essentially they’d actually have to compete and produce a good product to make money (see Dark Knight vs Incredible Hulk). What they haven’t realised yet is that they have to do that anyway.

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

Re: Re: The oil companies are not the only

The oil companies are not the only ones who benefit from a supply/demand squeeze on a physical/tangible commodity.

If the demand for drywall goes up and the supply of drywall remains constant, then drywall prices will go up exponentially like they did in the late 1990s.

The supply for large SUV/Trucks increased in 2001/2002 but the demand remained steady so the cost dropped exponentially, it is happening again today.

Companies are in the business to make money.
Don’t fault a company for being successful at business.
There is not such thing as obscene profits (think Google and Microsoft).

And no, Enron, Worldcom were not successful, they were not making money.

Theft, Fraud(Enron) and Irritation(DRM) are not long term business models.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The oil companies are not the only

Companies are in the business to make money.

Well duh, I never said otherwise.

Don’t fault a company for being successful at business.

I never faulted anyone or anything.

There is not such thing as obscene profits (think Google and Microsoft).

I never said anything of the sort. God idiot, learn how to read! Or do you enjoy creating straw horses to knock down?

Isaac K (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

it’s a measure of market elasticity – when oil prices and gas prices go up you can’t respond to them quickly — you still need to get to work, to the store, etc. It takes time and money to buy new cars (btw, we ARE seeing a switch in america to lower cost, more fuel efficient cars. it just hasn’t been that drastic)

when other costs go up, you can switch to other items – watch an OLDER non-DRM’d movie, TV, etc.

When medical costs jump up, people still HAVE to pay for them. Or risk dying for refusing to pay for surgery.

It’s not just about market price, it’s about the elasticity of demand. Here, since the relative cost of piracy is low, by increasing DRM, they are actually ensuring more piracy, as it becomes a more attractive and less costly item.
Funny, no?

Dosquatch says:

Re: Re: Re: market elasticity

Gas prices, though, tend to be mostly one-way elastic. Crude prices jump, pump prices jump, crude prices drop, pump prices don’t (much). That’s called “ratcheting prices”.

Material cost goes up 20%, product price goes up 20%. Material cost drops 20%, product price drops 10%. The oil companies claim this is to buffer against the next material cost increase, but that buffer only helps them, never us. The next time cost rises 20%, you better believe the price will rise that 20% all over again, only now it’s a net increase of 30% over the previous time. And so on, and so on.

Couple the ratcheting with speculative investors driving up the real market price well over the price of actually getting the crude out of the ground and to the refineries, and you end up with “obscene profits” (and yes, they are) if you’re sitting in the right chair.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

This will not work

The music industry tried to create an alternative DRM to FairPlay, but that failed because no one wanted it and because it did not help get music onto iPods. (Actually, the new DRM made it impossible to get the music onto iPods!)

The only way the music industry got around the iTunes juggernaut is by eliminating DRM on music. iPod owners can buy and fully use DRM-free MP3s from Amazon. It’s only a matter of time before the movie industry is forced to do the exact same thing. Well, it will if it wants to survive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Believing their own stories

The basic problem is that the industry has blamed piracy for all of their woes for so long that they now believe their own propaganda. Anyone who comes along with an idea for a new DRM system will be greeted like a hero by the recording industry. The industry believes that if they can just find the right formula for DRM that they will be saved without the need to make the changes that are really needed.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think you miss the point . . .

The current model of crappy DRM works prefectly fine for content distributors (especially in more antiquainted mediums like film), thats why they continue to use it. It just doesnt work very well for consumers. However, no one cares about consumers in todays Bush economy . . . they are considered morons who will buy what they are told to buy and like it. Certainly in terms of the movie industry its diffcult to argue that this is not true.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: I think you miss the point . . .

“its diffcult to argue that this is not true.”

I know it’s hard but here we go.

The intent of DRM is to stop people from copying the file. That douse not work at all. Every DRM that has come out has been cracked and the now unprotected file has been copied. How is that working perfectly? Once one copy of a movie/song/program is out on the web without DRM all of a sudden any DRM is completely worthless.

J.Locke says:

Re: Re: I think you miss the point . . .

“‘…in todays Bush economy…’

What does that even mean?”

A reference to refusal to do even minimal regulation to support consumers, a refusal to stop Enron from defrauding California, a refusal to support (or even honor) whistleblower protections, etc etc etc . . . I think it’s a reference to the overall anti-consumer protection agenda the Bush Administration has been pushing the last 8 years.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Piracy - a Red Herring

Piracy simply makes for a good sound byte that hides the fact that the content producers want to have more control over the consumer. Or to put this another way – they want to deprive you of your civil liberties in order to preserve their obsolete business models.

I like this 1994 quote from John Perry Barlow: “The greatest constraint on your future liberties may come not from government but from corporate legal departments laboring to protect by force what can no longer be protected by practical efficiency or general social consent.”

The LA Times article also makes statements that fail to disclose the implications of a DRM technology on the user. For example the LA Times wrote: “But the proponents say it’s really about giving customers what they want. If the initiative works as intended, it will remove the barriers to customers watching or listening to the content they acquire on any of their devices, wherever they happen to be. No one will notice the locks on a file until they try to IM it to a friend.”. Should the DRM technology be implemented, does this mean that we will have to buy all new equipment to use content????

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: Piracy - a Red Herring

Actually I was a bit hasty. The LA Times article also wrote: “For example, will there be a way to adapt existing devices to the new system, providing backward compatibility?” Nevertheless, the article states that those in favor of DRM says that this is a way to give the consumer what they want. I hardly consider forcing the consumer to buy new equipment to view their content to be something that the consumer wants.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think what’s worse about this situation is that since the media industry has forced people into a corner (which always results in a backlash and thus rebellious actions are taken) legit and now thriving industries like CD pressing businesses and physical content media, like CD sleeves and whatnot, are going to feel the biggest sting when the bottom drops and no one wants to bother with physical medium anymore.

Many businesses that never asked for this will suffer greatly, which will then, if not now already, be fed the line that pirates are to blame. If they turn it around now, it may be enough time to save these industries that kind of pain and possibly give them room to grow. People won’t pay more for what they can attain for cheap or free. People will pay for something unique, interesting, and/or rare. Digital content is simply none of the above.

JJ says:


This is absurd, but hilarious. I have this image in my mind of a sleek con-artist/salesman meeting with the poor industry execs, who have no idea that they’re getting in way over their head, until soon he has them agreeing to whatever high-tech-sounding DRM scheme he’s dreamed up this month. He knows, of course, that the tech will inevitably get cracked, but if he plays his cards right that’ll just give him a chance to sell them another one.

I should try to sell these guys my perpetual motion machine.

PRMan (profile) says:

Media servers

You know, what the MPAA should do is create a simple download store with lots of features and then tell the media server builders that they won’t sue them as long as they include the ability to buy movies from their online store.

Everyone would be happy. People can still rip their existing DVDs, but if someone didn’t have a movie, the easiest way to get it would be by downloading it directly to the server. They should also assist, like iTunes, the ability to save the movie onto a DVD for playing in the car or elsewhere.

I imagine this would turn into a billion dollar industry…

Paul W. says:


I think the problem is investors. As consumers they want no DRM, but when you flip the coin and ask if the company they invested in should try and stop the piracy of its products… I think a lot of companies realize that DRM is worthless, but who wants to be the one to tell the shareholders that you did not protect your products? It is the same kind of thinking that has led companies to make decisions that bring quarterly profits, but long run losses.

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