Does Copy Protection Increase Or Decrease Unauthorized Use?

from the let's-think-this-through... dept

There's a story over at TheRegister, written by some sort of analyst firm talking about a new copy protection DRM standard that appears to have widespread backing across this industry. This isn't particularly newsworthy, as there have been plenty of attempts at similar things. They all fail. This one will fail too. What's worrying, though, is the following sentence: "Make no mistake, without the interoperable DRM systems that Coral promises, there will be no consent from the content industries to put film and music content out to widespread digital distribution, which in turn will drive up piracy and undermine all existing content players." That does seem like a pretty big mistake, actually. If content providers show they can make money without copy protection, then plenty of others will start offering it as well. If the customer makes it clear that it's what they want, the content providers will have to follow. All DRM does is make the content less valuable to users -- which doesn't seem very compelling from a producer's standpoint. The second point, that a lack of DRM will drive up unauthorized copying seems strange as well. I recently bought a new MP3 player, and have finally been converting some old CDs over to MP3 so I can listen to this music -- all of which I've purchased legally. I don't use any P2P file sharing apps for music, so all of the content is clearly mine. However, I'm running into problems with a few CDs in converting them to MP3. I'm not sure if it's copy protection or something else, but I've never been as tempted as now to just go online and download copies of these MP3s. I won't do it, because I won't engage in unauthorized copying, but these CDs are much less valuable to me now, and it's unlikely I'll be listening to them again. Still, it seems that those who are less concerned about unauthorized copying are likely to jump online in a quick second to download the tracks they can't convert legally. So, does copy protection really decrease the incentive to get unauthorized files? In my case, it certainly seems the opposite is true.

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  1. identicon
    Jeff R, 2 Mar 2005 @ 1:22pm

    Unauthorized Copying?

    [I] have finally been converting some old CDs over to MP3 [...] I've never been as tempted as now to just go online and download copies of these MP3s. I won't do it, because I won't engage in unauthorized copying...

    If you own the CDs, is it really any less legal for you to download an MP3 version of those songs than it is to rip and encode them into MP3 yourself? It would seem to me that you either have the right to possess and listen to an MP3 version of those songs or you don't -- where they came from shouldn't matter if you own the CD.


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