If At First Your DRM Doesn't Succeed, Try, Try Again

from the try-fail-repeat dept

The world's largest DVD manufacturer is bragging that a new RFID-based solution for DVDs will stop piracy and copying -- ignoring the fact that the list of DRM technologies people haven't been able to break or circumvent is pretty short. The company says that new Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players will check the tags, and refuse to play discs that don't match the players' geographic region setting. Sound familiar? That's because current DVD players have a similar sort of region encoding, which -- surprise surprise -- is pretty easily circumvented by a number of means. What's a little more striking is that the company isn't concerned about the impact this will have on its sales, as consumers won't particularly enjoy being asked to pay more for new products with which they can do less than existing ones. Why should they shell out for products that offer content providers more ways to restrict what they can do? Compare this to companies that do good business in selling DVD players based on their region-free status, or because they can be easily modified to play discs from anywhere in the world: people buy their products because they allow them to do more than similar, but locked down, ones. All this effort at coming up with new DRM isn't just a bad business decision, it's also an exercise in futility, as a single hacker is proving to Microsoft by continuing to break its PlaysForSure DRM as the company tries to patch it. It should also be noted that region-restricting DVDs doesn't have a whole lot to do with piracy (what pirate would bother to include such DRM on their product, thereby limiting their potential market?), it's about stifling the export of DVDs from one area to another. This lets movie studios better control prices around the world, by making it slightly more difficult -- but not impossible -- for consumers to play out-of-region DVDs. But movie studios and other content providers don't want to face up to the fact that it's consumers' dissatisfaction with their business models that leads them to try to find products at lower prices. After all, why confront the truth when it's so much easier to paint it as a technology problem, and just order up yet another form of DRM?

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  1. identicon
    RoyalPeasantry, 15 Sep 2006 @ 5:03pm

    Just a few notes...

    The average person on the street doesn't know what DRM is. You can't say that there screwing consumers and making there lives difficult if most consumers don't even realise that DRM is on there movies and CD's. This is just like listening to pot heads talk about legalization of weed. They want to get high without being hassled by the cops. And you want to steal music without paying the copyright holder.

    First, DRM has pretty much zero effect on piracy. It really does. Its just as impossible to create a crack proof DRM as it is to eliminate analog to digital converters from every corner of the globe. Which basically means that if its important enough to someone they will get through the DRM.
    Thinking of it from another angle.. The people who are affect the most by DRM are the people who BUY the music with the DRM on it. AKA. The people the RIAA is hurting the most are thier own customers. THIS is the big issue with DRM. The RIAA is literally making it easier to go out and download pirated music than it is to use the music people actually buy.
    Second, albeit the average person on the street may know nothing about DRM. However, the average person on the street WHO BUYS DRM music (which are the only people who matter in this context) almost definitely WILL know about it if they really do anything with it..

    Yes I see the RIAA's point. They don't like the fact that they are losing money on thier copyrights. But they are going about solving the problem in completely the wrong manner. Instead of enhancing the value of thier products so that people will go out and want to buy them instead of stealing them they are reducing the values of thier products so people want to go out and steal more usefull rip-offs of their product. Its a completely backwards business model.

    So! on to my plan to get rid of DRM. :) keep pirating the music boyz and don't let the feds or DRM stop you. Eventually the RIAA will realize that their plan isn't working as they make thier music less and less usefull untill no one buys it anymore. Better yet. Hopefully the music bands will realize that people who are want to listen to thier music will probably be willing to donate money to keep them making it. Not to mention paying to go to concerts. Then we can just eliminate the middleman who is driving the prices up.

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