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
    Cleverboy, 16 Sep 2006 @ 8:46am

    The Revolution Is Being Televised

    "Ryan on Sep 15th, 2006 @ 12:08pm
    the solution isn't to not buy their wares.. not buying means lost sales.. lost sales means they blame it on piracy and try to implement more DRM. we have to accept that nothing will change their view.--[snip]--The solution is to quit pirating. No matter how much people argue that DRM is wrong, so is pirating."

    I like your attempt at logic, but its gone badly with the two words "the solution". Adjust what you're saying to "another part of the solution" and cut out that first part, and you stop sounding like an RIAA tool and make a good point.

    The first commenter in this thread is dead on. #1. Don't buy crippled products. (That's common sense, and yes... it adds up) #2. Don't buy DRM products you don't support (whether this means all DRM or especially lame DRM. Don't forget, however hopelessly broken due to hard standards, that *ALL* DVD's have DRM built into them, which is why Apple isn't touting RIP.MIX.BURN. on digital movies and the companies that due are highly cautious in their wording... or highly anonymized). Along with that, make a general nuissance of yourself in telling the recording industry WHY you're not buying this or that. Give them a mountain of incontrovertable proof by actually having a voice and using it to communicate with them. #3. Don't pirate? It's been my feeling that piracy just encourages the RIAA into thinking their product's only weakness is in fact piracy itself (as opposed to poor delivery format or quality products).

    I still believe that for the most part. I think people who care about the future of digital media and freedom of fair use should take "the hit" and simply support those bands and labels that release under services like eMusic. Like that new artist who's work you refuse to buy on CD and who's DRM you can't stomach...? Listen to the song on Net radio and record it from there for your own fair use. Request the song on the radio. If eMusic gets to half the size of iTunes and continues its rise, it will eventually be seen as a far more preferable model... considering its music works on ALL players. Meanwhile Apple and Microsoft will be TRAPPED into a different model.

    Point 3 is mostly lost on people though. People want... what they want. I know lots of people that haven't bought CDs in years. Not because they don't get new music, but because they pirate it all on Limewire. --Like you're not being watched as a pirate. Write letters instead. Exercise fair use from the radio and buckle in. Get off your asses. Organize letter writing campaigns to the studios. Ignore DRM products and services. Is not supporting iPod a vote against DRM? No... that's stupid. iPod is no more synonymous with DRM than any other multi-format playing music player, so those people need to get a clue.

    If you're not buying something... don't buy crippled DVD players and DRM ridden media. For instance, don't buy "Zunes" which place DRM on all your music when letting you send it to someone else wirelessly violating Creative Commons Licensing (this... is some bullshit right there).

    Really. Don't download pirated songs, and sign up for services like eMusic. AllofMp3 is another pirate to be avoided (sending the message that you'd pay .02 for the latest John Legend single is about as worthless a message to studios as spitting in the wind). Get organized and-- gawd, stop the mindless, directionless whining that people that produce content (videos, songs, whatever) are some how in charge of some evil yoke of tyranny. Like all movements... the "enemy" only has the power we give them. It's insanely frustrating that people want to give power and complain about the abuse of that power in the same breath. How useless is that?

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