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Is The Recording Industry Realizing That DRM Is Bad?

from the we-shall-see... dept

We've never quite understood why the entertainment industry was so fascinated with copy protection schemes. It doesn't actually stop content from being copied, but basically makes life difficult for legitimate purchasers. Any content will eventually (usually quickly) be copied and make it online, at which point the copy protection is no longer useful at all. Anyone who wants a copy will simply go online to get it, while those who have legitimate reasons to make a copy of their own will be frustrated by the copy protection -- and eventually be forced to just obtain an unauthorized copy online. It's hard to see what good that does, other than add an additional expense and annoyance to CDs. Add to that Sony's little rootkit adventure in exposing all kinds of security holes in typical copy protection and it's a recipe for disaster (and no actual benefit to the recording industry). It's not clear if recording industry execs have fully realized this yet, but it appears that there's some hope. In addition to recent experiments with DRM-free downloads, BoingBoing is reporting that EMI has announced that they won't be using copy protection schemes on any new CDs. It's not clear how widespread this really is, or if they're that serious about it or are simply waiting for a "new" copy protection system to replace the old ones. However, it is a good sign that perhaps the industry is realizing that when a particular practice doesn't work no matter how many times you try it, the answer isn't to keep on doing the same thing.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

    Older and wiser than most, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 4:32pm

    It's about time.



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    happymellon, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 4:48pm

    Problem is...

    The problem is that the vast majority of CDs are DRM free, so what they are doing is not really a lot. Especially when music companies are pushing for digital downloads as they make more off each purchase due to lower manufacturing pricing and not having to share as large a cut with the artists. The news I'm waiting for is "EMI has announced that they will not be using copy protection schemes on any new digital download".

    Besides they say on any new CDs, does that mean they have CDs out there containing rootkits that they are going to keep pressing? Since that would imply that all music CDs that have been recorded up until this point could still have rootkits embedded or even more elaborate schemes cooked up to put on those "older" CDs.


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    Elohssa, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 5:11pm

    That COULD be true...

    ...but wouldn't it have come to light by now? That's the great about Digg and similar sites.

    Now we are all as alert as the most alert amongst us.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Spud, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 5:17pm

    Here’s hoping. DRM is pretty much the main driver behind the explosion in people illegally downloading music. DRM is far to strict and needs to be relaxed or removed altogether.


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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 5:29pm

    Please let me pay more money for less convenience

    Just set up my Xbox 360 to stream music from my computer. However, it won't play any of the music I downloaded legally from iTunes (iTunes won't allow it), but it plays all the illegally aquired files perfectly. Now I'm off to illegally download tracks I have already paid for just so I can listen to them the way I want. Next time I'll skip that enoying "pay for the music" step which just caused me extra work with no apparent benefits.


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    mmrtnt (profile), Jan 8th, 2007 @ 5:39pm

    Aw, Come On Mike

    We've never quite understood why the entertainment industry was so fascinated with copy protection schemes.

    This is a bit disingenuous. You know why they're so obsessed with copy protection - at least, you should.

    As you have pointed out numerous times, their business model is/was largely based on scarcity. DRM, along with lawsuits are their last-ditch attempt to restore scarcity to a full-blown, long-tail, mega-copy market.

    Your basic horse/barn door situation :)

    There is supremely delicious irony in the fact that it was the music industry's insistence on moving everyone to CD-ROM that nudged the door in the first place.



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Boost8, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 5:45pm

    Music control laws

    It's kinda like how Gun Control laws only really stop or restrict people who wish to legally own firearms and do nothing to stop people who don't mind owning a black market weapon...or in this case, black market music. It still sounds the same to me.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    chris (profile), Jan 8th, 2007 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Music control laws

    the problem with DRM is that it is a technology, not legislation. yes, it is true that gun laws only affect legal gun owners, but that is nothing compared to the problems that a technical solution for gun control would cause:

    let's say that a technology is developed to prevent guns from working on people. they can shoot at targets or animals, but not humans. now, let's say that you want to defend your home from an intruder...

    the point is that DRM is a technical solution for a problem that has no technical solution.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Noel Le, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 6:57pm

    reply to Masnick

    Masnick is right that DRM can be a pain in the *ss, but hardware and service companies won't make things better by ignoring the content industry's interests. A more productive approach would be for consumer electronics firms to work with the content industry to arrive at better delivery/use systems.


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    Mr Schotz, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 7:41pm

    I love DRM

    I will ONLY buy cds with DRM


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    alex, Jan 8th, 2007 @ 8:27pm

    are we ever going to get to the point when record labels are unecessary? if a band can make a website and offer downloads and payment through paypal, what do they need the label for anymore? if you can distribute your own product, why let someone else take all the profits to do so?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    KC, Jan 9th, 2007 @ 12:21am


    The same reason why you would approach a supermarket to sell your stuff when you can also sell them online. Marketing and distribution are key to success.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Stefano Quintarelli, Jan 9th, 2007 @ 12:55am

    DRM != TPM

    Let's not confuse Digital RIghts Management with Technical Protection Measures..

    Together with Leonardo Chiariglione (who happens to be the president of MPEG, alas the guy who's done the most to ensure that we have content in digital form on multiple interoperable platforms) and some other italian technology, law and media experts, we founded a group called Digital Media in Italy.

    we published a proposal (summary: http://www.dmin.it/proposta/proposta-%20en.htm) to use DRM in order to be able to track content usage and not necessarily to lock it.

    DRM is NOT TPM.

    why tracking ? because of advertising remuneration, artist remuneration, ensure creative commons compliance, and tons of other reasons.

    are we going to arrive to a point in which record labels are unneccessary ? asks alex.


    in the meantime they must be able to do as many mistakes as they wish, and we need to build a different schema in order to remunerate directly the artist.

    dmin.it's proposal goes exactly in this direction.

    but in order to be able to do so, you need to have a way to digitally manage rights (although not locking the content)

    DRM !=TPM


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    citizenj, Jan 9th, 2007 @ 5:00am


    are we going to arrive to a point in which record labels are unneccessary?

    we already have.


    as madge used to say- 'you're surfing in it'

    or something like that.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Joe Schmoe, Jan 9th, 2007 @ 8:20am

    "Copy protection on CDs should not be confused with the protection-systems applied to music-files which are distributed via the internet."

    There's no victory to be read into this article. They still believe that online distribution can still be magically controlled. They're just not going to throw any more money at a statistcally dying format (CD's). This is a decision of numbers, not conscience.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Rick, Jan 9th, 2007 @ 11:35am

    Re: I love DRM

    I also love DRM. Until DRM came around, I had no taste in music. Now, I realized that anything with DRM is likely more tasteful.

    I search for music that is DRM protected. Then I grab the nearest torrent file and go wild.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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