Hollywood DRM Hasn't Stopped Piracy, But It Has Boosted the Antiguan Economy
from the prohibition-doesn't-work dept
Ed Felten notes that the limited functionality of the official players has created a market for software that will allow them to play their movies on "unapproved" hardware. And thanks to the DMCA, such players cannot be legally developed in the United States. So not surprisingly, overseas firms are taking up the slack. One of the leaders is Antigua-based Slysoft, which makes the AnyDVD HD software. It advertises that its software will allow users to "watch movies over a digital display connection, without HDCP compliant graphics card and HDCP compliant display." There's a basic lesson here about the economics of prohibition. As Hollywood develops ever-more-elaborate and restrictive copy protection schemes, those copy-protection schemes come to inconvenience more and more customers. That, in turn, creates a larger market for circumvention software, prompting software companies to invest more in developing more powerful and user-friendly tools for removing copy protection. All Hollywood has accomplished, in other words, is providing a small boost to the overseas software industry.