Sleight Of Hand: If We Don't Call It DRM, We Can Pretend That DRM Is Gone
from the poof dept
That said, a bunch of folks have sent in a series of stories this week that are somewhat amusing. Basically, it seems that video game companies have decided to stop calling DRM "DRM." This follows a series of horrific PR nightmares, where firms made use of DRM in ways that significantly limited the value of certain games, and players (or potential customers) of those games struck back in trashing those gaming companies for treating them as criminals. So, now, we have stories about Valve launching a new DRM that "makes DRM obsolete" even though it's still DRM. Then there's EA -- who received the biggest brunt of consumer backlash for its DRM choices. It's releasing the new Sims "without DRM methods that feel overly invasive." But, of course, it will still have DRM.
It's really difficult to understand what these execs think they're doing that benefits them in any way. It's not about enabling new business models. Any business model they're talking about can work just fine without DRM. It's not about "keeping honest people honest," because you don't have to keep honest people honest -- that's why they're honest. It's not about stopping unauthorized file sharing or "piracy," because no DRM has yet been shown to do that at all. It's not about "slowing down" unauthorized file sharing, because once an unauthorized copy is out there, it gets pretty quickly copied everywhere. One copy is all it takes and then nothing is "slowed down" at all. The only thing DRM serves to do is get in the way of legitimate customers trying to do what they want with content they thought they had legally purchased. In other words, it destroys value for legitimate customers -- and it's difficult to see any business rationale where that's an intelligent move.