DRM Doesn't Enable Business Models; Blind Fear Disables Business Models

from the get-over-it dept

A bunch of folks have asked if I had any comment on analyst Michael Gartenberg post over at Engadget claiming that DRM has been demonized too far, and for all the "bad" things about DRM, most people really don't mind it, and we should be happy that it "enables new business models." I've discussed this before, but not in a while, so it seems worth revisiting.

First, it's a lie that DRM "enables new business models." Gartenberg doesn't realize it, but he admits it in his post, when he suggests that DRM made all-you-can-eat subscription models possible, while immediately countering that point by admitting the real factors are elsewhere:
Take subscription services for example. Sure, I'd love a service that would allow me to download unlimited content in high bitrate MP3 format for a reasonable fee every month. Except economics and greed will never let that happen.
Notice what he says here. The DRM isn't what enabled the business model. It's fear of how people will use such a service that does. It's fear that people will actually use what's been given to them -- leading to the claim of "economics and greed" stopping such a service from ever coming about. But, that makes no sense. People already have access to pretty much every song ever recorded with no DRM at all. Claiming that they need DRM to enable such a service makes no sense. It's already there -- just not legally. So what does the DRM stop in such a service? Absolutely nothing. If the fear is that someone takes a song and shares it online... too late. It's already happened. The only thing that DRM does in that situation is put up a restriction on a legitimate, paying customer. That makes no economic sense at all.

And that's my real problem with DRM. It cannot enable a new business model economically. That's because it's only purpose is to limit behavior. There are no business models that are based solely on limiting behavior. It may be the case that some companies may be too afraid to implement a business model without this faux "protection," but that's entirely different than saying DRM enables the business model. DRM takes an economic resource and artificially restricts it. It takes away options, it does not enable them. DRM hasn't been "demonized." It's a pointless solution that prevents no unauthorized sharing and only serves to hinder the activities of legitimate customers.

Filed Under: business models, drm, economics, subscriptions


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Re:

    Incorrect. What has occurred is exactly as the handlers requested. Do you think that corporate execs of music and media remain both deaf and blind to their surroundings and don't visit this website themselves?

    I think highly of the execs of these companies because they are empowered, and can make an informed decision. But do you really think they lack the heart to keep lawsuits against single moms and college students from going forward?

    Get real.
    It's an another, outside force who desire these precedents to be proven within our legal framework, and not on the basis of the unity and spirit of the Free American being.


    Totally offbase, and really debated posting this because then everyone may think I'm a fruitcake or something. But here we go:
    I have a message for someone Michael Jackson had an opportunity to look in the eyes. It's someone with power, but not the power you generally think of. Someone with a deep blood-red power, and they desire to be purple, and desire to make it purple but they can't because it's red. It's red thru and thru. They lack blue, and are constantly seeking blue energy so they can be purple to fight their own internal items. But the red part of them holds a deep-seated hatred against our Free Democratic System. Michael Jackson was Blue, and his departure left someone feeling low. But it was this person that pushed Michael Jackson to whiten his skin in his effort to regain trust. I'm told that they said "Michael was the bluest blue they've ever known."


    Yikes. I'm actually glad if you skipped past that blockquote. Application of the Scientific Method would say that it actually makes me sound like an idiot, like we should break out the tarot cards or something.

    Has Michael been buried yet? I don't mean to sound cynical, but both Billy Mays and Ted Kennedy have been buried.

    Perhaps Michael Jackson's death was untimely and interfered with their schedule.

    If you've made it this far, check out this interesting read:
    http://www.pittsburghsummit.gov/mediacenter/129639.htm

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