Simon Phipps recently posted a short film showing the nature of DRM when applied to a chair
, effectively demonstrating how ridiculous it is to build a product that is designed to prevent usage, creating artificial scarcity where none need exist:
As he notes, DRM is really a form of "digital vandalism." While the video itself may seem a bit silly, some are certainly thinking about DRM for physical goods. At Mobile World Congress last week, a company named Fabulonia debuted, hyping up its "copyright solution for 3D printing."
What's that? Honestly, it's not at all clear. It looks like it'll be a marketplace for 3D printing instruction makers who are overly paranoid and who don't want to participate on any of the much more open platforms for 3D printing instructions. In this case, the "DRM" isn't so much on the product, but on the printing instructions, which might be the same thing in the long run. Part of the way it works is that the designs get uploaded and downloaded, but apparently are somehow kept encrypted such that the "buyer" never actually gets to see the plans themselves.
Of course, most people would recognize that this automatically decreases the value
to the buyer. They can't see the actual plan? They can't have it on their computer? Then why would they buy it in the first place? You don't convince people to pay by taking away a key part of the value. And yet that seems to be the entire goal of Fabulonia.
As with music, software, movies and more, these all are cases of imposing artificial scarcity where it makes no sense to do so. It's not just "digital vandalism," it's out and out economic
vandalism, because you are purposely destroying a resource that can be used for economic growth. It's really tragic that people still think this is a concept that makes any sense at all.