from the about-time dept
If you like PC games, chances are you already know all about GOG, or Good Old Games. The GOG website has done more to extend the life of gently-aged games by building a platform for old games that will work on new machines while having one singular principal dominate their products: there shall be no DRM. Digital Rights Managment seems like it's always existed and has equally never worked, what with cracks, hacks and other methods for getting around games that employ DRM being available almost immediately after games get released. It's a losing strategy. GOG, on the other hand, has made their insistence on DRM-free games a winning strategy for themselves, for customers, and even for once-apprehensive publishers. DRM certainly hasn't disappeared from the gaming industry, but GOG's working experiment has gone a long way to reduce its use.
And now, GOG wants to bring that same principal to television shows and movies.
They're starting small, launching with a handful of independent documentaries for $5.99 a piece in hopes of eventually branching out to studio films and television shows. The folks at GOG are pushing hard on the "DRM-free" angle here too, promising that nothing they sell will be saddled with the copyright restrictions you might get while buying a TV show on iTunes or Amazon.Why not indeed? Though streaming is becoming a dominant method for viewing content, there still must be a market for the ownership of movies and television shows. DRM from the likes of the current marketplaces serves no end except to annoy actual customers, while pirated versions of pretty much everything already exist for those not willing to do right by content producers. What GOG did for games certainly seems like it should work for movies and TV shows: remove the annoyance and provide a clean and slick market for DRM-free show/movie content. As they said, they're starting small, but if this is successful we might finally start to see a landslide of a perception-change when it comes to DRM.
"Most of [the studios we spoke to] admit that DRM does not protect anything, all protections are cracked on the day of the release of the movie or even before and that there is no DRM that can protect a movie against piracy," said a GOG representative in an e-mail to Kotaku. "The whole industry knows DRM is just smoke and mirrors and it does not work, so why not abandon it?"
Interestingly, it seems that talks for a wider catalog are proceeding more successfully than I might have expected.
"These are very smart people and they see that the anti-piracy measure does not work at all," said a GOG rep in an e-mail. "We realize that the movie industry is much older than the gaming industry and it moves slower, with caution. As such, we'll get started with some real examples to show that it works–hence our first batch of 20 documentaries."What also interests me is how the documentaries for this pilot program are all focused on gaming and internet culture, arguably attractive to a demographic that might be most knowledgeable about piracy and perhaps more willing than the general population to pirate content. If they can be successful there, I'd argue the rest of the general public ought to be a cinch. Get on board with this, studios. Someone is trying to save you from yourselves.