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The Real Purpose of DRM

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the annoying-as-many-people-as-possible dept.

DRM 213

Jeremy Allison - Sam writes "Ian Hickson, author and maintainer of the HTML5 specification, comments about the real reasons for DRM. They're not what you might think. Ian nails it in my opinion. He wrote, 'The purpose of DRM is not to prevent copyright violations. The purpose of DRM is to give content providers leverage against creators of playback devices. Content providers have leverage against content distributors, because distributors can't legally distribute copyrighted content without the permission of the content's creators. But if that was the only leverage content producers had, what would happen is that users would obtain their content from those content distributors, and then use third-party content playback systems to read it, letting them do so in whatever manner they wanted. ... Arguing that DRM doesn't work is, it turns out, missing the point. DRM is working really well in the video and book space. Sure, the DRM systems have all been broken, but that doesn't matter to the DRM proponents. Licensed DVD players still enforce the restrictions. Mass market providers can't create unlicensed DVD players, so they remain a black or gray market curiosity."

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213 comments

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Today is officially "No shit Day!" (5, Insightful)

TechieRefugee (2105386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219097)

First, a study showing that piracy has a negligable effect on profits and now this? I officially decree today to be the day of "No shit" Stories!

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (4, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219159)

I was misled! I was told that DRM would help me to manage my rights. Is this no longer the case?

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219221)

Only the digital ones. It turns out to be just a short sentence: bend over and take it.

As has been said, (5, Insightful)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219277)

DRM manages you rights in the same way jail 'manages' your freedom.

Re:As has been said, (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219645)

Still, without DRM and the feedback on sales figures it provides you have no way to check whether the publisher is not screwing you.

Re:As has been said, (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220003)

With DRM, regardless of what the feedback is, you're screwed. The question is just by how much.

Re:As has been said, (1, Funny)

mtrip (2684377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219687)

In Soviet Russia.. DRM manages you!

Re:As has been said, (1)

innerweb (721995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219869)

The US of Soviet Russia?

Re:As has been said, (4, Insightful)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220037)

Yes, you're quite right. DRM doesn't manage the user's rights. It "manages" the publisher's "rights", by infringing on those of the users.

Re:As has been said, (1)

malbosher (795323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220495)

LMAO, can i use your quote?

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219321)

I was misled! I was told that DRM would help me to manage my rights. Is this no longer the case?

Well, there's a reason they call copyright owners "rights owners", and they call you a "consumer". Because otherwise, you'd own your personal digital devices, and you'd do whatever you want with them, and we can't have that. There's money to be made in taking away your rights and then selling them back to you as a privilege that can be taken away at any time.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220011)

And we should consider ourselves fortunate that content providers "are forced to provide a user experience that, rather than being optimized for the users, puts potential future revenues first (forcing people to play ads, keeping the door open to charging more for more features later, building artificial obsolescence into content so that if you change ecosystem, you have to purchase the content again)". It makes our content maker overlords happy.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220323)

Which all makes more people go "WTF?" and then promptly figure out how to unDRM their entire collection, completely upending the "desired" process flow and, in the process, creating an entire sub-culture that pretty much says up yours to the copyright holders.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219241)

DRM isn't directly about "no copy," and it isn't directly about controlling device manufacturers.

It's about getting around "first sale" rights. They don't want you to be able to sell what you bought to someone else (hence "no copy"), and they want you to re-purchase if you want it on a different device (hence the "device control"). They want you to rent, not own, content.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (4, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219367)

DRM prevents first purchase. My MP3 players (all under $20 US) do not support DRM. I use them for Libravox audio books. I am catching up on the classics for free. http://librivox.org/ [librivox.org]

Recent titles include;
The invisable man
The little princess
Moby Dick
Tom Sawyer
Journet to the center of the earth

I listen to old radio shows too.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

Unnngh! (731758) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219633)

Pride and Prejudice was also a good LibriVox one, I was somewhat surprised to find that I enjoyed both the writing and the story (and the reading for that matter).

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219417)

Or, to put it even more simply, DRM is about destroying private property rights and replacing them with a system of privilege.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220061)

Well, private property rights are a system of privilege, as opposed to respect. DRM, and copyright in general just concentrates it into fewer hands and makes it even less respectful.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219423)

I think the author oversimplifies the issue: there isn't just a homogenous block of content providers, they are actually split between content producers (RIAA etc.) and platform owners (Apple, Amazon, the DVD forum etc.) that have conflicting interests.
For content producers it doesn't really matter if people are using unlicensed DVD players or Kindle clones to consume their content, as long as the content is legally obtained. They do care if their content is easy to duplicate and resell, and given the choice, they will prefer restrictive technology the prevents copying and stops 1st sale doctrine.
On the other hand, platform owners don't give a damn about pirates, but they do care allot about the lock-in effect of their DRM, just as described in the TFA: it prevents competitors to dilute their platforms and margins. Thus they have little incentive to produce effective DRM, especially since effective DRM is quite unfriendly, but they do encrypt it and patent it just to make it impossible for compatible devices (kindle clones) and distribution channels (digital libraries for the kindle) to emerge.

When content producers meet platform owners and anti-circumvention legislation, what you get is crappy DRM designed to lock you to the specific device or store you got it from.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (4, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219965)

I think you slipped up there. RIAA is NOT a content producer. RIAA is a parasitic organization that has never produced anything other than a sense of satisfaction for it's members, and grief for consumers. Some of RIAA's members produce content, but RIAA produces nothing.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (4, Funny)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220027)

RIAA produces money for its members and lawyers. They also produce written works in the form of legislation.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (2)

jellyfoo (2865315) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219505)

More specifically for game DRM, the vendors want to ensure you're locked into their platform when you buy games from them, and DRM enforces this. I don't use Origin, Uplay or even Steam anymore, because (for the most part) anything you buy on a platform requires a client to validate your eligibility every time you try to run a game. You're locked into that ecosystem the vendor has provided. If you decide that Valve are being dicks for whatever reason and you don't want to deal with them anymore, you can't just take what you've bought and leave Steam, since most Steam games require authentication from the Steam client in order to launch. You're stuck with them unless you find a suitable crack, which isn't something that should be necessary. EA/Valve/Ubisoft know this, which is why they have no incentive to remove the DRM on their respective clients.

I know in Steam there are a handful of completely DRM-free games in which you could separate from Steam itself if you wanted to, but they're also an extremely small subset of everything on the platform and aren't advertised anywhere in the game's store page of this being possible. It's ultimately easier to just assume all games on Steam utilize its DRM, and so you're still tied to it.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219907)

So you play on GoG and indie games? Actually, I take that back, the 3 games I play the most (LoL, Hawken, and Blacklight: Retribution) don't use steam.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

jellyfoo (2865315) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220367)

Yes, actually. If I am to stick to my principles it's basically the only options left really. That and older games that never needed Steam in the first place like Deus Ex and the Quake series.

Having said that, it's not like it's a bad thing. AAA games these days are too focused on cinematic experiences and QTEs and DLCs and all that crap. On GOG I can get Arma 2, Alan Wake and many other decent but modern games if I wish.

It's not like you NEED these games in their first place - they're just entertainment, which means that it's far easier to walk away if you don't like how things are, compared to say if you hate Microsoft and/or Windows but still need to deal with them for reasons of the software to do your job to pay the bills. With games, you can be fussy and reject dickheads... well, in theory anyway. In practice people enjoy abuse and hence EA is still all-powerful.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (2)

jellyfoo (2865315) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220389)

In response to myself...

I will say that I also play Deus Ex: Human Revolution via a prated copy instead of Steam? Why? Because in late 2011 (just before I gave up on Steam) I bought the game, hence I feel morally OK with playing the torrented version since I bought it full price anyway. Technically this isn't allowed as it breaches the license agreement despite having paid money for the Steam version, but fuck it.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219667)

This doesn't explain why DRM is on games and other software though...

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43220099)

Shhh shhh shhh.... let the freetards have their fun. Reality pays them no mind so they need to take what little respect they can get, even if it's in circle-jerks like these.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219741)

The news is that maybe this will be disseminated to people who don't read slashdot. Too bad it's just a G+ post, normal (non nerds) people need to learn about this stuff. And the only ones who can teach them is us.

Re:Today is officially "No shit Day!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43220181)

Exactly!

There's no longevity living off negativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219109)

Fuck it, I'd rather sell reefer than do pizza delivery.

Short version (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219111)

DRM is an attempt to circumvent one of the primary functions of a computational device: Copying of data. The reason for this is money and power. One group thinks they deserve money or power over another group. This is the simple truth of all DRM, and I can explain it shorter than the article, and even the summary of the article. It is what it is.

Re:Short version (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219223)

The most evil drm I always thought was region coding.
I can think of many purposes, but none of them really stand up if you study them, like the "official" reason to allow continent proce discrimination. It implies that the block of countries has something in common that will always make them separate from other blocks somehow and that each block has some kind of ruler that controls those countries and only those.
If the distributors has their way, I'm sure they would have made the region coding specific to every DVD-player (like player keys like bluray, but worse)

Re:Short version (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220041)

The best way around region coding is to live in a country that doesn't make it illegal to remove such restrictions. (read: Pretty much anywhere except USA)

Re:Short version (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219265)

Nope. DRM is actually an attempt to control the use of the products you sell, and to manage to extract money from your customers in several ways, by transforming products in services. DRM as a measure of preventing copies it is a failed idea from conception and thinking it can be really used for that is naivete.

Re:Short version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219275)

DRM is an attempt to circumvent one of the primary functions of a computational device: Copying of data.

That is not what the article said at all. It said the purpose of DRM is not to prevent copying of data, but rather to control the features of all the (legal) playback devices.

Re:Short version (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219289)

DRM is completely orthogonal to whether someone deserves money for their work. That's copyright, not copy protection. If/when a game developer, movie studio, book publisher, etc offers their content for sale with no copy protection whatsoever, they will still think they deserve to be paid for it. And I, for one, agree with that part.

But but piracy is good for media sales... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219123)

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/03/19/209213/study-piracy-doesnt-harm-digital-media-sales

I'm so confused. Goddamnit Slashdot.

PDF (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219133)

I don't know about the video space, since I nearly never watch any.

But on the book side, it seems many E-readers can easily read PDF and other formats which makes for easy licensing. Never mind that it seems it isn't really the content producer who has a say over the drm on the sold book, doesn't amazone and the like usually have their own document type with their own DRM that their devices can read? It hardly seems like the content producer is in charge of that.

Re:PDF (3, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219353)

But on the book side, it seems many E-readers can easily read PDF and other formats which makes for easy licensing.

Yeah, and it was the wide range of supported formats that persuaded me to opt for a Sony reader. But as it turns out, I would still do the same even if that were not a factor. IMO the epub format is far superior to any of the others (fortunately .mobi and .lit formats can be converted by Calibre), since these files are so easily tweaked for better readability. I really dislike having to put up with PDF files on the device, since they are invariably prepared with silly page layouts that just don't work very well on the device's display.

The other good news about epub files is that it is so easy to strip DRM out of them. My rationale is that if I have paid for an ebook, I should be able to treat it exactly as I might a paper copy, i.e. lend it to family or friends.

Calibre (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220019)

Calibre is my favorite. Convert anything to anything. You can load up one reader with anything and everything from any source, then load up your friend's competing reader with any or all of the same content. And, you don't even need the reader, of course - your laptop or desktop works perfectly well for all of it. I haven't done it, but I suppose you can send any of your content to your phone as well.

Re:PDF (1)

rebot777 (765163) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220131)

My rationale is that if I have paid for an ebook, I should be able to treat it exactly as I might a paper copy, i.e. lend it to family or friends.

Should be able to but sadly cannot. I'm sorry you're a criminal my friend.

Re:PDF (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220375)

everyone is a "criminal" based on the law, if all laws were enfored fully 100% of the time. I can think of a few ways everyone breaks the law daily

Only a small piece of the puzzle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219137)

DRM is about maintaining artificial scarcity to keep prices inflated and control firmly in the hands of the copyright owners. Controlling the hardware is part of that goal.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219315)

Prices inflated? This isn't food or gasoline, this is entertainment. If you don't want to consume it then just don't.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219693)

Regional pricing is price inflation.

If they can make money in one region charging more.
But want to still make a little money in another region, they region lock it.

Thus; DRM is inflating prices.

If there was no DRM and they were charging 50 dollars for something in one place; and 5 in another; I'd go and pay the 5 dollar price.
- But I can't so I feel like I am actually getting ripped off paying 50 dollars. I would seriously consider pirating.
If there was no DRM and they were charging 27.50 in both places; I'd pay 27.50.
- Now - I don't feel like i am being price discriminated against. Less likely to pirate.

(My example is born from reality; in Australia, where our dollar is above the USD, In Steam (and retail boxes) some developers (ubisoft is the one that comes to mind) charges us 80 AUD in australia; and 50 USD in the USA. (Valve charge the same numerical value in AUD and USD for all their games, this is a publisher specific problem). In these instances; I "break" the DRM by purchasing elsewhere. If developers had their way my PC would only run "Region 4" games, and I would be forced into paying 80 dollars for the exact same software as the USA variant.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219755)

That's because the Australian regulations add to the development costs of games.

To legally sell in Australia they have to go trough a ton of legal bullshit your elected officials inflict in the name of 'The Children'.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (5, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219877)

That's because the Australian regulations add to the development costs of games.

To legally sell in Australia they have to go trough a ton of legal bullshit your elected officials inflict in the name of 'The Children'.

Really? So how about all the non-game software, how about Adobe, Microsoft [afr.com] and many others?
From the article:

“If you go to Apple’s iTunes and buy Macklemore’s song Same Love, which is number two in the Australian charts, it’s 69 cents in the US and over $2 in Australia,” he said.

“[And] we found it cost $5795 more to buy Microsoft’s Visual Studio software in Australia compared with the US. These are downloaded products with no Australian labour involved and no local distribution costs – it’s simply a matter of where the computer server thinks you’re coming from.”

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220055)

I live in New Zealand, we have no such regulations. We've always had R18 game ratings. We get screwed on price just like Australia.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219983)

Prices inflated? This isn't food or gasoline, this is entertainment. If you don't want to consume it then just don't.

Prices inflated? This isn't food, this is gasoline. If you don't want to drive then walk.

Entertainment is no different then any products. Also, burning oil is a waste. Oil is non-renewable, once it's burnt it's gone forever. There is so much better stuff we can do with oil.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (0, Troll)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219335)

That is a half correct view. There is a lot of DRM content that is free, other that is kept reasonably low (like netflix streaming) Copyright holders do have a right to control what happens to their content. Quit being a petulant child and be willing to pay for your candy. As for hardware manufacturers. Consider, Sony is also a content producer. Several other manufacturers own a piece of content production. At the very least they don't want a trade war.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219397)

Except you have a device to create infinite amounts of candy for free using only a single piece of candy and then being told that you can't, not because of any real limitations, but because someone told you that you can't.

The sooner we get rid of artificial scarcity the better.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219599)

That's the worst DRM analogy I have ever heard. Candy is a consumable good, dipshit.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219931)

That *woosh* sound was the point he was trying to make going right over your head.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (3, Insightful)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220001)

He had the candy analogy forced on him - imagine if somebody had mentioned this fictional machine that copies books, records, and pictures losslessly 100 years ago - you'd have said something similar about paper being consumable.

He merely turned the useless baby / candy analogy on it's head, and put it literal terms (unlimited flawless copies). It is you who missed the point, not your parent post.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (4, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220209)

It's not even that.

DRM allows content providers to enforce restrictions that go above and beyond vanilla copyright law.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219999)

Right of first sale bitch.

Region locking flat out puts nails in it, and tries everything possible to kill it with fire.

Without region locking, the right of first sale would permit entreprenurial individuals to buy up cheap(er) product in one target market, then resell the units at a higher (to them, but lower for the downstream customer) price elsewhere, and undercut the phyrric bloodletting bullshit of the publishers and distributors.

That is completely legal. See the supreme court ruling concerning foriegn textbooks.

Modern playback equipment boasts scaler chips in their design already to support the many different HD television formats, so claiming "regional formatting" is bullshit. Doubly so considering that the data is digital, and the medium itself is a universal standard.

I agree that people should pay for their candy. I disagree that they should be barred from buying candy in one place, and selling it in another, taking advantage of price differences. The supreme court recently ruled in my favor on this.

Region locking exists exclusively to compartmentalize the world economy, and relies on de-facto collusion for price fixing. Laws to enforce the region locking restrictions directly add legitimacy to that collusion. It only works when everyone plays the collusion game, which is why they are lobbying so very fucking hard to kill first sale. First sale lets the cat out of the bag, and deflates the collusion enforced price by opening up alternative markets and pricing.

Basically, I should be allowed to pay some guy in botswana to buy a dvd for 5$ for me, and ship it overnight air for 15$, for a net of 20$, if I want to. The fact that this would undercut the "handed down from god" price of 50$ in my region for the same product simply doesn't mean dick, other than that the big distributor has a control fettish, and is being abusive. There should be no technological obstrctions to my doing this. The disc is a legitimately printed and authorized copy. The guy in botswana is permitted under the first sale doctrine to transfer his user licesence to me. No illegal copis are made, and no illegal activity is being performed. Especially if free trade agreements remove all import duties and tarrifs as considerations.

That it makes you feel "oh so bad" as a rights holder that I don't share your estimation of what constitutes a fair market price for your product does not factor into the equasion, and you do NOT have a legitimate basis to enforce your price by locking out foriegn markets from domestic purchasers.

Competition. Deal with it.

Re:Only a small piece of the puzzle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43220457)

> Copyright holders do have a right to control what happens to their content.

Copyright establishes a exclusive license on initial publishing. Once a copy is sold it is MINE to re-sell, or do with however I choose because upon purchase I own it, not the publisher. Copyright holders have no right to control what is done with their products once they have been purchased. This is the basis for copyright, and without it copyright is meaningless.

The DUH File (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219209)

Another fine excerpt from the DUH File!

Re:The DUH File (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219605)

They better also have a HOSTS file.

DRM is Capitalism. We need COMMUNISM! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219213)

Workers to power! Lenin and Trotsky showed the way! I make sandwiches out of peanute butter and spinach and they are delishis!

Dear Slashdort, I just wanted to report to you that Laura and I are back together and we have been making awesome sexy to celebrate and I will not be posting much for a while because I have beetter things to do with my time, sorry, BOB.

Re:DRM is Capitalism. We need COMMUNISM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43220163)

Oh c'mon man! Write some journals about your uh... "celebrations"

My leverage against all this shit is piracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219227)

And I'm so tired of all of this crap that I'm going to make money of other peoples creations until I die. And I'm going to feel proud of it.

Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219235)

But if that was the only leverage content producers had

were

Re:Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219659)

Grammar correction fail! Leverage is an uncountable singular noun.

TACO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219237)

The same operation 3e 'very pporly

The author has it partly right.. (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219243)

DRM is about distributive control... but they've always had distributive control in one form or another anyways.

The purpose of DRM is to supplement the diminishing faith that the content makers have traditionally placed in the strength of the copyright claim alone to keep people from copying the work without authorization.

As copying has gotten easier and easier, the mere social contract between publisher and community, which essentially says that the latter will not copy it without permission, effectively granting the publisher a form of distributive control, has started to break down... people are no longer adhering to their side of that contract, and so it is inevitable that publishers will seek alternative means to protect their interests.

Before copyright itself, effective distributive control still existed for people who made content because the work involved in making a copy was very time consuming and difficult. At the very least, it involved sufficient manual labor and errors in reproduction that the counterfeits rarely obtained as much notoriety as the originals. This is hardly the circumstance today, where it's pretty much an an everyday occurrence to see movies that wer3e just released up on Pirate Bay within days or sometimes hours of release, for download by anybody who simply doesn't want to pay the cash to see it in the theater.

Re:The author has it partly right.. (1, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219357)

The purpose of DRM is to supplement the diminishing profit that the content makers have traditionally placed in the strength of the copyright claim alone to keep people from excercising their fair use rights.

FTFY.

As copying has gotten easier and easier, the mere business contract between publisher and community, which essentially says that the latter will not copy it for personal use, effectively granting the publisher a form of monopoly, has started to break down... people are no longer adhering to unfair and restrictive business practices, and so it is inevitable that publishers will seek alternative means to protect their interests.

FTFY (again)

This is hardly the circumstance today, where it's pretty much an an everyday occurrence to see movies that wer3e [sic] just released up on Pirate Bay within days or sometimes hours of release, for download by anybody who simply doesn't want to pay the cash to watch something once and decide they don't like it because most movies are shit today.

FTFY (yet again)

Re:The author has it partly right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219711)

because most movies are shit today.

Your opinion of a product has nothing to whether you should be allowed to violate an owner's copyright without compensation. Man, you are the biggest troll on slashdot today, aren't you?

Re:The author has it partly right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43220583)

Yeah, the last part was opinion, but the rest was spot on.

Re:The author has it partly right.. (4, Informative)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219455)

As copying has gotten easier and easier, the mere social contract between publisher and community, which essentially says that the latter will not copy it without permission, effectively granting the publisher a form of distributive control, has started to break down.

Nice try. But the DMCA came before Napster, and DVD DRM (and Macrovision before it) came before general-purpose computers could play back video well. This isn't a chicken and egg problem, we know which came first. It seems likely that the main original purpose of DVD DRM was to enforce region coding, not to prevent copying.

Re:The author has it partly right.. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219497)

You seem to be under the impression that copying is something that is relatively recent... or exclusive to the digital realm.

It isn't.... there is a long history of analog piracy that is decades older than the DMCA... something that as newer technology was developed, the manufacturers were hoping to nip in the bud with legislation before it became an issue. (Didn't really work though, did it).

Re:The author has it partly right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219933)

You're contradicting yourself now, mark-t

As copying has gotten easier and easier, the mere social contract between publisher and community, which essentially says that the latter will not copy it without permission, effectively granting the publisher a form of distributive control, has started to break down... people are no longer adhering to their side of that contract, and so it is inevitable that publishers will seek alternative means to protect their interests.

Emphasis mine

Re:The author has it partly right.. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219857)

How much is the RIAA paying you?

The purpose of DRM is to supplement the diminishing faith that the content makers have traditionally placed in the strength of the copyright claim alone to keep people from copying the work without authorization.

If you business model is failing, change it. Change it or die. It seems like you think that the media industries should get special protection from their failing business practice. Why? What makes them so special? Should my grandpa's old nursery (for plants, not children) get propped up by legislation because his 1940's way of running things doesn't work anymore? Absolutely not, he should go out of business or adapt. Same with media companies.

...people are no longer adhering to their side of that contract

What fucking contract? This is entertainment. There's nothing necessary about blockbuster movies and pop albums. You prop up the industry as if America (and the world) would crumble without it. That is not the case.

Re:The author has it partly right.. (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220211)

the mere social contract between publisher and community, which essentially says that the latter will not copy it without permission

That's not a contract. A contract has a consideration for both parties (or it's not a valid contract)

people are no longer adhering to their side of that contract

It's going both ways. The public aren't adhering to their side of the contract, but then, neither are the publishers. The idea is that the public lets the publishers have the exclusive right to distribute (and thus, make money) in return for the publisher generating creative work for us all to access.

But the publishers aren't giving us access to creative work - they're locking it down. Region controls, DRM, perpetual copyright, pushing new formats that require re-purchasing. Their costs have plummeted (compare the cost of pressing and distributing vinyl to the cost of downloading), but their prices have risen (even after inflation). People are starting to see that they're getting the raw end of that "social contract", and they're in the process of tearing it up.

Re:The author has it partly right.. (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220223)

Except that providers use DRM to go above and beyond the restrictions that copyright law imposes.

Cheap hardware mitigates (5, Interesting)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219293)

I have media players from China that will play most popular video formats and completely ignores any DRM scheme including Cinavia. I paid $40 for it w/ free shipping and no tax. It has no network port, doesnt rely on servies or logins or fees. You put movie files in, movies play out. Copyright as it stands now will not be able to weather ubiquitous computing.

Re:Cheap hardware mitigates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219363)

I have expensive hardware that mitigates. When I bought my (one, only, still got it) DVD player I did my research and bought a Samsung DVD-709. Why? Because it was easy to make it region-free, even back in the late 90's. Back then they pretty much all were; the only holdout was Phillips, and even they caved eventually.

Manufacturers have always paid lip service to DVD "security" and always have.

Re:Cheap hardware mitigates (2)

Technician (215283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219405)

Try a free software version for your PC.

Skipping the previews and just playing the movie is a huge plus.
http://www.geexbox.org/download/ [geexbox.org]

Re:Cheap hardware mitigates (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219433)

I know how important it is for people like you to be able to get your all-male pr0n without uncovering too much but really there are outlets for that kind of thing in the states or the uk or wherever the fuck you're from.

Re:Cheap hardware mitigates... if you can get it! (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219559)

Re:Cheap hardware mitigates... if you can get your hands on it... My parents have an iLo dvd player that does not lock itself to a region and plays all kinds of media. Unfortunaltey, the company that made it got sued out of existence. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILo_Technologies [wikipedia.org] for how Cyberhome owns their intellectual property after their warehouse was raided for creating "unlicensed" DVD players.

Now race to spit out tons of shit for a fraction. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219303)

Presumably this analysis is more meaningful in places like Canada where content creators get a slice of sales of blank DVDs and so on.

Region codes (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219361)

Not something we here in the USA give much thought to. But in the rest of the world, region-free DVD players are more than a curiosity.

Re:Region codes (3)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219427)

Not something we here in the USA give much thought to. But in the rest of the world, region-free DVD players are more than a curiosity.

Tut now. Some movies aren't available in region-1 format. Spread your wings a bit, try something with subtitles.

DVD players? (3, Insightful)

leromarinvit (1462031) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219379)

I'm confused. Why would anyone care what a DVD player does or doesn't do, when there's a free, high quality, ad-free version of pretty much anything on the Pirate Bay (and countless other distribution channels) that will play on any device, in any way I want, whenever I want?

They can (somewhat, temporarily) control their own distribution channels. But once it's out in the open, any and all control over these closed channels is moot.

Re:DVD players? (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219673)

This. The Pirate Bay (and Usenet, and private Torrent trackers) offer something that media companies don't... If they had been paying any attention, they'd have taken a clue from AllOfMP3: content for a decent price, in the format I want, at a compression rate of my choice. And mine to play and replay when I want, on a device of my choice, with no ads.

I don't pirate movies because I can do so free of charge. I got to a point in life where my time is actually rather valuable, so I am willing to pay for convenience. And I am certainly willing and able to pay for content because it's the right thing to do. Yet I pirate movies because the pirates offer a vastly better product and movie distributors stubbornly refuse to follow suit. Well, fuck 'em.

And fuck the book publishers too. I still get told all too often that I am not allowed to buy certain ebooks because I don't live in the USA... even though the same companies are happy to ship me a paper copy. Guess what, the customer you refused to do business with found what he wants on the Pirate Bay

Re:DVD players? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220053)

I've gotten to where I'd rather rent a movie and rip it than download it. Most really good blu-ray rips are in the neighborhood of 10 gigabytes and I can just drop by Redbox and pick up a few, take them home and rip them and drop them back at the Redbox the next day. Then I watch them when I feel like it using my WD TV Live HD player hooked to my TV. It looks just as good as it does through the blu-ray player then I can keep the movie if it's worth rewatching ( about 1 out of 20 ) or just delete it. I now only download old movies that aren't easily available otherwise.

Re:DVD players? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43220107)

It's a simple message that still hasn't got through; in the digital age, if you are the best source for your own content, you still own the content. If, however, you aren't the best source for your own content, you own zip.

That's why DRM 'works' in ebooks; I can quickly and easily buy, download and read a book. DVDs, on the other hand, still want me to watch ads etc like it's all still whirring through a tape machine. They are fools and they deserve to lose.

Complete and utter nonsense (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219409)

People who make IP are pissed when other people can easily copy and distribute their work for free. It is a VERY common Human emotion from creators.

DRM is nothing but a modern version of 'copy protection'. Or perhaps the idiot Hickson wants to argue that copy-protection sought by people like the Beatles, or used on VHS tapes, happened because the 'content providers' wanted 'leverage' over the people making the playback hardware.

DRM is a super-set of basic copy-protection ideas, that has vastly enhanced functionality ONLY because modern levels of tech make such functionality possible. Everything that DRM causes is a 'down-stream' consequence of tech possibilities, NOT the reason DRM exists in the first place.

All current legislative pressure (the actions of your government) insists that DRM must NOT relate to issues of hardware monopolies- the exact opposite of what idiot Hickson is saying. Hickson is like the idiots who try to argue that EULAs over-rule your 'first sale doctrine' rights.

Governments will only allow DRM to ultimately serve two purposes. 1) to stop illegal copying and distribution. 2) to allow media to be provided as a 'service' (where the data is no longer accessible when the service conditions end). Companies that use DRM do NOT get to trump the law of the land.

An idiot might ask "why then are so many DRM schemes associated with particular hardware". The answer is, of course, down to the emerging state of the technology. Universal DRM systems require technology to reach a level (cost and capability) where they become commercially feasible. In the interim (as with all new technologies) a lot of proprietary intermediate solutions get implemented.

The example of 'licensed' DVD players is laughable and humiliating. There is no such thing as an 'unlicensed' DVD player in the sense the idiot Hickson means. Unlicensed in this case means companies that illegally refuse to pay to use the patents of Sony and Phillips- patents that have nothing to do with DRM, but patents that describe the fundamental workings of DVD players. Refuse to pay for the patents, and you can make a cheaper DVD player. None of these so-called unlicensed players (stand-alones) allow for illegal copying of protected Disks. Idiot Hickson is obviously confusing the idea of 'region free' players- a feature found in the majority of LICENSED players via a service menu function.

Of course, in the short term, many companies will attempt to illegally exploit their DRM system in order to restrict the rights of their customers. But let me ask you a question. Did Apple do this? Cheap crooked behaviour is for small fry criminal companies. You want to be the biggest player? You are going to have to respect consumer rights.

A neat example of this is with Sky TV in the UK, the world's most advanced broadcast service. Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Sky (and Fox in the USA) may be rotten to the core, but he is no fool. He has hardware built to spec for home reception, but has embraced the Internet and all mobile devices. He intends that all of his televisual content can be received on ANY mobile device owned by his customers, including offline storage of shows with DRM. Hardware issues play a part here, but not in any way Hickson describes. Media companies require 'protected video playback paths' in the video hardware subsystems so that the decoded video stream may not be intercepted and copied. You may imagine this as the concept of 'write-only' memory for the video-buffers.

DRM has NOTHING to do with seeking control of those that build the playback hardware. PS now I know why HTML 5 is proving to be such a bad joke. Isn't it time open-source grew up, and started to worry about the intellectual abilities of those that control key projects.

What about "unauthorized producers"? (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219443)

In addition to unauthorized distribution of copyright works, I assume that DRM is also intended to prevent "unauthorized producers" of content from being able to distribute their works. Now that distribution no longer absolutely requires going through "official" channels, some means of preventing "pirate," that is to say, non-major-studio-authorized, content is needed.

It still comes down to the same thing (2, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219531)

... one industry wants to create a distribution monopoly by controlling everything, and eliminating competition.

What it really means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219579)

DRM = "You don't own your own cruft. You are just renting it!"

No... (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219593)

No, DRM hasn't "worked" for video and books. Its been made less annoying, but it still hasn't "worked" and it won't "work" in the future. Two reasons why this has happened:

1) eBooks have apps for just about anything. You can read your Kindle on your Kindle, on your iPhone, on your Android, on your PC, on your Mac, etc. And there is a bonus to using these services because theoretically it should keep track of where you are in your book. But when Amazon eventually stops supporting X, customers are screwed.

2) Video is limited by sheer size, downloading a library of 100 songs takes up, what, less than half a gigabyte? Downloading a library of 100 movies in full HD can easily take up several hundred gigabytes. Video is also limited by what devices really "work" for it, you're unlikely to want to watch Netflix on your new iWatch on its 3 inch display. They've also done streaming which makes the DRM more bearable.

But the problems that are inherent in DRM is that it punishes people who want to buy things legitimately, but can't. Just look at region-locking which is often paired with DRM, you're essentially telling someone that if you want what we're selling, you need to acquire it through illegitimate means. I'm sure there's lots of non-Americans who'd pay for Hulu, I'd easily pay the BBC to have access to iPlayer, but instead I pay for VPN/Proxy to access it illegitimately.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219809)

You misunderstand who it's intended to "work" for.

perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219995)

No, DRM hasn't "worked" for video and books. Its been made less annoying, but it still hasn't "worked" and it won't "work" in the future.

Your "problem" is that you're evaluating whether DRM works or not from the perspective of a content viewer. This is a mistake.

DRM is working just fine from the point of view of content owners.

Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219689)

All about control, the more they control the more secure they feel.

They think that if they control every aspect from control to consumption in as much detail as possible, they can maximize profits.

However, given they just had to give out millions of free games, they can no longer claim that it offsets piracy, by their own counts they just gave away $50 million+ in games at EA as a drm apology. If it was piracy they would be calling 1 million stolen units $50 million in lost profit, so how is it any different then when they give away a million games.

$50 million is a lot, it's obviously not cost effective. It hurts public opinion and costs the company money anyways. If that's the price of business then it makes more financial sense to allow people to pirate.

I know EA is not out $50 million, and that their piracy estimates are bullshit. The free game offer I'm sure comes with some lost-sales and other costs, but no where near $50/million. The comparison was meant to contrast how they talk about piracy losses.

DRM is about controlling the distribution channel (2)

rocket rancher (447670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219763)

...and Hickson nailed it in one. The motion picture industry and the recording industry learned the hard way what happens when you lose control of the distribution channel. The RIAA and the MPAA are just ways of doing damage control until the those industries can get back into control of the distribution channel. As Hickson noted, the publishing industry learned from the recording and entertainment industry's mistakes -- it is embracing digital delivery via the net without surrendering control of the distribution channel by insisting on DRM in their content and requiring only DRM'd devices at the consumer end of the channel. The publishing industry is well on the way to making dead-tree fiction and non-fiction -- well, fictional, if you'll forgive the word play. That's what DRM is all about -- helping content providers maintain control of the distribution channel from end to end.

DRM doesn't work if..... (1)

ChronoFish (948067) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219783)

...consumers refuse to buy.

But you (consumer you) have bought Blue Ray devices, you've consumed from the Apple walled garden, you've bought into Microsoft, you've spent money on Sony Products, you gave EA a couple of bucks... you suck.

You have supported the DRM pushers - and no - you didn't have to. You could have gone without. But instead you consumers choose to bend over backwards.

So stop your f'in Bellyaching and own up to the fact that DRM is your own fault.

God damn you.

-CF

ADA isses with locking down books and other (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43219871)

ADA isses with locking down books and other media so that screen reader can't read them.

DReaM on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43219889)

"Licensed DVD players still enforce the restrictions. Mass market providers can't create unlicensed DVD players, so they remain a black or gray market curiosity."

In Australia virtually every licensed DVD player (including all the major manufacturers: Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic, etc) arrives region-free - you can play DVDs from anywhere in the world. The player might be marked Region 4, but it will play Region 1, 2, 3, 4 discs - I have discs from all of these regions.

Bluray players are more likely to respect Bluray region codes, still, but most will ignore DVD region codes (there are a few more exceptions).

Maybe things are different in the US.

This is BULLSHIT (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43220467)

Essentially the article says the restriction is placed there for legal and not for technical reasons. It walks around that, and doesn't say it in straight language, but that's what it's saying: users will bypass restrictions, companies won't because of fear of legal retaliations. Well, you don't need DRM for that. Sure, you do need DRM to be able to abuse the DMCA, but you can still license your service under certain rules, and sue companies that distribute non-compliant players. You don't need DRM to enforce copyright laws.

This is high grade bullshit. The reason they don't care (much) if DRM is broken is that 99% of users are technically incompetent, and won't use the available tech to circumvent DRM. It is there to restrict the users.

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