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What's The Future of DRM?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the copy-protection-and-loss-of-fair-use dept.

Encryption 374

Cdgod asks: "I am working on a thesis regarding DRM (Digital Rights Management). I would like to get it published and instead of having the regular recycled net material, I would like to hear opinions and thoughts on how it should and could work. Think 20 years in the future, how can you see your world with DRM in place? Will it cost you a few pennies every time you look for the time on your watch? Are you limited to only coping that CD 3 times before it is locked forever? Can you think of uses where DRM will actually give the user more rights? Try to think outside the current models in place, such as video on demand, purchasing music online, and DRM e-books. And yes, I will be arguing that the current laws are not taking the user's point of view, but of the large media companies." My personal thoughts on Digital Rights Management (copy protection, for laymen) is that as long as it interferes with the user's use of the material, it's not worthwhile. Most of the current solutions which have been proposed seem more like draconian measures that will be forced down our throats...whether we like it or not.

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374 comments

FP! (-1, Troll)

Ernest Yeung (513552) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416352)

Yeah!

Re:FP! (-1, Offtopic)

canadian troll (527342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416407)

how is getting first post a troll? a troll would be saying: "First Post, Windows is for big fat gay fucking Ron Jeremy impersonators" that guy is just proud of his watching at waiting to score such an honor. maybe instead of his pending -1 he should rate a 0 or a 1

Re:FP! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416429)

New account and a journal entry, aren't you special? Did you ride the short bus to school?

Re:FP! (0)

canadian troll (527342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416469)

Actually i lived so far away from any educational facilities... so i had to improvise. Everything i know now, i learned from watching your mom go spread eagle on a 3rd rate porno rented from the store down the street. I learned my pc knowledge from watching you on your webcam type code with one hand watching a very young Natalie Portman pour hot grits down her pants.

good guide for learning russian? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416499)

in english?

here's an idea: (5, Funny)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416355)

How about if DRM in the future prevents the use of ideas from my /. comments becoming part of someone's thesis? See if you can spot the watermark in here somewhere :)

How could we see the world with DRM in place? (1, Redundant)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416359)

It would royally, massively suck. Which is why we need to fight it now with everything we've got. Start by not buying anything using it - DIVX failed in the market, evil DRM can too.

Re:How could we see the world with DRM in place? (-1)

Anomymous_Spork (447035) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416376)


I have another story about Lisa, the Asian woman that used to live in my

complex. This is about the time that her roommate joined us and what when on

between the three of us.

Let me tell you a little about Lisa's roommate: She was small in height

and hit tits and ass were also smaller. She was 4'11 and 95#, long black

hair, black eyes and about 34-23-33, and her tits were small but firm. Lisa,

on the other hand, had a body of 36-24-35. Both of them had very short pussy

hair and their clits were very visible.

I had seen Mary around and had watched her ass, even though it was small

it had great movement. The night Lisa asked me to come over, my old lady was

out working, so I had the entire night to play. When I got to her place, Lisa

was dressed in a white see through robe and was wearing a white bra and

panties. Mary was wearing a long black robe that I couldn't see through. Her

small breasts pushing against the material added to the excitement of the

situation.

The way that Lisa had done Mary's hair, she looked younger than her age

of 21 by at least 3 to 5 years. Lisa had me sit on the couch that faced the

chair that Mary was sitting on. She began to unbutton the robe Mary was

wearing, slowly revealing Mary's small tits and the black bra she was wearing.

She opened the robe that showed that all Mary was wearing under the robe was a

black bra and a pair of crotchless panties. My cock was very hard and I

wanted to fuck Mary like nothing else mattered in the world.

Lisa then removed her robe and put her hand under the bra that Mary had

on. She began to squeeze her tit and I could see that Mary liked that. Lisa

then told Mary to spread her legs so that I could get a better view of her

pussy. Mary spread her legs and gave me a view of that almost hairless pussy

of hers. Lisa continued to play with Mary's tit, then she took off Mary's bra

and began to play with both her tits while Mary began to rub Lisa's crotch,

not removing her panties, but rubbing right over them.

Lisa took off her own bra setting free her large tits and moving forward

so that a nipple was right in front of Mary's mouth. Mary began to lick and

suck at the nipple all the while she continued to rub Lisa's hot and now wet

panty covered pussy. Lisa then told Mary to start playing with herself. Mary

responded by rubbing that all ready hard clit of hers and sticking her finger

deep into that hot hole of hers, still sucking on Lisa's hard nipple.

I couldn't stand it any more and Lisa could see that, so she told Mary to

come with her to undress me. They then started to remove my clothes very

slowly, starting with my shirt and working their way down. There I stood

wearing only a smile and a rock hard cock, twitching with excitement.

We then went upstairs to Lisa's king size bed and with the help of Mary

removed Lisa's wet panties. Laying Lisa on the bed, Mary and I began to lick

and suck Lisa's nipples, while my had worked on her hot wet box. I could see

Lisa's hand working on Mary's snatch and felt her gently rubbing my cock.

Then we spread Lisa's legs as far as we could and began to lap at her already

wet pussy. Mary was sticking her finger into Lisa, as I licked her very hard

clit.

Mary then laid on her side so that I could start to eat her pussy while

she still ate Lisa out. As I ate Mary, I moved so that my cock would be up by

Lisa's mouth, remembering just how well she sucked my cock the last time.

This went on for a while: Mary eating Lisa, me eating Mary and Lisa's hot

mouth on my cock.

I then had Mary get on all fours while she was eating Lisa so that I

could fuck her from behind. As she ate Lisa, I shoved by cock as deep as I

could into that hot asian pussy of hers. I could hear her lapping at Lisa's

pussy as my cock pounded her from behind; then I wanted to fuck Lisa, so Mary

moved and sat on Lisa's face. I began to fuck Lisa, while licking Mary's

dime sized nipples. Also, while I fucked Lisa, I was kissing Mary, putting my

tongue deep into her mouth. All the time Lisa was eating Mary and Mary was

really getting off. Both Lisa and Mary had come, but I still had not and was

getting closer. We changed around with Mary sitting on my face and Lisa

riding my cock. Mary tasted so good! Her pussy was almost hairless and I

just love hairless pussies.

As I was about to cum, Lisa got off my cock and began to jack me off and

suck at the same time. Still I ate Mary. I could feel Lisa going faster and

faster. I could also taste and feel more juices coming from Mary. As I came,

I could her Lisa telling Mary to lean forward so she could taste my cum. Lisa

continued to stroke my cock but I could feel Mary's tongue on the head of my

cock. As I started to shoot, I stuck my tongue deep into Mary's cunt and a

finger up her ass which caused her to cum at the same time.

After it was all over we just laid there not moving, just sighing, for

this had been an incredible and erotic time. As we just laid there, Lisa told

Mary that she was now my slave and that she must come to me when I wanted her.

I thought Lisa was kidding but she said if I wanted to see Mary naked all I

had to do was tell Mary.

About 2 or 3 days later, I was walking by their place and asked Mary if I

could come in and she said "Yes". I then asked her if what Lisa had said was

true and she said "Yes". Then I told her to raise her skirt and she did!!!

This sort of thing continued until they moved.

Re:How could we see the world with DRM in place? (-1, Flamebait)

canadian troll (527342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416449)

Well apparently we would see the world with lesbians getting it on and they would not care about digital rights management. Maybe we should all just go back to the age of free love... wait... then i would lose my palm and lose the ability to think! ack! fuckit, lets just watch porn and rent DVD's to make the MPAA happy!

Re:How could we see the world with DRM in place? (2, Insightful)

saridder (103936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416443)

DIVX would have taken off if it was the only option. DRM will, in my opinion, be the only option available. Companies will love the idea of total control of their "intelectual property".

Subscriptions to web sites and software will be seen as the norm, and probably the same thing. The idea of a static "page" will be obsolete by 20 years, replaced by audio, video, applications, etc.

TV will have merged with the net by then, probalby broadband wireless everywhere, with the terrabyte links at home still comming over your private SONET connection to Microsoft/AT&T DigitalMedia corp.

Think of it as pay-per-view and subscription everywhere, wheter it's music, movies, or software. It's gonna suck big time.

Re:How could we see the world with DRM in place? (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416462)

We don't have to accept that. That's my point. There is a choice: defend fair use, keep using stuff that allows it (Red Book compatible CDs), and keep developing and releasing under GPL tools like DeCSS, damn the consequences.

Also (5, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416366)

Can you think of uses where DRM will actually give the user more rights?

Yes, once it's deleted, it will allow the user to recover valuable hard drive space.

Pay-per-view watches? (1)

mjjareo (93394) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416369)


I can't get a handle on this. Can someone explain.

Re:Pay-per-view watches? (1)

Guillaume Ross (517391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416523)

I think it was only a lame joke :) I....must........wait........20............seconds to.....click.....submit

Privacy of Personal Info (3, Insightful)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416370)


One thing DRM might do is enable me to share my personal information privately with one entity, without fear that the entity could share it with others. (That is, if DRM could work.)

That might be good, but I'm much happier with the world we live in now!

Re:Privacy of Personal Info (1)

bteeter (25807) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416412)

Actually, what you are refering to is called public key Encryption. You encrypt the file with your friends public key, he/she decrypts the file with their private key. Bingo. Secure data transfer and access. PGP would do this for you nicely. You don't need DRM. Take care, Brian

Brian
--
AssortedInteret.com
Featuring 100% Linux Based Web Hosting: http://www.assortedinternet.com/hosting/ [assortedinternet.com]

Re:Privacy of Personal Info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416452)

Tom7 wants to prevent the friend from sharing the information. public key encryption doesn't provide that.

Re:Privacy of Personal Info (2)

jiheison (468171) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416460)

PGP does not prevent the person you send information to from distributing it to a third party. DRM could, conceivably, allow you to share data with the knowledge that the person you share it with can't forward it.

Re:Privacy of Personal Info (2)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416511)

You misunderstood. Public key encryption would prevent 3rd parties from eavesdropping, but would NOT stop the 2nd party (the receiver) from sharing the unencrypted data with others whom the first party does not want the information to be shared with.

DRM would stop the 2nd party from doing that, in theory.

I am not supporting DRM, just explaining that it could theoretically be useful for the above scenario. The social desirability of DRM is a whole nother issue. (I am opposed to DRM)

Re:Privacy of Personal Info (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416437)

If you friend wished to share that information, it would be wrong of you to deny him. You've distributed that information, and now it wants to be free.

Re:Privacy of Personal Info (1)

fizzbin (110016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416455)

You mean, you submit your name, address, phone number, email over the Internet to, say, Amazon.com using DRM software of some type that will prevent certain uses of your personal info?

Forget it, there is no reason that Amazon.com or other ebusinesses would support such software -- there's no money in it for them. And there are just too many people that would buy their merchandise and hand over their info without a thought.

Re:Privacy of Personal Info (1)

BLBishop (64387) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416536)

Like, say, a song you wrote?

I know you were thinking medical information. Just humor me.

DRM - no avoiding it (3, Interesting)

Jackson Five (470862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416377)

I work in tech M&A...and can tell you that DRM iniatives will manifest themselves whether you like it or not. I can also tell you that the market for video content though is viewed as pretty distant still. ie, commerce in viedo content over broadband - excepting porn of course which is and will remain ubiquitous.

As far as DRM goes - I do view it a little like software proection. There's always someone on the outside who is a better coder than the group on the inside and can break it.

Porn is making money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416458)

People are whining that they can't make money until there's DRM (Digital Rights Misappropriation). Gee, porn is doing just fine. No DRM. Maybe these other folks just aren't providing what people want.

Re:DRM - no avoiding it (5, Interesting)

Computer! (412422) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416526)

The only DRM initiative which has any chance of sustainablility is value-add. That is, the original has more real value than the copy. That's why people go to concerts instead of just watching a bootleg tape. The mainstream record industry has to stop ripping off consumers long enough to figure out how to add value to their product in its original form. Packaging, special features, merchandise discounts, fan club membership, and freely downloadable copies for anyone that has the serial number of a record is a good start. Vinyl-only collectables, free concert tickets, etc, etc could make actual ownership of a music product worthwhile again. Maybe a reduction in the actual price of the art would help too. Many agree that Napster, et al. just showed up when the time was right- overpriced crap on the market encouraged no one to actually buy any of the one-hit-wonder bullshit the Industry has been feeding us.

As for other types of content, the original is almost always better and more economical than the copy, i.e.: the latest paperback instead of a giant text file, or a signed/numbered print instead of a JPEG.

The point is, the ability to steal content will always be there. Wether or not it gets stolen depends on several factors: is it worth stealing? Is it worth the price if purchased? Does it "feel" like stealing at all? Notice DRM wasn't mentioned. That was on purpose.

Re:DRM - no avoiding it (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416539)

There's always someone on the outside who is a better coder than the group on the inside and can break it.


Cracking copy protection has nothing to do with being a better coder. It's tremendously easier to remove minor functionality (which is what copy protection is) from a program that to create that functionality in the first place.

This is an area that I have some experience in (B948:18, oh joy!)

The future? (5, Interesting)

ryanwright (450832) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416378)

Here's your future: Millions of people will refuse to adopt these bullshit standards. They'll figure out a way to write a college thesis in Word without paying Microsoft by the character. They'll listen to their rightfully purchased CDs without paying the RIAA by the hour. And the US Government will throw huge numbers of these non-violent "terrorists" (read: you & me) in jail at huge expense.

You can use our current drug policies as a guide to the future of DRM...

Re:The future? (3, Insightful)

bteeter (25807) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416434)

I don't think so. Lawmakers who support the draconian DRM measures will be voted out of office, and they will be replaced with more citizen friendly policies.

Laws that are passed which overstep the rights of citizens will be repealed by courts.

Users will choose not to purchase and use DRM protected media. (Remember DIVX?)

Savvy users will break the DRM Schemes and post the cracks to the net effectively destroying the technology.

DRM won't work. It has no benefits to end users, no one wants it and everyone will resist it. Its a bad idea, plain and simple.

Take care,

Brian
--
100% Linux Based Web Hosting: http://www.assortedinternet.com/hosting/ [assortedinternet.com]

Re:The future? (2, Interesting)

jiheison (468171) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416506)

I don't think so. Lawmakers who support the draconian DRM measures will be voted out of office, and they will be replaced with more citizen friendly policies.

Either you don't live in the US, or this is your fist foray into public in several years.

No lawmaker has suffered because of the DMCA.

More DMCA-like laws are on the way.

DIVX failed because there were alternatives still on the market. The industry has learned from this, and future initiatives will include the exclusion of non DRM protects alternatives from the market place.

Future cracking schemes will be relegated to obscurity by laws such as the DMCA (ses DeCSS).

Have a nice day.

Re:The future? (2)

Computer! (412422) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416461)

Good point. Just like copy protection, drug laws are not consumer-friendly, and cost more money than anyone thinks they are worth (minus Nancy Reagan, maybe). Just because something is a stupid idea doesn't mean it won't become law. With fewer and fewer Americans voting, and more and more money spent on lobbyists, consumers don't stand a chance against copy protection laws. Of course, the copy protection itself doesn't stand a chance against the 2600 community.

Official vs. real... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416386)

I see that it will change little from what we have right now.

There will be law and technologies that will prevent user from using digital content illegaly (however that word might get defined in the future) but folks will always find a way to use it illegally.

The way I see it digital content control will probably end up beeing used the same way the illegal software is controlled: costs too much to stop individual "cheaters" so they'll concentrate on proper corporate control.

In short, we'll probably have to pay for most of the stuff but most of us will always find a way to get content for free and there will be little that anyone can do about it and most pay services will suffer. I see it as a battle that "big corporations" just can't win.

Fundamental issues (5, Informative)

pointym5 (128908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416391)

Really effective DRM (that is, DRM that's based on something other than the DMCA to make it "effective") would require some fundamental changes in the world of computing devices (of all sizes). Regardless of the strength and cleverness of cryptographic packaging technologies, if there is a pathway through the computer for digital plaintext then the DRM scheme is ipso facto defective.

On the other hand, the introduction of pure hardware schemes that retain the cyphertext of the protected material until it is transformed (within a tamper-proof sanctioned device) into perceivable media (image on screen, sound from speakers) would have a chance of real effectiveness. Now this would represent a profound change to the way we normally think about computing devices and about the freedom we have to put together systems of any type using whatever basic parts can be found. Such work would still be possible of course, but DRM-protected media would be unusable without the presence of secure tamper-proof decoding hardware.

The need for such hardware (which, by the way, is not sci-fi: check Intel's work on secure digital interfaces for digital flat-screen displays) implies a controllable market, since some organization would have the power to issue or not issue licenses and keys to manufacturers.

For new stuff, ok (1)

mnordstr (472213) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416392)

I think the current availiability for stuff on the Internet is good, might even say great. But if that is blocked with DRM, the Internet will just be a place for big companies to make money.

Though, for possible new things, like video-on-demand, etc., DRM is the only way to make it work, and I think it's ok. If I rent a movie and have to return it the next they, I'll be just as happy when I "rent" a video on the net, and it will only be possible to watch it once, or for a limited amount of time.

Division by zero (2, Interesting)

trilucid (515316) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416393)


, so to speak. IMO, most of what we're currently seeing in the realm of DRM won't stand the test of time.

Why? Okay, let's start with the idea that in order to have a truly "strong" DRM system, you have to tack on strong encryption. Thus far, most systems proposed have failed this critical test. Please, no flames about the DMCA, because let's be realistic: the vast majority of people (meaning aside from a few "example cases") will never be "found out" for copying songs over networks, etc.

Second, all it takes is a little oppression for a lot of people (mainstream folks, not just geeks) to get really angry. We're already used to voting with our dollars anyhow; this will probably severely curtail heinous attempts at nasty DRM in the future. As long as a freer, easier (or just as easy) solution exists, the company or group providing it will win out.

I'm a little groggy at the moment (sorry, coding too long), so this may not be my most intelligent and coherent post ever. But I'm sure you get the idea. Thanks.

Re:Division by zero (1)

fossa (212602) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416557)

As long as a freer, easier (or just as easy) solution exists, the company or group providing it will win out.

With the SSSCA, these alternative solutions will be illegal (in the US).

Sure.... (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416394)

Who the fuck is going to test it? Some fifteen year old glue-sniffer sitting in his parent's basement?

No, he is distracted with the wireless X-10 video images of dear old dad ass-raping the neighbor's dog.

No sir, no quality at all.

Ever read Fahrenheit 451? (5, Insightful)

dave-fu (86011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416395)

Think that, except for firemen coming in to regularly set fire to all your media. No matter if you're grandfathered or not: there exists the picture of impropriety, so better to err on the side of safety.

Huh? (3, Funny)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416396)

and instead of having the regular recycled net material

You came to slashdot to avoid recycled net material?

That's courage.

How to make money without DRM... (4, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416398)

Have you ever used Emusic? You pay like $10/month and you get access to everything in their catalog. It's all MP3 so I could certainly distribute it all over creation, but why would I? If somebody else wants to hear the music they can get their own subscription. It's very easy for me to share a few songs with friends which gets them interested in the bands and gets them signing up for the service.

A thing I've noticed in my personal use of Emusic is that I've discovered music by a lot of obscure bands I never heard of that I like. I mean since I'm paying for it anyhow it's worth it to me to download a whole album by some band I've never heard of. I can just delete it when I don't want it. Why go buy the new album from some big name band for $15+ when I can download music for free?

Trying to impose pay-per-use technology on music is just going to turn people off to it. If you want proof of people's reaction to this, just look at DivX. People like to own things, and they hate having to deal with complex rights mangement architectures. The only way you could find a DRM that would be really appealing to people would be one that's transparent, but by it's nature it can't be transparent because it has to stop me from doing something forbidden by the publisher.

If The big RIAA labels opened up their collections to me and charged me like $15-20/month to download all I want, I'd be all over that. But if they had some goofy DRM technology on the music, I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole.

Right to deny rights (2, Funny)

smunt (458722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416400)

Ok. Ok.. I got one: The right to prevent people from running my programs. The right to prevent people from listening to my music. The right to prevent people from reading my comments.

Hey! are you reading my comments?? Stop it! They are mine!

And don't you dare using my idea's in your own comments!

Re:Right to deny rights (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416561)

Ok. Ok.. I got another one: The right to prevent people from running my programs. The right to prevent people from listening to my music. The right to prevent people from reading my comments.

Hey! are you reading my comments?? Stop it! They are mine!

And don't you dare using my idea's in your own comments!

DRM will stifle innovation (5, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416402)

If I were to look 20-30 years down the road at a U.S. ruled by DRM via laws like the SSSCA, I would have to say it would be a pretty sad place. First of all, you have a generation of people who will have grown up beleiving that its normal to have to pay for *any* kind of information, and then think its taboo to share that information.

People will collaborate less and will have learned that it's 'wrong' to pass along data or information of any kind. This kind of mentality will manifest itself in an atmosphere where it's considered morally and ethically wrong to try to do things without doing them in the approved (legal or corporate) manner. I don't see a lot of technical or scientific innovation coming from people who have this mindset.

The Dark Ages was a fairly direct result of the Catholic Church's desire to control information, in their case, religious doctrine. The crusades brutally crushed scientific, philosophical, and mathmatic progress in the middle east. Human progress came to a virtual halt for several centuries.

This is the same thing. Instead of a rich, powerful church, we have a oligarchy of rich, powerful corporations who beleive it is in their best interest to control information of any kind, be it entertainment, scientific data, math, or any kind of production algorithm. The future is grim indeed if these companies get their way.

The renaissance, the richest period of exploration and innovation in human history happened when the controls imposed by the Catholic church started to break down and both religous and scientific information began to flow freely.

Freedom of Information == Human Progress and Advancement

Proprietary Information == Fear, Paranoia, Superstition, and Human Misery

My letter to my Congresscritter about SSSCA (3, Informative)

superid (46543) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416556)

I agree completely, and here is the letter that I sent today to several of my congresscritters. I encourage others to do so as well.

http://www.freesql.org/sssca.htm

Re:DRM will stifle innovation (5, Insightful)

BranMan (29917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416560)


I think the real outcome would be that the US gets marginalized. If we stifle the very openness and sharing that now occurs, and that keeps the US at the head of the pack in science, industry, military technologies, etc., other nations (europe perhaps, or Japan) will pass us by.

The Dark Ages only occurred because the Church was a universal influence, and so retarded every nation. If the US imposes such restrictions on ourselves alone, we'll be passed by - Americans will go abroad to do research, start companies, etc.

Hopefully saner heads will prevail in the end. I sure hope so.

I think it may come down to respect (2, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416404)

Presently, I'm trying very hard to not download any music from Napsteresque programs because I want the artists to recieve some money for thier work. Fairtunes.com didnt seem to have a working list the last few times i went to it, so at the moment I dont have an option other than paying for CDs.

When I listen to music, read a great essay, hit a good webpage or what have you. I want the artist/author/composer/creator to know that I liked thier work, and if it's a means for them to earn money I'd like to see that they get some, be it a tip jar, banner ad, or just paypaling them a few bucks.

The system where an artist creates a work and then gets less than 5% of the final sale price back from the publisher is wrong. The publishers and promoters should work for the artists not the other way around.

Re:I think it may come down to respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416547)

Personally I try not to use the napsteresque programs either. I'd much prefer to go out and buy a bunch of cd's. However now is the problem that cd's that I MIGHT like cost $15 or more. And I've heard many times that the artist gets next to none of that.
Now, you can't tell me that the big labels aren't getting more than enough money. The fact is, if cd's cost $5-$10 instead of $15-$20, I'd probably buy a cd or two every week.
While a cd a week might not seem like much, think about a couple hundred people going from buying a cd once a month (or in my case, less) to buying one or two cd's a week. That is a HUGH increase in sales.
Ah, but I've digressed...

The point I was going to say, is that if I could pay a SMALL fee to get music I want, and know that the artists that made the music will get the majority of the profit, I'd probably be putting atleast $50/month into new music.

The future of the library (1, Redundant)

gelfling (6534) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416410)

DRM could be used to efficiently distribute lending materials over the web while maintaining copywrite. That way you could view or download material from your house and be able to use it for the same 2 week or so period of time you can now from the library. When the time is up you can renew or ignore. Now today authors and copywrite owners are paid by some factor of unit sales be they private or to libraries. In the digital version copywrite owners get paid per a licence fee arragement. If the library wants to be able to distribute 'x' copies of the material it purchases a license to do so. Not one more version is permitted and if you the customer see it in the catalog you might be given a "all available copies have been lent out until 'xxxx'" message. That way the whole notion of infinite copies can be ignored. And certainly material could be copy protected or encrypted so that you couldn't relend. Allow printing just like photocopying is allowed today.

DRM Increases Throughput (Devil's Advocate) (3, Interesting)

mike_the_kid (58164) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416413)

Digital Rights Management is bad for users in the short term, will take some wrangling and creativity on the side of the license holders. They are trying to create technology and legislation that will allow them to know who and when someone uses a property that they license.
Initially, it will be more expensive for people to listen to music or read books, because instead of buying cd's or books, you buy the right to hear the song or the right read the book.

People will pay what they feel the material is worth. If I think that listening to a Wu Tang Clan is worth 3 cents, and they want 8, I won't pay. In terms of the market, this makes the market more efficient and provides some feedback to the artists. It also makes it possible to bundle in things like advertising to offset the cost (advertising is more valuable in this case because they know who they are marketing to.)

In the future, people will be able to pay for whatever they want, and the number of choices available to them will reflect the value they percieve in the service.

It should only preserve rights (2, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416418)

Most digital "rights" management techniques preserve rights that the media corporations never had in the first place. An example is the right to prevent a DVD from being viewed on a player bought in another country. While many of the players can have this "feature" disabled, it is getting harder as the MPAA realises that people are circumventing it.

Newer DVD Rom drives now have a region lock. This can be disabled of course. Newer discs can check your player for the initial region it was set to, and disable it, forcing a full reset. The next generation of players will require that the player will disallow all playback of protected discs until the player is returned to the manufacturer to be reset. Naturally the manufacturers are against this, but the MPAA has a monopoly . How can they refuse.

DVD phase 3 goes even further. It is a requirement that all DVD compatible equipment have a GPS receiver built in, and a mobile telephone connection. This will call the local anti-piracy organisation if it detects a non-permitted disc. By eliminating codes for older players, the industry hopes to slowly migrate people to more restrictive products.

Leaked documents suggest that they will soon be incorporating technology to allow a limit to the number of viewers. This will mean that when you buy a DVD, it will lock itself to the first player it is used on, and will only permit a maximum number of people to watch it at any time. Do you have a larhge family? You'll need to buy a licence for more people. Eventually the entire world will be controlled by corporations. We are working to prevent this, but the power of the media giants is too great.

DRM in 2021 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416423)

There will be two kinds of users:

  1. The ones who accept DRM

    Who cares what it's like for them? Sheep deserve their dreary blurred so-called lives.

  2. The ones who don't accept DRM

    Whenever DRM interferes with something they want to do, the user will crack the DRM. It will take no significant amount of time/effort/thought/ability, because the user will just download the tools they need from The Internet.

    Attempts to suppress the tools will be utterly futile. Even the Hague crap won't make a sizable dent.

    If by some chance I'm wrong and tool supression does work enough to keep cracking tools out of the mainstream user's hands, then the mainstream will resort to "piracy" to get cracked content that they can't crack themselves. So the user goes to store, buys a movie, then doesn't even both to open it: they just download the cracked copy from the internet, and then watch it. Eventually, they see the pointlessness of buying the unopened content. So the future for content providers, in a world where crack tools are successfully suppressed, is bleak.

Re:DRM in 2021 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416471)

Some friends of mine do this with windows. they have legit copies of windows 2000 but still go out of their way to get warez corporate versions that don't require cd keys.

Look at this Position statement on DRM (2, Interesting)

Ephro (90347) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416424)

Have a look at this stance on DRM, yes I'm an employee, but I wish we could make the big five see the logic.

Our position on the DRM. [musicrebellion.com]

draconian (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416430)

Most of the current solutions which have been proposed seem more like draconian measures that will be forced down our throats...whether we like it or not.

is it possible to have something you feels is a 'draconian measure' shoved down your throat, and like it?

Re:draconian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416545)

is it possible to have something you feels is a 'draconian measure' shoved down your throat, and like it?

Husbands put up with this from their wives all the time... and vice versa!

Violation of privacy while in public washrooms.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416432)

my friend andrew wants a direct link to the goatse picture. please provide to me now! NOW! link me up good! please!

How often will I have to pay for Star Wars? (3, Funny)

mvw (2916) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416433)

I bought the videos..

I bought the wide screen version..

I bought the THX videos

I bought the Laser discs

I bought the DVDs

I bought the Super DVDs

I bought the holo cube

I bought the ...

Re:How often will I have to pay for Star Wars? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416459)

Do you expect a free upgrade?

After all ... you're buying the medium, right, not a license to the material???

Re:How often will I have to pay for Star Wars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416529)

And you paid for DRM development. Thanks buddy!

The only scheme that works (4, Interesting)

ttyRazor (20815) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416438)

The only scheme I have ever seen that actually works is the use of CD keys in online games to make sure that there are only unique (and in theory paid for) clients connected at any one time. Of course this scheme is useless for anything that doesn't require a net connection. So long as the online game servers are where the fun's at, the user is out in the cold without a legit copy. The key part of this scheme is the dependency on a resource that is outside the user's control and can't be modified. Without the actual use of a remote resource for a major part of he product's functionality, though, such a scheme would be intolerable (why would you want to log into the internet to listen to a cd?). This also does not prevent the thing from moving around, only the simultaneous use of a single copy.

Microsoft's WPA scheme is similar to this, but since it's only a one time verification and gives the user time before he has to set it up, it is vurnerable to tampering.

Re:The only scheme that (doesn't) works (1)

aprentic (1832) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416470)

I actually bought 2 copies of 1/2-life. Once when it first came out and then when they released one of the expansions.
When I moved I lost both of the jewel boxes.
So I downloaded a key-generator and after a few tries I ended up with a key which worked for network play.
Furthermore, this scheme has very limited applications. How would you apply this to music, or videos, or e-books?

Re:The only scheme that works (1)

RocketScientist (15198) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416555)

Great idea for a denial of service attack. All I've got to do is write a client to attach to a server millions of times using different keys.

Why wouldn't it work?

Portable Devices (4, Informative)

wembley (81899) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416440)

The really interesting problem in DRM is not what happens on the desktop, because on-line/live-time subscriptions aren't too hard to do by issuing new licenses repeatedly.

It's in the portable market where DRM will sink or swim. Right now, very few portables fully implement SDMI or anything else. All but a few lack the secure clock required to prevent people from beating dates by rollback.

The ones that do implement clocks or real security are proprietary and have low market share, like Sony's WMA-wrapped ATRAC3 devices.

Why DRM in the first place? (1, Interesting)

rzbx (236929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416445)

I don't believe anything that restricts anyone from copying, transporting, changing, or presenting media is right. It's a basic natural freedom that people own what they have in their hand or in their head. Why should anyone else own and control something you hold in your hand, on your computer, on some sort of media or even in your mind? It's simply wrong. If I have it, I think of it, I own it. No law should prevent people from controlling their own environment. Owning people is wrong, so how is owning people's ideas or media's right?

Future of DRM (1)

aprentic (1832) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416446)

Given our current situation (I'll explain what I mean by that in a bit) I don't think DRM is possible.
If a publisher presents you with some content in a form that's suitable for you to use you can do whatever you want with the content afterwards.
No matter how good your encryption is and how carful you are about the keys, at some point you have to give the user the plaintext.
Of course plaintext also includes plainvideo, or plainsound, or plain.
The only way around this problem will involve massive restrictions on our freedoms.
Not the kind of restrictions that Emmanuel Goldstien gets worked up over but really serious restrictions.
If a company could controle who you talk to, who you listen to, what you're allowed to say etc. and had a realistic way of enforcing this, then they could protect their "digital rights". Otherwise they'll flounder before they even get started.
Actually I don't know why Adobe, the RIAA and their ilk even bother trying. I'm pretty sure there are formal rigerous proofs that they're doomed to failure.

What will be and what should be (1)

Coniine (524342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416450)

are two different things. What will be is an intrusive system backed up by lawyers and men with snooping equipment and guns. What should be are proprietary systems for contents delivery and no interference with general purpose systems. Kill the SSSCA and all of its progeny.

DRM (1)

andy_from_nc (472347) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416451)

Unfortunately, this is an issue that's not going away. On one hand we need to fund works of intellectuals and artisans, on the other hand we need to have them available equally to all and keep them able to be built on.

The current thinking on intellectual rights is preventing the next wave of thriving for humanity. Its based on the single provider model. Basically a single author (be it an entity or person) provides and benefits a piece of work (or component of a larger work). This has been somewhat successful although the new era of the internet and mobile technology makes this more challenging. The best example of this is UNIX. It would be very hard to put together a UNIX without paying a large number of organizations for rights to their code. (Putting aside open source, GPL, BSD and the "new wave" for the moment)

Although, it will seem like a cliché that this would be advocated on Slashdot, I think the open source model provides the answer. Many big names in computing have invested in both single and multiple authors of technology. Linux, Apache web server and Apache's Tomcat are great examples of this success. The idea is that important information or artistry will be funded and developed by several groups who share in the reward. This is enforced by what has been called a virus clause in the license.

Rather than toll gating, use contribution as the principle currency.

So this is great when applied to technology but how about music or other works. The current record industry is based upon an old system of market and return that may one day become irrelevant. I'm not saying this should be done away with, but the works it produces are most suited for a teenage or intellectually disabled population (the backstreet-nsynch-98-degree-town-boys and Britney spears -- disregarding her appearance). New works would be heavily contributed to.

So how could someone make money this way? Performances for one, higher quality distribution (mp3s aren't CDs, and copies don't go very far). Support and assistance, (so you want to add some riffs to that new matchbox 20 cd, rob Thomas calls you up and helps you with the fingering). It sounds a little far fetched but so did the open source movement.

With all this said, it will be along time before the powerful interests can be taken on. In the end they'll surrender to the unavoidable trends and reap more profits and rewards than ever before.

No more employers (1)

sabinm (447146) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416456)

Think of a world where as a person you get a ISO or a DRM number that is like a catalog of people similar to SSN but on a world-wide basis. For any work that you have ever done or will do, there is an DRM associated with it. you have a patent for yourself to work tied to your skills, physical identity,(dna) etc. Now instead of you going to a job and getting benefits, or a consistent wage, the employer only has to purchase your rights through your ISO number and request your services. This can be to your benefit, unless because of your high demand you engage in anti-competetive practices and the govt. forces you to work for people in sort of a corporate digital slavery.



Not plausible? You are already managed digitally in your company by an employee number. A check is digitally sent to your acct. through a number in a bank. Your personal information could be easily but into a couple gigs of info to be sold to the highest bidder or rented out at a reasonable price, without you lifting a finger to help or stop it.

money (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416464)

The business is what makes production stuff, and if they can man more money, they will. To make more money via controlling devices(whichever) is to lock down rights of a user, so to make people buy more. Make money out of nothing is the paramount of business. Questions wether users may strike back and use controls to their own advantage is somewhat valid, but evolutionary one. Everyone can guess, but no one can predict. Guesses that are in same direction are lucky.

My guess is, media controls are swing of large media to make more money, rape the customer, before they go out of existance. Whats more, is that media controls encourage waste, digital and physical one. If CD plays only 3 times, I have to throw it out. That would contribute to already large amounts of waste this world produces.
If I can hear song three times, I have to redownload it, and bandwidth is not free(network admins have to eat too). My contention is that maybe if media control systems are there, and open for everyone to use, then small artists can gain from that, combining digital control and digital revolution. Truth is, corporations will impose a certain way of media control, patent it, and quash anyone who uses it and does not pay licence fees. Thus artists who are not part of RIAA would be extorted from income, ability to make, record and sell music that most common media players will play.

Its like guns. One way they are evil, the other they can balance power between government and people. Just a technology.
p.

Impossible. (2)

Soko (17987) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416465)

A reasonable, fair DRM system is not possible, AFAIC.

At some point the bits that build the information are decrypted and pristine, and therefore can be trapped and copied at will. Without infringing on users rights - or introducing a system that is far too open to abuse [microsoft.com] - there is no real way of ensuring that digital data is not captured/copied or otherwise used in a way that doesn't violate current copyright unless you're willing to infringe on the fair use rights of paying customers. Unfortuneately, this is a case where there is no middle ground to speak of nor does there seem to be a high ground. The position of power is and will stay with the public, not the content producers. Therefore - unless we become a corporate police state - the media creators will have to bend to the will of the public. (Did I just say that? Ech. I have to put the Katz filter on again ;-])

That said, we're left with 3 choices to compensate content producers:

1) Have content producers sponsored by other entities (which opens a whole new can of worms)
2) Grants to users - and therefore more taxes to pay for it.
3) Direct payment to the content producers - maybe a link prceeding or embeded in the content.

Guess which one I'm leaning towards...

Soko

Not more rights exactly.. (2)

ryanr (30917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416475)

Perhaps more features. I can see some uses for a robust watermark that identifies artist, song, and album.

Of course, most of the uses center around improving my cataloging of songs that I didn't rip from CD myself, so maybe the DRM people wouldn't be so excited about that...

Here is how it should work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416476)

Any publisher should be allowed to do anything with their work that they own that they please. If anyone is stupid enough to buy it then more power to them.

If they choose to protect their work through DRM measures, rather than with copyright law, then they lose all recourse to use copyright law.

This means that as soon as anyone anywhere breaks the encryption used, that the work enters the public domain.
This is a very good trade off, because it ensures that the publisher has a monopoly right to distribute their works, but also ensures that the work will much more quickly enter the public domain in just 5-10 years.

Everyone wins.

If and only if... (4, Insightful)

beowulf_26 (512332) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416477)

DRM can help consumers by lowering the cost of a products due to the fact publishers won't feel the need to overcome losses from piracy.

However, DRM in my opinion, is only useful if it meets the following conditions:

Is transparent to the user.

Requires no processor overhead.

Is secure. (increasingly difficult, arguably impossible) If the DRM is circumventable it's pointless.

It's cheap, and doesn't raise the cost of the medium. If it's costing more to protect it than it's saving, it doesn't belong there.

It must allow at least one copy to be made.
All in all, that's a very tall order. So I doubt any time within the next ten years these things will be realized. Until then, consumers will continue to scream bloody murder.

My vision of the future (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416485)

Microsoft will use thier monopoly, and be backed by nearly every company. Linux will be portraid as it one was - as a hacker thing. I'm expecting to find out that microsoft is sponsoring the SSSA. This way, Microsoft can squash Linux, and everyone except the linux hackers are happy.

Microsoft will build in DRM into all products. Everything you do will be encrypted only for you (or whom ever has your public key) Encryption will be transparent. That is, webservers will automatically encrypt any download as flagged to be under DRM.

Getting a DRM key will be something like a personal certificate. You'll pay for one from microsoft or verisign or some other party that will verify you before they give out the key (maybe a CCN is enough)

Installers like InstallSheild will have it built in. They will not hold entire files decryped in memory, by using a block cypher and only hold 1 block at a time, this getting the decryped content in its entirety will be hard.

Linux will have to adopt DRM is it is to remain legit against Microsoft. If it is not seen as legit, then no company (except for the embedders) are going to use Linux.

Hello everyone (-1, Offtopic)

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DRM for personal info (2, Interesting)

DocJTM (452653) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416490)

What if any new DRM laws also had to apply to every individual's personal info as well as whatever corporations want to protect (like music)? The corporations might think twice about whether they want DRM. If they had to license your personal info FROM you in order to market TO you, I'll bet it would seriously impact their marketing. "Oh you marketed to me without licensing my info? That'll be $10K please".

The problem (2)

ceswiedler (165311) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416504)

The problem with DRM is the same as with computer security. It's very easy to secure a computer so that no one can use it. It's very difficult to secure a computer that a great many people need to use in a great many ways, while at the same time restricting any unauthorized users whatsoever.

Media companies really want to stop unauthorized use of their copyrighted material. Copying a CD and giving it to someone else is illegal. Copying a CD or creating a compilation for your own personal use is legitimate. The problem is allowing the legal copies while preventing the illegal ones. And it's a very difficult one to solve. It's much easier to simply prevent all copies whatsoever.

Anyone who thinks that "fair use" means giving away copies of music or books is a thief and an idiot. Remember this: if you stop paying for your media, they will stop selling it to you.

Legislating against nature (5, Insightful)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416507)

There's a story of a king who passed an edict forbidding the tide from rising. He sent his soldiers to the beach with orders to beat the ocean back if it didn't obey the edict. The King was trying to make a point that even he, the almighty King, could not alter the forces of nature by a simple decree.

Imagining a world where successful DRM laws exist is no different than imagining the world if the ocean had been held to the King's edict.

I could be wrong. I suppose if all hardware manufacturing was nationalized, borders were sealed, and prisons were cleared of drug users (to make room for copyright offenders), it may be possible to put digital media genie back in the bottle.

If it is possible to have successful DRM, I guess imagining the future would be like imagining the present if the printing press had been outlawed by the Monks who were put out of business by it.

Ideally... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416509)

I would think that the best solution for the users would be if DRM was done away with all together and we lived in a society (world) of free information and media. However these are just dreams and the fact is that the dmca is going to be tough to get rid of. With that in mind here might be some changes that would make things more "friendly" for the user.

1) I have a real problem with the current protection scheme on cds and dvds (computer or audio/video, games it doesn't matter). The problem is that current laws seem to say that when you purchase this media that you are entitled to the actual physical disk and whatever media is included on it. So if you buy a game and it becomes damaged then you're out the money you paid for that game. I believe that this hurts the user and saves the company, as in these licenses suck. I personally feel that the physical disk should not have anything to do with this when you purchase something and that you are entitled to the media. Hence you should be allowed to make backups of everything you own that is software related. Currently somethings work under this (you can make copies of cds on tape as long as you don't sell them, and roms are legal as long as you own the game although I believe emulators are not *shrugs shoulders*), however dvds don't and in the future more stuff should be going to dvd. Of course if I want to illegally make copies I can (theres all kinds of stuff out there to do this) but you should see my point that I should not have to illegally do anything to something I own.

2) Streaming media will probably end up a rental or subscription fee which I'm not sure if I have a good argument against at this moment. I mean its hard to argue with video stores and thats how I see most of that going.

3) E-books have proven to be just a bad idea anyway. Nobody (apologies to those who are e-book fans) seems to care all that much when titles are still printed paper. Eventally I'd imagine that the publishers in time will start to only release large amounts (not just some Steven King book) of books to e-book, forcing people to switch. However, if I have a friend and I recommend and own a book, I'll let them borrow it. Will e-books work the same? Can you trade materials as long as you don't sell them. I have a feeling this is going to be an ugly fight.

4)Software subscription (ala Microsoft) is not going to work even if forced. Look I love linux but I know its currently not ready for the masses. However Microsoft's idea of a Microsoft Bill (like a cable or telephone bill) is just alittle to ambitious and I'd imagine that this is going to hurt them. On a side note, if Microsoft benefits from its monopoly then how can they justifiably argue that distributing copies of pirated windows hurts them?

Media protection is definitly going to become an interesting topic of discussion over the next 20 years or so. I wonder if we'll start to see different licenses as we do in the computer world (digital media is nowhere near as old as computer software... with the first cases being cds about 10-15 years ago). Will some publishers allow a GPL type license, who knows... all I know is that these laws have to stop because ultimately the user gets hurt.

ps - I think its funny if a company gains enough market share to be called a monopoly then the govt claim them to be detrimental to competetion. But if a bunch of companies (collusion) gain up to start a board (hmm... sony, sharp, etc and dvd technology) that regulates what you can and can not do with something and what companies can and cannot do with something (why don't we see any legal open source dvd plays? because the damn license fees cost a fortune for css) then thats legal. Well... maybe us users should start the coalition for user rights (sort of like a union) to keep a say in what rights the company and the users have.

ok, i'm done.

The real future of DRM... (2, Insightful)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416516)

...lies with hardware manufacturers, in my opinion. The only reason macrovision works for VHS is because hardware manufacturers support it, and I think the same will ultimately be true of all forms of DRM. It will be a sad day when I have to pay extra for a hard drive that will allow me to access my data however and whenever I want to, and I think the chances of that day coming are about 50-50. That balance will be upset by judicial decisions made in the DeCSS and Skylarov cases (the Napster case recently threw an interesting curve-ball [slashdot.org] , we'll have to see how that plays out), and given the apparent pro-Corporate slant of the current judiciary I don't have high hopes.

Ideas that have methods of implementation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2416517)

Though digital may be one way to describe an idea and provide a means for its implementation it is not unique in this respect. We are coming close to describing genetic material in a way that provides its own method of implementation.
It is possible that within 100 years you will have to leave the planet to explore ideas without being sued. You could even find out later in life that you are a living violation of copyright. :)

me@steeg.com :)

DRM Could Tamper With Historical Recollection (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416527)

Let's say that in 20 years, I have my 4'x3' DRM-enabled digital HDTV. I'm watching live coverage of some monumental event. I'm also taping the event on my Tivo^2 unit, which has 25TB of holographic storage.

Some protester jumps into the foreground and slams a cherry pie into Jack Vallenti's face, is wrestled to the ground and subdued by Thought Police, and dragged off.

Now I think, "Wow, that's really cool shit. I'm gonna add some footage to my next editorial on my web page!"

An hour later, I hit Play on my Tivo^2 only to find out that the network has instructed the device to not play back the event (or, worse yet, edits out the pie scene on the fly) because Vallenti has a 51% stake in ABC-MS-AOL-TW Network, and decides that the pie incident is too humiliating.

That evening on ABC-MSNBC-AOL-TW Network Sanitized Evening News, we see the day's event (recordable now) in its edited state.

Archivists now only have the version of history that the Network wants them to have.

An extreme scenario, to be sure, but technically feasible. Imagine if this happened when some really important event occurs.

Look to the models that currently work . . . (3, Interesting)

Xthlc (20317) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416531)

. . . when distributing IP for the personal use of the consumer. I'm thinking specifically of cable TV and video rentals.

The advantage of cable TV is the subscription model. It's better for the consumer, because their cost-per-use tends to be lower. And it's better for the content producer, because their revenue is steady, reasonably predictable, and not subject to spikes and canyons in usage. Lesson learned: consumers vastly prefer to pay a subscription fee for a huge library of content from which they can pick and choose. Compare this to pay TV or video-on-demand, the revenues for which lag pathetically behind a the regular cable TV subscription base.

The advantage of video rental is, well, obvious. People who are not willing to pay $20 to own a copy of a movie may be perfectly willing to pay $3 to rent it for a few days. Lesson learned: cost-per-unit for "ownership" of content is too high for most people, if they're unfamiliar with the content in question.

Both modes of commerce are subject to piracy. However, the effect of piracy is mitigated by the fact that the copies which are made tend to be of lower quality compared to the original. Case in point: I'll tape every single episode of the Sopranos, but I'm still willing to shell out cash to own the Special Edition DVDs so that I can watch them in widescreen. Lesson learned: people like the freedom of making copies, but they're still willing to pay for a higher fidelity / more contentful version.

I think the real solution to DRM can be found in a subscription-based broadcast-on-demand model, which allows people to easily create (analog quality) copies to store locally on their machine or carry with them in their personal music player. People who want digital quality simply need to either a) buy the CD, or b) be connected to the network.

Now, this might not be very satisfactory in the short term -- your Rio-like device would be restricted to tape-quality music. But there's a great deal of push already to expand the country's broadband and wireless infrastructure -- in another 20 years it would probably be perfectly feasible for your personal digital music player to store nothing more than a playlist, wirelessly streaming the music as you go.

I think everyone wins under this model -- what little revenue companies lose from file trading would be more than compensated for by the subscription base, and consumers would have the choice and flexibility that they crave.

Unified royalty (5, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416534)

In the end, DRM management will hinder, not help, even those who seek to profit from their creative works. The petty steps needed to make use of copyrighted material under DRM will ultimately have to give way to yet another system I see as the ultimate answer. Such a system will have to be a broad subscription based scheme, where instead of paying specifically for each creative work, you end up paying a general rate, and then have access to all those works. The authors and publishers then earn from that based on the proportion of how much their works are used. Even a random sampling of 5% of usage would give a fairly accurate measure of proportion for the various works to determine how much each author and publisher is paid.

Take a look at some of the big MP3 collectors. There are some people with over 100 gigabytes of downloaded music. At the statutory wholesale publisher rates paid through HFA, this comes to over US$100,000. The retail value of such collections could be US$1,000,000. And it would take months just to listen to everything once. But these are people who would not go buy all that at $12/CD. They aren't downloading it to be able to listen to it all, but for the stud factor of having an awesome jukebox. Eventually we will reach a point where we can have any creative work delivered in real time whenever we want, and even mobile at some point. We'll be paying for delivery of content, not the scale of the choices. Many of the downloads now are to achieve scale of choices, and that will be greater as bandwidths and storage leaps allow, but eventually it might not be needed (except for those unwilling to pay a dime).

Imagine paying a rate about the same as cable TV or internet access that lets you listen to any music you want, any time you want, anywhere you want. Whether you listen to the same 5 tunes over and over, or jump around among 100 genres, your rate would be about the same since it would be based on what is delivered, and at most you could listen to about 43,200 minutes a month (there might be a lower price for listening to less). Once this kind of service is available, there won't be much value in actually storing the music. As long as the pricing structure is based on fixed time, rather than how many different tunes you have access to but rarely listen to, it will beat not only most piracy, but also recorded media sales (why buy 1000 CDs if you typically listen to about 20 of them?).

It might still take another decade for the music industry to get a clue and try to build it this way. Last mile bandwidth is not there yet, especially mobile, for everyone. And then it might take a few more years for the motion picture industry to "get it", too. But eventually it will have to happen. DRM will then simply be a yes or no question.

The system won't be totally perfect. There will be those unwilling to subscribe at all, and will still steal music. There may be privacy issues regarding what we listen to. Some of this can be addressed by legislation (whether we agree that it should or not). Some of this can be addressed by the open market. And some of this can be addressed by technology. The delivery is certain to be encrypted. The ability to decrypt it is certain to be isolated to hardware like portable players and sound cards in your computer (the software would just be shuttling an encrypted data stream through, and hence open source operating systems won't be a risk). Time window based encryption would prevent storing the data for later playback (and this defeat delayed leakage to non-payers). Interim technology could allow doing a combination of storing encrypted streams with live delivery of a time window based key (and the hardware still does the work).

Given this, storage of music by consumers won't be needed, and thus DRM will be moot. This is still a few years off, but mark my word, it is coming as soon as entertainment executives figure it out for themselves.

Idealy... (2, Insightful)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416542)

I would think that the best solution for the users would be if DRM was done away with all together and we lived in a society (world) of free information and media. However these are just dreams and the fact is that the dmca is going to be tough to get rid of. With that in mind here might be some changes that would make things more "friendly" for the user.

1) I have a real problem with the current protection scheme on cds and dvds (computer or audio/video, games it doesn't matter). The problem is that current laws seem to say that when you purchase this media that you are entitled to the actual physical disk and whatever media is included on it. So if you buy a game and it becomes damaged then you're out the money you paid for that game. I believe that this hurts the user and saves the company, as in these licenses suck. I personally feel that the physical disk should not have anything to do with this when you purchase something and that you are entitled to the media. Hence you should be allowed to make backups of everything you own that is software related. Currently somethings work under this (you can make copies of cds on tape as long as you don't sell them, and roms are legal as long as you own the game although I believe emulators are not *shrugs shoulders*), however dvds don't and in the future more stuff should be going to dvd. Of course if I want to illegally make copies I can (theres all kinds of stuff out there to do this) but you should see my point that I should not have to illegally do anything to something I own.

2) Streaming media will probably end up a rental or subscription fee which I'm not sure if I have a good argument against at this moment. I mean its hard to argue with video stores and thats how I see most of that going.

3) E-books have proven to be just a bad idea anyway. Nobody (apologies to those who are e-book fans) seems to care all that much when titles are still printed paper. Eventally I'd imagine that the publishers in time will start to only release large amounts (not just some Steven King book) of books to e-book, forcing people to switch. However, if I have a friend and I recommend and own a book, I'll let them borrow it. Will e-books work the same? Can you trade materials as long as you don't sell them. I have a feeling this is going to be an ugly fight.

4)Software subscription (ala Microsoft) is not going to work even if forced. Look I love linux but I know its currently not ready for the masses. However Microsoft's idea of a Microsoft Bill (like a cable or telephone bill) is just alittle to ambitious and I'd imagine that this is going to hurt them. On a side note, if Microsoft benefits from its monopoly then how can they justifiably argue that distributing copies of pirated windows hurts them?

Media protection is definitly going to become an interesting topic of discussion over the next 20 years or so. I wonder if we'll start to see different licenses as we do in the computer world (digital media is nowhere near as old as computer software... with the first cases being cds about 10-15 years ago). Will some publishers allow a GPL type license, who knows... all I know is that these laws have to stop because ultimately the user gets hurt.

ps - I think its funny if a company gains enough market share to be called a monopoly then the govt claim them to be detrimental to competetion. But if a bunch of companies (collusion) gain up to start a board (hmm... sony, sharp, etc and dvd technology) that regulates what you can and can not do with something and what companies can and cannot do with something (why don't we see any legal open source dvd plays? because the damn license fees cost a fortune for css) then thats legal. Well... maybe us users should start the coalition for user rights (sort of like a union) to keep a say in what rights the company and the users have.

ok, i'm done... oh my bad about posting this twice, I screwed up the first time.

Where will DRM go? (2, Insightful)

way0utwest (451944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416544)

Of the top of my head...

One DRM will continue to advance. Artists and others who wish to produce media/works deserve to be compensated if they wish. The question becomes how we handle this. In my ideal world...

-- Non-encrypted formats will continue to exist for those who choose to distribute this way.
-- EncrypteOf the top of my head...

One DRM will continue to advance. Artists and others who wish to produce media/works deserve to be compensated if they wish. The question becomes how we handle this. In my ideal world...

-- Non-encrypted formats will continue to exist for those who choose to distribute this way.
-- Encrypted formats will be built for new media (video/audio/stills) that is difficult to crack (nothing is impossible). These formats will require the use of an authentication for an individual using their hardware of choice along with some type of smart card along with a password/pin. The item will be usable for some number of times/length of time. This will be some small payment amount, similar to micro payments.
-- We will get some type of "key" downloaded onto the hardware. This key can be transferred to someone else WITHOUT cost. If I purchase an old Beatles song and decide a month later that I don't want it, I should be able to "give" this to my co-worker. We easily connect our hardware devices together and I "give" him my key. No longer can I play the work. Perhaps he even "buys" the song for half price and I can then repurchase if I wish.
-- Patents/copyrights will have their length shortened. Perhaps we need to develop different lengths for different media. Movies are copyrighted for 5 yrs. Music, 3 yrs. These are just ideas, personally I am not sure what lengths I'd like.
-- Items that lose their copyright/patent will be released into the public deomain. Once in the public domain, anyone can distribute/reformat/alter the works, though they cannot be resold commercially without some compensation to the author. Perhaps the reuse should be 10% of the cost of current media?
-- What if I could "rent" a song, say the new CD from Brittany Spears for my son for 3 months. Suppose if cost $2. I could drop this onto an MP3 player for him, or perhaps it would be automatically burned on my Sony DRM machine (that cost $200) onto a CD that would work for 3 months. I'd do it. He'd be tired of it after that. What if I could "reactivate" that CD next year for $1 for another 3 or 6 months. It's still be worth it.
-- Relatively few of us actually copy CDs for others. Once (if in the real world) media companies recognize this, they will start to actually develop programs that people will use (and want to use). My time is more valuable and I'd tell a friend to buy his own copy.

Don't forget the following when exmaining DRM

-- It must be convenient to be successful. If it is difficult for me to use, I will not use it and commerically it will not succeed. If my mom can purchase a music CD (online, download, etc) easily and it costs $1 to listen to 10 times, or for a week, and it is a simple button push, she'll do it. If it requires efforts to use or circumvent, she won't use it.
-- The economy of defeating the encryption must be below that of using it. I've downloaded movies (that are in theaters) from the Internet and viewed them. They suck. The quality is so far below that of renting from Blockbuster or going to see the movie, it's not worth the cost. Audio is different, but there will be some economy of scale that works.
-- No encrpytion is foolproof
-- 90% (or so) of people will be defeated by minimal encrpytion
-- 1% (or so) of people will never be defeated by ANY encrpytion
-- 9% (or so) of people will take advantage of the work of the 1% to defeat encryption.

These are some quick thoughts, and I really welcome feedback. If DRM is really to move forward (not just get implemented), everyone has to have realistic discussion of the rights of everyone, artists, consumers, and companies.

Back to basics (4, Insightful)

tmoertel (38456) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416550)

I don't know what the future of DRM will be, but I know what it should be. It should be something that primarily promotes the public good. As such, it ought to reflect an exhaustive re-examination of the concept of a "copyright".

Originally intended to provide a public benefit -- to encourage and promote the widespread availability of information -- copyright law has been distorted to the point where it allows a powerful few organizations to control vast seas information, allowing access only those who can pay fees that are often unreasonable. Gone, too, are the days when we could realistically expect copyrighted material to be contributed to the public domain after a reasonable period of time. Our national concept of "copyright" is a perversion.

Before we legislate "rights management" into hardware, we ought to ask why we have these "rights" anyway. And if the answer isn't solely to promote the public good, we should do away with them.

Quite a few thoughts (4, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416554)

"Most of the current solutions which have been proposed seem more like draconian measures that will be forced down our throats...whether we like it or not."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's not draconian if you have a choice, and you do have a choice in the matter based on your wallet.

Don't like the DRM measures coming forth on CDs? Don't buy the CDs. Don't even listen to the music. While some pop bands are obviously a profit-centered venture, most artists actually *do* want you to listen to their music; measures taken to stop this listening will not only hurt the labels in the pocketbooks, but also get the artists themselves to argue against whatever measures are being taken to reduce public listening.

Also, let me just say that paying "a few pennies every time you look for the time on your watch" is X-Fileish and activistic to the extreme. Obviously this is not going to happen. Do you think high-level executives in the government and military personnel (to cite recent events) would ever warrant this?

For that matter, I'm a firm believer that the subscription plans in place now (like cell phone bills) will eventually be dwindled to nothing based on current competition. There are only so many minutes a cell phone company can provide in a month. After a while you hit limits, and gradually the costs erode to practically nothing (similar to water and electricity, communication will eventually become publically-owned).

Strong Police State Required (2, Interesting)

JungleBoy (7578) | more than 12 years ago | (#2416558)

Intellectual Property laws cannot be enforced in a digital world without a strong police state. So we will end up with either the abolition of IP laws and the entire concept of IP or we will end up with a strong police state that essentially polices peoples thoughts and ideas. I think that in the long run, there will be no middle ground.

The JungleBoy
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