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Is DRM Intrinsically Distasteful?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the tastes-like-chicken dept.

Media 631

jelton writes "If digital media was available for sale at a reasonable price, but subject to a DRM scheme that allowed full legitimate usage (format shifting, time shifting, playback on different devices, etc.) and only blocked illicit usage (illegal copying), would you support the usage of such a DRM scheme? Especially if it meant a wealth of readily available compatible devices? In other words, if you object to DRM schemes, is your objection based on principled or practical concerns?"

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Both. (5, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579370)

Sure, I support the ability to use DRM. That should be the artist's choice. But not a blanket enforcement of it. Why? Because there are some people who make audio productions who do not charge and do not restrict distribution. As long as that is still possible, and those people don't have to pay some arbitrary group for a "license" or other enabling mechanism to distribute their "stuff" for free, I'd be all for it.

But... our history is that once we close the doors, we lock people out based upon income or other arbitrary factors that really have no bearing on the subject at hand, except perhaps as prejudice or a money-making scheme. Radio station licenses are a racket. Product bar codes are a racket. Liquor licenses are a racket. Marriage licenses are a racket. The whole "top-40" thing is a racket. The list is long and depressing. My expectation is that if a DRM scheme is settled upon, the only model supported will be commercial and involve money and/or equipment that the little guy just won't be able to afford. Cynical? You bet. But based on past performance.

We've seen this begin to happen already. Vista will degrade audio that is "unsigned", meaning, created or put in place by software that hasn't got some kind of deal going with Microsoft. This is bad on every level — models like this only hurt the little person.

We're better off without DRM, I'm afraid, because the proponents of it are uniformly commercial, as are their goals... but the world is not.

Re:Both. (5, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579560)

Sure, I support the ability to use DRM.

See, and I don't. Why? Well, first off, DRM allows for what amounts to unbound copyrights. After all, if I can't read, copy, edit, or redistribute a public-domain work, what use is it to me? Copyright is supposed to be a *bounded* contract between the copyright holder and society. DRM is just an attempt at an end-run around the rules.

Secondly, I demand my right to shift materials that I've rightfully purchased onto other media. For example, I have a MythTV installation. On it, I have my entire music collection, not to mention a mass of recorded video, and eventually I plan to have my DVD collection ripped as well. DRM means I can no longer do any of these things, which restricts my ability to enjoy the content I've purchased.

So no, I don't believe in DRM. Do I believe that artists should be compensated for their work? Absolutely. They put in significant effort creating the media I enjoy. But I don't like being treated like a criminal in my own home, and I don't like the artists wiggling out of their part of the copyright bargain.

Re:Both. (3, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579672)

first off, DRM allows for what amounts to unbound copyrights.

This is a failure of current DRM schemes, not DRM in general. It would be easy enough to design DRM so that the DRM no longer applies after a certain date.

first off, DRM allows for what amounts to unbound copyrights.

Again, this could be done with DRM, though it would require a much more robust and flexible system than will exist any time soon.

And defeated by changing the date. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579762)

This is a failure of current DRM schemes, not DRM in general. It would be easy enough to design DRM so that the DRM no longer applies after a certain date.

Which would require the date to be locked on the machines so I cannot defeat it by simply moving the date ahead 100 years.

Re:And defeated by changing the date. (2)

solinari (69433) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580042)

Which would require the date to be locked on the machines so I cannot defeat it by simply moving the date ahead 100 years.
Nobody is proposing to do DRM that depends on machine clocks. Simply releasing the decryption key after a period of time is quite easy.

Re:Both. (1)

LordSkippy (140884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580046)

It would be easy enough to design DRM so that the DRM no longer applies after a certain date.

So, all I need to do is set the clock on the player to a future date, and then I can do whatever I want to the "protected" media.

What's that you say? Fix it so the player needs to have an Internet connection to get the time from a "trusted" server? Well, there goes the ability to set/correct the date on a device you own, and, more than likely, the ability to use the media if the player can't talk to the Internet. Even then, you just need to set up a DNS server the directs it to a time server of your own to get around that DRM. And if it's a proprietary service that doesn't use open standards to set the time? Don't worry, someone will reverse engineer that protocol too.

That's why it is a failure of DRM in general. Anything you can do to protect something, someone else can undo. And it's often easy to destroy than build.

Re:Both. (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579732)

This is a hypothetical situation.

This mythical DRM we are talking about would do none of those things.

Once a work is public domain the DRM would obviously stop restricting "illegal copies" as there would no longer BE any illegal copies (all are now legal).

Also, this DRM lets you media/time shift, after all, there is nothing illegal about those.

So, would you still object?

Re:Both. (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579916)

So, would you still object?

If the system gave me full freedom to do what I wanted with the media (including play it back on systems I've built, such as my MythTV box), with the exception of distributing illegal copies, and the protection expired after the copyright ran out, I would have no problems with it.

Problem is, such a system is most probably impossible to build. Without full control of the hardware from soup to nuts, there's no way to plug the analog hole, and without that, there's always a way to distribute the material (unless you can come up with a watermarking scheme that's unbreakable). This is, of course, why HDCP was invented...

Re:Both. (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580016)

yup, basicly my point as well.

It is a great idea, no reason not to let them protect their stuff.

However the only actual way of doing so would be even more intrusive then current DRM (atleast that can generaly be cracked with little or no problem).

So far only one person thinks perfect DRM (aka it only stops illegal uses) is bad, and I fully admit to not get wth he is talking about.

Re:Both. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579644)

Sure, I support the ability to use DRM. That should be the artist's choice.

Exactly. Microsoft should not be putting this shit into their OS. It's the *artist's* responsibility to protect his work. It's not up to the OS to do it for him. If they artist chooses a method that doesn't work well with whatever is out there, that's his fault for trying to eliminate fair use.

Let the free market decide how to deal with copyright. It's already been shown that we don't want it.

Re:Both. (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579816)

I'm sorry, I must have missed the part where a Microsoft OS wouldn't play DRM-free music.

As I understand it, MS included DRM support in Vista but doesn't force the use of it.

Re:Both. (2, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579844)

Let the free market decide how to deal with copyright. It's already been shown that we don't want it.

LOL. That's exactly what's happening, except you're only one half of the free market, buddy. The people selling the music have made the opposite decision.

IMHO DRM is inheritantly good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17580012)

It's many licenses themselves that are evil.

I wish DRM advanced to the point where it'd enforce the licenses *EXACTLY* - that means no playing a DVD in a public space like a nursing home common room (the consumer DVD doesn't give you that license) -- and DRM that enforces that you can't use a MSDN license for product work -- and DRM that enforces that you can't steal photoshop from work.

I think such DRM would be *GOOD* not BAD - because it will wake up customers to oppressive licensing and get the vendors to work on the real issue, which is bad licenses, not bad technology enforcing them.

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579404)

And if pigs had wings...

Re:Of course (1)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579938)

This AC has a point. The DRM scheme described by the submitter is impossible. No DRM will ever prevent illegal copying. Only curb it. There will always be hacks. So if you ask whether we would support the scheme, you might as well ask whether would support having unicorns in city streets.

On the other hand, if you ask whether DRM is distasteful, you're asking whether or not we like it. I happen to like DRM because it makes studios feel safe enough to distribute their content digitally.

Fair Use Backups? (3, Insightful)

SnowDeath (157414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579410)

Would this protection from "illegal copying" also prevent me from legal copying? Aka backups that are protected by fair use? If so, then I would be against it in practice and principle.

Re:Fair Use Backups? (4, Insightful)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579608)

Exactly, what is the difference between the copy of a CD or DVD for my car, and the one I make to give or sell to a friend?

The answer is: Actions that can not be monitored from the computer, and sorry, but I refuse to get a **AA monitoring camera embedded into my forehead.

Re:Fair Use Backups? (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579824)

What if you didn't need backups? The music you own is attached to you. You can go download again at anytime.

Re:Fair Use Backups? (2, Insightful)

SnowDeath (157414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579882)

What happens when the company that sold me this unbackable music goes belly up and I can no longer download it from then?

Prevent *only* illegal copying (4, Insightful)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579438)

It seems to me that this is a pipe dream without a fully regulated hardware path (which I find inherently distasteful). Generally speaking, computers aren't smart enough to determine legality without something like Trusted Computing, therefore, unless a brilliant DRM breakthrough is made, yeah, I find DRM inherently distasteful.

Re:Prevent *only* illegal copying (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579652)

Even a fully regulated hardware path doesn't solve the problem. Sure, it'll help if you're talking about 'unauthorized' use instead of 'illegal' use, but legal use is indistinguishable from many types of illegal use, and you have the legal right to do some things with content regardless of whether the publisher has authorized you to do it or not.

Re:Prevent *only* illegal copying (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579700)

It seems to me that this is a pipe dream without a fully regulated hardware path

This is a pipe dream even with a fully regulated hardware path, because in a lot of cases the only difference between an infringing use and a non-infringing one is the human's intent.

Re:Prevent *only* illegal copying (1)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579980)

Indeed, I can see it know...MS PlaysForSure 2012, now with ReadsMindsForSure...

No, any DRM scheme is wrong (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579448)

Copyright is supposed to be imperfect and leaky. I do not want a scheme for perfectly enforcing it via architecture.

This goes for most laws. The difficulty of enforcing laws is what keeps a lot of laws from being horribly onerous burdens rather than simply being annoying inconveniences. I'm against any scheme for perfectly enforcing laws. Laws should always be tempered by human understanding.

I think Godels incompleteness theorem applies here. Laws are like a system of axioms. You cannot make a system of axioms that can in all cases separate behavior you want from behavior you don't. So making that system of axioms be enforced by the architecture is inevitably going to prevent behaviors that you don't want to prevent.

Re:No, any DRM scheme is wrong (1)

Scott Atkinson (207816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579814)

Absolutely right, and a good, concise take on the subject.

It's the failures, the holes in drm that make it habitable at all, and as it moves toward perfect, the only way to shoehorn it into the original question's conditions is to reduce what constitutes 'legitimate use.'

Scott A.

Re:No, any DRM scheme is wrong (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579926)

Exactly, DRM is intrinsically distasteful because copyright is intrinsically distasteful. The idea that the simple act of copying a number could be illegal violates any precept of common sense and propriety.

Of course (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579454)

I would support a system that enables the artists (or publishing companies) to release their works in such a way that the media can only be used by those who have acquired it legally. However, my belief is that the individuals rights (in this case fair use) should out weight the corporations, or even the artists.

Yes (1)

thehickcoder (620326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579456)

Yes, for the following reason: Any DRM would involve someone else having control over what a piece of hardware that I own could and could not do. I paid for it, I should be the one deciding what it should and should not do.

DRM is like a car that is speed-limited at 65 mph. It can go faster, but it just refuses to. Nobody wants that.

a fantastic analogy (4, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579462)

If 1 in 100 people does something bad with a gun, we all still get guns. If 1 in 100 people (probably less actually) illegaly copies and uploads or sells a movie or song, we all get super restrictive DRM. Apparently greed is more important than safety.

Re:a fantastic analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579736)

just so you know, In Many places Guns are "super restricted". not the best analogy you've got going on here.

Re:a fantastic analogy (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579838)

They are still restricted in an "illegal" way. "Shall Not Be Infringed" somehow means "but only if we TOTALLY infringe" to some people who can't read that the 2nd Amendment is talking about militias in the context as the free people's will to protect themselves from aggressors foreign and domestic.

Re:a fantastic analogy (0, Offtopic)

KenAndCorey (581410) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579998)

I don't remember my country having a 2nd Amendment. You must be thinking that United States == Whole World.

Re:a fantastic analogy (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579804)

That is a horrible analogy.

If 1 in a 100 people were doing something bad with a gun you can bet your ass we would have martial law declared.

Almost everybody I know has copied something illegally at some point in their lives.

Re:a fantastic analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579946)

Sadly, at this point in time I'm glad I'm getting old and will be dead soon, because _EVERYTHING_ is becoming about greed. _NOTHING_ELSE_ matters. And that is a truly sad statement about our time.

Re:a fantastic analogy (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580022)

That statement has been made by old men since the beginning of time. There is nothing special about our time.

Worthless question (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579472)

That is a worthless mental exercise as there is no way that DRM can be there and it not be 'in the way'.

By definition DRM would cause issues with legit useage.

DRM is wrong, in any form.

Re:Worthless question (1)

Methlin (604355) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579628)

Not only that, it assumes that any DRM scheme could actually work. The "consumer" is always in possession of the protected content and the keys to unlock it.

Re:Worthless question (1)

sxtxixtxcxh (757736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579740)

no... by definition DRM causes issues with illegitimate usage. it's the definition of legitimacy (and the entity responsible for defining it) that is the problem.

Re:Worthless question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579744)

"That is a worthless mental exercise as there is no way that DRM can be there and it not be 'in the way'."

Silly, the post is talking about magic DRM. You know, the kind that exists only in fantasy land and fairy tales. Surely you didn't think it was DRM that could possibly be implemented by the MPAA/RIAA did you?


Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580048)

This is exactly what I was thinking. It's not just a matter of not knowing how to build such a DRM system, it's a matter of simply being impossible.

'full legitimate usage' (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579474)

I think the definition of that term needs to be explored more.

Can I sell it?

Sure, if the Reasonable Price is Zero... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579494)

I can get all the content I want for free off the Internet. So the reasonable price has to be zero, too.

DRM is ok. (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579508)

To me, there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect your stuff (movies/videogame/music/whatever).

If you could some how make a DRM scheme that did not inhibit ANY legal use of the media then I am all for it. Then again in a perfect world people would not steal from other people and there would be no need for DRM.

The only problem then is: What is the deffinition of legal use? (this is ignoring the fact that I don't think this type of DRM would be possible with out including something that is equaly intrusive)
IANAL, however what I have seen stated is that the idea of fair use is not exactly clear, and is all based on precedent (and precedent CAN be over ruled).

you don't understand (1, Flamebait)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579512)

You don't understand the motivation.

The groupthink is:
- Hate corporations
- Hate DRM
- Download all your media for free on the internet. A reasonable price is $0.

So the answer is yes. All DRM is bad unless RMS writes it and it allows us to get all our entertainment media for free on the internet. If people from corporations are maimed or killed by this DRM somehow, then Slashdot might be OK with it. As long as it runs on Linux and there's source code available.

Re:you don't understand (0, Troll)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579802)

Oooh, look at you! So brave, fighting the good fight against those copyright hating, communist loving hippie slashdotters! Man, you're a fucking hero. Truly a modern Robin Hood, fighting for those poor, helpless corporations and their downtrodden shareholders.

Read the disclaimer! (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579896)

If people from corporations are maimed or killed by this DRM somehow, then Slashdot might be OK with it.

Of course we will. Didn't you read the disclaimer? I think the GPL contains the text 'If this program kills you and/or your cat (either accidentally or intentionally), we can not be held responsible.' or something similar.

And if it doesn't, it should!

Omniscient DRM? (2, Funny)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579524)

So, basically, you're saying that if God were DRM, would we be philosophically opposed to it?

Seeing as how this is Slashdot, I think I know the answer to that one.

And in any case, if DRM were God, if it was working right, we wouldn't even know it was working at all. ;-)

Good question (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579532)

To me, no, DRM is not, in pure concept bad. But in any resonable execution given modern tech and technological interfaces, it has no choice but to be bad.

Were a DRM soltuion introduced that ONLY prevented unlawful distribution, but allowed other legitimate uses (such as format/time shifting, playing on any device that stored that could play that classification of media, etc.), without having to give all kinds of personal data to the reps, or carry around large quantities/weights/volumes of DRM gagetry with you... then yes, it would be perfectly acceptable.

not gonna happen.

No. (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579540)

Why should consumers be forced to waste resources that they paid for?

Seriously - while most users never come near the limits of what their computer can do, I have spent a ton of time waiting for 3d renders to finish thanks to a maxed-out CPU. Since any real enforceable DRM requires a bit of 'assistance' from hardware, that's just that many more CPU cycles (or GPU cycles, or ...? depending) wasted on DRM that I could be putting to good use.

I buy computers on a price/performance measure - how much performance per dollar can I get is my metric. Why should I be forced to accept a lowered ratio because someone else decided that I (or any given user) could, in their eyes, potentially be a dirty little copyright pirate?


Ask for the moon while you're at it (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579544)

a DRM scheme that allowed full legitimate usage (format shifting, time shifting, playback on different devices, etc.) and only blocked illicit usage (illegal copying)

If there were such a thing, maybe so. But I'd also support a medicine that cured every disease known to man without any side effects. Let me know when you come up with that, okay?

Also, while DRM itself is not necessarily distasteful, the enforcement of IP law, in its current form, really is. The penalties for breaking this ideal DRM scheme of yours (and it would be broken, count on it) should not involve jailing people for distributing CD's or suing folks who have to live in public housing into oblivion. Otherwise, it's just as evil as anything the RIAA/MPAA/BSA are pushing.

Copying Cannot be Controlled (4, Insightful)

Renegade Lisp (315687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579546)

I can't help it, but the way this question is asked, it sounds very "official" to me. As if somebody in a big media corporation or record label wanted to find out what the masses think, or some such... But nevertheless, here's my two cents:

I don't think there can be any such thing as "illegal copying". Copying is a fundamental operation of any computer, and the internet means we can copy world-wide, instantly, at zero cost. Any mechanism that tries to make this impossible is trying to set the clock back to before the internet age. As many DRM-opponents have pointed out, trying to control copying in such a world amounts to establishing a police-state, no less.

The consequence is that artists, and distributors (in whichever form we may still need them), need to be paid by other means, NOT by the number of copies they distribute, NOT bound to the act of copying.

One idea is voluntary payment (think Magnatune). Another idea is that musicians, in particular, can shift to other means of generating income, e.g. concerts, public performances.

The economy is going to change. It has to, because copying can no longer be controlled. Altogether, this is a good thing, but it can turn into a very bad thing if people try very badly to keep this from happening.

full legitimate usage (1)

needacoolnickname (716083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579548)

"full legitimate usage" is very subjective.

I am guessing this is based on what the content creator thinks and varies greatly.

It seems most people are for free stuff until they begin losing money.

No DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579564)

I wouldn't support DRM. I beleive that when I buy hardware I can do what I like with it, I think there should be a push to more open and modifiable hardware. So much of our digital devices could avoid obsolesence and be given more power beyond the manufacturers original intent for the device simply by allowing third parties to develop and distribute free software intended for the device. From a practical stand point, DRM is messy, it's requirements for the use of media, including using only approved propriatary and over priced devices seems to me to be completely against the "open" ethos that so many of us embrace. I don't think the push for "open" devices, software, and standards is in the least bit overrated, it gives the consumer more power of the devices they purchase, if the sacrafice for those privledges is the inability to play media by short-sighted content distributors, so be it, eventually those companies will either come around, or we'll make do without their material.

There's a difference? (1)

Shadowplay00 (1042912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579576)

After years of 99.9% OSS usage, I now find myself banging my head against commercial software restrictions, licensing schemes, etc. To hell with Stallman's principles, I want my easy-to-deploy-and-manage OSS back!

it depends (1)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579578)

I agree with the previous poster that its use or disuse should be up to the artist. That said, I personally refuse to BUY anything which is DRM'd.

I believe DRM is fine for rental systems or subscription music where you lose your rights to the music when you stop paying the subscription.

But if I BUY something, I expect it to become mine. DRM as a concept prohibits this- I do not have control over what I buy so it is not mine. I don't mind watermarking or somehow identifying my copy uniquely as long as it does not impact the quality of the product. But if I pay for something, I expect to own it. Just as someone who buys a car expects to be able to change their own oil, or junk it or sell it for parts- I expect to be able to copy/backup the file as I see fit and play it on any device i damn well choose to. DRM is fundamentally incompatible with this.

So short answer- yes I would pay for DRM subscription content like rhapsody. But NO, I would not pay for DRM music that I 'Buy'.

Stupid question. (5, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579586)

I hate these impossible hypothetical questions. Technical solutions to social issues are inherently flawed. The problem with DRM isn't the technology - it's the corrupt legislation like the DMCA, which makes it illegal to circumvent the DRM. It's utterly impossible for technology to know the difference between legal and illegal, unless you change the laws to define what's illegal based on the technology.

It's like that stupid discussion that was going around the internet about a plane on a treadmill - at the very core it's a flawed question, and just encourages idiotic discussion about meaningless "what if"s

Re:Stupid question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17580026)

It's utterly impossible for technology to know the difference between legal and illegal

that was my immediate question on reading the post: how on earth would you tell the difference between "illegal" copying and the copying that's involved in all the legal activities listed (format shifting, time shifting, playback on different devices, etc.)? what's proposed in the post is not possible because it's self-contradictory.

Yes... if they could make it reasonable... (1)

kiljoy001 (809756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579594)

I would support something like this - if it was fair. Give me a DRM scheme that allows me to register my devices (computers, players, etc.) that allows for unlimited copying & play back on devices that originally did not or cannot support it, it would be awesome. Of course such a scheme would make one song ballon up to double or triple the size of a normal mp3/aac/ogg file... but I digress...

Ver-ry distasteful, but also stupid (2, Insightful)

Yurka (468420) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579596)

DRM, in whatever form, is intrinsically self-contradictory; remember the analogy with handing someone both the lock and the key and then expecting them to only use what they've been given in the approved manner. I therefore would (and do) object to it on the grounds that it is a bloody boneheaded thing to spend efforts and money on. We've got enough stupidity in the world as it is.

That's provided, of course, that we are not talking about hardware-based DRM, but the question seems to exclude that.

There is no "good" DRM (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579602)

there is no way that DRM can be there and not be 'in the way'
Exactly right. There no way that DRM can magically determine the difference between "legal" and "illegal" copying.

Sure... (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579610)

I really don't see how anyone could object to DRM if it only prevented illegal copying.

Of course, I can't imagine a way to make it work that wouldn't be so intrusive that I wouldn't use it.

Re:Sure... (1)

Grail (18233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580008)

DRM will usually require some piece of software. That means that - for example - if you release your DRM system to support Microsoft Windows XP, the DRM will probably break (ie: not allow me to do what I am legally allowed to do) on Microsoft Windows Vista. Or what if the DRM system is a Universal Binary today, then in three years time Apple changes platform to UltiProcessor, and the DRM system no longer works on the UltiProcessor?

Some people will suggest a system where we pay a copy tax on blank media. This benefits noone but the big corporations - the small artists who will be proportionally copied more will not get the royalties they're due from the system. People who use their blank media for data backups or recording their own original work will be punished, and in the end the only people who get the money are the artists in the top 40 and the various publishing houses that support them (not to mention the people doing the job of collecting and distributing the copy tax).

I don't know exactly. What do you think? (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579616)

Is DRM Intrinsically Distasteful?
Would a monitor and speed regulator on your car be Intrinsically Distasteful?
Would a monitor that reports your TV viewing habits to the govt. be Intrinsically Distasteful?
Would a monitor that only allows you to buy certain foods be Intrinsically Distasteful?
Would a police force that inspects your home every day to ensure that you are not harboring criminals be Intrinsically Distasteful?
Would a monitor that ensures you don't cook microwave food on the bbq be Intrinsically Distasteful?
This list can go on for a long time...

Yes, it IS Intrinsically Distasteful?

The question is contradictory (3, Insightful)

Richard_J_N (631241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579624)

Unfortunately, DRM that allows for fair use and for copyright expiration isn't even theoretically possible. Also, even if the DRM rules permitted every reasonable use they could think of, some future development in technology would be sure to clash with it.

Yes - DRM is ridiculous (2, Insightful)

Red_Foreman (877991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579626)

At the end of the day, if you can hear it, you can record it, and if you can see it, you can videotape it. It might not be a "perfect digital copy", but neither is a lossy format like OGG or MP3.

Besides, the lack of quality doesn't seem to bother people downloading torrents of a movie some clown recorded with a camcorder, complete with audience noise.

DRM is a waste of resources that only annoys the legal users of the media.

The real pirates will find work around. Hardware DRM? Yeah, right, because no one hacks hardware with a soldering iron.

If Frogs Had Wings... (2, Insightful)

MyHair (589485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579636)

This question is analagous to "if frogs had wings, would they still bump their butts on the ground?"

Intellectual property is an intangible construct. I don't see much point in discussing "if if if...." Ultimately there is no utopian DRM implementable. Heck, humans can't agree on value can an algorithm do better?

DRM is alot like the Justice System (1)

master_kaos (1027308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579642)

To me, DRM resembles the Justice system. It initially started out with good intent - I.E protect the artists (ok ok.. so the label company) to make sure they get their money. However, they kept adding and adding more crap to it, that now all it does is harm the innocent and "protect" the guilty. Any "criminal" can easily still get the songs illegally and hassle free. However the innocent who go out and buy the CD has major compatiblity issues to deal with, rootkits (as in Sonys case), and whatever other crap the record labels decide to infest the CD with. All they are accomplishing is wasting more of their money for R&D and implementing DRM then they save. Pirates will never be stopped. The only people they stop are the complete ammatures who might try to copy their friends cd, but you dont need full blown DRM for that, just implement basic copy protection.

The real answer (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579670)

"If digital media was available for sale at a reasonable price, "

If good quality content is available at a fair price, people will buy it and there is no need for DRM.

In a perfect world, sure (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579680)

Assuming that I could copy, watch, manipulate, change formats, watch on different media players or do whatever I wanted to with (it is mine, after all!) except for distribute illegally. Of course I would support it!

Of course, this is a pipe dream. Even if all players took a thumb-print to make sure I was the true owner, but allowed me to do all the stuff listed above, I would still need to buy multiple copies of whatever so that my wife and kids could enjoy it without me there to swipe my thumb!

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579686)

Why are format, time, and device shifting considered legitimate uses? There was a time when DRM technology prevented most illegitimate copying, and that was at some point before the invention of the mimeograph, when one would need to own a full printing press and would have to spend time typesetting to copy a book, making any sort of bootlegging or sharing rather obvious. There was nothing impractical about that, it was simply reality, and if anyone disagreed with it and felt they should be able (and allowed) to easily make a copy, then they were simply flouting the principle of copyright protection.

So what's any different now? If you think you should be allowed to infringe copyright just because it's easier, then you must not understand the reason for the institution of copyright, i.e. providing a limited right of ownership as an incentive for making creative works available to the public, rather than keeping them under tight private control.

Assumed guilt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579692)

The problem with DRM, like many things in this country lately, is that you are assumed to be guilty by default.

This Scheme Already Exists (1)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579708)

...a DRM scheme that allowed full legitimate usage (format shifting, time shifting, playback on different devices, etc.) and only blocked illicit usage (illegal copying)

This DRM scheme already exists, and is fairly easy to implement. It happens to be called the "honor system" [] .

The honor system is very inexpensive to use, and requires virtually zero disk space. It is multi-platform and very easy to extend.

Unfortunately, the "honor system" tends to be extremely easy to circumvent. The weakness with the "honor system" is that it relies on end users to respect the wishes of the content creators.

That could work, but... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580030)

The weakness with the "honor system" is that it relies on end users to respect the wishes of the content creators.
This is the big one.. it means that the content creators have to earn the respect of the end users. Produce content that people feel is worth paying for, in a format that isn't designed to work against them, at a price they are willing to pay. Encourage some local band who produces genuine art rather than forcing your latest pre-fab lip-synch act down everyone's throats. Come up with a new and interesting movie rather than just pulling something out of the vaults to remake with minimal effort. Quit directing your wares to the lowest common denominator, and quit treating your talent and your consumers like lukewarm shit. And for pity's sake, stop suing grannies, children, and dead people.

Of course, the powers that be would rather just throw more money at enforcing their immoral rules and bullying people into giving them money they claim to be entitled to, and continue business as usual. Much less of a perceived hassle for them. And that is why the **AA and the like are hemorrhaging relevance by the hour.

Inherently impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579722)

"DRM scheme that allowed full legitimate usage (format shifting, time shifting, playback on different devices, etc.) and only blocked illicit usage (illegal copying)"

Yeah, good luck with that inventing of artificial intelligence there.

Future practical uses (1)

Knetzar (698216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579730)

How can you know all the future practical uses?
Also, how can a computer tell the difference between legal and illegal copying? Will the computer know that I have 15 different music playing devices in my house and that I tend to have bad luck with harddrives so I have an offsite backup of the content(in addition to multiple onsite backups)?

Personally, I like the idea of watermarking music. It doesn't prevent anything, but it stops people that legally buy music from casual copying and it makes it easy to identify if music originated from a legal source or not.

"illegal Copying" (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579754)

In quotes, for a reason.

In my jurisdiction, we pay a media tariff. As a benefit we have a personal copying priviledge.

Now, it would have been "illegal" to copy music for friends before the personal copying provision was put into place. Currently, this provision does not extend to videos or audio books (for two examples).

Let's say that a personal copying provision is put into place for videos. How does DRM get retracted now that it is legal to copy? At that point, it is still either not possible or very difficult to copy the material.

An example closer to home -- I just tried to copy a CD that was "copy protected". Wasn't possible (with the software in place). I guess the "DRM" worked, right? But it was perfectly my right to do what I tried to do. Interesting that the CD had purchased after the personal copy provision was made law.

Just Saying

(In answer to the question -- DRM is always bad).

no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579768)

point me to a drm'd solution that accomodates all future hardware/software and every possible use that falls under fair use - and i'll point you to a drm that isn't a drm.

Copyright is intrinsically distasteful.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579772)

DRM is the automatic enforcement of copyright (and then some).

Therefore DRM is also intrinsically distasteful.


Man, who is asking? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579780)

Why does this entire thread sound like someone trying to ask the right question? It sounds like "what would we need to say to make it sound like you were in favour of DRM so we could use this in a position paper?"

As long as I can buy my CD, NOT have any fscking software installed on a PC I play it from (yes, I mean you Sony), play it in my stereo and my car, and rip it to whatever format I like to use the tracks how I like, I will buy the product. If your DRM impedes any of those things, then I'm not interested.

I own a couple hundred CDs, all legitimately bought, all by non-mainstream artists -- I buy my CDs so I can be sure the artists whose music I really like will keep making more. I expect to be able to make mixes, populate my ipod, bring tracks to work on my laptop and listen to them, and (ideally) put the original CD away for safe keeping after I've made my MP3s from it, or put it in my CD changer again when I've not heard the album in a while.

I'm not really willing to budge on any of that as a requirement of what I can do with my music. I have no interest in any model in which I can't do such things, nor in any model in which someone figures they get an ongoing revenue stream from me. I buy a lot of CDs, stop treating me like I'm ripping you off, cause I'm not.

Well, that's my 2 cents for a Friday afternoon. :-P

I don't know enough to say yet... (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579792)

In this hypothetical case...

Can I make backups? (And as others have asked, how can it tell my intent?)
Is it dependent on some piece of hardware that might break, or is proprietary?
If the company owning it disappears, am I SOL?

Yes- sort of (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579818)

Its more complex than everyone makes it seem. DRM is annoying and is getting more so (my itunes purchase won't play in my car cd mp3 player without jumping through hoops). DVDs are adding more copy protections etc. Nothing more annoying than having to jump through more hoops to get the stuff you paid good money for to play on the device of your choosing.

However the alternative is []

and bootlegs are everywhere. Maybe if they didn't charge close to 20$(in Mexico) a CD people would be more apt to buy them legit. Its completely out of control when ps games are like 3$ US and 2-3 movies per DVD is common. This is such a small scale compared to the bootlegging on the internet (although I'd bet a lot of these things are downloaded before sold).

But being the good consumers/capitalist we're trained to look for as cheap as possible, more so than thinking about all the people who worked on the media who need jobs and a paycheck. Ultimately if it gets bad enough look for much less variety in what gets released.

I understand what DRM is trying to do, but ultimately people will want the format that is cheaper and more flexible. Basic economics indicate they'll have to step up enforcement of illegal activity, there is no economic advantage to being honest and supporting what you like in todays society.

I'd Support DRM If... (1)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579822)

I would support DRM if it allowed for fair use and was an open format of some sort, that developers could implement for free. I really don't know what kind of DRM that would be though.

I really think piracy needs to be prevented through law enforcement, not technology. Similar to traffic tickets. It would limit (but not eliminate) piracy, while at the same time bringing in revenue to be used for education or something. Don't fine a DVD pirate $250,000 or whatever. Charge em $100 or something, but do it much more often.

It really could work.

I would absolutely support it (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579830)

"If digital media was available for sale at a reasonable price, but subject to a DRM scheme that allowed full legitimate usage (format shifting, time shifting, playback on different devices, etc.) and only blocked illicit usage (illegal copying), would you support the usage of such a DRM scheme?


The problem is, such a DRM system is impossible.

Why? Because in many cases, the question of Fair Use depends as much on the intent of the copying as on the nature of the copying itself. How can the DRM system determine whether the clip I'm exctracting from a movie is going to be used for non-commercial, educational use, or if I'm going to combine it with a bunch of other extracted clips to make a complete DRM-free copy of the movie which I'll proceed to sell on the black market?

Unless the DRM system can read the user's mind it can't reliably distinguish between allowed and non-allowed uses.

Aside from those complexities, there's still the issue that any "tight" DRM system will, of necessity, be limited to playback devices that support that DRM system. If I have an audio player that *only* supports CD audio or MP3 format (and I do -- there are lots of them around), any DRM system that allows me to format shift for playback on that device is going to leak like a sieve, so content providers aren't going to want to use it. Not with high-quality versions of the content, anyway.

Leaky DRM is pointless. Strong DRM inevitably restricts copying that is allowed under copyight law, and is therefore evil. There can be no such thing as a truly workable DRM system.

Begging the question (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579864)

> "If digital media was available for sale at a reasonable price, but subject to a DRM scheme that allowed full legitimate usage (format shifting, time shifting, playback on different devices, etc.) and only blocked illicit usage (illegal copying), would you support the usage of such a DRM scheme? Especially if it meant a wealth of readily available compatible devices? In other words, if you object to DRM schemes, is your objection based on principled or practical concerns?"

This is a classic example of begging the question [] .

The ability to shift formats, shift time, play back on different devices, "etc", is indistinguishable from "illegal copying". The question is based upon the incorrect premise that the two things are distinguishable.

Consequently, my objection to DRM is based on both philosophical and practical terms.

I object on philosophical grounds because there exists no such device.

I object on practical grounds because any device that purports to "allow full legitimate usage but ... block illicit usage" is a device that does not allow full legitimate usage.

The root of your problem is the notion of "legitimate" and "illegitimate" versus "copying", "playback", and so on. The former terms are terms of law; they are defined by lawyers and enforced by men with guns. The latter terms are descriptions of functionality; they are defined by the laws of physics and mathematics, which are enforced by the universe itself.

What happens when the system breaks down? (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579876)

DRM is intrinsically time-limited. Eventually one of three things will happen:

  • The copyright on the content will expire.
  • Copyright law will change.
  • The authentication service will shut down.

A "perfect" DRM will have to adjust to changes in copyright status, which means it'll have to be able to do things like pick up the fact that a work has entered the public domain, or the copyright has been extended. That means it has to contact some authentication service. But we've seen from the DIVX fiasco that there are risks to relying on some outside service to authorize the use of your own equipment and media. DIVX discs are unplayable not because they've stopped making players. If you can find a working Betamax VCR, you can still play Beta tapes. DIVX discs are unplayable because the service that confirmed you had enough sessions left to play the disc, or charged you for playing it again, is gone.

I would! (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579884)

I'd be happy to, if I had any money left over from buying a perpetual motion machine.

DRM, and why I despise it (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579908)

I liken DRM to the locks on my house: they keep the honest man honest.

If someone wants to "steal" music, movies, tv shows, whatever, they will. No amount of copy protection is going to stop them.

Tapes, CD's, DVD's, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, XP Authentication, Serial Numbers...doesn't matter. If someone wants to get something for nothing, they will find a way regardless of how much time, effort, or money you put into trying to stop them.

However, the honest man who won't do any of these things...well, what does it matter if his stuff is "locked"? I mean, after all...if someone isn't going to enter my house uninvited, then the locks on my doors and windows are meaningless.

Yes, people change, and yes everyone who "steals' media starts somewhere...but still, you get my point. The only thing DRM (and things like it) does is inflate the cost of things for people that plan on legally purchasing it anyway. The people that plan on not obtaining it legally...well, you can finish that sentance.

Galactic Civilization II is a PERFECT example. Shipped with ZERO protection on it, it still managed to sell many thousands of copies...if you perused their forums around the time of it's released, many cited the reason they bought it was SOLEY because it shipped with no copy protection, and they support that idea.

Music corporations (and movie studios, for that matter) will NEVER return to the days where they had total control over how people obtained their media and what they do with it. The honest people will do the exact same thing they did years ago, and the non-honest people will always find a way around it. A waste of time, money, and effort.

Non-possible DRM so non-possible answer (1)

markk (35828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579924)

I don't think that Digital Restrictions as defined in the topic are possible in the real world. You would have to be able to mind read to only stop illegal copying without also stopping legitimate copying. So I don't think it is a well formed question (as my Quantum Mechanics professor used to tell me) and there is no viable answer. I don't think there should be any government support - broadcast flag, mandates on equipment, DMCA type reverse engineering guidelines, etc. that stop me from doing whatever I want with data in my possession. I don't really care If there is DRM outside of this as long as there is no monopolistic forcing off the market of tools designed to get around it. For example I don't mind Apples DRM as long as CD burning is there, and as long as there is a Hymn type program.

It's not possible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17579966)

I'll go along with this, and suppose that it's theoretically possible to prevent only "illegal" copying (disregarding that a perfect system which "knows" whether or not my use is fair is impossible to create). One problem is that the definition of "illegal" is not set in stone. Do I need to buy a new player when rights I previously are taken away by paid-off politicians? If I wish to defy an unreasonable law, does the device prevent that? What if I travel to another country, where the laws are different; does the device allow me to do things which are perfectly legal there? Does the device delete music I legally got in one country when I bring the device into another country in which those copies are illegal?

practical concerns (1)

llZENll (545605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579970)

I wouldn't care if everything used DRM if it required zero extra time, no resources, allowed for fair use, and was fully compatible. Being a software developer I know this is almost impossible though. Unless you fully control the entire system and software (ie XBOX 360, iTunes and iPod) it is near impossible to implement, this is why DRM is unacceptable in most cases. Even if you have a closed system DRM is still very hard (ie XBOX 1, PS3).

we need to do what china does (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579974)

operating under the assumption that drm is a tool for enforcing copyright, then drm should be flaunted, destroyed, ignored. on the principle that there is a better way

in china, copyright is openly flaunted. enoforcement, if it is any, seems laughably inadequate

musicians make money via advertisements or concert tickets only

no middle man at all

what crazy world is this?

whatever you call it, it's absolutely superior to the stifling copyright system in the west

the copyright system in the west has overreached. it was intended to foster innovation by rewarding content creators. that's the original point

however, in the west it is now just a tool for rewarding the middleman. he stiffs the content creator

content creators deserve financial reward: concerts and endorsements. that's their financial reward. it's not jay-z millions. but that's not the point: content creators deserve a compfortable life. but they don't deserve billions. their grandchildren don't deserve money every time someone plays happy birthday. that's patently insane (pardon the pun). and yet it is the law of land in the west. ridiculous

for content creators, i thought the point was love of music? musicians create music only to make money? i don't want to listen to any musician who does that, do you? so the creator deserves cushy upper middle class rewards from endorsements and concerts. what's wrong with that life? you still have the fame, the adoring chicks. just not jay-z millions. oh well, the golden age is over

and middlemen deserve absolutely nothing. in the age of vinyl/ cds, they controlled the means of distribution, so they got something, a lot, no matter what they actually deserved. but in the age of the internet, they've been made obsolete. so they should die

and they are dying. but like any dumb dinosaur, it doesn't realize it is dying, it's a lot of struggling surging animal flesh that takes out bystanders, and it will go out fighting. fine. just avoid the thrashing tail of the dying beast, the day will come when it thrashes no more. and soon

and it has no absolutely no meaning what laws are passed or what drm is in place. the internet was designed to route around damage due to nuclear blast. western culture, those who want music, it's poor, motivated, intelligent youth, they will find away to route around the "damage" to the internet that is drm

make all the laws you want. common sense will prevail. just like china has to honor ridiculous western notions of ridiculously long and stifling copyright for economic reasons. in the halls of beijing, they pay the bullshit lip service. but on the streets of hong kong, common sense prevails

What are your values? (1)

hindumagic (232591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579982)

For me, it can be summarized that once I buy something, it should be mine to do as I please with it within the law. It is unnacceptable that someone can control what I can do with something that I own.

If I buy a shovel, I can use it any way I want - even to hammer nails with it. Of course, I don't bash people over the head with it. I don't need someone to stop me from hitting others with a shovel and there are obvious repercussions if I ever did so. This is called responsibility, and when you give it to people, they feel empowered and generally respect it.

The exact same prinicples apply to software, media, and any electronic devices that use various "lock-in" schemes (Sony, Apple, Microsoft, etc). When you respect me as a customer, I'll respect you as a company.

Principled and practical (1)

jamienk (62492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579990)

Principled and practical concerns are as one when it comes to free speech. The technology is at the point that any DRM requires all kinds of supporting laws that stop people from using art (music, video, books, etc) in creative and natural ways. Sampling and mashups might be considered "illegal" as is sharing an e-book in the same way you'd share a paper book (except on a larger, easier, and simultaneous scale). Who knows what I might want to do with a recording? Add it to the film I'm making? Overdub my own backup vocals? Give it to my friends so they can play it at the club they own? Use it to generate a random number? Use it as the theme song for my political campaign? And I'm sure that 6 billion people could come up with at least 10 other (even more interesting) ways to use the song in question.

When copyright was written into the US Constitution, in effect an exception was carved out to Free Speech. The benefits of Free Speech to society were generally understood (see John Stewart Mill) but it was thought that the arts, sciences, and culture could benefit more by this limited form of censorship. Whether those early thinkers were right or not is open to debate (I myself think the arts and sciences would have been more fruitful with no copyright), it is clear that times have changed and that now the restrictiveness required far outweighs any benefits. In fact, if the system is meant to put money in the hands of artists and scientists, it is doing a very bad job (with a few extreme exceptions).

Physical Metaphor (1)

Misagon (1135) | more than 7 years ago | (#17579992)

I believe that for DRM to "work" (on all so many levels), then the key will be to implement a metafor of a physical object.
Let's imagine that there is a virtual world parallel to ours, in which these digital objects (DRM'ed files) live, and that your PC and your portable media players are only interfaces into that world.
If you own a record in the real world, then you can play it, skip tracks, move it, sell it, lend it to your friends etc..
Similiarly, if you own a record in the virtual world, then you should be to play it, skip tracks, move it, sell it, lend it your friends etc. in the virtual world - using your PC and/or portable media player.
I think this is a model that both the industry and the public could agree on using.

Another problem is the volatility of digital objects. We are so used to our apps crashing, files getting lost etc. that we do not value digital files as much as physical objects. If something is important then we want hardcopy! People are ready to pay for hardcopy, but not for digital files. DRM'd files need to feel safe, and be safe.

Would you buy a car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17580000)

...wich always only could drive at the max. allowed speed on the road ? It would in fact be more logical to do that, than to implement drm wich only harm some rich peoples pockets.
We do not need drm and it should not be nessessary, if it is there is something wrong somewhere... one thing that is wrong is the price tag on CD's and DVD's, another thing is that people don't consider piracy as wrongdoing. I overheard a funny conversation in the train this morning, a couple were talking about something, he said: "but this is against the law, they shouldn't be allowed to do that...", to wich she responded: "Just like the music you've downloaded for the new years party ?", there were a very long silence...

A scheme cannot be created (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580010)

It's not the concept of weapons of mass destruction that's a problem. Were there some sort of perfect weapon of mass destruction which did not destroy things on a massive scale, but instead only turned the bad guys into unicorns, it would be perfectly agreeable.

Oh, I see what you're asking (1)

straponego (521991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580018)

If something that's designed to cause things not to work never did so, and if added complexity, cost, and code never caused problems or price increases, would I...

Let me answer your question with a question. If punching yourself in the crotch didn't hurt, how much would you do it?

Purely practical. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580020)

I believe in the right of someone to "own" content they have created to the extent that I can't just download it and use it without paying "because I want to".

So if there was a "perfect" DRM scheme that let me do whatever the hell I wanted with content that I pay for, I would have no problem with DRM whatsoever. Unfortunately, this is intrinsically impossible.

Not being a SlashNerd, I still don't hate DRM as some kind of moral evil. I just don't buy it unless I can crack it, it's as simple as that.

This is a purely theoretical question. (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580028)

This question is like asking "If multinational corporations were scrupulously ethical and fairly competitive, would you support them?" or "If communism was implemented according to Marx's ideals, would you support it?".

Quite simply, such a system of "ethical DRM" would NEVER exist for longer than a few years at best-- and then they'd try to put the djinni back in the bottle.

DRM is about control. It is part of human nature that those driving efforts towards controlling that which is presently uncontrolled (e.g.: "piracy") want more and more control as time goes on-- not less and less, nor even a static amount. Over time, any reasonable system of DRM-- one which supports fair use and doesn't assume that consumers are all evil thieves-- would mutate into the typical corporate nightmare that we think of DRM as. If not something worse.

Why I don't buy online (3, Interesting)

direpath (513554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17580036)

I purchased a few CDs online a year or so back. I stopped because there just wasn't anything more that interested me at the time. I then purchased a new PC. I decided to leave my old PC as a MP3 store for myself. I loaded up Winamp and dumped the entire contents of my old PC into the playlist. Lo and behold, I got DRM warnings on all of my purchased tracks. Even though I did not copy the music to my new computer (though I had thought about doing so and clearing off my old PC for a rebuild), I was restricted. So I cannot copy to another PC, I cannot listen to on another PC. Fortunately, the tracks worked in my Dell Pocket DJ I had at the time.

I understand the why behind these tracks not working on a logical level, but it certainly left a bad taste in my mouth. I have not bought any music online since. I have bought a small amount of CDs and ripped them to my computer. I find that the industry is trying to fill every hole that their income can leak out of and in the end they are just not impressing the consumer.

Another fine example of their efforts causing more grief to the paying consumer is this:

My friend had purchased the latest Nickelback CD. He does the same as I would, rips it to his computer and adds it to his playlist. The CD would not rip. It would not even play on his laptop. Apparently, only some CD players would play this disc as it was formatted. So now he is limited in how he can enjoy the media. Needless to say, the CD hit the trash and as a result the consumer and the artist lose. He won't buy anymore Nickelback CDs because he as a consumer remembers the artist, not the record label.

DRM was a good idea, but it was implemented horribly wrong. The consumer suffers with annoying popups and warnings and flat-out denials, while the guys who the RIAA wants to nail work around it. The RIAA and the labels are doing a damn fine job of taking their own profits away from themselves...between pushing away consumers via DRM and their rampant lawsuits, I'm wondering if the jokes of the recording industry moving towards lawsuits as a primary source of income aren't just coming true.
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