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DRM — It's Not Really About Piracy 360

Posted by kdawson
from the squeezing-blood-from-silicon dept.
shadowmage13 writes "Hollywood privately admits that DRM is not really about piracy. From the article: 'In a nutshell: DRM's sole purpose is to maximize revenues by minimizing your rights so that they can sell them back to you... Like all lies, there comes a point when the gig is up; the ruse is busted. For the movie studios, it's the moment they have to admit that it's not the piracy that worries them, but business models which don't squeeze every last cent out of customers.' You can take action on Digital Restrictions Management at DefectiveByDesign of the Free Software Foundation, Digital Freedom, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation."
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DRM — It's Not Really About Piracy

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  • by packeteer (566398) <packeteer@subdim ... ion.com minus pi> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:08AM (#17626412)
    It never was about piracy. It has always been about controling your customer. The industry knows that they dont lose nearly as much through piracy as they do by not controlling their consumers. Remember a consumer is a customer with no choice.
    • Well, let's take out the recording and movie making industries, and now let us imagine that everyone who produces or would produce media can do so and does do so by themselves (without industry intermediaries.) Then imagine that there be a system that allowed the publishing artist to exactly and precisely control how their content was used and or was available so that the publishing artist could revoke something they put out there but for whatever reason now regret. What would be wrong with that? It would
      • by KDan (90353) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:59AM (#17627004) Homepage
        No, that's a completely ridiculous suggestion, for several reasons.

        1) Artists build upon other artists. Some of the best pieces of art are composites of other pieces of art (Shakespeare being the classic example). This super-DRM'ed world would contradict that fact and make it much harder for artists to do their work. It would also make it impossible to create such art forms as satire, abbreviation, etc.

        2) This system would contradict one of the basic realities of this universe: ideas are infinitely duplicable at no cost other than the medium to store them. You can have all the DRM systems in the world - if your poem appears on my screen and I memorize it or write it down, I've made a copy. I can then repost it if I feel so inclined. Trying to control the technological gateways (enforcing DRM'ed hardware, etc) is ultimately a losing battle, like fighting the ocean with a broom.

        3) Such a system, to work perfectly, would by definition require real-time, detailed monitoring of everyone's activities that have anything to do with so-called "intellectual property". Apart from the huge technical challenge that this would represent (can you even imagine any IT company implementing this when they can't even create a centralised system of patient records without screwing up - see NHS PfIT), this would be a huge infringement on everyone's privacy. Or rather, it would be a complete eradication of the very concept of privacy.

        Daniel
        • by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:31AM (#17627150)
          Some of the best pieces of art are composites of other pieces of art (Shakespeare being the classic example).
          You clearly haven't seen his work in the original Klingon.
        • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:42AM (#17627216) Homepage
          1) Artists build upon other artists. Some of the best pieces of art are composites of other pieces of art (Shakespeare being the classic example). This super-DRM'ed world would contradict that fact and make it much harder for artists to do their work. It would also make it impossible to create such art forms as satire, abbreviation, etc.

          DRM in now way stops artists from building upon the ideas of other artists (copyright may stop this with the extreme measures it has been extended to, but not DRM). Shakespeare did not need to be able to make an exact quality of copy of other artists' works to build off of them. Neither did any of the musicians in history need to be able to make an exact copy of something they heard to use it and build off of it. The idea of art building off of arts means that artists hear/see what other artists have done and use it for inspiration, not that they make an exact copy of it. Artists have never needed to be able to make exact duplicates of other's work to find inspiration from other's work in the past anymore than they do now.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by shaitand (626655)
            True. DRM simply stops the purchaser of content from excercising their fair use rights. Like using the content on different devices, making backup copies in case media gets scratched, etc.
        • by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @10:36AM (#17628176)
          0) If I bloody pay for this piece of shite that this so-called artist created, *I* decide when, where and how I use it. It's sold, it's mine, my copy is no longer owned by the creator and he'd better keep his hands from it. The only thing I am not allowed to do is copy it in order to give it to someone else, that's the only right the artist retains.
      • by nschubach (922175) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:00AM (#17627012) Journal
        Then imagine that there be a system that allowed the publishing artist to exactly and precisely control how their content was used and or was available so that the publishing artist could revoke something they put out there but for whatever reason now regret. What would be wrong with that? It would be total control in the hand of an artist. Afterall, it is their work. Why not give them ultimate control?
        I always hated this argument. The reason being, no other industry works this way. When you buy your next car, does your dealer tell you that you can only drive it for three years and you cannot let more than 3 people drive it? (Leasing not included)

        Sure, I'll give you the argument that you can't copy [or clone] a car (yet) but to let the originator decide exactly how their product will be played or not played is exactly what I don't want.

        Don't buy the car analogy because they are in a different price bracket? Let's aim lower. Greeting Cards. You aren't given explicit instructions with your greeting card and told that you have to give the Happy Birthday card on your kid's birthday, and that day alone. You can buy the card and use it for any occasion if you want. It's always fun to give condolence cards for births, birthdays, or even weddings. :)
        • by hesiod (111176) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @10:28AM (#17628070)
          > Greeting Cards. You aren't given explicit instructions with your greeting card

          Even though they don't tell you this, most greeting card text is copyrighted by the person who wrote it or the company that paid for it to be written. You cannot, for instance, legally make your own greeting cards that use the text from existing cards, just with different pictures.
      • by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:13AM (#17627088) Journal
        Would that be too much control in the artists' hands? It'd be like it was before technology, in the sense that the artist'd control all aspects of their fruits. Their fruits lived and died with them. the audience never had ownership of the artists' work. They only had the pleasure and priviledge to listen, see and enjoy in the moment.

        Art != Music (Whether or not music, especially contemporary music, is even a subset of art is a matter of opinion). Some of the greatest works of art in history were done 'for hire'.

        Unless you want to see an end to persistent recordings, you're advocating the same sort of BS "have thier cake and eat it too" setup we have now, except instead of some industry suits reaping the cash, it's the artist himself. If I buy a painting, I expect the right to put it on my bathroom wall, wipe my mouth on it, or have my picture taken in front of it. Same for a recording. If I want to listen to it in my cd-less car stereo, on my Neuros, or on my GP2X, I'm going to. I expect to control my own purchase.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tomstdenis (446163)
          Whether or not music, especially contemporary music, is even a subset of art is a matter of opinion

          While I fully acknowledge there is some shite music/art/performance work out there, I should note that EVERY single generation has hated the art that comes after them.

          My parents don't listen to Green Day/Pumpkins/Oasis/etc, and I don't usually appreciate the "make a star diva" crap that seems to be more rampant than normal today (e.g. Kelly Clarkson can kiss my ass, stupid no talent digitally enhanced ass clow
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by tkrotchko (124118) *
            "My parents don't listen to Green Day/Pumpkins/Oasis/etc"

            Well no wonder... these bands haven't had a new album out in years.
        • by Ash Vince (602485) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @10:41AM (#17628244) Journal
          These problem all reall stemmed from the Compact Disk and it replacing vinyl.

          We all happily went out and rebought our existing music collection on CD as it was alot more convenient than LP's. And in the process we generated a constant revenue stream as stuff was gradually re-issued. The problem is that this is now coming to an end for the record companies as they have re-released almost everything. They have certainly run out of the stuff with serious mass appeal.

          So they now have to look for a new way of extracting similar revenues that they have grown used to over the last 15 years out of a back catalog which most of us already own, possibly in more than one format. The problem is that they have already made it about as convenient as it needs to be and the quality is mostly there as well (Vinyl have better infrasonic performance).

          So rather than try and go back to surviving off the revenues they get from new releases which would result in a huge drop in profits they need an alternative. Without an alternative the problems would be very far reaching. The stock market is used to constant revenue growth. If profits fall it is far worse for a company than if they had never risen in the first place, expecially if the fall is not likely to be temporary. This is frequently what drives companies under if they are unable to downsize quickly enough.

          So faced with this dilemma the media publishing companies must find a way to keep the boon of the CD years going, and being that they didnt reinvest those record profits very wisely in new content production this is going to difficult. So they are choosing to try and keep the boom of the CD going by constantly selling us a new copy of stuff we already own indefinately.

          If you contrast this with companies like BP (who sell Oil) you see that they have invested their profits much more wisely. BP are now the worlds largest producer of solar panels and have started describing themselves as an energy company rather than an oil company.

          In a single phrase, "Diversify to survive".
          • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:00PM (#17631804) Homepage

            Huh... that seems very obvious, but I've never thought of that before. When you first said the problem originated with CDs, I assumed you meant because it was the first digital medium available to consumers, and therefore the first to allow duplication without degradation of sound quality, which allowed better "piracy".

            But, if I can try to sum up your post, you're suggesting that CDs were the first new medium that offered significant improvement to cause consumers to re-buy the music they already owned. Therefore, the copyright owners grew dependant on the revenue stream of people re-buying their works, in spite of the fact that they already owned copies. Now that people are done replacing their records with CDs, record companies are trying to devise a new way to force consumers to continually re-buy a product in order to maintain that revenue stream.

            That sounds right to me. It seems like the intention is to get you to buy a new copy of each song for every new device you buy. One works with iPods, a different one with your Zune, yet another for your PlayForSure device, and a fourth for your cell phone. This also seems to be the intention with HD DVD media. People have finally replaced their VHS tapes with DVDs, and now they expect you to replace your DVDs with HD.

            To me, it seems worth noting the obvious: this is not what copyright law was meant for.

      • by Saint Fnordius (456567) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:26AM (#17627134) Homepage Journal
        Your argument falls flat when you take the print media into account. That is, unless you consider all technology and not just modern audio/video storage methods. Remember, copyright and publishing rights laws date back to the invention of the printing press.

        Artists have always been at the mercy of their patrons. Whether it was aristocrats contracting compositions or keeping musicians on retainer, or writers accepting a commission to write a penny dreadful. Artists were often paid in advance.

        There's also that dumb, dumb dream that you can take back what you said, or at least prevent it from being preserved for posterity. Much like how Tom Hanks tried to kill all reruns of Bosom Buddies, or how some composers like Richard Wagner tried to forbid others from playing their operas. Even your post here is now beyond your control.

        Today, musicians earn more by playing concerts than by cutting albums. Most of the budding stars only make an album as a way of improving their image. Groups are discovering that non-DRM'ed music on the internet is an excellent way to generate interest.

        No, the problem with studios is that they have grown accustomed to being the gatekeeper, and charging ruinous rates for using their distribution channels and production equipment. They are already losing control of production exclusivity. Now they are losing control of distribution. It's all about staving off the inevitable.
      • by indifferent children (842621) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:20AM (#17627458)
        If there were a total artist control type of rights management this idiot could retrieve (forever extinghuish the existence) the now-regrettable work posted to the Internet.

        Unfortunately for DRM to really work, and based on industry attempts so far, the analogy of being able to 'revoke' a post from a webhost falls short. Rather, DRM requires that the content creator has a back-door into your desktop computer that will let them erase the text of their comment that you have cut-and-pasted and any screenshots of their post that you might have made.

        I don't object to an artist being able to remove a song from their own download service. But their right to control file access stops at the edge of my machine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by walt-sjc (145127)

        Imagine an idiot posts something he or she later regrets to the web. It's foreseable that some of them would wish to recall/revoke/delete what they posted to the Internet. Today there is no way to put the "genie" back inthe bottle. If there were a total artist control type of rights management this idiot could retrieve (forever extinghuish the existence) the now-regrettable work posted to the Internet.

        Imagine that you as a consumer PAID for a copy of that work, and then a week later found that you can no lo
    • ...at least in this business. Who makes you buy HD-DVD or online music? If you buy it, you're doing so because- despite DRM- it's worth it to you. Now, on the other hand, if the music industry charged you more for DRM-less media, would you be happier in the long run? (Whether or not they'd need to is debatable, but that's not the question.)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Ah, but therein lies the flaw in your statement. I *know* I would pay more for DRM'less media, but no-one offers me the option between cheaper/DRM/crippled/low-bitrate audio and the same song but more expensive/non-crippled/non-DRM'd/high bitrate IF THEY OFFERED IT, solely for the reason of telling the industry just how pissed off I am at DRM. But they don't offer it. And I know that I can help change their minds by voting with my chequebook - the entertainment industry DOES understand what consumers want t
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kelbear (870538)
          It's not really a cartel, it's more of a highly differentiated product. The differentiation is such that it grants them monopoly powers. You want Britney spears? Well, if you don't like the DRM, then here, listen to some Jack Johnson. There's lots of different kinds of music out there, but there's not always in direct competition since you're not looking to buy a song, you're looking to buy a specific song, and they have monopoly power in that situation since others can't offer you what you want.

          The thing i
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283)
      It has always been about controling your customer.

      The only problem is they over did it. Customers are looking for MP3's to play on a variety of devices such as flash players, DVD players, car stereos, and such.

      I've been calling DRM incompatible by design. The over doing the DRM has about cratered. all formats in digital music except MP3 and iTunes.
    • by samkass (174571)
      This article summary is incomplete, as the submitter forgot to take their obligatory pot-shot at Apple.

      I think it's pretty disingenuous to say that DRM isn't about piracy. The fact that it has other advantages for the industry down the road isn't going to matter a lot to a business that survives on quarter to quarter revenues. Of course it's about piracy! And the original Napster's popularity proved it's necessary for the current music industry's distribution model to succeed electronically. You can arg
    • by aplusjimages (939458) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:07AM (#17627370) Journal
      But Ben Affleck says the reason his movie Dare Devil or Gigli didn't make a lot of money is because of piracy. Piracy is bad for everyone from the actors (making millions) down to the guy who sells you popcorn at the movies (making hundreds). I for one say forget all those anti-DRM organizations and keep pirating these 2 great movies.
    • It was about real piracy, by the media industry and government, to rape human rights and pillage bank accounts of the unrepresented pitiful defenseless public.

      OK more spin for US, EU, UN them; All megalomania persons in industry, government, and religion demand a semiliterate servile exploitable public or at least an oppressed fearful culture of hostages suffering with mass-hysteria Stockholm syndrome (identifying with the oppressors as good, fair, and reasonable).
  • by cyclomedia (882859) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:08AM (#17626414) Homepage Journal
    Because THAT worked wonders for release timing, content control and market restrictions, didn't it.*

    *Though having a decent TV that can handle PAL and NTSC helps, in the UK they're 6 bob a throw i can tell ye!
    • by arun_s (877518) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:21AM (#17626484) Homepage Journal
      When I look at the VHS examples of long back, and the more recent DVD-region-encoding failure, it just looks like one big, sad cycle repeating itself every generation or so.
      Even if we get over the current mess (Trusted Computing, RIAA etc), it looks like as if the big media dinosaurs will never really learn to adapt. Each time a new technology pops up that threatens their stable position, they panic immediately and create a huge fuss in trying to maintain the staus quo.
      If only they weren't so powerful already, they'd probably have died off by now; replaced by smarter, quicker companies that didn't have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the new world.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by melikamp (631205)

        Even if we get over the current mess (Trusted Computing, RIAA etc), it looks like as if the big media dinosaurs will never really learn to adapt.

        True, since that's their last stand. We finally have the tools at our possession which enable us to promote and distribute digital content cheaper and more effectively than any corporation possibly could. Once they loose this battle, they are gone for good; they are aware of that, and so they are squeezing every penny out of the established customer base.

        • by Fred_A (10934) <fredNO@SPAMfredshome.org> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:32AM (#17626834) Homepage
          Once they loose this battle, they are gone for good; they are aware of that, and so they are squeezing every penny out of the established customer base.
          They won't necessarily disappear. However they will be forced to adapt and therefore to change. And nobody likes to change, especially for something that hasn't been tried before and might prove to be expensive for an unknown return.

          Something like the big studios are useful because they have the financial backing for large scale projects (in movies mostly, it's less necessary in music unless you have to heavily market something inherently worthless). If they were to die it would be problematic for that industry. The high budget films would be starved for funding. This could well translate into a decrease in quality and originality as only "safe" films would be produced.
          • If they were to die it would be problematic for that industry. The high budget films would be starved for funding. This could well translate into a decrease in fancy explosions,CGI, and "bullet time" effects as only "safe" films would be produced.

            Fixed. There's very little of 'quality' and 'originality' in movies today as is, and the MAFIAA's not dead yet. (It's just lightly stunned.)
          • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:55AM (#17627732)
            This is insightful. In addition to the big funding, quality at the user level is also an issue. The 19 inch boxes in many home sjust wont cut it for a movie with a grand vision. Lots of people can't afford nice home theater setups, but they can spend 10 bucks to see a movie at the local cineplex. As soon as a viewing venue with limited supply comes into play(the movie theater) then distribution becomes an issue.

            Though it's true that wide distribution over the internet could theoretically drive movie theaters to show an idie film, the actual practice is that distribution is difficult, even if you assume theaters are open to talking with anyone (not likely). Even if an indie film made enough money in home distribution to give theaters reason to believe they'd have a good audience, proper negotiation channels just don't exist between an indie film maker and the massive number of theaters in the country, or world even. The indie film has to partner with someone big enough to ensure the film will get a wide release.

            The internet doesn't help in this environment. With such an important distribution channel locked up tight by the big guys, the movie maker who decides to avoid the big companies will miss out on about half of his revenue stream. Considering how hard it is for movies to make money (most films are not "Star Wars"), this kind of a loss is a real problem.

            Music is a little different because bands control performances and the internet is a perfect distribution channel that doesn't require a big label. But how will people know the band exists and that new music is available? How are people going to find out what this new band sounds like? Podcasts exist now, and internet radio over wireless is at least a possibility, but which ones are the big podcasts or internet radio stations that large numbers of people listen to?

            If you want to reach an audience larger than the neighborhood bars, you need your music to be heard by large numbers of people. Although that can happen virally, viral word of mouth only works for a small number of bands and songs at a time and only really works at all for people who have buddies who like to pester them about music. If you want to get the word out about your band, you have to go to an outlet that's popular enough that lots of people will listen to it. Whatever outlet becomes becomes most popular becomes a bottleneck. Whenever a bottleneck exists, large companies are going to try to, and will usually succeed in controlling it, just like they do with radio stations now.

            Once again, a band certainly could go it alone, and I applaud those that do, but not being able to get that large listening audience is going to keep most small bands small. It will mean that labels will be able to continue to offer a very compelling service, for a very steep price, if a band wants to hit it big.

            As long as you have scarcity and revenue, you'll have big companies trying, and largely succeeding, in controlling the two. I think indies can become much larger than they are now thanks to the internet, but it's highly unlikely they'll become the dominant source of entertainment.

            TW
        • by jimicus (737525)
          Once they loose this battle, they are gone for good; they are aware of that, and so they are squeezing every penny out of the established customer base.

          They seemed fairly sure of this back when they were arguing the Sony/Betamax case.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by somersault (912633)
        Once the main distribution method is streaming off the net, then they hopefully will calm down, as the only things that will change are file formats..
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947)
        Each time a new technology pops up that threatens their stable position, they panic immediately and create a huge fuss in trying to maintain the staus quo.

        You hit the ol' nail, Arun. And the only reason they haven't yet fully succeeded is because of people like us who fight a constant running battle with them.
    • by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:24AM (#17626496) Homepage

      in the UK they're 6 bob a throw i can tell ye!

      Care to translate?

    • by zakezuke (229119)
      Because THAT worked wonders for release timing, content control and market restrictions, didn't it.*

      *Though having a decent TV that can handle PAL and NTSC helps, in the UK they're 6 bob a throw i can tell ye!


      Getting multisync TVs to be the norm would be nice, but I was under the impression that DVD players can be had for a low price which will output in pal or NTSC, or multi if you happened to have a TV which handled both. Not being in Europe, I was under the impression that pal VCRS were made to handle N
      • by Dogtanian (588974)
        No, AFAIK most modern TVs can handle 30fps, 480-line video. I think it's possible to get the DVD player to crudely convert, but this isn't always necessary. Note that the output (AFAIK) is still PAL colour-encoded; that is, the players output 30fps, 480-line PAL, not "true" NTSC.
      • by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:16AM (#17626758) Homepage

        I was under the impression that pal VCRS were made to handle NTSC by slowing down from 30 FPS to 25

        No, they just convert the colour representation to PAL and output a PAL signal at 30fps. Older TVs (and some newer cheap 14" and smaller TVs) are simple enough that this just works (with a black band top and bottom due to fewer lines on the screen) and newer TVs are designed for it, adjusting their vertical scan to fit the picture on the screen perfectly.

        Pretty much all PAL DVD players will output either PAL60 or NTSC if you put an NTSC disc in (modulo region coding issues), and all but the cheapest PAL TVs these days will handle both.

    • by aussie_a (778472)
      It did, yes. At least with games.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee (775178)
      When will the MAFFIAAA learn that if you offer people what they want, they will buy it.

      This same applies to region coding. The content is there, people want it, but they can't legally get it... guess what happens next.

      Offer them restricted media, and they'll just download and create their own unrestricted media. Offer them unrestricted media, and most people won't bother to download; they'd buy. If movie studios offered new movies for download for, say, US$ 5, who would wait for his friend to download and c
  • by AxminsterLeuven (963108) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:09AM (#17626416)
    ... "Tobacco industry privately admits smoking actually not very healthy at all."
  • RTFA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cheesey (70139) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:15AM (#17626444)
    "Hollywood privately admits that DRM is not really about piracy. From the article:

    I just read the article - there is no cited evidence that anyone from Hollywood has ever said this. It may be true, yes, and I agree with the conclusions of the article itself, but this isn't some sort of sensational scoop.

    MPAA executives have never admitted that piracy isn't the motivation for DRM. The current generation will never admit that: piracy is their excuse and they will stick to it. DRM is part of their business model and it won't go anywhere until it results in a shareholder-awakening loss of money.

    If people prefer to pirate stuff, that means the DRM is not restrictive enough to stop them. That is the only thing they'll ever tell you, and the only thing you'll hear from the media outlets that they own.
    • IRTFALITFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Macthorpe (960048) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:28AM (#17626518) Journal
      I Read The F***ing Articles Linked In The F***ing Article, and there is still no such admission from anyone.

      I do, however, also agree with the articles conclusion that DRM isn't about piracy, if only because it's so ineffective to be laughable. It's always been, and obviously so, to make the people who do spend, spend more than they should.

      Why chase people who won't buy jack, when you can shaft the people who do for more? It's less effort.
    • Re:RTFA? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:51AM (#17626634)
      MPAA executives have never admitted that piracy isn't the motivation for DRM. The current generation will never admit that: piracy is their excuse and they will stick to it. DRM is part of their business model and it won't go anywhere until it results in a shareholder-awakening loss of money.
      I'm less concerned with piracy and more concerned with the death of the used movie and music market. With DRM, how am I supposed to resell music that I've purchased to the local place that used to buy my used CDs when I was sick of them? How do I sell my DVDs when I'm tired of watching that movie? I've paid either nearly full or even full price for the movie or music, yet I've lost the right to resell the content in the secondary market? Will the studio or record company unlock that content from its DRM chains so that I can resell it upon request?
    • Re:RTFA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:07AM (#17626716) Homepage Journal

      MPAA executives have never admitted that piracy isn't the motivation for DRM.
      "DRMs' primary role is not about keeping copyrighted content off P2P networks. DRMs support an orderly market for facilitating efficient economic transactions between content producers and content consumers."
      Dan Glickman, Motion Picture Association of America [bbc.co.uk]
    • Re:RTFA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by heroofhyr (777687) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:09AM (#17627074)

      MPAA executives have never admitted that piracy isn't the motivation for DRM.
      From an interview with the Vice President of Technology at Universal Pictures, Jerry Pierce:

      Different studios have different philosophies in this area. It is our view that we have to provide customers a rich experience so they can do what they want to do within their home. We don't expect them to make copies of HD DVDs for their friends. And we don't think customers want to do that either. So, DRM needs to give them some restrictions beyond what both the customer and we believe are the proper usage rules. That's what we need to achieve. DRMs enable business models, they don't stop piracy. And we want to make sure that we have a rich one without making it so easy so that you can violate what we agreed on when you purchased a movie.
      The full interview is here [tgdaily.com].

      Here is a quote from another interview with Fritz Attaway, an MPAA exec:

      Consumers should have a choice to either own a copy of a movie for multiple viewing, or to just view it one time for a much lower price. And movie companies want to provide that choice, and many more. But without DRM, every transaction would have to be priced as a sale, not just of one copy but of many copies, in order to account for unrestrained copying...

      With regard to your comment that many DRM technologies can be circumvented by commercial pirates, you are correct, but DRM is not intended to prevent commercial piracy. It is intended to insure that most consumers will keep the deal they make with movie distributors. Like the lock on your door, they are not a guarantee against theft, but they "keep honest people honest."
      The source of that interview is here [wsj.com].
    • Re:RTFA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Technician (215283) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:14AM (#17627430)
      DRM is part of their business model and it won't go anywhere until it results in a shareholder-awakening loss of money.


      You mean like the leak that sprung up with emusic? Bands that are anit-DRM and tired of being ripped off by the RIAA are starting to go inde. Bare Naked Ladies and others have jumped ship. I wonder how far the bands and consumers will migrate away from the RIAA cartel?

      DRM is incompatible with so much stuff, many items are still born. The DAT is a good example. Vista and Blu-Ray may be the next still born. Blue-Ray may be limited to just a few SONY titles and games for the Playstation. It's going to be too much incompatiblily to work on Vista as not enough people are going to spring for all the trusted DRM hardware to make it work. That nice high res monitor and sound system you have are incompatible with the DRM requirements. I have serious doubts the Blu-Ray and HD DVD format war will be won by either. Plain old DVD's will win this one by a landslide. They just work in the computer, in DVD players with your TV set, and portable DVD players.

      HD stuff and it's DRM simply won't work in most hardware due to the lack of a full secure digital signal path all the way to the display. The wrong monitor or video card or bad combination will keep the adoption rate very low for a long time. Maybe it will sell as well as the DAT.
  • by melikamp (631205) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:15AM (#17626448) Homepage Journal
    It's no news that a bunch of 15yo with P2P clients and MySpace profiles are able to do a better job at promoting and distributing music than the publishing companies. The answer? Make the distribution of the digital content difficult again! That reminds me of that time when my countrymen tried to make rivers run uphill.
  • Whaaa? (Score:5, Funny)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:17AM (#17626456)
    Oh my god! They're so right! How come nobody on slashdot ever figured any of this out? Good thing I caught this story, I'm so logging off the net right now and writing to my congressman!
  • Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kentrel (526003) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:18AM (#17626460) Journal
    This article forces you to believe the crap it's not telling you before it doesn't tell you it. The headline is entirely misleading. Hollywood hasn't admitted anything of the sort, and his source for this information is a reference to another journalist's unnamed source! What kind of journalism is that? From the following quote he extrapolated far too much:

    "His user rules just scare the heck out of us"

    Now, it's entirely possible that DRM is about exactly what they say it's about. What's not true however is that Hollywood is admitting this. The article is forcing you to accept the journalists bias hoping you don't exercise your critical thinking skills and question it. Whether it's true or not - the journalist needs to get his act together and get better sources than some other journalists dodgy source.

    Now somebody might argue: "well we know they're doing it, what does it matter if the journalist exaggerates a quote from an unnamed source". I think it matters a great deal. When you're right you should be able to prove it very easily. Otherwise you have to accept that no matter how you feel on the matter you may be wrong, or there's just not enough evidence to imply anything.

  • by grimJester (890090) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:26AM (#17626508)
    DRM is meant to prevent interoperability, raise barriers for entry to markets and force "upgrades" of your media when playback devices are upgraded.

    Just look at iTunes; you can burn the music to CDs and rip to mp3. This is no copy protection - only a mild barrier to make it more likely that the average customer does _not_ buy another brand of mp3 player.

    As others have pointed out, the article headline is misleading. Hollywood won't admit any such thing.
  • mutiple sales (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:38AM (#17626564) Homepage
    They want to sell you the DVD version, the PSP version, the special edition, the remastered edition, the directors cut, the laser disc version, the VHS version. Next will be the HD-DVD, and Blueray versions. Followed by the hologram version, err, maybe. If anyone has been most successful at this, its George Lucas, how many of us own more than one version of the first Star Wars trilogy?
    • by alexgieg (948359)
      I'm myself have none. I'm waiting for George Lucas to die so that I can then buy the definitely definite final forever unchangeable version, in a box including all of them, which the company will surely release some time after the fact.

      Also, I have no version of LotR, since the extended edition wasn't released here in Brazil. We had single, double and box editions, but no extended. So, I'm holding my money until it's released.

      The same goes for the original Superman tetralogy. I'll only buy them when it's re
      • by CaptnMArk (9003)
        Don't bet on it. Gene Roddenberry is dead, and now they will release new "Original" Trek episodes.

        BTW: I have the "extended" LOTR. It's still in plastic, cause I've (besides cinema and TV) only watched the DIVX version.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tbo (35008)
      They want to sell you the DVD version, the PSP version, the special edition, the remastered edition, the directors cut, the laser disc version, the VHS version.

      [rant] Honestly, who wants to watch a movie more than once or twice? Get Netflix or Zip.ca or whatever, rent it once or twice, and you don't have to worry about buying it over and over again. It's also cheaper. I have a really hard time getting worked up about DRM for movies if that's all it's about. I'm not going to buy a movie more than once, perio
      • Re:mutiple sales (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:56AM (#17626988)
        Except, oh right, creating scarcity to allow creators to profit was the original constitutional purpose of copyright

        Insightful, up to that point.

        According to Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, 1787: "the Congress shall have power . . . to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

        You've swallowed Hollywood's line. Profit is supposed to be a carrot to "promote the progress of science and useful arts", not the purpose, though these days you'd never know that.

        As for TFA, yes, what a load of crap. When did musings in random blogs become newsworthy?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by advocate_one (662832)
          As for TFA, yes, what a load of crap. When did musings in random blogs become newsworthy?

          You must be new here...

    • by zakezuke (229119)
      If anyone has been most successful at this, its George Lucas, how many of us own more than one version of the first Star Wars trilogy?

      Ummmm.... I'm happy to say I own NO starwars media nor accessories. Technicaly "I" may have bought the comic back in '79 but I was so young I don't remember if "I" bought it, or my brother. But needless to say if I did buy it I no longer have it. I may have recievd a "tonton" action figure but that again would be long since lost.

      1. I thought it was foolish to buy starwars
  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:43AM (#17626596)

    The real risks of DRM come into play when consumers lose control of the devices they legitimately assume will have traditional functionality. Why on earth should my cellphone, a digital communication device be unable to share MY data freely with other networks? So I have to PAY for a ringtone or PAY to upload a picture I just took? Why should my wifi-enabled Zune not be able to "squirt" MY data to any nearby Zune?

    That's bad enough, but the most dangerous outcome here is when I can no longer wipe and then reinstall a free operating system onto a general purpose computing device. The people might be forced to pay the microsoft tax, but we will not give up our free software.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sique (173459)
      There is a second thing to that. With the inability of the device to spread your very own content it is no longer a device for you to promote your own content. So not only the usage and the distribution of content gets controlled, also the creation of new content gets controlled, because the only way to get out content with mandatory DRM is to sign up with a DRM provider (and if you can't pay the sign up fee in cash, you have to sign a contract surrendering rights for your own creation).
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      Why on earth should my cellphone, a digital communication device be unable to share MY data freely with other networks?

      Oddly enough this type of thing seems to only be enforced on the US market. Elsewhere, phones can freely communicate with anything. In France a bundled phone can be unlocked from its operator network after 6 months (I expect the other European countries have similar provisions), etc. On the rare occasions I take a picture with my phone (bought from my cell operator) rather than with my c

  • F__k em (Score:2, Funny)

    by J_Doh! (830090)
    The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more customers will slip through your fingers.
  • Some thoughts. (Score:2, Informative)

    by d3m0nCr4t (869332)
    How the movie and music industry must long for the days of vinyl records and videotapes. In those days, they could produce movies and music, sell them to their customers and after 10 to 15 years, if you used the tapes and records enough, they could sell them again to you. Was there any piracy then ? Hell yes. Records were copied on to audio cassettes and with 2 videorecorders you could easily copy any videotape. Now, with media being spread in a digital form, they lost that kind of control over their sales.
    • Re:Some thoughts. (Score:5, Informative)

      by rucs_hack (784150) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:31AM (#17626832)
      They used to have fits about tapes and vinyl copying too. It's always happened. Their main problem is that selling media in any form will always be a business which experiences lots of unauthorised copying of its products if you use their traditional distribution method (being monolithic companies selling media at high price through a limited number of channels)

      The problem they have is that faced with this undeniable fact they have decided to focus on an unrealistic solution, being drm. The plain fact is that drm will only cause problems for legitimate users, not unauthorised copiers.
      Circumvention being illegal is no problem. There will always be someone, somewhere who figures it out, and finding that person in time to stop dissemination of their solution is a game that will be lost before they start, every time.

      DRM then is so they can continue to attract investors. It gives them something to say in pitches. 'We have solution x to this problem that will ensure a return on your investment' and so on. The fact that historically such solutions have a 100% faliure rate isn't something they can even think about, so they're trapped.

      Looking at this from an evolutionary standpoint, they're screwed, and heading to extinction. Simply demanding that the world be other than it is can only have that result. What system will emerge in its place I don't know, but I strongly suspect that the current crop of p2p companies/products will form the basis of a new media empire.

      The current media industries are trying to get into this feild, but for years all they've been doing is trying to stop it, whilst the p2p producers have been innovating like crazy. That means the p2p guys are already ahead in the next wave of media production/distribution, and very likely to stay there.
  • In-depth studies at the Institute For The Blindingly Obvious have confirmed that large corporations may sometimes behave in ways that do not benefit the users of their products. Followup studies reveal that despite the fact that this is blindingly obvious, many people uncritically believe anything they see on TeeVee. Sometime in May 2007, we expect the release of a groundbreaking study by our sister organization, the Ric Romero University Of Things Everyone Already Knows, which will purportedly claim that m
  • Yes, that, and customer lock-in to proprietary DRM are some pieces of the DRM puzzle.

    When you see Microsoft switching from their PlaysForSure DRM to Zune's own for its marketplace as that player is released without quoting security problems with the PlaysForSure tech, you know there are other things under the hood. Similarly, Apple is reluctant to opening up their FairPlay (why do they keep picking oxymorons for these techs?) standard to others because it could impair Apple's market dominance.

    It's really sa
  • Amusingly, it's why DRM schemes and this digital home thing Microsoft funnily thinks is coming will never work. The content owners want you to buy your films and music all over again, or even better, to rent your own content to you. Stop paying and you have no content. It's how a lot of Windows Media based stores work, and as soon as people realise it, they immediately stop paying.

    The only DRM scheme that works is Apple's, and that's because they were clever enough not to get down on their knees in front
    • The only DRM scheme that works is Apple's, and that's because they were clever enough not to get down on their knees in front of the studios and promise them anything, which is what Microsoft has done.

      Incorrect on both counts.

      1) Apple's DRM scheme does not work - it blocks fair use & impedes a user's rights like the others.

      2) Apple did get down on their knees in front of the studios and promise them anything.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:08AM (#17627068) Journal
    is partaking in this and pushing for DRM everywhere and lose of fair rights. It use to be the dems who pushed this. But anymore these days, the neo-cons (who are the majority of the republicans) are also behind it. It seems to be that rather than fight each and every one of these initiivies, we need to cut the beast off at the knees. The only way that I can think to do that is to prevent money flow from lobbyist to congress reps. And the only way to prevent all of the is to implement Joel Hefley's ideas on corruption prevention. All in all, if we want America to be the land of the people, and by the people, and for the people, we are going to have pony up the funding of the election process. Otherwise, this will remain the land of the high bidder, of the highest bidder, and for the highest bidder.
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:20AM (#17627116)
    TFA - It's Not Really About What It Says In The Title
  • Stunned! Stunned I tell ya!

    If you were to tell me that the Boy Gates has $50 billion in the bank I wouldn't be more Stunned!
  • Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by John Pfeiffer (454131)
    Of course it's not about preventing piracy. It's just that 'digital, economic enslavement of end users' isn't as sexy of a company line.
  • Where? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Warlock7 (531656) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:20AM (#17627456)
    Where in any of the articles does "Hollywood" "admit" anything?
  • DRM is piracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0a100b (456593) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:37AM (#17627582)
    It seems to me that DRM is about piracy, about pirating users' rights to sell them back to the users.

    I'd say RMD is piracy, DRM is theft.
  • Self-Defeating (Score:4, Insightful)

    by webrunner (108849) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @10:03AM (#17627826) Homepage Journal
    The main problem with DRM is how self-defeating the current model is. If they really want to do the whole thing right it needs to:
    • Be a universal standard. DRM now is used mostly to lock users down to one class of devices. But it really needs to work between companies and between devices. That video you download off of iTunes should work on your 360 and on your TiVO and on your PSP.
    • Allow users to do what they want with it, just prevent mass-sharing. But convenience sharing, like bringing it to a friends house, the companies don't realize how important that is.
    • Work on people's current systems, or at most, require a minor upgrade. This is where HDCP breaks apart entirely. You need to build a new PC from the ground up, including your MONITOR, to be able to play HDCP content. That's just crazy.
    • You can't put people in chains unless they've done something wrong


    Unless ALL of these things come to pass, DRM is an unworkable mess and will cause the companies involved in it to fail miserably.
  • by mmalove (919245) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:56AM (#17629460)
    Well, here we go:

    The full article is a blog? I think sometimes that the heads at slashdot have been kidnapped by forum trolls. Let's stir up some trouble with DRM and see how many days it will stay on the front page!

    DRM and piracy: It's been said before, but to reiterate - DRM doesn't stop piracy. For that matter, gun laws don't stop criminals from obtaining guns, and airport security doesn't stop actual terrorists.

    DRM and consumers: What a load of bull. We're not doing this to stop piracy, we're doing it to give the user more choices... yea right. What they are doing is locking down media so that they can sell more copies of it. Because hell, if you can sell someone more than one bible, you might as well try to sell them more than one copy of Star Wars. I know lots of people that have more than one copy of World of Warcraft, so that they can play the game twice at the same time. The funny thing is, of all "DRM" schemes, the MMORPG is the one that actually works - you buy the account, or you can't play. The account is verified online, and thus keygens quickly fail as duplicates can't simultaneously play, and there's no real offline/LAN game. The lesson? Some people have more money than they know what to do with - and the media giants have resorted to milking them because the media market in general is pretty well saturated.

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