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Empirical Study Shows DRM Encourages Infringement 375

Posted by timothy
from the next-week-how-gravity-lures-skiers-to-mountains dept.
Hucko writes "Ars Technica has a story about a study by Cambridge law professor Patricia Akester that suggests (declares?) that DRM and its ilk does persuade citizens to infringe copyright and circumvent authors' protections. The name of the study is 'Technological accommodation of conflicts between freedom of expression and DRM: the first empirical assessment.'" The study itself is available for download (PDF); there's also a distillation here.
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Empirical Study Shows DRM Encourages Infringement

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  • ARRRRR!

    seriously who didn't know this was the case?

    someone has to crack that DRM just for the sake of cracking it.

    • by Ogive17 (691899) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:30AM (#28137209)
      I wouldn't say I necessarily believe it. The majority of users probably have no idea what DRM is and are thus unaffected. Those that do know what DRM is will either buy the software anyway and deal with it, buy the software then download a cracked version, or forego paying entirely and just download the cracked version.

      I'd be more likely believe the percentage of people who skip paying and just download the cracked version hasn't changed much over the years.

      Give me a few years and a grand for $1,000,000 and I'll do a study that proves this. Just like there have been studies that have also shown that DRM lowers piracy... and this one that shows DRM increases piracy. Now we need a study that shows DRM doesn't affect piracy.
      • by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:34AM (#28137261)
        > The majority of users probably have no idea what DRM is and are thus unaffected.

        They may not know what DRM is, but it surely affects them when they buy a DVD movie only to find out it doesn't play on whatever device it is they're trying to play it on. Even NASA fell in the DRM trap.
        • by Asic Eng (193332) on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:06AM (#28137575)
          The majority of users are also affected when they have to sit through the "FBI warning" nonsense which are afflicted solely on legitimate buyers.
          • by MadCow42 (243108) on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:58AM (#28138201) Homepage

            The FBI warning is just the start... often there are minutes of crap before a movie that you can't get past. It's most annoying on my kids' videos - essentially advertising for other videos from the same company, and there's no way to get past it without re-ripping the DVD.

            I refuse to buy from companies like that now - they shouldn't control my time like that. What I really am annoyed at though is that my DVD player enables them to do it in the first place.

        • by nospam007 (722110) * on Friday May 29, 2009 @12:10PM (#28139801)

          "Even NASA fell in the DRM trap."

          Orbiting people have their own problems.
          Now we're in region 1. Now region 2, region 3, 4 5...

      • by DangerFace (1315417) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:52AM (#28137427) Journal

        The majority of users probably have no idea what DRM is and are thus unaffected. Those that do know what DRM is will either buy the software anyway and deal with it, buy the software then download a cracked version, or forego paying entirely and just download the cracked version.

        Then of course there are the majority of users that have been unable to get a game to work because of DRM, whether they knew it was there or not. And the people who don't have a music collection anymore because some servers got turned off, so now they just torrent. Or the people who can't get a DVD in their region, so just pirate it instead.

        I agree, most people aren't like me - I buy what I can if it isn't DRMed to hell, mainly to make a point (albeit a tiny little one) to the companies that do it. But everyone I know has had problems with legit games, and when people learn that the only reason they're having those problems is because they wanted to reward a company for delivering a product, they'll stop. It's been years since I had a serious issue with installing or playing a pirated game. If the big companies started making ease of use more of a big deal than the pirates, there'd be a lot less 'piracy from necessity', as I like to call it.

        Bottom line is, your standard pirate copy says 'Install, firewall, copy crack, play indefinitely' when to get the equivalent from even the standard very-little-DRM game means you need a magic CD that never gets scratched and never gets lost.

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:09AM (#28137609) Journal

          For a really goo example, see here [metacafe.com]. I myself have stopped buying games that I don't find a crack for first, thus making sure the games companies can only sell me games when they have dropped in price. Why? Because just as with the link I provided way too many times I have set there and watched that damned SecuROM screen pop up even though I HAVE the stupid %^%#^$$# disc in the drive!

          Of course, now that I have switched to XP X64, cracking the games I paid good money for is no longer a simple desire not to have to keep the %^%#^$$# disc in the drive, that maybe works 50/50 for me anyway, but one of necessity. Because while the games play wonderfully in XP X64, their %^%#^$$# DRM doesn't work. So I HAVE to crack the %^%#^$$# game just so I can actually use what I fricking paid for. And just like the gamer I linked to(just look at the amount of game boxes surrounding him. That is a serious paying customer they are boning) their DRM for me just makes me jump through damned hoops so I can have the "privilege" of giving them money while the pirates laugh their asses off and don't have the hassle.

          Is it any wonder more and more people pirate? It is because you are screwing your customers! And it is 2009 and I have big fat HDDs! I should NOT have to change %^%#^$$# discs when I want to play a game. if I wanted that I would have bought a Fricking PS2! And please don't mention Steam. As someone who had his $50 stolen by Valve over the HL:GoTY Edition I will never use that damned ripoff! Look up HL:GoTY Edition and ripoff and you will see Valve burned a LOT of folks. pretty much if you buy anything in a nice retail box from Valve they can rip you off and ANY time and refuse to give you what you paid for. No thanks!

          • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:24AM (#28137773) Homepage

            googled "HL:GoTY Edition ripoff", not seeing it. Link?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by perryizgr8 (1370173)
            yeah, i don't download hidef movies off piratebay because i don't wan't to pay for them. i do it because i don't want to buy a blu ray player, i dont want to use vista, i don't want to sit through all the trailers and other crap, i don't want to carry around a bunch of discs, i don't want to waste an hour to go to the store. i want to WATCH the movie. if a legit online store would allow me to do this, i would pay. because i would be assured of quality, a thing which i don't get from piratebay.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Steam is the ultimate application of DRM to prevent the user from exercising Fair Use law. I for one would happily join a class action lawsuit against Valve for selling me a game I can't play without a blessing from their servers. There's no indication that you can't play without updating steam anywhere on the box. You also can't play "backups" without installing and updating Steam. Why do they call it a backup when it's not playable?

      • > Give me a few years and a grand for $1,000,000 and I'll do a study that proves this.

        A grand for $1M? That's a great return over a few years! And I get a study too. Where do I sign up?

        Um... Any relation to Bernie Madoff?

      • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:20AM (#28137709)

        The majority of users probably have no idea what DRM is and are thus unaffected.

        I believe the sentiment of the study is that BECAUSE people aren't aware of DRM, they still do things that are illegal, according to the DRM. I don't believe most people go out of their way to infringe--they just do by the nature of using their content in the context of the current laws.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The majority of users probably have no idea what DRM is and are thus unaffected

        That wasn't true 5 years ago for music, which is why vendors are dropping DRM'd formats--they don't sell as well as plain old MP3s. It's currently becoming a big deal for E-books, because the cutting-edge of E-publishing is Romance & Erotica-- and R&E readers frequently aren't the kind of people who want to chase down pirate versions or DRM-cracking software; they just want to read their E-books without hassle. They perce

    • by T Murphy (1054674) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:43AM (#28137347) Journal

      seriously who didn't know this was the case?

      (insert name of media corporation here)

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      Another reason is especially prominent on the DVD:s that are bloated with this severely annoying copyright warning text that you can't skip.

      If the media companies could stop annoy their customers that try to be legal then they wouldn't have to take so much crap.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I think this issue is even bigger then that. The internet has become big and popular and widespread enough to challenge the standard rules of the capitalist system itself. People don't have to be slaves to it any more, at least where any media that can be represented in a digital form is concerned. A fundamental law of the universe is that anything is that most objects/energy/lifeforms will take the path of least resistance and that is what is happening. Well, except for the person who cracks the softwa
  • It's true! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:12AM (#28137049)
    I never pirated any games until the day my storebought copy of Doom 3 flat out *refused* to work on my computer because the installer was convinced my setup meant I was going to make illegal copies of it. I got pissed off even more when movie DVDs started refusing to run in my laptop as well.
    • Re:It's true! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:37AM (#28137287)

      I pirated a piece of software just a week ago: it's a very specialized database application on steels that refuses to work if it doesn't find the original CD in the drive. Very useful indeed to use on a CD-less notebook... And I paid the damn thing almost $500!

      Needless to say, a NOP has found its way into the executable. For the next version, I'll pay the license, but I'll download the ISO from emule, which not only doesn't require the CD, but also doesn't require the activation key.

      This is the strange world of software and movies: when you're honest, you're hassled. If you pirate, your life suddenly becomes a lot easier.

      • This is the strange world of software and movies: when you're honest, you're hassled. If you pirate, your life suddenly becomes a lot easier.

        And when your PC version of Gears of War's DRM suddenly hits its arbitrary pre-set expiry date and locks out all the legitimate buyers, only the pirates are left on the servers to curbstomp each other on the multiplayer maps!

      • Re:It's true! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcvos (645701) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:42AM (#28137339)

        This is the strange world of software and movies: when you're honest, you're hassled. If you pirate, your life suddenly becomes a lot easier.

        That's exactly the problem with DRM. It only hurts paying customers. If you don't want to get hurt, you need to get the cracked version. They're driving honest customers away.

      • Re:It's true! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Pieroxy (222434) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:24AM (#28138565) Homepage

        This is the strange world of software and movies: when you're honest, you're hassled. If you pirate, your life suddenly becomes a lot easier.

        To be fair, it's always been the case in every other field. It's easier not to pay taxes than to pay taxes. It's easier to steal your DVD than to wait in line for the cashier. That is, once you've defeated the stealing protection.

        It's easier to follow no rules than it is to live by the law in general.

        This is not entirely linked to DRM, you're stating here a fact of life.

        • by DrYak (748999) on Friday May 29, 2009 @11:42AM (#28139503) Homepage

          Except that paying taxes, paying for goods, etc. are all required by law.
          Circumventing right-restriction is authorized by the law in some cases (="Fair Use"). But regularly you can't do it.

          Besides, DRM is useless and doesn't even fulfill the basic mission it was created for (stopping unauthorized duplication of content).

          Case 1:
            I'm about to go on vacation somewhere and I want to have a couple of movie on my portable driveless device (PDA, iPod, Netbook whatever), without needing to lug around a drive and a pile of discs. I need to shift formats (DVD/BD -> H264 or whatever the portable device takes) it's authorized by fair use in most juridiction. But I can't because DRM blocks it.

          Case 2:
            I'm a student making a presentation on a movie director. I want to copy a (reasonably) short segment of a movie to show as exemple to my audience. I can't, DRM blocks it.

          Case 3:
            I want to make a backup of a movie and keep the original in a safe place (that's actually a case I've been through : I have a mentally challenged brother who has a tendency to damage his favorite movies. It's important to him because otherwise he goes into an autistic crisis. Currently the originals are safely locked away, and copies loaded onto- and played from a server)
          DRM blocks it (or would have if I haven't resorted to DeCSS).

          Case 4 :
            I'm a Linux user (that my case also, actually). I want to play a movie I've legally bought on my custom-computer. DRM blocks it. ...and this list can go long...

          All are legitimate uses, which unlike the example of tax fraud or theft of goods should be protected by fair use by copyright laws in most jurisdictions. (Or sometimes are even normal uses like the "i just want to play it, but the system doesn't let me" cases. Fair use isn't required)

          But aren't technically feasible because manufacturer of DRM solution only take into account the big 80% of their market : basic average user which buys a media to pop it into a certified player.
          They just don't want to spend the additional resource to handle all the exotic corner cases in the remaining 20% even if those are exceptions covered by fair use.

          -----

          Meanwhile,
          Counter-case :
            I'm an EEEVVIIILL pirate (Yar!) and I want to get a movie for free, because I'm a free loader and don't want to pay for anything if I can get away with it.
            I just go to whatever is the most popular torrent portal-du.jour and just click on a link.

          That's it. Just. One. Click.

          At no time did any form of DRM get in my way to stop me from doing this.
          At no time would I be subjected to FBI warnings, advertising for up coming disc releases, etc...

          In my series of example :
          - DRM got in the way in lots of situation which are legal
          - the sole time when a copyright-forbiden act took place, DRM didn't make any difference at all.

          Copy protection worked in the previous decade because the only way to get an unauthorized copy was to copy the media yourself. If it's protected, only a couple of users where able to make copies and thus the propagation was limited.

          Today, with the magic of the modern internet, all it takes is one single user to publish a torrent (and at the scale of internet among all milions of user, there's always at least one user having the necessary knowhow/equipement/social engineering skill/whatever to do it) and then suddenly the media becomes easily available to anyone connected to the intertubes, without any protection stopping it.

          The Internet is good at making some content instantly available to the whole planet without restriction, and that's what make duplication-level protection obsolete.

  • Empirical, right? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kensai7 (1005287) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:12AM (#28137055)

    I hope the adjective "empirical" is not there to hide unscientific or statistically weak methods... She's a lawyer professor afterall... sort of a scientist who talks her results out!

  • At last (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shrike82 (1471633) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:14AM (#28137063)
    Good to see someone has taken a scientific approach to this for once instead of hyperbole, exaggeration and assumption like we normally see (from both sides I might add).

    Also, it's funny how DRM has become automatically negative. The reasons are obvious, but as I've said before many times, DRM can be a positive thing. I'll cite the much debated Steam argument again. Once I buy a game, DRM (positive DRM) allows me to redownload whenever I want, and to play it on any computer whenever and wherever I want. There are some advantages to DRM but of course they're over-shadowed by the many drawbacks and disadvantages from DRM's restrictive aspects.

    And can we please not turn this into a "Steam sucks!" - "No YOU suck!" debate again? It was just an example.
    • Re:At last (Score:5, Informative)

      by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:17AM (#28137097)

      What happens when steam goes bust? And don't give me the "we will patch authentication out if we go under" crap. If they are going under they will not be releasing patches to strip the authentication as noone will be getting paid to perfom such a job.

      DRM is always evil.

      • Re:At last (Score:5, Interesting)

        by silanea (1241518) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:31AM (#28137217)

        What happens when steam goes bust?

        What has happened every time digital restrictions interfered with the desire to use some content: Someone will break the protection. In Steam's case this has already happened for many games.

        • by Shrike82 (1471633)
          Exactly. I choose to accept Valve's assurances that even if they go bust they'll release the DRM or arrange for authentication servers to remain running. If this turns out not to be the case then I'll just find a crack to continue playing. It amazes me that this is the staple argument people have against Steam, yet it doesn't hold much water as far as I'm concerned.

          Anyway, my original point wasn't about Steam, it was pointing out how "DRM" autoamtically is assumed to be bad when it has the potential to b
          • But your positive point about DRM can be applied to any download site not with DRM. If I had a DRM free games site once you logged in and I got payment I could use scripting to allow you to download game.exe. Then all you had to do was login to the site to download game.exe. No DRM yet all the "positives" of DRM you mentioned.
        • As I just pointed on a previous thread, you can always break DRM while the authentication server is running, but there is no guarantee you'll be able to break it after the server is gone.
      • Re:At last (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:32AM (#28137239) Homepage

        What happens when steam goes bust?

        You lose access to your content, of course. Wow, it turns out that there really are stupid questions. Here, I'll ask one too: will Steam ever go away?

        Stupid answer to that stupid question: yes, of course it will, sooner or later. The smart question are: when is steam likely to go away, and what are the practical losses when it does? For bonus credits, consider that the majority of your content on it wouldn't have been played again anyway, and whether that loss is worth more than the benefits.

        As well as the clear benefits listed above, there's also the consideration that the Steam pricing model sends much more money to the actual developer than a shelf-on-a-box purchase, and that it gives developers a level playing field on which to compete, rather than having to struggle against Corporate Sports Sequel 2009 for limited shelf space.

        Steam demonstrates that DRM doesn't have to mean "You don't have rights to play that game". It can mean "Hey, you do have the right to download and play this game, anywhere you want, any time you want. Go ahead!".

        Now, would you like to have a grown up conversation, or are we going to stick with slinging slogans around?

        • This still does not help with issue: What happens when you loose access to DRM & Content delivery system?

          Reply is, of course, you loose access to content.

          Now, DRM system can have its merits and can be run by nice company, but that does not mean anything when its turned off. It just won't help me (re)play classic.

          Notice that this is part of wider issue:

          What happens to my email address when gmail stops working?
          What happens to my data when cloud provider bankrupts?
          What happens to my assets when bank goes b

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by s73v3r (963317)

            The only way to avoid the things you've stated is to become a hermit in a cave who communicates with others via carrier pigeon and keeps all his money in his mattress. Unfortunately in today's society, you have to have some level of trust in the companies you deal with. Steam has never given me a reason not to trust them. I realize that there are people who have been burned by Steam and now choose to avoid it, but not me. I trust that Valve will be around for a long time, because they make quality games tha

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ephemeriis (315124)

        What happens when steam goes bust? And don't give me the "we will patch authentication out if we go under" crap. If they are going under they will not be releasing patches to strip the authentication as noone will be getting paid to perfom such a job.

        DRM is always evil.

        I do agree that DRM is always evil. No doubts about it.

        But, if I am going to get saddled with DRM (and these days, I am) I'd rather get saddles with something like Steam. Yeah, the DRM-y bits suck... But there's also some value added. Un

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DAldredge (2353)
        How is a service like Rhapsody or Netflix instant watch evil?
    • Re:At last (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bumby (589283) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:28AM (#28137187)
      How is this related to DRM? magnatune.com gives you the same service (download whatever you bought whenever you want, wherever you are) without DRM.
    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      DRM has its uses in business with rights managements on documents more than it has its uses in limiting the freedom of a consumer to use their product as they see fit.

      As for "positive DRM", as I've mentioned on a comment to a blog recently that said about the "age of Steam", I've recently started playing a game from 1995 without any problems. Are your Steam games still going to work in 2023? Can you be sure that the activation or even download servers will still be there? With DRM in consumer goods you can

      • "DRM has its uses in business with rights managements on documents..."

        Let me fix it for you: DRM has its uses hidding evidence in business and government corruption more than it has uses limiting the freedom of a consumer...

    • Good Old Games (Score:5, Informative)

      by wjousts (1529427) on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:01AM (#28137513)

      I'll cite the much debated Steam argument again. Once I buy a game, DRM (positive DRM) allows me to redownload whenever I want, and to play it on any computer whenever and wherever I want.

      I'll see your Steam and raise you a GOG.com. No DRM at all, ever, and you can redownload your games whenever you want. Sure their catalog is still small and contains older games (although some are only 2-3 years old), but I'm hoping they'll go from strength to strength and I'm supporting them with my dollars

      I'm still hoping to see LucasArts back catalog on there one day.

      • by Spatial (1235392)
        You also get bonuses like artwork and soundtracks. And for the OCD people, a virtual shelf to organise. :D
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spatial (1235392)

      Once I buy a game, DRM (positive DRM) allows me to redownload whenever I want, and to play it on any computer whenever and wherever I want. There are some advantages to DRM but of course they're over-shadowed by the many drawbacks and disadvantages from DRM's restrictive aspects.

      Eh? The DRM in Steam isn't what is allowing you to download the games anywhere. That's an entirely unrelated feature. The DRM restricts the game to running and authenticating through Steam and nothing else.

      Steam without DRM would work exactly the same as it does now, the only exception being that you could run games without authenticating online with the Steam client. That's exactly how it works if you crack a game you bought through Steam.

  • Hurry... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Clipless (1432977) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:15AM (#28137081)

    The RIAA better discredit Dr. Akester before this gets pickup by a major news source.
    Actually I take that back. Everybody knows that there is now room for science and research when it comes to lobbying!
    What was I thinking?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      This would be a totally illogical thing for the RIAA to do.

      Their purpose is to represent the interests of the record industry. Not to force DRM on everybody unless that is in the interests of the record industry. This article insists that it isn't.

      This is not to say the RIAA won't do this. just that it would be illogical.
      • "This is not to say the RIAA won't do this. just that it would be illogical."

        That is good that you finished with that line. By their history, we can expect the RIAA to discredit that study, but you are right, it would be completely illogical.

  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:19AM (#28137115) Homepage

    I stopped buying PC games about a year ago due to DRM technologies such as SecuROM and StarForce, because of the faults they can cause when burning CDs, which is an essential part of my job.

    Last month I bought a new mid-spec laptop and went shopping for an "old" game that would run on it, and I settled on Civ4. After buying it, I discovered that it too uses SecuROM so I will not install it. Instead, I think it's morally (and legally?) acceptable to download a pirate copy without DRM.

    A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend and I both bought The Sims 2. Neither copy worked! I've since discovered that the copy-protection on the DVD is known to cause installation errors, and one of the recommended workarounds is to install the disk imaging software Alcohol, and this indeed allowed us to install the game. Alcohol can of course be very useful for people who want to pirate games.

    I feel like games publishers are pushing me towards pirating their products. I don't want DRM to harm my system, and if the only way I can play a purchased game is to pirate it then how long will it be before I skip the purchasing?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Last month I bought a new mid-spec laptop and went shopping for an "old" game that would run on it, and I settled on Civ4. After buying it, I discovered that it too uses SecuROM so I will not install it. Instead, I think it's morally (and legally?) acceptable to download a pirate copy without DRM.

      Morally, yes. Legally? Forget it. The uploader violated the law by distributing illegal copies. You violated the law by downloading and burning, thereby making an illegal copy. Remember what copyright is: it's a legal right to copy, literally. Also, usnig a Alcohol to make an image of the DVD is probably also a violation of the law, though the Software Act of 1980 does allow for you to make a copy for archival purposes and as an essential step in executing the program. Whether imaging the DVD can be

      • Um... It's only specifically illegal to distribute copies. So only the uploader in this case broke the law... unless you consider that the copy is not a directly identical copy of the original, then you could argue that it was an illegal copy. The only other way that you could argue that this is illegal would be to bring the DMCA into it, but I am pretty sure any competent lawyer could argue that you were simply trying to abide by your fair use rights to actually use the software you legally purchased, an
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Um... It's only specifically illegal to distribute copies.

          No, that's just completely incorrect. You should really consult a lawyer rather than rely on "he said, she said" in forums on Slashdot.

          Here is the relevant law, Title 17, Chapter 1 Â 106 US Code: Exclusive rights in copyrighted works [cornell.edu]:

          Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
          (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
          (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted wor

    • by cliffski (65094) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:47AM (#28138867) Homepage

      You don't have to assume all PC games use DRM. ReclaimYourGame lists companies not using any form of securom etc. here is the link:

      http://reclaimyourgame.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=14&Itemid=62 [reclaimyourgame.com]

      Disclaimer: I'm one of the companies on there.

  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gn u . org> on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:24AM (#28137141) Homepage

    Here are the conclusions of the study:

    1) Although DRM has not impacted on many acts permitted by law,
          certain permitted acts are being adversely affected by the use of
          DRM;
    2) This is in spite of the existence of technological solutions
          (enabling partitioning and authentication of users) to
          accommodate those permitted acts (privileged exceptions);
    3) Beneficiaries of privileged exceptions who have been prevented
          from carrying out those permitted acts (because of the
          employment of DRM) have not used the complaints mechanism
          set out in UK law;
    4) Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive put an onus on
          content owners to accommodate privileged exceptions
          voluntarily. Voluntary measures have emerged in the publishing
          field, but not all content owners are ready to act unless they are
          told to do so by regulatory authorities.

    My commentary:

    1) As far as I can tell, DRM for the most part also hasn't had a noticeable impact on the uses not permitted by law. In other words: DRM only harms the customers, not the pirates.

    2) As the record has shown in various court cases, the media companies are a bunch of assholes. Of course they're not going to care if little Ms. Teacher wants to (fairly!) use some copyrighted piece of work in hear lessons. They have "Power!! Unlimited POWAH!!!!"

    3) What, there's a complaints mechanism? That would have been pretty good if people knew about it and used it.

    4) Wait, what??? The DRM control freaks are supposed to voluntarily give up control? That sounds like a misunderstanding of human psychology. Also, quote The Matrix 2 (too bad they never made any sequels): "[Oracle] What do all men with power want? [Neo] ... [Oracle] More power".

    • 1) Not entirely true.

      DRM slows down time between release and general ability on torrents. Hours are hoped for. Days are considered success. Weeks are *Epic Win*

      DRM disables "handing out copy to friend" for most people.

      2) 'Fair use tool' would be security hole. It is naive to expect that it would be used for its intended purpose.

      3) Everyone knows how this kind of stuff ends up. Bureaucracy would swallow it and media would ignore it.

      4) Here, have a cookie.

  • by pzs (857406) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:24AM (#28137145)

    We're accustomed on Slashdot to saying that the general public is not aware of the issues surrounding DRM and file sharing. However, this debate [bbc.co.uk] seems to suggest otherwise. I know the HYS debates are often full of ranting morons but it is still an audience of non-experts. Looking at the most recommended comments there seem to be quite a few people who know what's going on.

  • by symes (835608)
    How did this get through the peer review process??! oh... It didn't
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:27AM (#28137177)

    People prefer files that aren't troublesome to play and aren't tied to some publisher's good will, to files that are troublesome to play and tied to some publisher's good will. News at 11...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by IBBoard (1128019)

      When put like that it is obvious to almost everyone, but how many people have bought huge amounts of songs from Apple and didn't realise they couldn't use them on other machines or devices because of the DRM? The majority of the population don't care because they don't get bitten, and when they do they just assume there's nothing they can do and go in to another cycle of getting bitten by DRM.

      Since most people don't get bitten to a degree they notice (e.g. "I have to use my iPod? Oh well, I guess I like it

  • Interesting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cashman73 (855518) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:37AM (#28137285) Journal
    Not to be a troll here or anything, but where's the correlationisnotcausation tag? ;-)
  • Headstrong.mp3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PinkyDead (862370) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:51AM (#28137411) Journal

    My daughter wanted Ashley Tisdale's Headstrong on her iPod. (Please no comments - I'm ashamed enough as it is).

    We can't get it from iTunes because we use Ubuntu.

    We can't get the mp3 from Amazon.com because you have to be US resident.

    We can't get it from Amazon.co.uk because you have to have a UK billing address.

    We can't get it from Amazon.ie because that doesn't exist.

    So I have a choice, buy the whole album on CD from Play.com or pirate it....

    I'm getting a bit sick of this malarkey where I'm told what I can and can't buy with my money. Obviously, I accept the principle that Xyz has the rights to sell something in this market, but if Xyz won't sell it to me then I say screw Xyz.

    So this news doesn't surprise me - the more you tighten your fingers yada yada yada...

  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Friday May 29, 2009 @09:41AM (#28137963) Homepage Journal

    But everyone honors the honor system. Well, at least honest people. But as long as you can catch and reprimand the few crooks out there, then you've got a pretty good system going.

    Frankly, I don't know why watermarking isn't in higher use. It could even add an element of personalization ("This album / movie expressly prepared for John Q. Smith") and help communities self-police themselves so we're not wasting government money on DRM enforcement / investigation etc. If the studios find out who's redistributing their work, it's a simple matter to report and disable their account.

  • Here's a report from the real world of DRM.

    As I have mentioned before, I have written and am selling a book for entrepreneurs, salespeople, project champions, and others called Elevator Pitch Essentials (http://www.elevatorpitchessentials.com). After much debate, and with the encouragement of multiple /. folks, I decided to release an eBook version without any security. It's a plain old unsecured PDF. I had to create an eBook because many people overseas wanted to buy the book but it's a pain to sell through Amazon.co.uk. Since I don't have to pay for printing or shipping costs, I priced the eBook at $10, which is $5 off of the retail price

    Since I released the eBook, my hardcopy sales have continued to hold up. In fact, sales through Amazon.com have been doubling every month and I just got a volume order for 50 books. I have also sold 53 eBooks.

    I think this has been a successful experiment in part because of the relatively low price. It seems that people think that's a reasonable amount to charge. From my own experience, I know that I have absolutely no problem paying $1 for a song.

    P.S. Please don't crush my buzz by telling me it's all over the torrents (although that really may not matter).
  • by xeno (2667) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:19AM (#28138513)

    So much of life was captured eloquently by Smythe's Andy Capp [wikipedia.org] cartoons -- most of which are too impolitic to run in today's newspapers. (Smoking, drinking, thumping and getting thumped by your wife... oh my.)

    In one of the classics, Andy sums up the entire public's reaction to DRM; After being berated by Flo for the transgression of having some unauthorized fun, he says to her: "Treat me like I'm a dog, and I'll treat you like I'm a dog." ...And proceeds to bite her waggling finger.

    Ain't that the damn truth.

  • i forget the guy's name, but he was a behavioral economist, and he was attempting to explain the recent economic meltdown in the terms of his profession, and why the whole notion of rational actors in a rational marketplace is a crock

    one of his precepts was that all of these derivatives, while having an economic value, were not actually money itself, and so this abstraction allowed a layer of rationalization of immoral behavior by otherwise normal people

    he crystallized this down to a simple experiment:

    he put 6 cans of coke in a refrigerator in an office kitchen, unlabeled and unguarded. of course, the cans of coke slowly disappeared. then he put 6 dollar bills on a plate in a refrigerator in an office kitchen, unlabeled and unguarded. guess what? no one took the money

    the whole point being: when value is made an abstraction, people can rationalize "theft" a lot easier than when the value of what you are taking is starkly presented. it explains a lot of the sticking points in the argument over "pirated" media

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday May 29, 2009 @01:22PM (#28140657)

      interesting about the dollars and cans of coke.

      however, companies often provide soda for free for them employees. this complicates things as the employees could have thought those were from a company event (leftovers) etc. happens ALL the time where I work (bay area companies).

      another problem with this is that the 'value' of a song is VERY debatable! its complicated to add in all the costs involved and assign 'reasonable' profits to those in the chain. I'd say its actually impossible to do this correctly. so what we have is a system that is now gouging the consumer and attempting to float some idea of fair price on 'song listening'.

      for me, the right price is a few pennies per song. the industry sees that as 100x. we are not even on the same page, here.

      until then, I will continue to get my music any way I want. until the pennies-per-song comes back (I miss the russian sites!) I won't be buying the overpriced 'dollar per song' that the industry demands.

      once they become reasonable, I'll become reasonable. that's the lesson and that's all she wrote.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:24AM (#28138569) Journal

    Reading her bio is enlightening. Seems to me she is anti-DRM and anti-IP. So, an anti-DRM, anti-IP law professor does a study and concludes that DRM is bad. Big surprise.

    By the way, "interviewing dozens of lecturers, end users, government officials, rightsholders, and DRM developers to find how DRM and anticircumvention laws affected actual use" is not necessarily empirical. I would bet that the methodology used was guaranteed to get the result she wanted.

    If this had been a study by the .*AA, there would have been dozens of posts calling it bullshit, but because it goes with the beliefs of so many unethical slashdotters, it's ok. I am never surprised by the depths of slashdot hypocrisy.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Hypocrisy is stealing a hundred years worth of cultural content from every individual with a copyright extension, and then calling other people pirates because they take back a movie or an album.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday May 29, 2009 @11:08AM (#28139095)

    I think a lot of people will buy something that is reasonably priced with or without DRM.
    I think a lot of people will pirate or not buy something that is unreasonably priced.

    The longer DRM exists, the lower that price gets however. Because once folks pirate something at $70 because of price + DRM, then they are more likely to pirate cheaper titles.

    Some of my titles without DRM from the 1990's still work. I don't know if my titles with DRM work- I lost the original media or it broke. The non-DRM software I was able to back up in multiple places so I have not lost it. Of course Total Annihilation (which still rocks) was DRM'd but a crack came out years ago that allowed me to back it up.

  • by porky_pig_jr (129948) on Friday May 29, 2009 @11:48AM (#28139585)

    done by yours truly showed that the absense of DRM encourages infringement as well.

    Sounds like a win-win situation, eh?

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