Looking at the world of media: from music to RIA.

Technical questions and ramifications of DRM

January 13th, 2006 Posted in Distribution, General Media / Stuff

Here is an interesting list of questions posed by the CEO of a software firm about the legal ramifications of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and how aggressive DRM can affect hardware and software security. Some of the questions may seem excessively paranoid but with the recent Sony/BMG fiasco we now know that media companies will do almost anything they can to protect their profit.

As we go forward into a more instant access environment we will be seeing a larger push for system and media protection. With the ever growing popularity of subscription based distribution models, DRM must play a major role in protecting the media; otherwise companies will not be able to manage their customer base. Sadly, as this article points out, the people that suffer the most from DRM are often the people that are playing by the rules. I understand the conceptual purpose of DRM, but as Josh points out why should we treat our customers as thieves?

There are more then just technical and security issues with DRM, there are actually philosophical and cultural assumptions that are being made by large corporations. With the demand for 10% growth per quarter every quarter in the market we see a push for success that can far exceed what is reasonably possible. As this pressure increases we are seeing desperate acts being made by media empires and they are seeing thieves in the shadows, and they must protect their wealth.

One of the benefits of the instant information culture is that more people are becoming aware of the issues sooner then ever before. As we saw with Sony, there was a demand for a fix within a week of finding the problem. It’s amazing how fast the pressure was applied and Sony had to scramble to try and resolve the problem. Hopefully, with knowledge and a movement towards more conscious corporations we can see a movement away from doing anything to succeed to focusing on doing the right thing to succeed.

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