May 2, 2007

DRM Saga Continues: No Surprises

Well, the content protection debacle grinds on. The users continue to be unimpressed with digital rights management, and the hackers and crackers continue to break the harebrained industry schemes with monotonous regularity. Digg temporarily tried to censor material as a result of a blanket cease-and-desist threat, got it in the neck from their users, and apparently learned their lesson.

Favorite quotes from the latest discussion:
As Joe Rogan's character on Newsradio once quite accurately quipped, "Dude, you can't take something off the Internet.. that's like trying to take pee out of a swimming pool." The content providers have attempted to do exactly that, remove pee from the proverbial swimming pool that is the Internet and, as we've witnessed so many times before, they've failed miserably. [1]
There isn't a single known DRM system worth cracking that hasn't been cracked, multiple times; AACS will likely be no different. [2]
When will the recording and film industries learn that the "lost income" from content pillaging by dishonest consumers isn't "lost" at all? It's what the retail trade calls "wastage" (some things arrive spoiled, some get spoiled, some are stolen). Their revenues are what their revenues are, and the overall level of dishonesty is what it is. The prospect of additional billions is illusory, because people who don't pay for content will simply stop consuming it if they can't get it for nothing.

So the joke is that if the industry ever achieved their total-protection nirvana they will have shot themselves in the foot, because even bootleg copies are positive marketing. Sometimes greed is so sad. Were I a stockholder in RIAA member companies I would be furious at the waste of effort. I wonder if the senior staff of studios actually pay for the DVDs they take home. If not, aren't they too stealing from their stockholders?

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