The Guardian has started a 5-part column (“Copy Killers”) by Cory Doctorow. In the series, Cory shows what is so bad about Digital Rights Managements (DRM, also dubbed Digital Restrictions Management), and explain copy-friendly business models.
DRMs are often designed by ambitious, well-funded consortia, with top-notch engineers from every corner of the industry. They spend millions. They take years. They are defeated in days, for pennies, by hobbyists. It’s inevitable, because every time you give someone a locked item, you have to give them the key to unlock it too. The industry admits this. The pitchmen will tell you that DRM is a sleeping policeman; a bump in the road that “keeps honest users honest”. This is silly: DRM can’t make an honest person more honest. In fact, once a person has opted to buy – rather than pinch – your movie, all it can do is cause frustration. Why? Because DRM stops people from doing legitimate things – like using a new device (for example, playing a song from the iTunes store on a non-Apple player); like backing up a file; like selling, loaning or giving away a movie.
Interesting twist: Cory indicates that the music industry is not so much guilty of acting against their own customers and fan base, but rather a victim of ruthless DRM peddlers. Good point that. Great stuff, as always, make sure not to miss that one.