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DRM Bullshit

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Ars Technica has an excellent article up on the real uses of DRM, at least as seen by Hollywood. For those who aren't 'in the know', DRM stands for 'Digital Rights Management', and it's come about by a very interesting issue: In the age of digital media, it's possible to make infinite exact copies of anything. This presents an issue for copyright holders and the fair use doctrine.

The gist of the article can be summed up in the one bolded sentence: "[As seen by Hollywood,] DRM's sole purpose is to maximize revenues by minimizing your rights so that they can sell them back to you."

Now I find that to be a very interesting - and frankly insulting - point of view. I believe that if I buy something - a movie, a CD, a piece of software - that I OWN that copy. I should be able to transfer that copy to someone else, should I be so possessed. If a new version of what I bought comes out, however, I'm not entitled to that. I understand that - if I buy a movie - I shouldn't necessarily be able to open a movie-house and charge admission for it. But I should be able to have friends over to watch it, on whatever sort of equipment I have.

I really object to the concept of trying to sell me as little as possible while charging as much as possible, especially in this realm where the fact that the motive is pure profit is so transparent. I really feel that this is trampling on the rights of "the common man", and when I'm in charge of the universe this will change.


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