Interesting Observation about DRM

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I had an interesting thought today about DRM. The media companies were against file sharing - even though it wasn't file sharing itself that was bad - but the users who used file sharing to steal music. Now people are against DRM - yet DRM by itself is not evil - it's simply how it's used.

That being said - I think a lot of the worry over DRM is pointless. DRM is not going to stop artists from sharing their works. DRM is not going to 'kill' art. It's very simple - if you don't like the license for a piece of media - don't buy it! If enough people agree with you, the media producer will have to change it's DRM policies. If you want to buy music you can't burn on a CD, then go for it - that's your choice.

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Nathan Dintenfass posted on 5/10/2003 at 1:04 AM

That''s not quite what people are concerned about though. The bigger issues are things like the fact that in order for DRM to really work they''ll need the hardware manufacturers to buy into integrating the technologies in everything -- once that happens your "fair use" rights are basically no longer under your control. It also puts up a big barrier to entry for start-ups trying to get into digital media on the hardware or software side because they would need to be part of the DRM regime (and don''t think there won''t be a whole industry built around that infrastructure if it comes to pass). It also makes innovation more difficult because if a consumer device needs to honor DRM schemes it will have a harder time coming up with novel applications.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 5/12/2003 at 3:33 PM

I disagree. First off - you are not required to purchase hardware w/ DRM tie-ins. If you don''t like a particular media player because it has restrictive DRM policies, then simply don''t buy it. Does this mean you will suffer? I don''t think so. Also, how does DRM affect a startup? It hasn''t hurt the DVD player industry. While I don''t know the technical details at the hardware level, I''m guessing the DVD style DRM restrictions are butt simple to implement.

Comment 3 by Nathan Dintenfass posted on 5/12/2003 at 6:57 PM

Well, the worst of the proposed legislation hanging around Congress would actually make it compulsory -- hardware manufacturers would be forced to include DRM -- that is the "worst case" that many DRM naysayers are fighting against.

I agree totally about the "free choice" aspects of what you''re talking about -- that''s why things like the Hollings Bill ( are so scary (and thanfully looking less and less likely to happen).

This page has some good discussion about DRM on both sides: