DRM is the new Microsoft...

This post is more than 2 years old.

So, I know that my opinions on DRM and copyright are in opposition to many people I know. I even disagree with the founding fathers! I'm quite sure I am nowhere near as wise as they were - but my opinion is very simple. I think you should able to keep copyright on your own works for as long as you want. But I'm not posting here to start a long flame war with my readers about copyright, but to point out a recent Slashdot thread:

To those who cherish freedom, he (Jon Johansen) has been a pillar of hope in an age when DRM (Digital Rights Management) threatens to overtake mainstream media.

When I read this, I practically had an epileptic fit. Let's break this down:

"To those who cherish freedom"

So... if you think DRM is a good thing, or neither good nor bad (my opinion), then you are against freedom? That's like calling P2P supporters communists. DRM, much like P2P, is a technology. Period. It can be used for good or evil. By itself though it is neither. It is funny how most of the Slashdot crowd leaps to the defense of P2P using this argument, but conveniently forgets it when it comes to DRM. Continuing....

"an age when DRM (Digital Rights Management) threatens to overtake mainstream media"

Oh my god, everyone run, the sky is falling! Or maybe it isn't. DRM can hinder your ability to use a product. Last time I checked, however, you didn't have a constitutional right to the latest Backstreet Boys CD or DVD collections of 80s classic TV. Don't like the fact that you can't fast forward past a commercial? Don't buy the DVD. If you aren't aware that a DVD has such a 'feature' (which I agree is sucky), return it. Can't return it? (Most stores don't let you.) Then don't buy from that store.

Don't tell me you don't have a choice. Media is a product like any other. You can vote with your pocketbook.

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Nathan Dintenfass posted on 4/6/2005 at 2:16 PM

Yes, you can vote with your pocketbook.

EXCEPT when Congress passes laws that do things like make it illegal to make a DVD player that plays DVDs without supporting specific DRM. EXCEPT when the DMCA forbids you from exercising long-established fair use rights if the copyright holder decides they don't want you doing that.

Are you really advocating for NO fair use rights? No backup copies without permission from the person you bought it from? No "mixed tapes" for your friends? No taping a TV show? No fast-forwarding through commercials (literally, Valenti said that was "stealing")?

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 4/6/2005 at 4:23 PM

dvd player: I disagree. There are federal rules for many products. Guns is a good example. You can vote with your pocket book and simply not buy a DVD player because you feel the DRM on DVDs is too restrictive (or you don't like the fact that you can't fast forward past crap in the beginning). You do have the option to not buy the player.

Am I advocating no fair use rights? Not at all. The current law for DVDs gives us no fair rights. I'd like to see that changed. I don't believe it is a great evil though - to me it is just a rule. I don't care enough to not buy DVDs.

As for TV - I definitely do not agree with Valenti. My feeling is that if you broadcast a signal, anyone should have the right to receive it and do with it what they want. Unlike software where you click to agree to certain rules, TV signals are 'thrown' at you. It's like someone driving by and throwing money at your house. They can't their mind after the fact.