Tuesday, 21 January 2014

DRM from another perspective

I'm starting to see DRM from a different perspective lately. Not a positive one, just one of understanding. See, I would like to be taking steps to counter the actions of those who would prey on me. It's just that, because I'm an individual, the ones who would prey on me are big, powerful corporations. I use encryption and privacy-preserving services to keep them from taking advantage of me.

If, however, I were a big powerful corporation trying to sell things to the public, then those who would prey on me are the general public or, more specifically, the behaviours of certain members of the public, such as those who take what I'm selling without paying. If I were in charge of one of those corporations, I would take whatever steps I could to mitigate those behaviours. DRM is one of those "solutions" sold to such people. They're being told it works. It will protect them. It's not true, but they bought the lie anyway.

A better approach might be to look at those behaviours, at what motivates them, and try to change business practices to remove those motivations. For instance, lots of people in Australia pirate TV. It's the national passtime of our geek set. Some of the motivations given are that it takes far too long for content to get here from the USA, and then all the legal channels are either blocked or sold in ways meant to maximise the customer's bleeding. A lot of this has to do with regional distribution agreements that were designed last century to handle pre-internet-era TV, and have persisted mostly on momentum and habit.

So the best way to mitigate the behaviours being displayed is just to sidestep everything in the old system. Make your shows for the internet directly. If you need a lot of startup capital, go to Kickstarter. I think this can work.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Then again, I'm not the one who knows what works.
PPS - I just know the promises of DRM are lies.

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