Thursday, February 23, 2006

DRM and DMCA spell DOOM 

Okay, so maybe doom is a strong word but I still feel that Hollywood and the RIAA are stifling innovation and subsequently sales volume in the tech industry. There is an abundance of FUD(fear, uncertainty, doubt) regarding hardware purchases, software purchases, music and movie purchases. It's only going to get worse with the current content distribution system in place. More rootkits, more families getting sued, more failed attempts at locking down content, ad infinitum.

The content industry is using copyright law in the wrong spirit. It is meant to protect the artist/owner of the "original work". But instead it being used to scare people from sharing and fairly using their movies and music. The end result is wasted efforts by the tech industry to introduce truly new products. New in the sense that they perform a novel function. Apple is the only one that has done anything "new" in the 21st century. The iPod. There could be more competitors if the devices would play nice together. As we learned from the explosive growth of the InterWeb in the late 90's, people want to connect and to share. And that begats more interest in the "new". Loyd at ExtremeTech laments the effect of copyright paranoia in this article.

I know I am not excited about buying the next generation VIIV PC for fear of not being able to use a DVD I backed-up from the original. Yes I backup all my DVD's because I am tired of my kids scratching the originals and then I have to replace them. Now I back them up and burn a new copy when the old one gets scratched.

I also know that I would be more likely to buy VIIV PC, or a new DVD player, or a new TV with HDCP if fair-use was really considered; as opposed to how can Hollywood and the RIAA track me and my habits, which include making my own backups or ripping all my disks to a hard drive so that I don't even have to deal with the fragile disks.

But with my fear that some copyright owner can easily send a cadre of lawyers to my door to take whatever they feel fairly compensates them for the crimes I have committed, I don't want the risk what the new DRM/DMCA technology brings. The content industry feels that the answer to their problems is more control. But they don't seem to realize that people are not that excited about buying into a Draconian control system for their content. Surely alot of people will buy into it the first time. And then when they get burned they won't buy again.

What's the answer you ask ?? I like what Hannibal has to say about Birch's outburst.. The rant doesn't give justice to what he is saying. Instead of fighting the current, go with what we know works. Free stuff gets people to buy other stuff. Works for Best Buy and CompUSA all the time. Think about it. They have been granting generous rebates for years. It must be working or else they would have stopped already.

If Apple, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Yahoo, et al. bought some content companies for a fraction of the cost of their combined R & D budgets then they could really generate a real digital entertainment ecosystem that is fair to the customers while generating billions in sales.

Instead we get new devices that are half-baked the day they are released. Who is willing to buy this stuff ? I'll just stick with what I have. I know it works.

And the AACS is exactly what we don't need. Boycott HD content and devices. Use The Democracy Player instead.



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