Hardly Fair Use

August 9, 2007

DRMI suppose on the surface we could thank people like Michael Wen and Kevin He of Union City California for excessive DRM in our music and movie formats, but honesty all the DRM in the world apparently wouldn’t have stopped these guys from producing almost five hundred thousand pieces of pirated music, movies and computer software. A third defendant in the case was ordered to pay 6.9 million dollars in restitution, presumably the estimated worth of the seized discs.

It’s stories like these that really infuriate me with regard to DRM, honest law abiding consumers like us are restricted from managing media bought with our hard-earned dollars the best way we see fit, while the Wen’s and Zhai’s of the world run amuck setting up illegal replication houses popping out thousands of discs at a time.

Sure piracy in general and DRM specifically are multifaceted issues but I’d like to see the consumer given a bit more leeway to playback our media across the growing number of network capable CE devices that are finding their way into our homes. As it stands now device (a) may be capable of playing back a file containing DRM (b) but only if it’s not connected to device type (c).

Is it any wonder that some consumers resort to circumventing certain types of DRM just to be able to use the legitimate hardware they purchased? I keep going back to Steve Job’s describing a DRM’less world as the “best alternative for consumers” I don’t know if Job’s outlook here would best be described as rogue or visionary, but its certainly a world I could embrace.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Commentary


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