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Industry leaders discuss the future of DRM

Written by Dave Horvath @ 11 Jan 2007 8:04 User comments (8)

Industry leaders discuss the future of DRM Many experts in the field of digital technology held a discussion at this year's Consumer Electronics Show over the future of Digital Rights Management and what direction it needs to go in order to succeed. There has been a debate going on for over 5 years over the virtues and necessities of DRM technology associated with digital media such as music and movies. There appears to be an agreement between the panel that DRM needs to reach some sort of standardization as digital consumption becomes more and more prevalent today.
DRM which was originally employed to protect copyrighted materials in music has become a lot more conveluted as consumers purchase and download more than just music these days. Experts agree that a standard employed by one organization supplying one form of digital entertainment is not necessarily best suited or in the best interest of everyone for a different form of entertainment.

Apple and Microsoft both employ DRM technology on their media, but in different ways. Apple is hellbent on protecting the media downloaded by their successful iTunes service, but at the price of only allowing said media to be played on Apple's own iPod. Microsoft takes a different spin on it with its Windows Media DRM by allowing files to be transferred to multiple third-party devices with the licensing of a program called Plays for Sure. In contrast, however, Microsoft's own Zune product is the only device that will play media downloaded from the Zune Store.

This is good for the developer, but poor for the customer. What happens in a situation where the consumer isn't completely happy with the device they download the content on. For instance, a consumer pays for music and downloads it to their iPod. If the consumer wishes to listen to it elsewhere but lacks the extra periphrials (which have to be purchased additionally) to listen to it elsewhere, s/he is left without any other option for the content at which s/he rightfully paid for. This type of lockdown of media purchased legally by consumers only frustrates and leads to more illegal downloading of the same content with no restrictions.

Movies and television shows appear to have come to a common ground with DRM as they've found ways to allow the downloaded media to be played on multiple display devices while still offering the protection required. Music, however continues to be a sore spot in DRM debates.

Ex-executive for the RIAA, David Leibowitz commented that music used to be provided to the public in an open format that could easily be copied and distributed without many problems. Tapes and compact disks could easily be reproduced but still saw market shares soar. "In the music industry, this was a unique environment where the global product which was out there was an unprotected media format," he said. "After 20 years of unprotected media format free to be replicated and shared, introducing rights management technology into that market is proving to be extremely difficult."

Source:
InfoWorld

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8 user comments

111.1.2007 9:54

Damn right its going to be hard to introduce copy right to something that never had it before. Who likes having rights taken away?

211.1.2007 10:02

I think people will only wake up when they introduce the iCars... you buy them but can only drive on iStreets and iRoads... too bad if you need to go to a ZuneCity...

311.1.2007 10:25

I agree, I've never understood why more people aren't vocal about DRM & the DMCA. It's frustrating.

411.1.2007 18:48

I can understand the need for DRM for movies and TV shows to a point, but it does not really need to be on music, like this guy is trying to imply. I don't understand why there's a need for such excessive force on digital media. This has been an argument for a while, but still makes no sense for anyone. It just wastes money for both the consumers and the companies using it. The only people who benefited from all this DRM bull were the people who convinced these record companies and the like to implement it. If it doesn't work, they easily convince the buyers that it can be improved upon, and the companies believe them like they suffer from Alzheimer's or something. I know a few people who were actually willing to use iTunes, but didn't have the iPod to play the music, so they went alternative route when getting it. Now people have the DRM-OS to look forward to because there seems to be no cure for Alzheimer's it seems. Seems that it'll always be a lose/lose deal for those who actually pay for their stuff, which in turn into stealer's because the alternatives that could have been have either been killed off or not supported with the stuff you have. DRM is nothing more than a security risk in itself, a killer of technological improvement and competition, and yet another incredible waste of everybody's investments. Now is the time to become an anti-DRM activist! Huzzah!

512.1.2007 18:48

Quote:
Ex-executive for the RIAA, David Leibowitz commented that music used to be provided to the public in an open format that could easily be copied and distributed without many problems. Tapes and compact disks could easily be reproduced but still saw market shares soar. "In the music industry, this was a unique environment where the global product which was out there was an unprotected media format," he said. "After 20 years of unprotected media format free to be replicated and shared, introducing rights management technology into that market is proving to be extremely difficult."
I wonder if this is why he lost hes job. At least he makes senses and does have common sense that people are not going to be happy with the change.

613.1.2007 7:15

What a bunch of ANALOG HOLE IDIOTS! Not that I buy CD's, or steal them, as most are crap anyway... If a CD can be played in a CD player, it can be ripped. Who are these guys kidding?

713.1.2007 9:38

As an OS X (and previous Mac OS) fan, I have refused to buy into the iTunes scenario or any other music purchasing scene that makes may pay for less than CD quality. When 24-bit AIFF or .flac quality music (with meta data) is made available at a resonable price, I will reconsider. In the meantime, I will continue to convert my old vinyl to 24-bit and look for alternatives to mp3/aac with D-friggin’-RM!

813.1.2007 9:44

As an OS X (and previous Mac OS) fan, I have refused to buy into the iTunes scenario or any other music purchasing scene that makes me pay for less than CD quality. When 24-bit AIFF or .flac quality music (with meta data) is made available at a resonable price, I will reconsider. In the meantime, I will continue to convert my old vinyl to 24-bit and look for alternatives to mp3/aac with D-friggin’-RM!

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