Defective by Design

The Economist Comes Out Against DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2007-05-02 00:34

Over the weekend, BoingBoing called my attention to The Economist's editorial about DRM.

Here are some highlights:

Most people think it ludicrous that they can’t do the same with the DVDs they own. Now it seems, despite squeals from the movie industry, the law is finally moving in the video fan’s favour.


The movie industry, which nowadays depends as much on DVD sales as on box-office receipts, still seems to think that making life difficult for its customers is a recipe for success.

After likewise shooting itself in the foot for ages, the record industry is now falling over itself to abandon DRM (digital rights management) on CDs. A number of online music stores such as eMusic, Audio Lunchbox and Anthology have given up using DRM altogether. In a recent survey by Jupiter Research, two out of three music industry executives in Europe reckoned that dropping DRM would improve sales.

The latest music publisher to do so is EMI, which announced in January that it had stopped producing CDs with DRM protection. “The costs of DRM,” it declared, “do not measure up to the results.”


Belatedly, music executives have come to realise that DRM simply doesn’t work. It is supposed to stop unauthorised copying, but no copy-protection system has yet been devised that cannot be easily defeated. All it does is make life difficult for paying customers, while having little or no effect on clandestine copying plants that churn out pirate copies.

Maybe coverage like this from a well respected magazine will help get the point across to recalcitrant music and movie executives who still think DRM is a good idea.

Topic:  drm
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