Defective by Design

DRM not part of a viable business model (Billboard)

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2006-10-19 12:36

Last week Billboard (the music industry publication) ran a great article about DRM and the digital music market. The article was picked up by Reuters and ran in many other publications. An article like this would have been almost unthinkable in a recording industry publication just a few months ago!

What's more, opponents insist that DRM, in fact, does nothing to protect music. Virtually every form of DRM has been hacked, including Apple's FairPlay and Microsoft's WMA encryption of tethered subscription files. Not all digital music consumers are aware of these workarounds, but tend to discover them the minute they find they can't play their music on their device of choice.

"The notion that a track I buy in DRM is protected and one without DRM isn't is a fallacy," Goldberg says. "It's all nonsense. Music is never going to be protected, and anybody who tells you that is not being honest. Yes, you can put up speed bumps, but the people who really want to steal music are going to steal it. So you're just making it hard for people who want to do the right thing to get the music they legitimately purchased on the devices and services that they want."

This difficulty, Goldberg continues, only serves to dissuade consumers from buying music legally and instead keeps unauthorized peer-to-peer services in business. He calls the protected a la carte download model a "failure," noting that legal digital download figures have remained flat all year.

Read the whole article. It's great for helping persuade friends and colleagues that eliminating DRM is not helping the music industry, rather has grave potential to damage it more.

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