I respectfully submit that DRM can be done right if it is priced fairly, allows reuse and pass-along (just like books, magazines and audio CDs, among other artifacts we know), and does not come loaded with the anxiety of whole industries, legions of paranoid artists and the poor implementation skills of engineers who don't understand ease of use. In other words, most DRM schemes will never work.
Too many copyright owners and DRM developers treat every piece of intellectual property they want to protect as though it was a whole cow, when they want to sell steak. They see a pirated copy and screech, "You killed my cow, my sacred cow." Instead, they need to recognize that it's a steak, one packaged piece (copy) of their intellectual property. By contrast, a pirated copy, without all the support, or liner notes or artwork or other nifty things that make a book or album collectible, a treasure, is a smelly piece of steak. Recognize that and you recognize you can sell good steak at a fair price and still beat the pirates.
DRM in and of itself is not a bad idea. But wrap your intellectual property in security that is as onerous as opening a bank vault to get to the steak instead of as easy as opening the fridge and snapping off the cellophane wrapper, and you will fail. It's a steak, not a sacred cow. Don't worry if there is a little blood and some scraps left over after the butchering of the cow -- that mess is analogous to piracy, the imperfect protection of your content -- there will always be piracy.
You can sell a better product in a better package (including the DRM, the design, the tchotchkes, the liner notes, the collectible poster and the customer support) than the pirates can. So, quit squirming and get busy instead of trying to wipe up the blood in the butcher shop of history, where old ideas have already been slaughtered.Posted by Mitch Ratcliffe at October 10, 2002 08:30 PM | TrackBack