Thursday, February 08, 2007

More thoughts on DRM

Because a DRM requires a secret that may not be revealed, but the place where the secret is kept/produced/defined is in the hands of an untrusted party, it cannot be “secure”. Thus obscurity is important to “secure” a DRM scheme, and in this FairPlay is not alone. Other companies can proudly claim to have the most obscure DRM, for whatever it's worth.

DRM advocates may cry foul now, after all they have invented all their shiny toys they like to brandish, however consider these two simply facts:
  • DRM circumvention protection rights are lobbied for all around the globe by industry lobbyists
  • No DRM company puts their specification up into the open public for review.

The issue to be dealt with is trust. The consumer has been ruled out to be trusted, thus nobody else to trust is left. If you trust nobody you're paranoid, and the world's a scary place to live in. Oddly that's just how the RIAA/MPAA seem to be behaving.
  • A talk about DRM by Cory Doctorow
  • A video illustrating problems with trusted computing. DRM runs on the concept of trusted hardware, and trust is an important topic in the discussion.
Contrary to popular believe copyright law is not only about who owns the content and may restrict copying. It also is about:
  • Fair use
  • Right for private copy
  • The public domain (after the copyright expires)
Unless DRM is implemented in a fashion to accommodate these (still existing and well, thank you) laws, it’s in a legal grey zone.

The future of the DRM industry may seem rosy for now. Today and for a while to come a demand for the technology exists, nobody guarantees that demand will continue. A down in this market will emerge, and as usual, who had a solid business foundation and delivered real and lasting value to his customers will survive it.

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