There’s a lot of noise over the Open Media Commons DRM-for-the-masses announcement. Me, I thought Jonathan Schwartz’s little parable yesterday was way more interesting. What all the DRM dreamers don’t want to admit is that 95% or more of the population hasn’t yet encountered DRM, and when they do, they aren’t going to like it. They’re going to scream and scream and scream and get mad as hell and not take it any more. I’m talking about the honest people who play by the rules: they buy a house and the vendor moves out and pulls no more strings. They buy sofas and flowers and wine and paper and the store where they bought them doesn’t try to limit what you can do with them, and when the digital-media vendors try to horn in on this relationship, the response is going to be “you and whose army?” OK, if there’s ever a place where DRM is appropriate, it had better be open and non-monopolistic and all that. But the music and movie companies who are clinging to this idiotic idea that they can sell stuff to people and retain the rights to micromanage it, well they’re in for some really unpleasant surprises. People who are surprised, or think I’m a radical, should check out Cory Doctorow’s classic rant; for slightly different, but also stimulating angle, see Roger Sperberg’s The Law of Computer Entropy. [Update: This piece provoked authors of earlier rants on the subject to send pointers: among the best are those from Julian Bond and Norm Walsh.]

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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August 22, 2005
· Technology (77 fragments)
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