Thursday, July 30, 2009

'Big E' weigh in on DRM... "It's fair!"

Cory Doctorow came upon this argument by the lawyer who represents the MPAA, RIAA in a letter to the Copyright Office. In it, the lawyer states that buying DRMed content, then having that content stop working later is fair.

"We reject the view," he writes in a letter to the top legal adviser at the Copyright Office, "that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works. No other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards. No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so."

The problem with this argument is that content protected with DRM is crippled by design. Imagine if the car you bought would only work if the company's DRM server were still online. So if the company went bankrupt (that could never happen, right?), your car would suddenly and permanently stop running. Would that be a fair analogy? Would you stand for such a policy by the automobile industry? Then why are we letting the entertainment industry get away with it?

Full article here.

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