Note to content owners: DRM doesn’t work

Mark Shuttleworth recently posted about some of the follies of DRM. I’ve said in the past that I think it’s possible for DRM to have a place, but when it gets in the way of the consumer it’s just stupid. When people can’t legitimately pay you for something, they’ll just rout around you. Most people are honest and do want to pay, so punishing them for the mistakes of a vast minority who will never pay is silly. From the article:

The truth is also that, as the landscape changes, different business models come and go in their viability. Those folks who try to impose analog rules on digital content will find themselves on the wrong side of the tidal wave. Sorry for you. It’s necessary to innovate (again, sometimes!) and stay ahead of the curve, perhaps even being willing to cannibalize your own existing business – though to be honest cannibalizing someone else’s is so much more appealing.

Someone will find a business model that doesn’t depend on the old way of thinking, and if it is not you, then they will eat you alive. You will probably sue them, but this will be nothing but a defensive action as the industry reforms around their new business model, without you. And by the industry I don’t mean your competitors – they will likely be in the same hole – but your suppliers and your customers. The distributors of content are the ones at risk here, not the creators or the consumers.

He’s 100% right. We’re reaching the point where the average person is sick of the current situation. You have the RIAA suing people, formats that only work on some devices and myriad arbitrary technical limitations that aggravate and confuse the average consumer. Someone will make it easy. Someone will come up with a new business model. That someone will make an absolute boat load of money… and people will love them for it. The revolution will be televised – I just don’t think it will be wrapped in DRM.


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