Monday, January 09, 2006

fyi How can DRM be good?


Pointer to blogpost:

Kobielus kommentary:
In just a sec, you’ll have me kommenting on komment #8 on Lloyd Shepherd’s blogpost on DRM. Here’s that komment #8 again, sparing you the need to flip back to that (and away from me—hey, I’m trying to keep your eyeballs sticking here for a few more minutes):

o “All digital file formats become obsolete with time. DRM is designed to be incompatible and non-convertable, so the the real market test comes when people discover that all the multimedia they have bought is no longer supported by the newest hardware and that there is no easy way to convert it to the new platform when their old platform has been made defunct (for marketing reasons?). Even now, though for example divorce and migration, a few people have already discovered some of the unexpected limitations of DRM’ed multimedia. The only bright side to all this is that as long there are programmable general purpose computers one can always convert multimedia from a limited and incompatible (DRM) format into a portable open format. (See Microsofts’ Darknet paper). Lets just hope that DRM proponents don’t end up banning programmable computers and criminalizing DIY programming.”

This is the number #1 argument against universal DRM becoming a practical reality any time soon. Let’s look at the dynamics of the DRM space:

o Kontent seeks maximum distribution, availability, and consumership over its economic life, or over the life of consumer interest, which ever is longer (for the daily news, the economic life is a few days or weeks, for most content; for masterworks of literature, music, cinema, etc, the life of consumer interest in the indefinite future—future generations/eras will keep republishing and redistributing and reconsuming this stuff).
o Kontent that remains balkanized into incompatible, platform-specific, provider-specific, or otherwise fragmented spheres of distribution and consumption will revolt against those strictures and structures (especially for the masterwork kontent of perennial consumer interest).
o Kontent that remains locked into those strictures and structures will die in the marketplace, or die with the inevitable death of the enabling/capturing platforms; consequently, DRM technology (the enforcer of those strictures and structures on evermore access to perennial kontent) will die in the marketplace as well, unless it somehow becomes universal in implementation and also agile enough to support maximum (i.e., free, as in strictureless, and free, as in gratis) distribution/availability/consumership to kontent that demands (sometimes in spite of its owner/provider’s wishes) liberation.

Sounds like an unresolvable paradox. All the dynamics in the cybersphere militate against universal DRM. All the kontent of perennial consumer interest will migrate toward the gratisphere. Hence, all kontent period, even the ephemeral stuff, will find its way there too.

Circumventing whatever gantlet of strictures and structures the purveyors of the DRM pipedream lay down.