DRM; good, bad or a complete lie?

Discussion in 'General Software' started by Olle P, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Olle P

    Olle P Newbie

    The Inquirer have an article called DRM is a complete lie.

    The writer, Charlie Demerjian, starts off quite hard...
    ... only to then pick exclusively on the proprietary DRM solutions used by major media corporations to prevent content from other corporations to be played on their hardware.

    I think Mr D mix apples with pears in this article.

    To me the basic concept of DRM means "using some technical solution to prevent piracy", wich is a very wide definition.
    I agree that the "solutions" used today for music and movies are crap and missing the point, as Mr D points out. They simply provide potential customers with an incentive to become pirates rather than stick "within the rules".

    On the other hand I do not agree that DRM as such is a total failure, especially not when it comes to computer software.
    I'm willing to bet my hat that there would be a lot more use of pirated software if no form of piracy protection was present.
    The fact that software is cracked and available for illegal use, a statement with which I concur, doesn't mean that it's as available as it would be without copy protection, license keys, dongles and God knows what.
    I'd like to make an analogy to Mr D's statement that it's a total failure:
    a) There's no tank with armour so tough that it's never been penetrated, in one way or another.
    b) Therefore we can draw the conclusion that tank armour doesn't work at all, so tanks would probably do better as softskins, without all that heavy load!

    It doesn't take a genius to realise that b) is utterly wrong. Tank armour offer effective protection against a broad range of weapons that would come into play with the armour removed.
    Everybody that's been around for a while also knows that pirate software often don't come for free. You have to pay money and/or accept to install a "payload" in the form of trojans or other spyware...

    Well designed DRM allow all forms of fair use at a minimum cost while making it costly in terms of required resources to conduct piracy.

    So, what's your opinion?

  2. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Well, you are right in that some armour is better than no armour.

    However, DRM does limit the amount of freedom and flexibility that genuine users have. In fact, it sort of encourages people to go down the pirated road.

    When I buy a book or a magazine, I have the right to loan it to my friends, etc. But you can't do that with DRM-enabled stuff. Of course, electronic media can be replicated at will. So, I guess it wouldn't be quite a fair comparison.

    In any case, DRM has not been able to totally protect the digital rights of the producers. IMHO, they should try lowering their prices, ala Apple iTunes. That will work in synergy with DRM. IMHO, DRM alone cannot win the war.
  3. Olle P

    Olle P Newbie

    Yes I can! I can buy a computer game (with copy protection and other DRM stuff) and have a buddy loan it for a while, installing and playing it on his computer. No sweat!

    As I wrote above; it's some of the means in use that are flawed, not the concept.

  4. jamotto

    jamotto Newbie

    The end goal of DRM is to restrict a music file or game to 1 user and 1 machine. Microsofts Windows Media Digital Rights Management is the perfect example of this on the music side. If you record a file on your machine and then give it to somebody else to sample, that file will be keyed to your machine so it will not play on somebody else's machine.

    Online distribution of games will introduce this concept to games.
  5. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Therein lies the problem.

    Let's say I own 3 cassette players - one in the den, one in the living room and one in the car. I just need to buy an audio cassette and I am free to play it in ANY cassette player I choose.

    It's not really right for them to restrict the use of DRM-protected material to any one machine. I understand that they are trying to restrict it to one user, but restricting it to one machine is really not the way.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2006
  6. jamotto

    jamotto Newbie

    Sadly companies don't see it that way.:snooty:
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2006

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