Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DRM

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Good Reasons For DRM? 684

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeps-you-from-accidentally-playing-bad-games dept.
centre21 writes "Having been on Slashdot for several years, I've seen a lot of articles concerning DRM. What's most interesting to me are the number of comments condemning DRM outright and calling for the abolishing DRM with all due prejudice. The question I have for the community: is there ever a time when DRM is justified? My focus here is the aspect of how DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation. How would those who are opposed to DRM ensure that artists will get just compensation for their works if there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from simply digitally copying a work (be it music, movie or book) and giving it away to anyone who wants it? Because, in my eyes, when people stop getting paid for what they do, they'll stop doing it. Many of my friends and family are in the arts, and let me assure you, one of the things they fear most isn't censorship, it's (in their words), 'Some kid freely distributing my stuff and eliminating my source of income.' And I can see their point. So I reiterate, to those who vehemently oppose DRM, is there ever a time where DRM can be a force for good, or can they offer an alternative that would prevent the above from happening?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Good Reasons For DRM?

Comments Filter:
  • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @02:55PM (#43569233)

    You can obliterate the used market. You can force obsolescence. You can force time limits. You can force re-purchases for multiple devices.

    Oh, you mean good reasons for the customer?

    Um. No. The "rights management" is about the "owner" of the content; not the customer.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:30PM (#43569547) Homepage

      Oh, you mean good reasons for the customer?

      Um. No.

      DRM has hurt plenty of paying customers, yes. People have been root-kitted, they've had CDs that won't play in their PCs, you can't make a copy of a CD you own for listening to in your car, or a copy of DVDs for the kids to scratch, etc. Legal, paying customers have to put up with all sorts of crap.

      Pirates, OTOH haven't been inconvenienced at all by DRM. The idea that DRM prevents piracy is a fallacy, basing your "Think of the artists!!" sermons on it is disingenuous at best.

      • by White Flame (1074973) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @04:13PM (#43569915)

        Actually, pirates have actively benefited from it, in their own little world. A game with no DRM is a ho-hum release, but whoever can ship the earliest and most comprehensive stable release gets major props. Without DRM, there'd be no competitive spirit in the pirate world.

        Of course, there are then spam/ad site owners who try to monetize on the reputation of certain pirate groups. 99.9% of game pirate groups do not try to pull in any money from their work, claiming either players should purchase the games for themselves and support the creators, or that games should be free. There's interesting social dynamics in that whole world, but more interesting to this discussion is that it all exists due to DRM.

    • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:35PM (#43569593)

      You can obliterate the used market. You can force obsolescence. You can force time limits. You can force re-purchases for multiple devices.

      Don't forget unskippable DVD ads (i.e. you can also force customers to watch other things first if they want to actually see their legitimately purchased content).

      And you get to kick customers in the face by reminding them not to dare copy DVDs without permission.

    • by Pseudonym (62607)

      I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that "secure boot" is a good idea for the customer (less malware), implemented badly by certain hardware manufacturers (OS vendor lock-in). That's a pretty good use for DRM, at least in principle.

    • by marcansoft (727665) <[moc.tfosnacram] [ta] [rotceh]> on Saturday April 27, 2013 @08:10PM (#43571301) Homepage

      I've written DRM that is good for the "customer" (user). It's a bit bizarre, though. More like reverse DRM. It's purpose is to ensure that the software isn't "pirated" and sold for money, instead of downloaded for free, as it should be.

      I'm one of the authors of BootMii and The Homebrew Channel for the Nintendo Wii. It's a free (as in beer) piece of software that you can use to run untrusted code on your console (what people like to call jailbreaking these days). Before it had any kind of security, we found out that scammers were selling it (in violation of our license) along with "piracy packs". We added a big "scam warning" to the installer to clue users into the fact that the software is free, and if they have paid for it they have been scammed. However, the scammers started telling users to use the same tools used to pirate WiiWare games to install The Homebrew Channel itself - this bypasses our installer and the scam warning. So we added DRM that ties each install to a given console (if you try to copy it, it still works, but then you get the scam warning every time you try to use the software instead, until you reinstall it using the proper installer). There's enough obfuscation to stop the (generally clueless) scammers from working around it.

      I'm nominally very anti-DRM, but I've thought long and hard about this and I really can't see a significant downside for users. It doesn't affect normal users in the slightest, as far as I can tell. It doesn't actually prevent anything from working (sometimes, you can damage system firmware such that The Homebrew Channel is one of the few or the only option left to repair it, and you can't run the installer - we never want the DRM to accidentally close off a user's last hope for their console, so it's designed to be extremely annoying if the check fails, but not actually stop working). Of course, it doesn't prevent you from installing it on as many consoles as you want - just use the installer (which is a great idea for many other reasons anyway - it's so paranoid about system checks and safety that it has never bricked a single console in millions of installs) and you're fine.

  • by dryriver (1010635) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @02:56PM (#43569243)
    DRM is some suits in the corporate world trying to make ordinary people submit to their every demand: We control what you consume, when, how, and for how much. And we use DRM to ensure that you stick to the rules. ------ Anything positive about DRM? Sadly, no.
  • by willith (218835) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @02:58PM (#43569265) Homepage

    "Because, in my eyes, when people stop getting paid for what they do, they'll stop doing it."

    The creation of art is not, nor ever has been, dependent on remuneration. People don't exclusively create to be compensated. People have always created things. It's what we do.

    It may be valid to worry that unrestricted copying of things—be those things paintings, songs, sculptures, stories, programs, or whatever—could potentially lead to a reduction in people who earn a living exclusively from creating those things, but it takes a powerfully broken worldview to even begin to think that people only do create stuff so that they'll get paid.

    • it takes a powerfully broken worldview to even begin to think that people only do create stuff so that they'll get paid.

      Of course some stuff is created without thought to getting paid. But those things are less likely to use DRM anyway.

      But you're going to cut down creation to a fraction of what it is if there's no profit motive. Say goodbye to feature films and big FPS games for example.

      • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:24PM (#43569499) Journal

        it takes a powerfully broken worldview to even begin to think that people only do create stuff so that they'll get paid.

        Of course some stuff is created without thought to getting paid. But those things are less likely to use DRM anyway.

        But you're going to cut down creation to a fraction of what it is if there's no profit motive. Say goodbye to feature films and big FPS games for example.

        Goodbye! Thanks for all the fish! Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

        • People like to say things like this as if it is literally nothing, but I do not really believe them. The entire entertainment sector would be completely gutted if they could make no money from their work put into their respective projects. Everything from movies to games to books and more.

          Sure, people would still make these kind of things, but it would be personal projects just for the sake of doing them and nothing more. The variety and quality would be extremely variable if these paths weren't tied to the

      • Say goodbye to feature films and big FPS games for example.

        And most textbooks with good editorial values and carefully checked exercises.

        And most studio-quality music recordings with professional production values.

        And most of the software that does incredibly boring things to help run businesses all over the world more efficiently.

        Creating new works is easy and often fun. Creating good new works usually requires a lot of effort and/or specialist skills, which in turn are usually provided by people who aren't the creator/copyright holder but get paid for their contr

    • Lots of things that are covered by copyright aren't art, yet are still very useful.

    • by nbauman (624611) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:34PM (#43569589) Homepage Journal

      The creation of art is not, nor ever has been, dependent on remuneration. People don't exclusively create to be compensated. People have always created things. It's what we do.

      As a creator, I can tell you that my art is extremely dependent on remuneration. When I get paid enough for my work, I can do it full time, 10 or 12 or 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

      When I get paid a pittance, I have to do my work in my spare time, while I'm waiting on tables or something to pay the bills, and I can't do as good a job.

      My work is a lot better when I do it full time than when I have to squeeze it into 4 hours in the early morning before I leave for my real job.

      After a few months or years of juggling a schedule like this, a lot of people don't have the energy to create any more. Once you add the time and cost of raising a family, something has to go. Unless you abandon your family, the art is going to go.

      Perhaps you're thinking of the 18th century, where art was pursued by wealthy gentlemen who didn't have to work. That's a good system for wealthy gentlemen. Unfortunately it leaves out the rest of us. It would be nice if we were all wealthy gentlemen. Unfortunately our economy has been going in the other direction.

      More specifically, I have friends who were writers, actors and musicians, not stars but good in their fields, and are now at the end of their career or retired. A lot of them are getting royalties for the work they've done during their 20, 30 or 40 year careers in which they didn't make very much. It's nice to have a royalty or residuals check of $100, $200 or (rarely) $500 a month to supplement your meager Social Security of $1,000 a month or so. It makes the difference between being able to live with some of the comforts of middle-class life, like the difference between a nice apartment and a furnished room. Sure I'd like to be able to hear their music free on the Internet, but I don't like to see them lose their modest income.

      Of course, DRM doesn't work, it's easy to get around, and they are going to lose their modest income, whether it's right or wrong. I don't know about the big picture or long-term consequences, but the little picture of these guys here and now is it seems like an awful shame.

      • by fredprado (2569351) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @07:02PM (#43570995)
        You may be less productive if you cannot dedicate exclusive to your art, but to society as a whole it makes very little difference. Art will always exist and the art you cannot deliver, for not being in your ideal conditions to create it, is not so relevant as to sustain the argument that artificial scarcity is benign or desirable.

        Furthermore, society has no obligation to give artists retirement plans in excess of other people's. If you are a musician, for example, and want a retirement plan, save the money you make with your shows, which will be far in excess of the money you will end making selling songs though record companies anyway.
  • Real reason for DRM (Score:5, Informative)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @02:59PM (#43569275)

    This was posted a while ago as "real reason for drm".

    https://plus.google.com/107429617152575897589/posts/iPmatxBYuj2 [google.com]

    TL;DR: control hardware manufacturers, not consumers.

  • They're wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 27, 2013 @02:59PM (#43569281)

    Many of my friends and family are in the arts, and let me assure you, one of the things they fear most isn't censorship, it's (in their words), 'Some kid freely distributing my stuff and eliminating my source of income.'

    Incorrect. Their greatest fear is not piracy, but obscurity.

    • Unfortunately, if the price of being known is that everyone rips you off, you still never get paid. The popular argument you're hinting at is essentially a pyramid scheme con.

  • Copyright. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@hotmaiLIONl.com minus cat> on Saturday April 27, 2013 @02:59PM (#43569283) Homepage

    How would those who are opposed to DRM ensure that artists will get just compensation for their works if there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from simply digitally copying a work (be it music, movie or book) and giving it away to anyone who wants it?

    That's the whole reason why copyright exists. You have to understand that DRM only makes this more difficult, not impossible, and once the DRM has been broken it no longer limits anyone but the legitimate users.

    • Re:Copyright. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:15PM (#43569413)

      You have to understand that DRM only makes this more difficult, not impossible, and once the DRM has been broken it no longer limits anyone but the legitimate users.

      It's not black and white. There aren't two distinct camps: those that always legitimately purchase, and those that always pirate. There is a significant band in the middle of people who will pirate if it's easy and buy if it's not. Non-perfect DRM still performs it's function of increasing the number of people who pay for the product.

      • There's also the band of people who will pirate to try before they buy. There is growing evidence (with varying degrees of bias, so I understand) which shows that this band of people spend more money on music etc than the band who don't pirate at all.

  • by Thnurg (457568) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:00PM (#43569285) Homepage

    DRM is really bad at foiling pirates. It only takes one to break the DRM and share the content around the world to render the DRM ineffective.

    However it is really good at inconveniencing legitimate consumers. Some DRM schemes have been so annoying to customers that getting a pirated version makes for a better user experience.

    • It only takes one to break the DRM and share the content around the world to render the DRM ineffective.

      No, it doesn't. It only takes one to render the DRM ineffective for anyone who knows where to find the cracked version and is willing to risk using it, which isn't the same thing at all.

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WillyWanker (1502057) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:00PM (#43569287)

    The key to "creators" getting over this mentality is to forget it exists, and to stop focusing on those that might be illegally sharing your work and instead focus on the ones that are actually buying it.

    And here's why: people who choose to illegally copy something won't be deterred by DRM. They will nearly always find a way around it, one way or another. So it very rarely succeeds in what it proposes to do.

    On the other hand, DRM treats your paying customers like would-be criminals. It often causes installation or playback problems, denies them their right of fair use in making backup copies or transcoding for different platforms; basically, to freely and fully use the content they paid for. In this way you're doing nothing but alienating your paying customers and pushing them towards finding DRM-free illegal copies in order to avoid all the pitfalls that ultimately accompany DRM.

    If you create a good product and offer it at a good price people will buy it and you will make money. If you're shoveling out crapware at an outrageous price then no one is going to buy it. It's been shown time and time again that piracy has very little impact on actual sales. A good product/value will sell, a bad one won't, regardless of how much or little its being pirated.

    • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bert64 (520050) <(bert) (at) (slashdot.firenzee.com)> on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:18PM (#43569439) Homepage

      The key to "creators" getting over this mentality is to forget it exists, and to stop focusing on those that might be illegally sharing your work and instead focus on the ones that are actually buying it.

      Which is exactly what they are doing... Claiming DRM is about piracy is a lie designed to disguise the true reason for such schemes. They know that the pirates will always crack any DRM scheme that is made, or otherwise just do without the content.

      The reality is about controlling those who are actually buying it. Controlling how, when, where and on what they can use the content, and charging them over and over as many times as possible, especially selling them multiple copies of exactly the same content.

    • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Longjmp (632577) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:42PM (#43569663)

      On the other hand, DRM treats your paying customers like would-be criminals.

      Right.
      Music: Once I had collected 400 vinyl records. Then came the CD. I said to myself, well, more convenient format, same quality, so I'll just by all the stuff again on CD. (*)
      And over time I did, plus all the new stuff that was released.
      Then came the time when I bought CDs and they wouldn't play in my car player. Geat.
      Conveniently at the same time Napster et al came up.
      So music industry lost me for quite some time.

      Film: I used to rent lots of (tape) videos, and was mildly annoyed by the FBI warning at the beginning, but fortunately the VCR had the fast forward button.
      Then came DVDs and first it was all fine, skip the annoying stuff and then go right to the beginning of the movie.
      Then they had the clever idea of having to watch all the intros and copyright stuff (and advertisements) being mandatory.
      Great idea again. Movie industry lost me then.

      As for games, I can't say much, I did buy the few games I was playing, but I never was much into games, but the recent EA disaster should say enough.

      *) Audiophiles relax, buy a few monster cables, throw in a few homeopathic pills, lean back and enjoy the distortions of your tube amplyfier (also called "warmth"). ;-)

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        Then came the time when I bought CDs and they wouldn't play in my car player. Geat.

        in-dash CD players were only a few years behind home systems. And in that time, I took my portable CD player and played it through my car stereo. Some with FM repeaters, some with cassette adapters, some with aux-in, depending on the car and stereo capabilities.

        But then, I also shopped for DVD players for home that had "illegal" firmware (it's a violation of the DVD license to allow forwarding through the parts marked as "no forward", and breaking a contract to use the digital content you "own" is a crim

  • DRM doesn't work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:01PM (#43569293)

    Maybe you could defend DRM if it actually worked. But it doesn't. Anyone who really wants to can circumvent it, so the residual effect is that DRM merely reduces the value of the product to legitimate purchasers because the utility of the product is needlessly reduced.

    DRM hurts honest people and does nothing to restrain the dishonest.

  • This is why: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:01PM (#43569301)

    You say "My focus here is the aspect of how DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation.", which is an understandable point of view. However, DRM does not actually address this concern - at most they introduce a short delay. At the cost of inconvenience for everyone who actually care and try to use the DRM damaged versions, which raises the question: Why pay for inferior goods?

    That is why we don't like DRM, we pay for the goods but get the worst version - or actually scratch that, we get nothing but a non-renewable, non-transferable, rights-removing licensed version.

  • Rights vs. rights (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:02PM (#43569307) Homepage

    The problem is it is impossible create a DRM system that both protects the artist's right and respects the consumer's rights.

    In any case it looks like the OP is drinking the big media kool-aid. DRM isn't about protecting the artists; in fact they mostly hate it. DMR is about increasing corporate profits buy taking away consumer rights like format shifting, backing up, resale and so forth.

    • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:14PM (#43569407)

      The problem is it is impossible create a DRM system that both protects the artist's right and respects the consumer's rights.

      In any case it looks like the OP is drinking the big media kool-aid. DRM isn't about protecting the artists; in fact they mostly hate it. DMR is about increasing corporate profits buy taking away consumer rights like format shifting, backing up, resale and so forth.

      The claim that "DRM protects the rights of content creators" is false and has been shown to be false a thousand times. DRM is based on the idea that consumers have no rights. DRM assumes, right from the very beginning, that you are a criminal that the content producer must be protected from. DRM is an example of the old saying "if you tell the same lie enough times, you will eventually start to believe it".

      • DRM assumes, right from the very beginning, that you are a criminal that the content producer must be protected from.

        To be fair, if 90% of players on your game company's servers are known to be using pirate copies, that's not an entirely unreasonable assumption.

  • by SuperCharlie (1068072) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:03PM (#43569317)
    If money is your driving force, then DRM is your answer. If love of your art is your driving force, then DRM is irrelevant.
  • heh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moogied (1175879) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:05PM (#43569335)
    Thats the issue, isn't it? DRM only protects something with a physical value of virtually zero. I can just send a few electrons(ok, a few billion or trillion) to someone and suddenly they too own this thing!

    What value does the actual data contain? None really. The IDEA that the data represents? That is the value. You can't stop ideas from spreading, thats the reason they are so crucial.

    So... what does DRM do? Nothing. Whats the answer? Services. Goods. The exact same things that people have been selling since day 1.

    Sorry "artists" but you don't deserve 10 million for your "creation". You deserve, at BEST, 200k a year for your work. Go put on shows and concerts, sell t shirts, sell vinyl, sell physical objects people want to own. Don't expect to get money for something that is free to replicate.

    Yes thats right people. I believe people should get paid *ONCE* for there work. Not a billion times over.

    • by cpghost (719344)

      Sorry "artists" but you don't deserve 10 million for your "creation". You deserve, at BEST, 200k a year for your work.

      People rarely get what they deserve. They usually get that what the market gives them, and they deserve that which makes them useful to others. Say, a pop singer gets some millions selling his songs, while medics who save lives get far, far less than that. What said singer and those medics deserve though is something quite different... but that can't be determined by any kinds of objective

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:09PM (#43569369) Journal

    There are arguably use cases where DRM would be convenient(eg. media rentals, which are a relatively uncontroversial and popular service in physical media, pretty much need to time-out to work, 'snapchat' and its ilk are designed explicitly, if not effectively, to enforce transience, again only doable with DRM).

    The problem is architectural, though. In order for DRM to work, the root of control for a device cannot be its user/owner. It has to be the DRM-enforcing entity, or else the 'DRM' is simply some obfuscation. There just isn't a way around that. Further, to deal with analog hole/leaks from compromised devices or the production chain/etc. there is a strong incentive to make devices 'default-deny' rather than 'default-allow'(compare a PC, which will execute more or less any program that isn't explicitly self-destructive, with an iDevice or console, that will reject otherwise well-formed applications that aren't signed correctly).

    And the trouble continues: in order to prevent 'leaky-by-design' hardware from being produced(eg. cheapy DVD players that are... lax about region coding and macrovision), the DRM mechanism essentially has to be legally encumbered in some way('hook IP', DMCA-style laws, etc.) to prevent the easy manufacture of HDCP strippers, region-free DVD players, and other 'claims to be DRM-compliant; but with a backdoor by design' circumvention tools.

    This places extraordinary power in the hands of whatever licensing entity controls the DRM scheme: at a bare minimum, it's a steady stream of licensing revenue(even for hilariously broken systems like CSS, they still get their cut per DVD player). It may also include power over who is and isn't allowed to enter a market or exist on a given platform, and substantial control over the activities of everything going on within systems that include a given DRM scheme.

    That's the real problem, ultimately. It isn't that there are zero uses for DRM, it's that (by necessity) you have to make some pretty radical changes to get DRM working at all, and once you make them, the uses that you don't want are every bit as available as the uses that you do want, and there is no way of allowing only the former and preventing the latter.

    It also doesn't help, of course, that a system sufficiently-robust to be a DRM system is almost certainly sufficiently capable to be extremely useful for fun censorship and surveillance purposes.

  • First things first (Score:5, Insightful)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:17PM (#43569427) Homepage
    Before we can even talk about DRM, copyright needs to be reverted to its original 14 year term with 14 year extension.
  • by Aviation Pete (252403) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:18PM (#43569435)
    The consequence of technology has been that a few artists make most of the money. Unfortunately, these are not the best artists, because the winners are picked by the content oligopoly and promoted to the detriment of 99% of all other artists and all of us. When making money from art has an inherent limit on how many people can watch / listen to a performance again, we will see much more variety again and, hopefully, the quality of the art will go up again.

    What is necessary for this to happen is that the wide distribution of recorded works of art will not create money for the distributors. Only then will the main source of income be live performances again, and one artist can only entertain so many people at one time. The consequence will be that many more artist will be able to live from their art again, only that any of them won't become a billionaire before turning thirty. A big loss for a lucky few, and an immense win for humanity.

    You see, DRM will be one major roadblock on this future of bigger variety and quality in the arts, and therefore is bad. The posts before were all right, and now you know why.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:20PM (#43569459)

    "My focus here is the aspect of how DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation."

    This is an assumption that is not borne out by the actual data.

    Study after study of various aspects of DRM, in regard to software and published works anyway, belie this assumption.

    People who "illegally" download movies and music also happen to be the people who spend the most on music and movies (both in-theater and DVDs).

    The fact is that products that are solidly locked up under DRM tend not to sell very well. Look at the latest rebellion against Electronic Arts and Ubisoft over DRM. EA has been laying off employees.

    This is not to say it might not be useful under some circumstances. But by and large, it has tended to make products less attractive to consumers.

  • No. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:21PM (#43569477) Journal

    No, there are no valid uses for DRM. If your audience isn't willing to step up and fund your work because they love it and want it to continue, then whatever is lost couldn't have been of much value anyway. Much of our greatest cultural heritage was created in a time before DRM, and before copyright. We have more ways than ever to patronize the arts. We don't need artificial scarcity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I agree with the first half of what you said, but the second half falls extremely flat. The times you are talking about were times before replication was basically free, as it is now.

      Replicating music? Someone who knows the song and can play an instrument had to take the time to play it for you.
      Replicating text/images? You had to get it printed.

      Regardless of whether DRM is right or wrong now, it was 100% irrelevant before the internet.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:26PM (#43569515)

    Once I buy something, it is mine. You have no natural right to control it afterwards. It removes rights that the OWNER of the media has to use his media as he sees fit, to make copies for personal use, to timeshift, to device shift, and to resell or give away.

    DRM is an infringement of digital rights of the owner of the media, not a protection.

    And not everyone is a soulless sycophant worshiping the almighty dollar. Artists produce art for the sake of art, to express themselves because of how it makes them feel, and to enrich society as a whole and more often than not to get laid. Slightly reducing the financial incentive will not end art, it will merely remove the posers who are producing garbage for a paycheck from the equation.

    You want people to be ok with DRM?
    1: make DRM that allows every act that falls under fair use.
    2: make the duration of copyright much shorter, 7 years, 14 at the most.
    3: make DRM that releases its media after that duration.

  • Naysayers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brit74 (831798) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @03:41PM (#43569651)
    Good luck getting a positive comment about DRM or a negative comment about piracy on Slashdot.

    Most everyone here is quick to point out the problems of DRM. Honest users don't like DRM because it's going to affect their ability to use the stuff they bought. Pirates don't like DRM, either. (Oftentimes the DRM gets broke which doesn't bother the pirates, but sometimes it slows them down to blocks them entirely.)

    Based on this, there's a tendency for people to be dishonest about DRM - the same way you'd be dishonestly harsh about some kid who stole your girlfriend.

    I'm generally accepting about DRMs existence - in part because it seems like the younger generation thinks they should have a right to pirate everything. The worse piracy gets, the more I support the creation and use of DRM - both to support the creators and to support the continued survival of the industry that creates our entertainment and our software.

    I generally favor the removal of DRM after a set period of time. This gives creators access to the initial sales spike. After a year or so, removing the DRM can be done for the benefit of the customer.

    Some of the myths promoted by the anti-DRM, pro-piracy crowd (which overlap but aren't necessarily synonymous):

    - DRM always gets broken. Not true. It's true that the more popular a piece of software is, the more likely it is to get cracked. The PS3 DRM system held up quite well for years (and GeoHot's crack only worked for previous versions of the OS; he now says the PS3 is too hard to crack). Microsoft's DRM allowed them to ban a million XBox users - they can still use their XBoxes, but have to buy a new one if they want to play online. Both of those count as positive (and different strategies) for combating piracy through DRM. I also had some software I wrote under DRM. It was eventually cracked (after 10 months) and showed up on pirate sites. Still, that gave me 10 months of pirate-free sales, which is where most of the sales were anyway.

    - Piracy increases sales. In case you're wondering: no, I didn't see any increase in sales after 10 months due to "pirates paying for the software they pirated". I actually saw a slight drop in sales, though I'm doubtful about blaming that on piracy. My experience makes me doubt that pirates pay for media after they've pirated it.

    - DRM is only about control. The subtext of this is "if it was about getting consumers to buy their stuff instead of pirate it, it might be legitimate, but it's all about control and they have no right to control me. Therefore, by pirating I'm subverting their vile attempts to control me!" What nonsense. I will admit that this kind of thinking fulfills a psychological need among pirates to legitimize their piracy. I've worked with publishers and game developers and I know they hate seeing their products pirated, and the kind of fear that creates when you've invested tons of time and money and you need to get paid or else you'll go bankrupt. (I've heard even some of the smallest game-developer companies ask the question, "How do you prevent piracy?" Do you really believe some small-time company is out to control people?) Creating stuff is a gamble - a big gamble. All business ventures are gambles. It's like walking into a casino and dropping a big part of your life savings. It sucks when you think that pirates are (effectively) putting their hand on the roulette wheel and making it difficult for you to win on the gamble you're taking.

    - People should create stuff because that's what they love to do, not worry about piracy. What nonsense. Creators invest tons of time and money into their product. We're not going to live under a bridge just so you can have free stuff. I'd recommend you try that argument with doctors, teachers, and everyone else in the modern economy. We've got bills to pay, and I'm not going to make myself into a sacrificial lamb so you can have great stuff. Maybe if you'd come over to my house and mow my lawn for
    • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @04:58PM (#43570207)

      I think that there is a difference between whether current implementations of DRM are desirable, and whether there could be an implementation that does desirable things.

      As a consumer, I am happy to pay for content. I am happy to have DRM content IF:
      1. I can view the content without using proprietary software - sorry, I DO NOT trust software written by any but a very small set of companies.
      2. I can view the content when I am not connected to the net.
      3. I can sell the content to other people in the same way that I can sell physical objects.
      4. The content will NEVER disappear, the company cannot change the content, or remove the content. If they go out of business, they unlock all the content that they sold, or in other ways ensure that I don't lose the rest of these requirements.
      5. I can transfer the content to other devices (one at a time is OK) with different operating systems. I have content that is 30 years old, and I plan to keep it another 30 years, no idea what device and OS I may want to be using in the future.
      6. VERY IMPORTANT: I am buying content for money, I am NOT willing to provide ANY usage or personal information whatsoever. You do not get my name, my IP address, or know what I watched when. If you want my personal information you may separately offer to pay me for the information and I will give any reasonable offer serious consideration.

  • There are no good reasons for DRM. It exists solley to enforce artificial scarcity. It's not hard to eliminate all piracy. I've done it. It's simple. It doesn't take DRM, it takes common sense: You say, "Hey, I need $X to do this work." Then you get $X. Then you do the work. If you got funded by society to do the work via crowd funding or a grant, etc. then you upload the digital token of your efforts to everyone for "free" (you've already been paid to do the work) -- use a .torrent if you need free bandwidth. It's how I make money working on FLOSS. Company needs some bugfix or a new feature, or something customized to meet their need, or even just installed / maintained: I do the work to configure the 1s and 0s just so, get paid for it. Move on to the next job. I don't have to seek rent by selling copies, that's boring and economically corrupt. Doing work for money is a time tested business model. "Intellectual Property" is a newfangled scam -- It's a personal futures market for yourself that guarantees society (and thus yourself) will benefit less overall.

    Doing the work first then Selling the copies to make up the cost of production [+profit] is gambling. What if you don't make those sales? Instead: Get free market research and avoid making things no one wants to buy -- Ask the public directly for the money you need to proceed. After they pay you for your work, you can simply do more work to make more money. This is how all other labor markets work.

    Strict copyright laws were meant to restrict greedy publishers and prevent them from ripping off artists. In a time when copies were expensive and copy machines were rare, 14 years was thought to be the high end of rights durations. Now everyone has a copy machine (computer) -- They're everywhere in almost every device, copies are so cheap they're in near infinite supply, and now the greedy publishers have subverted the system making the strict laws apply to all people instead of themselves. Meanwhile the artists can get buy by the way they've always been able to: By withholding their work until payment is assured. Hint: That's why bands have to go on tour to make any real money -- They have to work to get paid

    The public benefits by having a public domain full of rich and relevant works. Publishers have destroyed the public domain by making copyrights last over 3 generations of humans: Artist + 70 = you have kids @ 30, they die 40 years after you, your grandkids die 70 years after you do... After your grandkids are dead the copies enter the public domain? That's gross. DRM aims to ensure that not only will everyone be dead by the time digital goods enter the public domain, but that it will be impossible to copy them even when it becomes legal to do so. For this reason alone you should never even consider DRM. Copyright laws already exist, if that's not enough for you then you're a greedy ignorant ingrate and you deserve to starve or do physical labor for a living -- Such minds aren't worth extracting information from, IMO.

    Your works only have merit because of the culture you've borrowed from to make them relevant. Try to create something 100% of your own creation -- It is impossible to do so and for it to have any worth. I know, I've tried it. I've invented my own languages and wrote my own stories and jokes and poems in them. They are worthless to the world because only I can read these works. Even though I tried not to I found myself borrowing some literary concepts from culture at large in the writing of these works -- It was impossible not to borrow from the collective culture that we're all a part of. To put your tiny comparative amount of effort into a work then monopolize on the amalgamation for generations is disgusting -- We raised your brain, and that's the thanks we get?! Adding DRM to completely rob the culture that you benefit by is abhorrent.

    Don't operate by way of artificial scarcity. Attempting to do so is counter to nature. Humans are data duplicating mac

  • by Warhawke (1312723) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @04:06PM (#43569851)

    Hating DRM is trendy here on Slashdot, and I'm usually the first to decry it. The problem is not with DRM but with shoddy and opaque implementation of DRM -- i.e. when its implementation hurts honest consumers.

    There are a couple good reasons for DRM. One -- and please bear with me here, I promise I can justify it -- is to stop piracy. Okay, yes, DRM as it has been implemented by the vast majority of businesses has been nothing short of abysmal. It punishes the honest consumer without presenting so much as a stumbling block for hardened pirates. There's actually a lot of argumentative parallels here. Why have gun control when criminals will break the law while honest people won't? Why outlaw drugs when people who want to do drugs will do them anyway? These are actually really important arguments. However, while the contrast is stark, it's not a black-and-white scenario. Simply because we have the Second Amendment here in the states doesn't necessarily mean we should be giving everyone a rocket launcher. Marijuana might not be harmful, but should we really let people make meth in motels and poison all of the other guests?

    In these scenarios, the key question is what is "reasonable" regulation. In other words, the question is what is economically efficient -- what methods and standards will save us more money in the long run than we will spend? Do we need to install backscatter machines in the airports to protect against terrorists? Probably not -- we'll never see that money back. Should we deregulate and let on someone carrying an RPG? Also, no. The cost of preventing people carrying RPGs on airplanes is minimal compared to the savings. Even assuming I were lawfully carrying my RPG for non terrorist-y activities, what if it accidentally detonated? The savings are greater than the cost.

    The same is true with DRM. The problem that consumers have with DRM is that it robs them of the cost of their experience. I paid full price to get some gimped, server-dependent version of the game that was not what was advertised to me. DRM right now is like backscatter machines in airports; it assumes everyone is a criminal, attempts to push the limits of personal freedoms and privacy, and ultimately is probably motivated by greed more than user experience. But that doesn't mean that DRM itself has to be evil or bad. While there are plenty of textbook cases out there of people who download to try-before-buying, or who live in a country where the software/game is unavailable via legitimate retail, there are also a plethora of people who simply want to download a product without paying for it. They'll justify it with the same reasons -- "I'm punishing the developers for X" or "I can't afford it right now." This assumes that the user has some inherent right in the product that gives them the ability to use that product without paying for it. To be honest -- and I know this is going to be an unpopular view -- but the same can be said of regional restrictions. Nothing gives me the personal right to download and play a Japanese game in the U.S. I might justify it by saying that I'm not hurting the copyright holder if he couldn't have sold it to me in the first place. I might think that I have an inherent right in the public domain, that copyright is (as it is) artificial and should only be presumed where the rightsholder is enforcing his rights (i.e. not in the U.S.). But legally that's not how it works. Nothing specifically grants me the right to use something that I have not paid for. Part of the difference is due to internet culture buying into the notion that information is free and should be shared amongst everyone. We recoil when the capitalist world starts to encroach on our free internet with their advertising and paywalls and out-to-make-a-buck mentality, so we flee the corporatized services like Facebook in search of something more open. I digress, though, and that's a different issue.

    DRM's problem is in how it's implemented. Inevitably the cost of implementation is great

  • by gavron (1300111) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @04:24PM (#43569991)

    The original post begs the question of "DOES DRM actually deliver revenue to the content owners." It assumes that it does and that therefore there needs to be some mechanism to enable DRM to do so.

    As has been pointed out numerous times here on /. as well as techdirt and popehat and reddit and other places, that is NOT the case. The revenue that is gained goes to ENFORCEMENT, goes to HARASSMENT of "illegal downloaders"[sic - downloading is not illegal], but NEVER to the artists who created the content.

    A better refinement of the question should read:
    "What mechanisms could be used to ensure that the creators of content are compensated and their rights are not taken nor abused?" There are quite a few examples (in the sources previously cited) where artists put their content for downloads, and VOLUNTARY DONATIONS bypass the hoarde of middlemen thieves to make the artist wealthy. There are no "technical" mechanisms that can let someone read a book, listen to a song, or view a video that they cannot then make a copy. If you don't allow them to backup that copy, watch/listen/view it on multiple devices including car-audio or smartphone, they will make their own copy and no revenue will be afforded the creator.

    A second mechanism is one where the content is EASILY made available for these uses, but incrementally the value-add is to the buyer who chooses to buy that other copy. For example: if I buy a Blu-Ray of BestMovieEver and for another $2 I can download it to my smartphone with chapters, subtitles, and all the features I'd want to see in an original creation (but won't get in a BR-rip) that's worth it.

    If I buy a book from AMZ and for another $0 I can get it for my Kindle [reader on my smartphone] for ALL titles and it will NOT be pulled away later [like 1984] then that's a great value. Maybe for another $5 I can get a second copy stamped "Office Library" in big red letters on the softbound cover, so I can keep that in the office to read.

    If I get an MP3 or two or three or an album, and for $5 I get a jewel box with a CD for the car, or a poster of the band... those are also value adds.

    Key 1: technology will not prevent copying
    Key 2: giving the content creator the revenue means removing all the thieves from the middle of the process
    Key 3: getting "revenue" to exist means giving the buyer a "value-add" to purchase more, and thereby an incentive to purchase, rather than today's attempts to dis-incent the copying.

    Good luck.
    E

  • by Torodung (31985) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @04:48PM (#43570139) Journal

    DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation.

    Wrong. The artist's agency and lawyer(s) protect the rights of the content creator, which are worth very little without access to a mass market, which is guarded by DRM structures. What DRM does is protect the exclusivity rights of a mass media publisher, who defines the mass market to their advantage only. You said it yourself, "freely distributing." If you're trying to stop the distribution of a work, it's because you're protecting the distributor's rights through artificial scarcity in a world where it no longer requires massive publications facilities and real capital investment to mass produce media. The publications industry is in dire need of justifying itself, and does so as a only as a rights manager and promotional mechanism, and forces the rest by using cartel agreements to corner, and limit, the mass market potentials that exist. The physical publishing and distribution itself has long since lapsed into obsolescence. Let alone encumbering cheap reproductions with digital locks to approximate the scarcity that used to exist in the days of yore, to justify their continued business practices.

    In short: Artists have been getting screwed for decades, and are probably, in the long run, screwed out of their fair share by DRM. DRM's purpose is to enforce who gets to do the screwing. That is all.

  • by GiMP (10923) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @06:59PM (#43570977)

    My employer as well as our direct competitors are looking to use what might be considered DRM to protect servers that run hypervisors for untrusted VMs.

    We use SecureBoot to make protect against attacks against our unattended installation / provisioning layer. We use it to make sure binaries aren't seeded into our environment. I.E. we're using trusted computing.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

Working...