It is a pretty well acknowledged fact that the majority of tech oriented folks have a profound dislike for DRM (Digital Rights Management) and ballyhoo it as a waste of time; not mention a technology that makes users feel like criminals due to the corporate reliance on it to protect their turf and pocketbooks.
It is a technology that enables media corporations – probably the most technophobic of all types of companies – to try and build a wall around their business model and forces technology users to either use crippled machines and software in order to comply with this archaic method of control, or to break the law on a continual basis.
DRM continues to be used because the majority of computer users don’t have the first clue as to what DRM is. About the only time they come up against it is when some song title or video won’t play or they can’t copy it to watch on another system of their choice. At times like this it’s not the music or video file they’ll blame but the computer or software that they’ll blame. Microsoft or some other OS of choice get’s the blame, the software developer who has to play within the boundaries of specifications get cursed at.
The media companies may want to play a shell game of semantics by changing the name of the technology they use to guard the gates of their fortunes but it doesn’t change the fact that at the core it isn’t the computer manufactures or software developer’s fault when things go wrong.
It is their fault however for allowing this use of DRM to continue. All of the major OS vendors and hardware manufacturers seem to be under the illusion that without bowing to the pressure of the media industry and implementing a flawed technology that they’ll be out of business or at least severely hampered.
What they don’t realize is that they are dealing with an industry that is built on illusions and the thought that the technology industry would fade away to nothingness if it doesn’t comply with DRM; or any other shell game name they want to it, is just another illusion.
If tomorrow every single technology manufacturer and major software OS vendor stood up and said DRM is dead, DRM is making criminals out of our customers and is wrong what do you think would happen in the long run?
Nothing, other than the fact that the media companies would finally be forced kicking and screaming into the modern world.
However there is one important ingredient missing to this scenario and that is consumer backbone. We, in the tech influencer world especially, whine and cry about DRM and bemoan backhandedly acts of DRM cracking but the moment a new toy comes out we are the first to line up to buy crippled products. Whether it be hardware or software we just have to be the first on the block to use it.
So while hardware and software manufacturers may be to blame for allowing DRM to infect our lives we are as equally to blame for allowing it to continue. Companies like Microsoft or Apple won’t enter into a battle with the media corporations if they don’t have to. Companies will always take the path of least resistance to make their money; but if the source of that money is threatened in any fashion DRM would be history.
It’s not like we don’t have any power over the situation, it’s not like our voices aren’t heard – the recent incident of digg.com and a certain integer is a good example of that. Instead what we get is dribbling’s of discontent from the tech blogging world and tech press in general. We can’t expect profit driven corporations to have a backbone if we the consumers keep cutting them off at the knees which we do with every purchase of DRM infected media, software and hardware.
Microsoft and Apple alone could stop DRM but as long as we vote yes to DRM with our wallets this is one fight they won’t take on.
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