DRM's new name - Digital Consumer Enablement

To paraphrase Shakespeare: Would a pile of crap by any other name smell just as bad?

Apparently, the head of HBO doesn’t think so. He wants to rename DRM so people think of it in a nicer light.

There’s only problem with that, Bob: You’re still thinking in a very old school way.

Reality check: From the moment that artists released their material for public enjoyment, they’ve been releasing their rights. Yes, the last few generations have written laws to retain creative ownership with the artists. But the moment that material physically enters the hands of others, it’s not theirs anymore. It’s everyone’s.

I know this is a rather radical view that no-one cares to share. In the last decade, we’ve seen some pretty monster battles for ownership, almost all of which is revolving around the Grand Ol’ Dollar. Money, money, money. It’s not about ownership of a piece of work, it’s not about how it’s being interpreted — people just want to get paid, dammit!

And that’s the problem: people believe that unless there is unequivocal ownership and a system of control to enforce it, no-one will be paid for their hard work. That’s what DRM is supposed to enforce: people getting paid.

The problem is that DRM is an artificial control system that introduces far more complication and difficulties than are truly needed. You want to sell more music? Keep the price low, make it easy to obtain, and ensure that integration with a music player is easy. Record stores thrived for years as a result.

Funny how there was no massive objection to blank tapes and CDs. Sure, people said they were ruining the industry, but can you honestly expect anyone to believe that? Name one RIAA lawsuit over a mixed tape.

Enter the 21st century, and suddenly the industry is at risk over pirated music. Boneheads — it’s not about piracy, it’s about fair use for materials we already paid for! I don’t want to have to try and explain why my wife cannot create a music CD for the songs she bought, because the software we have to use won’t let her.

Am I the only one who seems to think that doesn’t make sense? I’d like to think that I’m not, but then all these companies suggest otherwise.

Get smart, Media Companies of the World: your decades-old system is over. You need to recognize that and change. Nettwork Records figured this out. You need to get on the same bandwagon.

Please stop telling me what I can and cannot do. ‘Cuz I’m just going to do it, anyway.

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