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Old 07-18-2011, 05:14 PM   #15
Kolenka
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Posts: 973
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Puget Sound
Device: Sony T2, Kindle Paperwhite
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkomar View Post
Well said. DRM was never good at stopping piracy. It's just there to boost the death rate among sold copies and so ease competition against newly released books. The ever-growing copyright durations have the same aim. DRM is not about fairness, and I think it's a waste of time to come up with schemes that try to make it so unless there is some way of imposing them on the DRM imposers.
DRM's aims and the reality are disconnected. Just as the people making the business decision and the people making the technology decision are disconnected.

The aim is to create a method of enforcing the sort of copyright limitations provided for by law, on digital content. The problem is that you can't trust the keys to the mansion to the guy who wants to rob it, yet with DRM, you must or the scheme flat out doesn't work. The end result is that you get DRM that flat out doesn't work at stopping a single pirate from stripping it and then putting it online, but it certainly places limitations (and then some) on most everyone else. DRM is what the publishers want.

Now, the people implementing the DRM and paying for that cost aren't the publishers! That's a problem right there. OEMs and the like will implement just enough of a DRM system to keep the publishers happy, and call it good. They are looking to minimize their engineering costs (which can get expensive), and they aren't invested in DRM themselves, so they do the bare minimum to keep their contracts with the publishers.

What this leads to is very simple DRM systems that lock down content much more than needed. Although it is certainly true that publishers don't seem to care about various uses of DRM such as lending, and are looking to maximize sales, not realizing that lending can spawn more sales. But an engineer isn't going to add consumer-centric features to DRM unless the customer demands it.

There's also the customer/company disconnect in that it's a lot harder to get feedback to the people making the decisions within larger companies these days. Those engineers get more direct feedback from publishers than customers, so it provides them a biased view of what the product should actually be like. I need to negotiate directly with a publisher to get their content, but I've got layers between me and the customer (retailers, wholesalers, customer service script-readers, project managers trying to filter overwhelming amounts of feedback, etc).

In this sort of world, DRM has very little realistic use. And systems to allow for lending/transfer/etc of a license is not exactly an easy problem. DRM already has dependencies on servers to run encryption and assign keys to users. To do license transfer realistically, you need a fairly hardy design that nobody is willing to invest in at this point. It either needs to be a central service which can get expensive (iTunes, Amazon, for example), or you need some way to verify that keys have been appropriately transferred and smashed, opening up more loopholes for pirates to exploit.
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