murraypaul, DiapDealer: you are right.
We can assume that -as it has always been in the past- there will be people who buy media, strip the DRM and then (for whatever reasons) illegally distribute them. Let's call these people "buyers-uploaders", and my proposal has to deal with them.
I'll try to demonstrate that, though my proposal does not affect this kind of illegal distribution, it will have positive effects on all the other types of "piracy", thus reducing it AND increasing the quality of life and satisfaction of media customers.
Let's suppose that in the future my "social DRM" becomes the standard for copy protection, and let's see what changes.
- Media buyers who are also uploaders will continue their "work", so the damage they do to publishers and authors will remain the same.
- Most of the media buyers who are not uploaders, but today are stripping the DRM from their files (because of the absurd limitations this imposes on them) will stop doing that. In fact almost everything they want to do with their files will be not only possible in presence of the "social DRM metadata", but also authorized.
Let's assume that in the future buyers will continue to give away more or less the same number of media files to other people (actually my system tends to reduce this number), so the amount of files that are given from media buyers to someone else will remain the same. In the future where my social DRM is the standard, most of the shared files will retain the embedded data, while today all of the files that get shared are DRM-stripped.
So, shifting from the current license-based DRM system to my proposed one:
- Damage done to publishers and authors by buyer-uploaders (those considered by murraypaul and DiapDealer) remains the same.
- The number of DRM/metadata-stripped files going around is reduced. Most of the files getting shared around include metadata. So any person getting a media file someway and considering the possibility of uploading it will have to choose one of the following: (i) upload the file and certainly damage the unknown person who, by sharing her/his purchase, allowed them to get the media file in the first place; (ii) personally perform the (prohibited and maybe not technically straightforward) operation of DRM stripping.
As a result, the number of people who actually perform the upload is reduced.
- People who get copies of media files from the buyer know that the buyer trusts them not to share them with others, so will do it less than today (now, in fact, the buyer doesn't have any personal reason to oppose further sharing: so there's no social pressure against it).
So, the number of files subjected to "second-level" sharing (i.e., which are shared by people who got them from the buyer) is reduced.
- People who buy media files will stop being treated like "borderline criminals" by media vendors which do not trust them with anything, even the possession of their own media. Media consumers will also stop being forced to strip DRM to be able to do things that (in theory) seem normal and acceptable even to media publishers, such as letting your spouse or kids read your books.
So people will feel better, and enjoy more their media libraries. Possibly, they will buy more media. And possibly less people will feel so disgruntled with media publishers to become a buyer/uploader in revenge.
The net effect seems clearly positive to me.