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Old 01-04-2008, 08:42 AM   #1
Hadrien
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EU forcing DRM interoperability

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Today, the European Commission announced a plan to create a single, European-wide market for online music, films, and video games. It's even pushing for content owners to get their collective act together and produce a truly interoperable, consumer-friendly DRM system.
Source: Ars Technica
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:12 AM   #2
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Well the EU seems to me to be making a good move on this one. I suppose this is something that will have to come from a governmental direction, since the players in the DRM/Format game simply won't play nicely with others on their own. In their defense, there's not been a lot of incentive to do so.

The comments on multi-territory licensing are interesting, but what the article says about DRM particularly caught my attention:
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DRM, where it is used, also needs to remain transparent to consumers, a goal which includes interoperability. The Commission notes that "lengthy discussions amongst stakeholders have yet to lead to the deployment of interoperable and user-friendly DRM solutions." This is an early candidate for understatement of the year, and European countries have long shown themselves more interested, at a national level, in the issue of DRM and its problems than the US government ever has. Still, it's hard to see much coming from this; the private sector has had incentives to get this done for years and has so far failed.

<snip>

The language of the announcement talks repeatedly about "encouragement" and "recommendations," but the Commission seems to be making an implicit promise to regulate in these areas if more is not done over the next few years by the private sector.
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:28 AM   #3
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So the EU wants to trade monopoly for oligopoly?

"Open" DRM cannot exist. DRM requires a secret to work. If the DRM is open, then the secret is out, so the DRM cannot "protect" the content. The solution, then, is to make you join a "consortium" to obtain the secret so that you can work with the DRM.

Not much of an improvement, IHMO.

But, of course, the real use of DRM is to reduce customer choice and lock customers into a company. So I doubt that the EU's goals will ever be obtained.
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:46 AM   #4
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Pinata time...

Unfortuantely, I believe, a common, friendly (or even unfriendly) DRM will end up being an execise in futility. I'm afraid it will only provide single target to be hacked, with a phlethora of goodies to be gotten (by the pirates) when it is finally cracked. Sort of like a pinata....
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon View Post
"Open" DRM cannot exist.
Yeah, see, they aren't talking about open DRM, rlauzon, they're talking about inter-operable DRM, whole different animal. Well, mostly different.

I know that you hate DRM categorically, but in my book DRM that works with any available device is a massive improvement from DRM that ties each book to only one device, and/or only one type of device.
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by rlauzon View Post
But, of course, the real use of DRM is to reduce customer choice and lock customers into a company.
You're right. The publishers reduced our choices and locked us in to MS products and Adobe products and Sony products and Mobipocket products--all at the same time. And now the Kindle comes along and the publishers reduced our choices again by adding that format and locking us in to yet another device. It's just inhuman.
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:57 AM   #7
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I have nothing against publishers and authors wanting to protect their intellectual rights, however I would welcome a common standard of DRAM which would be device independent. At the moment I avoid DRAM protected books simply because a year from now I may be using a different device for reading my e books and I would no longer be able to read those I had already purchased.
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon View Post
So the EU wants to trade monopoly for oligopoly?

"Open" DRM cannot exist. DRM requires a secret to work. If the DRM is open, then the secret is out, so the DRM cannot "protect" the content. The solution, then, is to make you join a "consortium" to obtain the secret so that you can work with the DRM.

Not much of an improvement, IHMO.

But, of course, the real use of DRM is to reduce customer choice and lock customers into a company. So I doubt that the EU's goals will ever be obtained.
Oh! C'mon! Everyone knows what politicians want, politicians get - damn the consequences to the consumer public. Besides, a truly 'open' DRM scheme would be simple, efficient and easy to develop, right? That's what these politico's aides/industry-lobbyists are whispering in their ears and that *has* to be a 'good thing' for the consuming public, yes? I'm so thrilled I'm going to join the 'I believe they can' parade! Just as soon as 'wishing' makes me (Overnight! I've been PROMISED it can happen!) lose all 350 excess pounds of weight!!!

Yep, they got their heads in the sand up to their arse-holes on this one.

Derek
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
Yeah, see, they aren't talking about open DRM, rlauzon, they're talking about inter-operable DRM, whole different animal. Well, mostly different.

I know that you hate DRM categorically, but in my book DRM that works with any available device is a massive improvement from DRM that ties each book to only one device, and/or only one type of device.
I agree, although no DRM at all is much better, inter-operable DRM is already a massive improvement.
Much easier for the consumer, and it would also mean more choice. You won't be tied up to a single e-store anymore.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:24 PM   #10
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An eBook with DRM is better than no eBook at all.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:50 PM   #11
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this is a good idea. stadnard protocols are very important for this type of market with network effects. interoperable DRM is equivalent to having fax machines that can speak with each other....instead of only certain ones being able to speak with each other.
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:05 PM   #12
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It will be nice if the EU can figure out how to get it to work. Note, however, that nowhere in the article did it specify applying any of this to e-books. Oversight?
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:24 PM   #13
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It will be nice if the EU can figure out how to get it to work. Note, however, that nowhere in the article did it specify applying any of this to e-books. Oversight?
I doubt if eBooks are even on their radar screen.

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Old 01-04-2008, 01:43 PM   #14
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I agree, although no DRM at all is much better, inter-operable DRM is already a massive improvement.
Much easier for the consumer, and it would also mean more choice. You won't be tied up to a single e-store anymore.
Yes, it's "better". But that's like saying that having lost 1 leg is better than having lost 2.

Inter-operable DRM doesn't do anything to remove what we have today other than give us the illusion of more choice.
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:14 PM   #15
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Better yet -- why doesn't the EU mandate an end to DRM altogether. Then music, films, video games and ebooks really will be interoperable with all devices.
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