02.03.2007 22:39

DRM: a few years earlier

I trace the change of atmosphere around DRM (and I don't write about FLOSS-related websites here, they have unchanged opinion since the appearance of the whole thing). Not more than a year ago I thought that DRM-like solutions will be finally implemented and the user would have no choice different from not buying the equipment at all.

And now? Jobs writes against DRM, in fact. That caused criticism from the media industry, of course. The question, about the costs and benefits of DRM and if it makes sense to implement it at all, has appeared in the places I have not expected. That's definitely positive.

The context of the media-related discussion is the ease to crack HD DVD and Blu-Ray. That issue is a clear example of one major vulnerability the systems have: key distribution. The ones leaked can be, theoretically, blocked, but what if it happens in a case of popular hardware? Imagine hardware sold in milions of copies (quite possible, in fact). Will the producer risk unhappiness of the clients and the need to change at least a part of firmware for all of them? It's also interesting to compare the costs of development of those solutions and the time it took to break them. The question is, was there a better way to spend all that money?

Another news is that there's now an OS with heavy DRM build-in. It will show how much it affects usability. First reviews seem to be rather negative...

On the other hand, the market of non-DRM books and music is quite well if you only search for it. See, for instance Baens and Jamendo.

So why the title 'DRM: a few years earlier'? The DRM issue is not yet solved and it's flowing. I think that from the perspective of the next 10 years we will consider current times as the moment when the whole thing was decided. Ans what will the decision be? I'm quite optimistic. I think that some kind of DRM will survive, but only for limited uses, not the popular market.

Posted by Mara | Categories: Security, Software