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DRM is flawed?

Is it really, and does this refer to the technology or just its use? Following on my last post about the problem with people, here is a flipside argument which focuses on the trouble with DRM which, according to some of the comments on my first blog post, is conceptually flawed. Read on to find out why this may not even be relevant at all.

Some key observation points in this debate include:

  1. DRM must be invisible to the end-user. Current DRM implementations can be unintuitive and inconvenient for content consumers, and this is a major turn-off for the end-user. One key issue here is interoperability because these systems often struggle to work with each other.
  2. Restriction versus Enabler Philosophy. The latter mindset will need to be emphasised more. In fact, the increasing use of less restrictive / forensic technologies like watermarking and fingerprinting seem to point the way forward.
  3. Stakeholders. Commercial stakeholders really need to embrace the fact that old model revenue streams are no longer assured in the digital age; therefore they must continue to exploit other methods of exploiting content (not just paying lip service with the underlying hope that this is not really the case).
  4. Technology Last. A purely technological solution will not work, and in fact should be the last piece of the jigsaw. My point is that current DRM technology is usually focused on enforcing the old world mostly analog business models in the digital domain.
  5. Cure the disease not just the symptom. In any case the main bulk of effort should really be focused on evolving and re-aligning the increasingly antiquated global Intellectual Property system and Rights Management landscape to work better in a digital world, rather than trying to cure the symptoms with a knee jerk technology based solution like DRM.

Those are just my two cents worth. What about you, what do you think?

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Note – Original post, including comments, can be found at: http://www.bcs.org/content/conBlogPost/101

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