DRM philosophy update

I have been letting my brain quietly get on with formulating a proper concept of what I think a Digital Rights Management philosophy should be.

Then, last week, I posted a comment to a blog entry Kent Newsome had done.

Kent kindly followed a link to my manifesto and had a read. It was, he says, something that he “generally agree with, except that I will not accept any form of embedded DRM.

Which prompted me to comment in the post:

“Thanks for the nod Kent!

On the issue of “…. except that I will not accept any form of embedded DRM.” I guess I didn’t explain myself properly.

I think I will revisit the wording on this as it’s not meant to be DRM as a technological solution but DRM as a social solution. By this I mean rights are rights. The rights that you possess with a tangible, physical product should automatically transfer to a digital version of the same thing. Thus, secondary sale rights, freedom to share, etc. should be something we are free to do with digital versions.

All technological solutions seek to protect the content, whereas I would make the case that we should agree what we consider to be the social norms for dealing with a digital version of a physical product are and then use existing legislation to punish those who break these on an industrial scale.

My initial effort was an attempt to subvert the meaning of DRM by taking its existence and turning it back on itself – to support the idea of DRM – but to turn it from a technological solution to a social solution.

My earnest belief is that rights are important and anything that promotes this idea is a good thing. Technological DRM solutions have sought to go way beyond the bounds of existing copyright law (it doesn’t have to be like that though, as watermarking is a form of technological DRM which can be used to protect rights without depriving one of the other parties of theirs) and seek to hand all the rights to the copyright owner and none to the audience. This is fundamentally wrong. Unfortunately most of the copyright owners I have talked to have been blinded by their belief that a technological solution is the panacea to all their ills in a digital future. They have lost faith in their audience and have been hoodwinked into seeing everyone as pirates and thieves. Thus my attempt to talk to them using terms that they are comforted by but seeking to rob those terms of their existing meaning and infuse them with a more realistic connotation.

Some other postings I’ve done which flesh this out a bit more in a real world situation:


At which point I thought – “Well there it is! My DRM philosophy”.

So I shall rewrite the website over the next couple of weeks to incorporate this.

Ps – one of the links I posted in the comment to Kent  gave a weird character error – hence why I reposted the original post again with a slightly different heading.

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