11/28/2006

DRM again!

MPAA Lobbying for Home Theater Regulations : The MPAA is lobbying congress to push through a new bill that would make unauthorized home theaters illegal. The group feels that all theaters should be sanctioned, whether they be commercial settings or at home meaning that you can no longer rent/buy a DVD and watch it on their home theater system along with your friends. You would have to pay a nominal tax to have that privilege....

For a moment, this news from BBspot almost sounded true. I realised a little later that BBspot is a satirical website that goes by "News for you, satire for smart people" :). Well, I really liked the satire here, but I think they are not far away from the truth !! MPAA, RIAA imposing all kinds of restrictions under the name of copyright protection, under the guise of protecting the works of an artist and many other such philanthropic objectives. Agreed, ripping is bad, distributing ripped stuff even worse, but restricting a user who has paid for the content is the worst. How else can you explain expiry period for a downloaded song (Eg:- napster allows u to listen to your music as long as you have an active account with them!), how else would you explain restrictions because devices have different DRM codes (songs downloaded from iTunes play only on the iPod and on no other devices)..What's makes it funny is the fact that Microsoft's Zune is incompatible with it's own "Play for Sure" media. How wild can it get?

Is DRM really necessary? That's a question on atleast a million lips right now? I feel it is necessary to an extent, but the way it is set up currectly, it is targeting the wrong set of people with a bag of restrictions. Restricting people who really buy music is not right and encouraging incompatibility of media between players makes it a nightmare..If I have 4 different players, I wouldn't want to purchase the same song 4 times! And think about it, it really makes it very difficult for any new media player to come into the market..If current consumers had to shift to a new player, they would have to purchase all their current music again which I don't think is right and sometimes it is just not viable. DRM is discouraging competition, acting against an open market..iPods are great, but I think DRM is giving them a larger lease of life...

And people who are "really" misusing media are finding more and more ways to get their music. They will get it no matter what! Your target segment is mainly teenage-20-30s crowd and most of them are rebellious when restrictions are forced upon them...So, in such a scenario, will all this really work? Maybe, MPAA/RIAA has to target the root problem here which is ..hummmm....higher prices..Maybe somebody should do a thorough research and find an optimum price and a good price model for music and movies and we will possibly see the end of this!

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