« Extended Previews Hit iTunes Tomorrow Main Mobile Gaming in India - snapshot and predictions »

November 17, 2005

DRM "an inept solution"

C.E. Petit, a prominent IP lawyer who's represented Harlan Ellison in a number of piracy cases, talks sense over at Scrivener's Error:

The underlying difficulty is that DRM is inherently an inept solution to the basic problem, no matter how elegantly implemented; the problem extends far beyond limitations on (or expansion of) fair use. Instead, this is a matter of economics and price points.

This is a point that comes up again and again in studies of file sharing; people don't want to pay a premium for a CD with only one or two tracks they'll actually listen to. In addition, there's an issue of goodwill involved; when consumers consistently find themselves buying $14-$18 albums for one or two radio hits, it's not unreasonable for them to feel like they're being cheated.

Mr. Petit continues:

This points out the economic model for preventing (or combatting) piracy: The perceived quality and availability of the genuine article must substantially exceed the premium over the counterfeit [...] All of this implies that instead of DRM, the media giants need to take a close look at their pricing structures, accounting, release timing, and value added to physical products.

In other words, if you can give people positive incentives (worthwhile extras, the sense that they're not being ripped off) to buy your product instead of pirate it, they'll do so. Funny how that works.

Go read the whole thing.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference DRM "an inept solution":

» Tragedy of the Anticommons from Convergence Culture Consortium (C3@MIT)
Lawrence Lessig has an intriguing post up about the "anticommons" problem, wherein excessively restrictive and separated property rights lead to the under-utilization of a resource. (This is the opposite of the classic tragedy of the commons, where a r... [Read More]

Tracked on December 29, 2005 6:05 PM

Post a Comment
(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Add to Technorati Favorites