Thursday, November 8, 2007

DRM, Enemy of Simplicity

A close friend of mine recently discovered the great curse of DRM. "Digital Rights Management" software is what tech companies and record labels embed in songs in an effort to prevent widespread piracy. As the friend in question is also a contributor to this blog, I'm sure he'll have more to say on the topic.

The problem? Music he purchased and downloaded legitimately and legally now resides on one PC in his house. Having recently acquired a shiny new Play Station III, he endeavoured to migrate some of that music over to the gaming console in order to be able to listen to it in his living room. A worthy pursuit for a dude who just wants be able to enjoy his music in more locations than in front of his PC. Upon attempting to get the music to play however, he quickly learned DRM had robbed him of this household victory. You see, the songs he purchased are embedded with a DRM software that is incompatible with his Sony PS III. They can only be played on certain "approved" devices.

This is a symptom of a larger problem: DRM is causing more confusion and frustration for consumers, than it is creating protection for artists and record labels. If I pay for music, shouldn't I own it? Shouldn't I be able to play it on whatever music device I own?

Come on DRM advocates and makers, what gives? Free us from the digital clutter and confusion you're causing by forcing music we pay for to work on some devices and not others.

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