Stop the madness – abolish DRM!

Post ImageHas DRM (digital rights management) ever accomplished anything positive? I find it really hard to believe that DRM has increased sales of music, movies, or any other protected content. In fact, I’d bet it has had the exact opposite effect. Just mentioning the acronym brings nothing but negative thoughts to mind.

I think it’s only a matter of time until DRM is gone. Steve Jobs doesn’t want DRM. EMI is willing to forget about DRM. And yesterday, thousands of online citizens proclaimed in a unified voice that they do not want DRM either. The writing is on the wall. The only question now is when DRM will disappear.

I can’t say it any better than Cory Doctorow:

AACS took years to develop, and it has been broken in weeks. The developers spent billions, the hackers spent pennies.

Instead of spending billions on technologies that attack paying customers, the studios should be confronting that reality and figuring out how to make a living in a world where copying will get easier and easier. They’re like blacksmiths meeting to figure out how to protect the horseshoe racket by sabotaging railroads.

The railroad is coming. The tracks have been laid right through the studio gates. It’s time to get out of the horseshoe business.

In the past, movie studios and record labels had to worry about content and distribution, but no longer. It’s clear now that distribution doesn’t need a helping hand. The sooner the studios and labels figure that out and stop wasting money on it, the better it’ll be for all of us.

Read: BoingBoing

BitTorrent Search

Post ImageAccording to Wired News, Bram Cohen, who created BitTorrent, and his team of developers are getting ready to release an advertising-supported search engine for torrent files. Ask Jeeves is slated to provide the sponsored links for the search site, which will be available at the BitTorrent website. And apparently, the team is pretty confident that they won’t get sued either:

But [Chief Operating Officer Ashwin] Navin isn’t worried — because the new search engine indexes every torrent it can find without human intervention, the company can’t be held liable for results that happen to point to infringing content, he says. [Stanford University Law Professor Mark] Lemley says that’s probably right, at least as a matter of law: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides safe harbor for “information location tools” if administrators promptly remove links to infringing content upon notice by the copyright holder.

Lots of other people seem to think its only a matter of time until we see a lawsuit, mostly because the MPAA is just dying to sue Cohen:

The MPAA slammed BitTorrent last week for accelerating the spread of a pirated copy of Revenge of the Sith — a leaked studio workprint of the third Star Wars prequel debuted online even as fans queued up for Thursday’s theatrical release.

You would think that the MPAA would learn from the RIAA’s mistakes, but apparently not. Just like CD sales went up in recent years despite downloading, movies show no sign of slowing down either. Episode 3 almost broke Spiderman’s opening weekend record, taking in $108 million. Oh yes, that BitTorrent protocol is doing such harm! Please.

More importantly, even if they do somehow successfully sue the new BitTorrent search engine, they can’t shutdown the protocol, so there will always be torrent files available.

Read: BitTorrent