DRM = Customer Lock-In

Donna Wentworth is now saying what I’ve been saying for over a year now. Digital Rights Management (DRM) isn’t about preventing copyright violations by ne’er-do-wells, it’s about eliminating legal me2me fair use and locking in customers. In Your PC == A Toaster, Wentworth quotes Don Marti saying:

Isn’t it time to drop the polite fiction that MSFT and other incumbent IT and CE [CE = consumer electronics -- Casey] vendors are only doing DRM because of big, bad Hollywood? …[Having] “Hollywood” clamoring for harsh DRM (based on technical facts from the IT industry) actually helps the current market leaders…

With DRM, MSFT and Apple can keep their customers from switching back and forth (or maybe to Linux), and CE vendors can’t lock out $39 Chinese DVD players, but can at least collect a tax on them.

What could have been said is that DRM is like a toaster that only toasts Pepperidge Farm bread. You’ll pay full price for both the toaster and the bread, but they’ll sick the FBI on you if you figure out a way to toast a Thomas’ brand english muffin in the thing.

Okay, so I’m not claiming priority over Wentorth, but here are two related stories: What Does Proprietary Mean, Anyway? and Hilary Rosen: Sock Puppet.

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