Is DRM Dead? The RIAA Says So.

Lifehacker has an interesting piece today (covering a longer piece over at TorrentFreak) about RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy's recent comment in an interview on the subject of DRM: "DRM is dead, isn't it?"

Yes, iTunes dropped DRM, and eMusic recently added tons of new DRM-free Sony tracks. Amazon has offered DRM-free tracks for a while now. But there is still plenty of DRM out there, affecting everything from streaming music to video to e-books. I think Mr. Lamy is trying to be funny, and failing by a mile - the persistent erosion of fair use rights and the treatment of customers as criminals is annoying and at times abusive, and has done little to help artists while doing a lot to retard the growth of culture.

What do you think? Does DRM affect your life? Do you use products that employ DRM technology, or do you try to live a DRM-free life? Let me know in the comments.


Will said...

My life is full of DRM.

I've bought videos from iTunes, Zune and Amazon. I buy Kindle ebooks from Amazon. I subscribe to Zune's music service. I buy games from Steam, PSN and Xbox Live Marketplace.

Despite the fact that I don't enjoy being treated like a criminal, while the guys who do pirate this stuff happily dance around the DRM's security precautions, I seem to have no problem buying into and supporting the system.

I probably tolerate it because 98% of the time, DRM doesn't prevent me from enjoying my media the way I want to. Using Zune as an example, I use one computer to manage and listen to my library, I always use the Zune player to listen to it, and I don't share music with others. Given that set up, DRM never gets in my way.

With DRM being stripped from music across the board (more-or-less), I would like to see movies follow suit. If I want to back up my movies, or simply watch one on my PC or portable device, I shouldn't need to break copyright law in order to do so.

(That "Digital Copy" mess doesn't count)

Jordan Hirsch said...

@Will - that's a pretty exhaustive list! Thanks for sharing. And I think you've shown that people who are law-abiding and live within the DRM setup the way they are "supposed to" still have perfectly valid reasons to sometimes make a copy of a file. I feel like DRM would be much less of a hot-button issue if the default stance of the rights-holders was not one that cast their customers as guilty by default.