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Defective by Design

Powerful Essays
Digital Rights Management, or DRM, systematically destroys innovation in the entertainment industry. The various entertainment industries that lobby for more laws supporting DRM implementation in their products claim 'pirates' cause them to lose a noticeable amount of money. The argument presented by these companies allows them to get away with these DRM schemes, which hurt not only the consumer, but also the industry as a whole. All DRM schemes contain fatal flaws in the very philosophy of their design, rendering them largely ineffective. The entertainment companies employ these harmful, ineffective, and potentially illegal Digital Rights Management restrictions to limit consumer rights, increase their profits, and maintain complete control over the content.

As defined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Digital Rights Management refers to the various protection technologies that content publishers apply to their products. For example, many online music stores protect their music files, preventing users from making backup copies or playing it on an unapproved device. Copy protection systems vary depending on the content type and the publisher (“Digital”).

The history of DRM traces back to the days of read-only floppy disks and computer software, but the real controversy around the issue evolved with music and DVDs. The anti-DRM group known as Defective by Design outlined the problem in their “Decade of DRM” article. When the Recording Industry Association of America, the RIAA, saw file-sharing expand on the Internet, they quickly played the part of the robbed victim. The RIAA rolled out DRM schemes and began selling the music with protection, but they soon realized consumers could just walk to the store and buy...

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... their products and stop trying to take advantage of them. Creating extra business models only hurts legitimate, paying customers. The very idea of DRM is contains flaws, and they can not be fixed technologically. If publishers could remember the adage “the customer is always right”, maybe this problem wouldn't exist.

Works Cited

"The Decade in DRM." Defective By Design. 25 Feb. 2010. Web. 23 Mar. 2010.

"Digital Rights Management." Electronic Frontier Foundation. Web. 23 Mar. 2010.

Doctorow, Cory. "Microsoft Research DRM Talk." Craphound. 17 June 2004. Web. 23 Mar. 2010.

Lowensohn, John. "How to Get DRM-free PC Games: Just Wait." CNET News. 16 Mar. 2010. Web.

23 Mar. 2010.

Von Lohmann, Fred. "EETimes.com." EETimes. Apr. 2003. Web. 23 Mar. 2010.

---. "How Hollywood Has Been Trying to Disrupt Disruptive Innovation." EETimes. Web.

23 Mar. 2010.
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