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DRM Content Drives Availability On P2P Networks 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the drm-p2p-mpaa-bbq dept.
jgreco writes "The music industry once feared that going DRM-free would drive a massive explosion of copyright-infringing music availability on P2P networks. Now, a new study seems to suggest otherwise. The answer is obvious: if you can easily get inexpensive DRM-free content that works on your devices through legitimate channels, most people won't bother with the headache of P2P networks. It appears that users largely turn to P2P to acquire DRM-free versions of content that is distributed with DRM. The MPAA, of course, will not come away from this with the obvious conclusion."
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DRM Content Drives Availability On P2P Networks

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  • by DarkSabreLord (1067044) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:18PM (#30962816)

    How many more years of this before other industries like software (SecuROM anyone?) come away with the obvious conclusion as well? DRM doesn't do anything but restrict legitimate purchasers of the product, people who illegally obtain things don't have to deal with such inane restrictions

    • by LordAndrewSama (1216602) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:39PM (#30962992)
      Perhaps restricting the legitimate purchasers is the new reason for adding DRM. I'm sure game publishers like wiping out second hand sales, making people buy the same game twice for different computers, forced obsoletion, etc etc. They probably just use piracy as a cover, write off the 'losses' from piracy, then make money from well and truly shafting the purchasers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by maxume (22995)

        That's the only good use case for DRM: it lowers the value of the content, so you can charge less for it.

        Not that many content distributors seem to have embraced this though.

    • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:45PM (#30963076) Journal

      How many more years of this before other industries like software (SecuROM anyone?) come away with the obvious conclusion as well?

      Sorry to pick on your post in particular, but how many years will it be before Slashdotter's stop trusting the editors and reading the contents of the article. We're quick enough to pounce on poor logic when some poor creationist wanders in here, but things like this get waved through? For the benefit of those that are article-phobic, the methodology used is as follows: Count all the files available on a torrent network (not accounting for quantity of downloads at all, mind you, just whether they're available) and classify them according to type. Notice that music makes up 10% of the counted file types and movies and TV shows 46% of the file types. State that music can be purchased DRM free online and state that movies cannot be, and conclude that this is the reason why. There are various other throwaway misdirections such as "music used to be the only reason to use P2P". Well, we didn't used to have the bandwidth to download DVD rips, did we?

      Does Slashdot have a maximum post size, or shall I list the reasons what's wrong with all this article? Any statisticians want to take some cheap shots? :)

      • by h4rm0ny (722443)

        Sorry to pick on your post in particular, but how many years will it be before Slashdotter's stop trusting the editors and reading the contents of the article.

        So that should be "start reading the article". Didn't mean to imply I was new here. ;)

      • by melikamp (631205)

        We'll start reading TFA when the limited time mouse copyright expires.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FlyingBishop (1293238)

        They counted the number of files, not the size of the downloads. If size was a factor, it would follow that there be far more music data shared than video - but there wasn't. Music is almost non-existent when compared to video, at least when looking at data. Even if it's a full album, that's still only 150mb compared to a minimum of 300mb for an hour-long tv program.

        The lack of data on how many were downloaded is problematic, but would you like to propose a methodology for determining the number of download

    • by msclrhd (1211086) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:46PM (#30963090)

      We'll see what conclusion Ubisoft comes to.

      The sad thing about this is that if you have a good quality product that meets the consumers needs and is at an affordable price, then people will buy them. People these days have many different media devices (desktop, laptop, portable media player, car stereo/player, netbook, ...). Most of these will have their music on their computer, synced to their portable media player and car, possibly backed up to an external drive.

      With software, restrictive DRM will only push people away. For example, I have moved over to Linux, but still play games through Wine. I try out (and regularly buy) several casual games and some of the bigger ones as well (like StarCraft). DRM on this software will make it harder to run on this platform, and will drive me away from those companies. For example, I don't buy any Oberon Media games anymore, but look to Awem Studios and Big Fish Games for the casual games that I play/buy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The sad thing about this is that if you have a good quality product that meets the consumers needs and is at an affordable price, then people will buy them.

        Actually, the sad thing is that this theory has been pretty much disproven in recent years by the iPhone phenomenon, in particular the way apps which cost $1 end up with 90% piracy rates (ie, rates comparable to desktop apps).

        Pirates are, by definition, people who take something without paying for it. Whether an app costs $1 or $99 probably won't make m

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by yacc143 (975862)

          Well, the $1 app piracy phenomen has still two problems:

          -) most of the iPhone apps that I've seen are not worth even the time it takes to install them, and surely not $1
          -) itunes is not exactly the best tool to discover which apps might be worth their price or not.

          Now we've got a market with incomplete (or potentially totally missing information), now look up in some standard economy literature, why markets without complete information (e.g. private 2nd hand car dealing) favor bad products.

          (Basically, witho

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Yeah but it's not like the iphone piracy scene has found a way to make a radically better app store. Besides, there's piracy on Android too, and you can get a refund for any app after 24 hours there. Basically no matter how great the deal is, some people will find an excuse to pirate.
        • by tsm_sf (545316) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @03:40PM (#30964736) Journal
          Pirates are, by definition, people who take something without paying for it.

          I think you'll find that they copy something without paying for it. That's not a trivial distinction, no matter what some people want you to believe.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BikeHelmet (1437881)

          People pirate the $1 app because there's 25 similar apps all costing $1+, and only one does what you actually want.

          Rather than DRM being the failure, it's Apple's search system and app descriptions. :P

          Different cause, same result.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JackieBrown (987087)

          I buy a DVD, break the encryption and add it to my video library. I have just broken the law.

          I download a movie that the encryption has already been broken. I have just broken the law.

          What is the solution here?

          DRM leaves me with no legal action. The difference is that the work has been done for me when I download a movie.

          Also, I am not going to pay for something that the moment I try to use it the way I want (without even sharing it,) I have broken the law.

          Now show me a site were I can pay to download an

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:16PM (#30964058) Journal

      Yeah, it is sooo fun to pay $50+ for something that doesn't actually work [metacafe.com] (warning: language NSFW, but can you blame him?). And be sure to pay close attention to the shelves behind him. Notice what is on those shelves? See the thousands of dollars worth of games the guy has bought, only to have the vast majority not actually work?

      I won't even buy at release anymore, because running a 64bit OS I have gotten that stupid "Insert disc in drive E:" bullshit (It IS in Drive E: you stupid &%^$^$&^$! And why did I buy big honking hard drives so your stupid company can make me change discs like a PlayStation anyway?) one time too many and now refuse to touch any game that I don't already have the cracks sitting on my hard drive ready to go. Is it any wonder why people pirate? Your DRM don't work morons!

      And the worst part? The part that feels like a big kick in the nuts? It does NOTHING to stop piracy, it simply screws up your machine! Working PC repair I have thrown away more customers drives because the stupid DRM decided they must be a "filthy pirate" for daring to have a DVD burner (who doesn't nowadays? Hell even the shitty Dells come with DVD ROM/CDRWs now) or two drives and thrown one or more into PIO mode and burned them smooth up, meanwhile the pirates are laughing their asses off because unlike my retail discs which want me to keep switching discs and jumping through flaming hoops only not to work a good 60%+ of the time, their pirate versions actually work. No need for discs, or jumping through hoops, or DRM that can make your PC more unstable than Win98 with a bad VXD driver, nope, theirs just works. And they wonder why there are so many pirates? Try not kicking your customers in the balls, how about that?

    • by morcego (260031) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @03:25PM (#30964610)

      DRM is just part of this race to P2P.
      I always payed for my EBooks. They were cheap and easy. I get them in a few seconds, instead of having to wait days for delivery.
      Ok, I live outside USA, so ordering paper books is always a exercise in patience.
      Now, the last time I tried to buy an e-book, I've got a message I could not buy it because I was outside the USA. It was a restriction imposed by the publisher. Now:
      1) I can't get those in my country
      2) Even if I could, it would be a translated version (which sucks)

      So my only option was to get a pirated version of the book. Took me 5 minutes, tops and, since I could not download that single ebook, I ended up downloading (and reading) other books by the same author.

      I WANT to PAY for my content. But things get to a point where they simply won't take my money. And then they complain about piracy. It is just ridiculous. I contacted the bookstore and even the publisher to try and sort this out, but simply could not BUY the ebook.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:20PM (#30962828) Homepage

    Basically, this is based on the correlation that "hey, most of the stuff through a trackerless BitTorrent setup is pirated movies/tv, porn, and software, almost no pirated music" and "you can get DRM-free music easily, but not movies/tv, porn, and software" as implying "its because of DRM that people pirate stuff".

    Unfortunately, there are two problems here:

    a) Music is not just DRM-free, its also SMALL. BitTorrent's strength is moving big files, while pirated songs are very small in comparison, you can just email em to your friends.

    b) A lot of porn online is DRM free, so why so much porn in BitTorrent?

    Correlation does not mean causation.

    • by mark-t (151149)

      c) Piracy (in the sense of copying another's work that they did not want others to copied) has been going on long before DRM was ever invented or even called that name. It's older than the notion of copyright itself.

      DRM might be the cause of some (minor, but not necessarily insignificant) amount of piracy today, but there's something far more fundamental as a real underlying cause.

      • by Belial6 (794905)

        c) Piracy (in the sense of copying another's work that they did not want others to copied) has been going on long before DRM was ever invented or even called that name. It's older than the notion of copyright itself.

        And don't forget, unavoidable. I have yet to see a single 'work' that does not use someone else's 'work'. Not one. Not even this very post. One of the moral issues with copyright is that it is and always will be a case of "My shade of gray is better than your shade of gray".

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          I have yet to see a single 'work' that does not use someone else's 'work'

          Indeed. As a musician myself, I literally cringe when someone uses the word "create" in reference to writing music. It's so utterly arrogant and delusional. No one creates music. We build by accretion upon the works of past artists and within the influence of the culture and technology we grow up in and with.

          Human beings have been playing music on instruments for about 40,000 years and much longer without. Funny how all these nonsense "rights" only sprung up in the last couple centuries and the lies that mu

      • How could copyright "piracy" have been occurring before the notion of copyright itself? Before copyright, it was simply legal to copy books.

        • by mark-t (151149)
          Legal, yes... but still frowned upon. Unauthorized copies were still viewed as forgeries by not only the publisher but also the general public (owing to the fact that copying technologies were basically non-existent at the time and unauthorized copies tended to be highly imperfect).
    • by metamatic (202216)

      b) A lot of porn online is DRM free, so why so much porn in BitTorrent?

      Where can I legally buy DRM-free porn?

      (Sincere question.)

      • by Teun (17872)
        Unless you see CSS as DRM most CD's and DVD's are free, even without that damned region coding.
      • Hold it, hold it... since when do you have to pay for porn? When did money start to tarnish that industry too? I thought the actors do it for ... well, ya know, to get laid.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Why would you actually buy it, when you can watch all you want for free? I have a few customers that were bad about "if it says pron click" and I got tired of cleaning their Pcs all the damned time. porn bugs are nasty, you know? So I went and found them a free site with tons o' porn and no hassles. I probably shouldn't put it here, as the /. stampede will mess it up, but the site is called myfreepaysite.com (not giving a link to cut down on slashdotting).

        Just give them an email address (you can always give

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TerranFury (726743)

      A lot of porn online is DRM free, so why so much porn in BitTorrent?

      People are embarrassed to be associated with porn -- they don't want it showing up on their credit card bill, or to be seen purchasing it -- whereas a subscription to Netflix or one of the music stores causes them no embarrassment at all.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      most of it is probably US tv shows that air months later in non-US nations that thanks to their education systems have a increasing number of people that can understand english when spoken.

      so rather then wait for a month or more, and have to dodge all kinds of spoilers from US sites, they download and watch right after its been aired on US services.

      heck, it would be interesting to compare this to say proxies that can handle video services from USA.

    • b) A lot of porn online is DRM free, so why so much porn in BitTorrent?

      Because porn subscriptions are $30-40/mo.

      ......how I know this is irrelevant

  • by Andorin (1624303) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:21PM (#30962844)
    Lest anyone think that TFA is saying that BitTorrent is used almost exclusively (to a degree of 99%) for copyright infringement, remember that this study focused on DHT-based, trackerless torrents. Legit torrents, like Jamendo and Linux distributions, usually use their own trackers. There's no reason for them to use DHT. So the study will naturally underrepresent legal BitTorrent content.

    Also, the bit about DRM doesn't surprise me one bit. Nobody likes DRM except rights holders. It causes many more problems than it solves (which are very few already), not the least of which is perpetual content control even after the copyright expires. Far from banning circumvention of it, we need to heavily discourage (or outright ban) the use of DRM as we know it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DaMattster (977781)
      Even the artists themselves do not like DRM! Dave Matthews has spoken out against it from the git go.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mstahl (701501)

        That's a good start and all, but we need good musicians to speak out too.

  • Paying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:21PM (#30962850)
    I do not necessarily mind paying for music. I do mind being told what type of device I can play my music on. That, my friends, is tyranny. This leads me to another gripe: The iPod and its ilk. We bought the device, therefore we own it and should have the right to modify it to work the way we want it. This is very much like purchasing a car, truck, or motocycle and customizing it. We purchase the vehicle so we own it and can modify it (legally) to ways we see fit. In this day and age, it looks like we purchase the license or right to use something which stifles innovation and puts us even further technologically behind other countries.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jo_ham (604554)

      You bought the device, yes, but it may be more or less easily modifiable - researching the device beforehand is probably a good idea, and if the "iPod and its ilk" don;t suit you, then DON'T BUY ONE - instead buy something that CAN BE modified the way you want.

      My car was partially built by robots on an assembly line, so as a result it's tricky to modify the chassis much from the stock configuration, compared to a different car I have worked on - a Cobra with a separate rolling chassis and body which is much

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        Don't buy it seems the obvious answer, but it only works if you're representing the majority of users and your gripe with a tool is what most users' problem would be. Your example of your car and oven are exactly the reason why "don't buy it" won't work for appliances like the iPod or other locked down devices.

        You don't care that you can't modify your oven or car because you don't want to. And the same applies to most users of iPods out there: They don't know about the locked nature of their device and don'

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          The problem with the ipod versus car analogy is that people VERY MUCH CARE
          if their car is more "hackable" than an ipod. Cars are expensive things that
          people are willing to repair and maintain. The cost of that maintenance is
          directly related to whether or not cars are "hackable". While most people
          would never futz with their own car, they certainly want one that any random
          mechanic could service.

          The ipod creates it's own little vendor lock bubble with it's DRM formats. Any
          one that buys any of that stuff is sud

          • by jo_ham (604554)

            "DRM formats" like what? The movies and TV shows have DRM, but none of the music on the iTMS has DRM on it, and you don't even have to use the iTMS - you can rip your music in AAC or mp3 format (or apple lossless, wav or aiff if you choose) which might not be vorbis, but they are free from DRM.

            If you have an issue with the fact that the iPod only plays patented music formats, well that's a different issue and it would be nice if the option of a patent-free format was added for those that want it.

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          What content is only available for the iPod? The music sold on the iTMS is unprotected AAC and will play on anything that can read AAC files, which is a patented format (like mp3) but doesn't have to be exclusive to Apple. You can also buy CDs or mp3s and use those on your iPod or other music player of choice.

          The movies and TV shows are still DRM locked, but I am sure they are working on that, in the same way they did with the music industry to remove DRM from the music they sell.

    • Ipod (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      I do not necessarily mind paying for music. I do mind being told what type of device I can play my music on. That, my friends, is tyranny. This leads me to another gripe: The iPod and its ilk. We bought the device, therefore we own it and should have the right to modify it to work the way we want it. This is very much like purchasing a car, truck, or motocycle and customizing it. We purchase the vehicle so we own it and can modify it (legally) to ways we see fit. In this day and age, it looks like we purchase the license or right to use something which stifles innovation and puts us even further technologically behind other countries.

      Ok, so write your own firmware on the device and do what you want.. No one is stopping you.

      • They make a relatively strong effort to prevent you from doing that. Specifically the firmware has to be signed. Now, we can fake it these days (Since you can put Linux on your iPod), but it was quite a reverse engineering feat to do this, IIRC.
        • by nurb432 (527695)

          Never said it was easy, all i meant is that it CAN be done. If you can write the firmware, i don't think getting past the 'prevention' is that big of a deal.

          In the old days with non flashed soldered BIOS ROMs, i didn't see complaints then....

          • by tepples (727027)

            If you can write the firmware, i don't think getting past the 'prevention' is that big of a deal.

            Say I have developed a video game designed for multiple game controllers and a large monitor. The market for those on the PC doesn't look viable because I've read statistics that the home theater PC market is two orders of magnitude smaller than the video game console market. All major video game consoles are DRM-locked, and manufacturing and selling a device to install custom firmware to play my game would probably be an anti-circumvention violation in any developed market to which I can affordably move my

    • by westlake (615356)

      That, my friends, is tyranny. The iPod and its ilk. We bought the device, therefore we own it and should have the right to modify it to work the way we want it.

      Apple makes high tech appliances for the consumer market.

      The iPod works just fine if you don't want to make hacking the machine your hobby.

      In this day and age, it looks like we purchase the license or right to use something which stifles innovation and puts us even further technologically behind other countries.

      The most advanced consumer tech tends

    • Re:Paying (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Angst Badger (8636) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:39PM (#30964266)

      That, my friends, is tyranny.

      And that, my friends, is hyperbole. This [wikipedia.org] is tyranny. Choosing an iPod and iTunes over one of the many unencumbered music players on the market and then bitching about the well-known restrictions it imposes is just ordinary, garden-variety cluelessness.

  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:23PM (#30962872) Homepage

    so it's clear - unequivocably clear - that all music that people want ends up on P2P networks, for anyone to get hold of. thus it is up to the music providers to realise this, take realistic stock, take advantage of the opportunity, and make some money by providing people what they want!

    it is only by NOT selling people what they want (DRM-free music) that they are hurting their profits!

    so this is something that the BBC Trust could learn from, and also the HD video data providers. it's quite simple: there's not really that much difference between music and video. programmes _will_ end up on P2P networks, period. thus there is absolutely no point in driving up the cost of set top boxes by adding in DRM that's going to be bypassed, regardless.

    • by Andorin (1624303) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:59PM (#30963216)
      I don't think rights holders implement DRM to curb piracy (which it doesn't). I think rights holders implement DRM to make customers pay for the same media multiple times, and/or to tie them to specific devices, software or services. Why else would they be pushing it despite the fact that all DRM is cracked sooner or later? "Piracy" is just a convenient excuse.
      • by lkcl (517947)

        yah, good point. except... P2P levels the playing field, there, too...

      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        More likely, some CEO hears about digital distribution and someone mentions you can just copy and paste from one computer to another, and the CEO tasks someone to action a plan to stop it. Sure some segments are driven by repeat purchases, but most DRM doesn't have that effect.

        It doesn't matter if it's a successful implementation, it's an action item that came out of a meeting and someone has to either do it or explain why it's bad. "Customers hate it" is only valid if it also means "Customers won't buy i

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by h4rm0ny (722443)
          Your scenario could be accurate, but I think the more likely one is that DRM is sold to the company by the DRM maker and the company simply falls for it. The average high-level manager at a big company probably isn't an expert on software. When a company shows up and says they have a technology that can protect their property and has the tech-speak to back it up, then they'll bite. And honestly, DRM doesn't always fail. It took a while for Blu-Ray to be cracked after all, and even now it's still a hassle fo
      • There is some truth there, but I don't think it's their only reason for doing it. DRM can work to a certain extent, in that it makes it awkward for end-users to copy content. Torrenting is far more mainstream than it used to be, but it's still not entirely intuitive. DRM, like all security, is not implemented with the understanding that it'll never be broken. It's more a case of increasing the amount of hassle required to break the system. Your house serves a similar purpose. You keep all your stuff in ther

    • by noidentity (188756) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:00PM (#30963230)

      Agreed. It basically comes down to these choices:

      1. Pay for crippled copy of media, and accept that you won't be able to play it on all your devices.
      2. Pay for crippled copy of media, then have to seek out uncrippled one on P2P network in order to play it on all your devices, and be considered a pirate anyway.
      3. Get uncrippled copy from P2P that will play on everything.
    • so it's clear - unequivocably clear - that all music that people want ends up on P2P networks, for anyone to get hold of. thus it is up to the music providers to realise this, take realistic stock, take advantage of the opportunity, and make some money by providing people what they want!

      it is only by NOT selling people what they want (DRM-free music) that they are hurting their profits!

      That doesn't solve the piracy problem though. Plenty of DRM-free stuff is being peddled and it gets pirated too simply to d

    • by westlake (615356)

      so it's clear - unequivocably clear - that all music that people want ends up on P2P networks

      I sometimes wonder. I'd like to see the target demographics of the music and its audience. Who is there and who is missing. Even the geek doesn't remain twenty-something forever.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:26PM (#30962894) Journal

    Since I discovered that I can "sample" most games and movies on 'torrent, I've downloaded quite a few of them. However, relatively recently I learned about gog.com, and over the 1.5 years since I signed up, I bought 3 of the games (all DRM-free) available there. This is surprising even to me, as games and movies are a luxury for me, at the moment (wife doesn't have a job, so I'm a sugar daddy, even though I'm just a grad student/researcher). Yet gog.com makes it all really convenient: easy to purchase and download, great titles at very affordable prices, already packaged to run on Windows 2000/XP, and I will always have those titles in my online collection, so I can download them on any computer I like. All in all, I think companies that follow their example can make a decent buck.

    • by npsimons (32752)

      I've downloaded quite a few of them. However, relatively recently I learned about gog.com, and over the 1.5 years since I signed up, I bought 3 of the games (all DRM-free) available there.

      I stumbled upon gog.com awhile back and thought they were pretty nifty too. I especially like that not only do they not have DRM, but it's one of their advertised features! Usually, I hate ads and don't ever see them online, but somehow I caught one for gog.com, and had to smile when I saw in nice big lettering that they

  • The RIAA / MPAA force through laws via easily bought politicians that benefit the dinosaur music / film industries. They will therefore not benefit from using the argument that stripping DRM dives more sales.

    A reason that BluRay has not taken off in the way they hoped is the attempt to stop the discs playing on non-authorised drives (didn't pay the bribes), region locking / cartel protection etc. etc, and you can't back up the content to a different device (in theory, and not easily). The record industry se

    • by westlake (615356)

      A reason that BluRay has not taken off in the way they hoped is the attempt to stop the discs playing on non-authorised drives (didn't pay the bribes), region locking / cartel protection etc. etc

      Blu-Ray did rather well in 2009. Blu-ray sales were up 67 percent in 2009 [engadget.com]

      There are only three Blu-Ray regions.

      A1 is North and South America, East Asia, excluding China and Mongolia, Southeast Asia and Japan. This does not strike me as any great hardship.

      The Blu-Ray player with Netflix streaming starts at $140.

  • by xiando (770382) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:38PM (#30962984) Homepage Journal
    DRM does not work on some operating systems such as the one I (ab)use. It is so very strange that those who can not use legally purchased DRM content, and in most cases can't even do the legal purchase, look elsewhere.. isn't it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Andorin (1624303)
      As an Ubuntu/Debian user I just stay away from any and all DRM. It gets between me and my content, and is illegal to break. I don't need to put up with that hassle, not with the existence of freely licensed alternatives (part of why I run Linux).
      • As an Ubuntu/Debian user I just stay away from any and all DRM. It gets between me and my content

        What content do you speak of? For example, what recent professional-quality feature films have been lawfully distributed to the public without digital restrictions management?

        I don't need to put up with that hassle, not with the existence of freely licensed alternatives

        Consider the film Dances with Wolves. Non-free alternatives include Disney's Pocahontas and James Cameron's Avatar. But is there something free of comparable quality?

    • Call me old fashioned, but I buy CDs. That works on Linux! You get lossless, DRM-free music, and physical media which, unlike CDRs, do not degrade.

      • Call me old fashioned, but I buy CDs

        Where do you get those CDs? I haven't seen those being sold anywhere since the 90s. Stores do offer something which has the same size and shape and look very similar. Too similar. I thought the last "CD" I bought was a real CD, I didn't realize it was not until I did a close-up inspection after being devastated by the fact that my CD-player refused to play the brand new "CD".

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          I've ripped recent releases with no problems.

          Admittedly, the whole "lets sue the customer" thing with the music industry has reduced my once
          very much thriving music media habit to a mere trickle of mostly used disks. Still, I get the
          occasional newer disk.

          Bluray and (Disney) DVD is much more of a Spy vs. Spy thing when it comes to DRM and "defective disk copy protection".

  • Lesseee... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cptdondo (59460) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:45PM (#30963074) Journal

    I pay for music - because typically I look for specific artists or songs. It's easier for me to find it on Amazon rather than wade through piles of junk.

    I would also like for the music industry to clean up its licensing. Let me buy music that I can play anywhere, in public, to any group of people smaller than, say, 100.

    No strings, no fear, no stupid RIAA tricks. Come on RIAA, make it easy for us to be legal. You make it as hard as possible, with impossible convoluted licensing (you need a separate license for public performance and for copying a CD) so that it's nearly impossible to remain within the licensing restrictions and play the music I like.

    Heck, I could make a strong argument that the music industry licensing is so convoluted that it is impossible to play music and be legal.

    So clean up your act.

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      Please consider cleaning up your argument - you're saying the RIAA is causing the convoluted licensing problem. RIAA is only the recording industry, separate from songwriting. There's a copyright on the song that goes one place, a copyright on the recording of that song that goes another place, and the RIAA can't do much to change it. The only option they have is to stop taking over the recording copyright, leaving it with the artist, which it won't do.

      Public performance of a song defeats the purpose of

  • A Perfect Example: (Score:5, Informative)

    by nuclearpenguins (907128) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:59PM (#30963222)
    So I went out and bought the ultra Blu-Ray edition of the newest Star Trek movie. On the cover it was advertised that it contained a digital copy for me to use. Cool, I thought that I would just put the digital copy on my media server that streams to the various viewing centers of the house.

    No dice.

    The digital copy is DRM'ed up the wazoo, (and the quality is severely lacking) and will only allow itself to be played from certain devices and no streaming allowed. You must also register with the home servers before you're allowed to take the copy of the file off of the disc and it is limited to being on that one hard drive. You cannot reinstall it if you lose your data somehow.

    So what did I do? I "acquired" a Blu-Ray rip .mkv file of the movie. Plays perfectly on everything I want it to.

    Eat me, movie industry. Offer me something that fits my needs, not yours.
    • by Aranykai (1053846)

      I do the same with music. I pay for monthly access to DRM'd music, but I just recently replaced my mp3 player with a new smart phone. Incidentally, the phone isn't supported.

      So, to use the content I pay to use, I have to spend hours torrenting the stuff. DRM is fail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Overzeetop (214511)

      I have several blu-ray discs, PowerDVD, a computer with the guts to play the format, and I've never played one on my PC. Every time I try to play a BR disc, PDVD always spends several minutes trying to download new "updates" (generally >48MB), and then usually fails with some error. Now, this is on a machine that has only a remote control, so doing anything mouse-centric or requiring KB input requires marching into a different room and plugging in a keyboard. If I download an mkv of the same movie from u

    • by Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:20PM (#30964108)

      To my shock and amazement, the Region 1 DVD release of the film JCVD from Peace Arch Entertainment has two non-DRM "digital copies", one in MP4 and one in WMV format. Both play fine in Ubuntu and on any device which supports MP4 and/or WMV. It's nice to see a company do this correctly. I've been meaning to write them a thank you note - think I'll do that now.

      I hate the term "digital copy" though. Did DVDs and Blu-rays become something other than digital copies at some point?

  • Why it Works (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CrazyDuke (529195) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:05PM (#30963270)

    The reason why this works is rather simple: It's not a competition between something that costs and something that is free. That is only on the surface. I'll give my own rational: I hear a track I like on the (satellite) radio. Now, I can either spend the next 10 to 15 minutes wading through broken links, abandoned torrents, and spam sites to end up with something that has a high likelihood of not even being the remix or the quality I wanted. I could also run the off chance someone I know already has it and mentions it at some point, then spend a similar amount of time trying to exchange the media. Or, I can go to a central website, spend 5 minutes listening to previews and spend a buck for the track using a low hassle micro-payment system.

    As the saying goes, time is money. If your customers have the disposable income that accumulates at a rate higher than the rate of benefit, they will often choose to spend that income rather than work for a benefit at a lower rate of return. And, then they have the luxury of spending their time on something more beneficial.

    Someone mentioned porn? Pay for porn does not work because:
    - It is typically a significant monetary cost, two to three orders of magnitude. It goes from being petty cash to being a discretionary budget item.
    - In the digital form, requires a month to month commitment. Human sexual desire typically involves a lot of spontaneity. You don't marry porn.
    - Shyster websites will often not have the level of content implied and will keep charging customers long after they have terminated your subscription.
    - The catalog is limited from site to site, and people are typically not going to pay the full fee just to see one spread.
    - The record of your purchase is basically public (corporate) information that anyone can purchase.
    - ...which brings me to the public humiliation that is involved in acknowledging one's own sexuality, for IRL or online purchases.

  • Quick! We must add more obnoxious and expensive DRM to our content to prevent this rampant theft!

  • Obviously RIAA and MPAA will commission a study of their own that will find that the reason people pirate is that they are evil and want to steal the property of their poor, starving artists. But of course the bias of the study is in favor of the rights holders because they foot the bill for the study.

    OTOH, this study suggests that people just want to own what they purchase and use whatever means available to make the ownership permanent. But of course the bias of the study is

  • by Turmoyl (958221) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:14PM (#30964024)
    I understand what the article is implying. I used to pirate music, but then Amazon came along with decent quality MP3s that I can purchase at a reasonable price through an easy interface, and which play on anything. If I want something that can't be found on Amazon I still go P2P for it, but this activity is lessening as my library becomes more complete and Amazon keeps adding content. I used to pirate movies but then the Roku player came out and I was able to tie our Netflix account right into it. Now I get decent quality movies and episodes on demand, for no more ongoing cost than I was already paying for the Netflix account and an Internet connection. In other words, when things work to my benefit I spend money. When they work towards an evil empire's benefit I do everything I can to rip it off. So if you want me to spend money you've got to let go.
  • There's some DRM hypocrisy at work in ARS Technica's rework of the original blog article: when I try to print this article, everything prints, including the XKCD comic, *EXCEPT* the graphic pie chart contributed by ARS (the original blog had a simple numeric table). I tried printing it in two browsers and got the same result in both instances: no pie chart. I also tried selecting just the article column and printing just the selection, again in two browsers, and again got the same result: everything except

  • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Saturday January 30, 2010 @05:57PM (#30965820) Homepage Journal

    I like content
    I used to buy content
    But then you asked for money for every blank

    So fuck you

    I would like to see HD movies
    But you said Macrovision is a must
    And I can't upscale to my TV

    So fuck you

    I bought into HD-DVD
    And picked up a few nice movies
    But the content cartel said no

    So fuck you

    I have divx on every player
    And terrabytes of storage
    But I can't buy movies that way

    So fuck you

    My mp3 player does wireless
    And its legal to share songs*
    But the player won't do it

    So fuck you

    *In Canada

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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