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DRM Content Drives Availability On P2P Networks 211

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 lkcl ( 517947 ) <> 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 DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:24PM (#30962878)
    Even the artists themselves do not like DRM! Dave Matthews has spoken out against it from the git go.
  • 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, 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 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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:28PM (#30962908)

    Legit torrents, like Jamendo and Linux distributions, usually use their own trackers. There's no reason for them to use DHT.

    No reason? Bullshit. Maintaining a tracker is not trivial, particularly if you're a small project. It's extra work, extra server resources, and another avenue for potential security problems. Putting up a trackerless torrent (or using a public tracker) with a webseed takes almost zero effort.

    And a big chunk of piracy takes place on private trackers, which explicitly ban DHT.

  • by Andorin ( 1624303 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:34PM (#30962946)

    No reason? Bullshit. Maintaining a tracker is not trivial, particularly if you're a small project. It's extra work, extra server resources, and another avenue for potential security problems. Putting up a trackerless torrent (or using a public tracker) with a webseed takes almost zero effort.

    Yet according to TFA, one percent of files available in the sample were non-infringing. So I don't think this method is quite as popular as you imply.

    Besides, if you really can't afford a tracker, there's always OpenBitTorrent. And since torrents with trackers are arguably more efficient than purely DHT-based torrents, why not use a tracker like OBT in the first place?

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:46PM (#30963084)

    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.

  • Re:DRM = loss (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:48PM (#30963102)

    Consumers have had enough of being shafted.

    While I agree with what you're saying, I really dont think most of them care. I think most consumers really dont think about DRM that much.
    Console games that require the disc is no change from the old cartridges. Ripping CDs or getting mp3s from friends is so easily done that
    most people would never notice DRM. Things like WGA still only affect a very small percentage of people.

    I agree that consumers should be sick of it but the DRM we get today is usually easily bypassed or makes no difference.

    Wait until TPM is standard in all PCs, Win8 or 9 verifies your license daily or locks up and limits you to 1 browser tab, no file saving,
    no printing and constant popups. Unauthorised software (anything that can be used to violate the DMCA/ACTA) wont run so removing DRM will
    be much harder. Most PC hardware will require TPM or you'll pay a lot more and it'll have reduced functionality and be stuck with rubbish
    older parts. That is when consumers will be sick of DRM.

  • case in point (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:55PM (#30963152)
    I can confirm this (anecdotally, of course) with my own behaviors. If a PC game comes out that I want, and it incorporates some form of DRM, I will wait until I can get a NoCD patch (or some other mechanism) that removes the DRM from the game. I've had SecuROM screw with my system one too many times to mess with it again. I still buy the game, but I make sure there's a way I'll be able to play it without the headaches before I get it.
  • 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.

  • by CapnStank ( 1283176 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:13PM (#30963338) Homepage
    I'm going to tone in here for a second...

    I had a temporary position at a MAJOR telecommunications company a few months ago where they asked me to construct, demonstrate and analyze a tracker. "can't afford" is poppy-cock as one can be set up for pennies. I was able to construct a tracker server from a run-of-the-mill HP computer (you know the kind that EVERY corporation uses for its employees). On top of that it only took about 2Mbit of upload bandwidth to support upwards of 20,000 connected peers. It also had zero maintenance to keep running under a Fedora 11 destro of Linux. Hell, I had a harder time keeping my network monitors running than I did the tracker.

    I understand that the bandwidth goes up significantly if you're also using your tracker as an initial seed but that is also a trivial factor after the torrent has been circulated enough to let the swarm take over.
  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @06:46PM (#30966184) Journal
    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 for most people to get round.
  • Re:Paying (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @06:56PM (#30966250) Homepage

    I am pretty sure that removing a catalytic converter is illegal in every state in the US. Operating any car or truck without one subjects you to a fine. Removing one for someone can get you jail time.

    I suspect there are other modifications that will revoke your authorization to operate the car as well. We have come a long way from the "shadetree mechanic" days and cars have multiple systems that are licensed and are required for operation.

  • by JackieBrown ( 987087 ) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @03:58AM (#30968766)

    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 HD copy of movie without restrictions. Or even a store where I can buy an unencrypted physical copy of a movie.

    I would gladly purchase a movie legally just to not worry about the consequence of doing something illegal.

    Obviously not offering DRM free content has not put a dent on the online content out there and it is easy enough to get that content online that non-tech savvy users have no trouble getting it.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser