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DRM - Even Bill Gates Thinks It's Dumb

12-05-2009, 09:57 AM
#1
Joined: May 2009
Location: Japan
Posts: 173
DRM - Even Bill Gates Thinks It's Dumb

Quote:
Gates said that no one is satisfied with the current state of DRM, which “causes too much pain for legitmate buyers” while trying to distinguish between legal and illegal uses. He says no one has done it right, yet. There are “huge problems” with DRM, he says, and “we need more flexible models, such as the ability to “buy an artist out for life” (not sure what he means). He also criticized DRM schemes that try to install intelligence in each copy so that it is device specific.

His short term advice: “People should just buy a cd and rip it. You are legal then.”
from TechCrunch

Quote:
Does [Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe] extend his belief in open source to the open sourcing of content as well as code? What does he think about DRM?

“I don’t think DRM has a future. Treating your customers like thieves is bad business practice. Today the customer is not ‘king’, they are considered thief first.”

He relates a story about his young son being visibly upset by a DRM-enabled music CD which would not play on his older model HiFi.
“It is stupid to think that the key to a DRM system won’t leak. So if it becomes more painful for a legitimate customer to use a product than it is for the pirates then that’s a problem,” he says.
from TechCrunch


So, what do folks think? Is there such a thing as sensible DRM? Is Apple doing it right? Is there any dev's who have an idea how to do it right— if such a thing is even possible? Does DRM have a future?
12-05-2009, 10:18 AM
#2
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 314
Can't wait to see what kind of a debate this thread sparks. Here's my own opinions.

Personally, I don't believe DRM as it is conceived today has a future. DRM as used today punishes legitimate consumers and doesn't even make the content pirates bat an eye. Pirates strip DRM away with ease while those of us who pay for our content are forced to jump through hoops and are restricted as to how and where we can use what we buy.

The content distributors (music, film, television, print publishing, etc) still haven't woken up to the fact that this is a HUGE driver for legitimate consumers to resort to piracy. When it's easier to acquire and use a song or a movie or a tv show or an electronic book or a video game through piracy than it is via legitimate methods, the laziness of human nature takes over and people drift into doing things illegally because they want what they want, and are perfectly willing to pay for it, but it's so much harder to pay for it and then USE the content you bought where and how you want to use it.

Piracy is not always a case of people wanting something for free as it is for people wanting something convenient. It takes a certain amount of resolve to know that I can click three buttons and get a movie for free and use it wherever and however I want to but still take the longer, more restrictive route of going to iTunes, finding the movie I want, paying for it and then ONLY being able to use it on the five computers that are authorized to access my iTunes account (mine, my wifes, my sons, my daughters and our central server). I can't easily put it onto say a Pocket PC, or a netbook running Linux or burn it to a DVD so I can play it on my plasma television. I do this because I understand that piracy is wrong and content owners and creators deserve to be paid for the product of their labors. But as I said, it takes a certain amount of resolve.

So until the content distributors of the world wake up and take notice and do something about the way DRM restricts and hinders legitimate customers, treating them like complete criminals, there is no future in DRM. Piracy will always exist and this just helps it gain ground. The way to combat this trend is to STOP treating consumer who pay for content like the criminals. Content has to be just as easy to acquire and pay for and just as restrictionless as pirated , DRM-free versions or it is doomed to failure.

Free + Restrictionless > $Money + Locked Down

It's a simple equation.

Q

Quorlan

12-05-2009, 02:33 PM
#3
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
The solution is to legislate against the piracy networks. Once that happens, DRM won't be needed anymore.
12-05-2009, 04:13 PM
#4
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 362
Send a message via Skype™ to micah
Well, piracy networks are illegal already. And the more the government tries to criminalize it the worse it is for internet users, what with all the "three piracy strikes and we get your ISP to suspend your account" legislation going on all over the world now.

I think that the DRM built into Steam for PC games is the best I've seen, by far. It doesn't stop piracy of Steam games at all, but I think that's not really the point of it. Instead, it makes it really easy for people to use their games as they actually owned them rather than just a license to them. There's no annoying CD keys, if you bought the game you can download it on any of your computers when you're logged into your Steam account, if you're done using it you can gift it to another Steam user, which will make it so you can't play it any more but then can install it on all their computers.

I don't think Steam stops piracy because of the anti-piracy checks built-in the binaries, those can be easily stripped (like all anti-piracy checks). It helps stop it because it makes it so piracy is no longer a lot more convenient for the user. If you're at a LAN party, it's way easier to burn 6 copies of that Diablo CD and use a keygen to make cd keys than it is to run to the video game store and buy 6 copies of the game. (Yes, I used to play Diablo at LAN parties.) Steam kind of fixes that problem.

I'm not a fan of DRM, and I don't include DRM in my own games that I develop. But I do think that Steam has it close to DRM done right.

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12-05-2009, 04:42 PM
#5
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
I'm not a fan of Steam at all, but their DRM system sounds fairer than most. Ideally of course, the best DRM would be totally invisible to honest consumers who've paid for their media, there's no reason us law abiding consumers should get caught up in the battle between the industry and the pirates. We shouldn't even have to know it exists.

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12-05-2009, 05:42 PM
#6
Joined: May 2009
Location: Japan
Posts: 173
For me the best system seems to be tying person info into the file. eMusic and Apple both do this with their DRM free files. I'm not sure what Apple's policies are, but eMusic gives you a lifetime ban and loss of whatever balance remains if they find files with your info floating around. Seems perfectly fair to me, and it is enough to keep honest people honest. Actually, eMusic was only place I would buy music for a while because of that (for a time it was just about the only legit DRM free music source).
12-05-2009, 06:15 PM
#7
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,585
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah View Post
Well, piracy networks are illegal already. And the more the government tries to criminalize it the worse it is for internet users, what with all the "three piracy strikes and we get your ISP to suspend your account" legislation going on all over the world now.

I think that the DRM built into Steam for PC games is the best I've seen, by far. It doesn't stop piracy of Steam games at all, but I think that's not really the point of it. Instead, it makes it really easy for people to use their games as they actually owned them rather than just a license to them. There's no annoying CD keys, if you bought the game you can download it on any of your computers when you're logged into your Steam account, if you're done using it you can gift it to another Steam user, which will make it so you can't play it any more but then can install it on all their computers.

I don't think Steam stops piracy because of the anti-piracy checks built-in the binaries, those can be easily stripped (like all anti-piracy checks). It helps stop it because it makes it so piracy is no longer a lot more convenient for the user. If you're at a LAN party, it's way easier to burn 6 copies of that Diablo CD and use a keygen to make cd keys than it is to run to the video game store and buy 6 copies of the game. (Yes, I used to play Diablo at LAN parties.) Steam kind of fixes that problem.

I'm not a fan of DRM, and I don't include DRM in my own games that I develop. But I do think that Steam has it close to DRM done right.
Steam makes me want to spew out my a$$. I'm sorry, I just hate it that much.

Games I have beta tested: Minigore, Cogs, Guerilla Bob, Above and Beyond: Air Combat, Baseball Superstars 2010, 33rd Division, Cash Machine, 5 star General, Flick Football... Possibly some other ones I;ve forgotten
12-05-2009, 09:06 PM
#8
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah View Post
Well, piracy networks are illegal already. And the more the government tries to criminalize it the worse it is for internet users, what with all the "three piracy strikes and we get your ISP to suspend your account" legislation going on all over the world now.
I actually support that system. Something does need to be done to discourage the vast numbers of people who illegally download. I don't do it, and I would hope you fall into the same boat, so we shouldn't be affected by it, only those who are doing it.

I think a better system would be to just block websites that offer illegal content. It already happens with child porn, whether it's on a European server or one in East China, so the same could easily be done with piracy networks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by micah View Post
if you're done using it you can gift it to another Steam user, which will make it so you can't play it any more but then can install it on all their computers.
Are you sure about this? I looked into that and on the Steam website it specifically says you can't gift a purchase once you've already downloaded and installed it yourself. They even use the analogy, "that would be like wrapping up and giving them your toaster you've been using every morning for the past year" - which I totally disagree with as an analogy, because digital products don't get wear and tear like physical goods do, but I still agree with their stance on this. Otherwise, what's to stop only a few copies of a game being sold, and then the customers play it, gift it… play it, gift it… play it, gift it, until everyone's played it without purchasing a copy, and so only a handful of copies only ever got sold. It would be like selling theater tickets and when you're done, you give your ticket to your friend to go see the play.

Last edited by EssentialParadox; 12-05-2009 at 09:08 PM.
12-05-2009, 09:11 PM
#9
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by EssentialParadox View Post
I actually support that, because does have to be done to discourage the vast numbers of people who do it. I don't download copyrighted content illegally, and I would hope you fall into the same boat, so we shouldn't be affected by it.
I support that too. What if 11 year-old Johnny finds Limewire and gets busted for downloading music? Should his parents be monitoring him so much that as well as blocking adult material, they've also gotta sit by his side and make sure he never downloads an illegal MP3 file? Even if the answer to that is yes, it's not gonna happen. Far better to let the parents know they've had a strike than instantly get slammed with a bill for $2000 just because their kid is young and not too intelligent. Getting a warning is fair game, even for pirates.

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12-06-2009, 02:47 AM
#10
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 362
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