Hollywood Admits DRM About New Revenue Streams. Not Piracy.
arstechnica: For almost ten years now I have argued that digital rights management has little to do with piracy, but that is instead a carefully plotted ruse to undercut fair use and then create new revenue streams where there were previously none. I will briefly repeat my argument here before relating a prime example of it in the wild.
Access control technologies such as DRM create “scarcity” where there is immeasurable abundance, that is, in a world of digital reproduction. The early years saw tech such as CSS tapped to prevent the copying of DVDs, but DRM has become much more than that. It’s now a behavioral modification scheme that permits this, prohibits that, monitors you, and auto-expires when. Oh, and sometimes you can to watch a video or listen to some music.
The basic point is that access control technologies are becoming more and more refined. To create new, desirable product markets (e.g., movies for portable digital devices), the studios have turned to DRM (and the law) to create the scarcity (illegality of ripping DVDs) needed to both create the need for it and sustain it. Rather than admit that this is what they’re doing, they trot out bogus studies claiming that this is all caused by piracy. It’s the classic nannying scheme: “Because some of you can’t be trusted, everyone has to be treated this way.” But everybody knows that this nanny is in it for her own interests.
Like all lies, there comes a point when the gig is up; the ruse is busted. For the movie studios, it’s the moment they have to admit that it’s (DRM) not the piracy that worries them, but business models which don’t squeeze every last cent out of customers.
Told yah so! Seriously, the issue of control of the technology that ultimately controls access to information and knowledge is an issue that is going to have to be resolved in the light of day with public discussion.
It’s this very issue that is driving the Pirate Bay to challenge big media’s right to control not only their their precious content but to control the systems and the technology used to access it. This is also why organizations like the RIAA and the European counterparts have turned to legislators and ISPs rather than deal with their copyright problems in civil court, where it belongs.
It is also the underlying reason why big media, worldwide, is pushing participating countries into signing the Anti-Counterfeiting Treaty Agreement as soon as possible and perferrably WITHOUT any public involvement. The Internet has released a very big and powerful genie from hte bottle of controled media current attempts to stuff the freedom of use and access genie back in the bottle grow larger in scale with every attempt.