Paying for DRM

If only we could...

Letters :
Music biz strikes back with free, DRM 'padlocked' downloads
WMP users 'wish' for better DRM, wider takeup of WMA
O geeks, what has become of us?
The geeks are in fine fettle, Tom - get with the program

Some very nuanced responses from you in response to the Fair Use debate.

Perhaps the point of OD2 is a little more subtle?

1p to listen, 10p for a digital copy, and a pound to record to red book CD sounds an awful lot like a marriage of DRM and fair-use doctrine.

Ok, to some it would seem an utter perversion. I think on a closer look it starts to make some sense.
1p could be the calculated cost to distribute a one-shot song over the internet. Maybe there's a profit there, maybe not, as I'm not too up on European's telco and IT industries.

The point is it would seem to make everyone happy: The record studios get money for their effort, and the consumer gets to sample.

10p for a digital file likewise seems reasonable from an economic standard. I'm leaving off the technical considerations of licenses, etc. at the moment.

What's notable here is the pound-for-red-book-audio. As I see it, this is the fair use doctorine in action. The article states DRMwill not stop me from making personal copies in any method or order I choose.

I can still distribute non-paid mp3z for everyone, but here's the cunning economic bit: why would I take a copy from an unknown source when it's practically free to get the real deal? Why risk download only to find out someone overlaid key sequence or did a bad rip?

Taken on its own, Peter Gabriel seems to be doing the right thing. Maybe he doesn't quite understand what he's doing, but history's full of useful idiots.


They won't get rid of Theft... but if they could provide a means that people can live with and not feel they are being exploited, most people will pay.

I would pay 1p for 100,000 streamed... sure... as long as I could choose the songs and it were decent quality... and I may not pay 10p for digital downloaded versions... why? Who needs a collection if a fat pipe delivers an unlimited selection and charge very small amount?

The only thing that they could really do is change quality... 96hz for stream... 128 for download and 256 for the CD version. That would again encourage CD piracy, but proably not that much more.

Brian Kelly

This thought was triggered by Tom Steinberg's article and your response to it.

With regard to DRM, Tom bemoans the lack of any sensible compromise from the techie community, and you respond that "as currently the entertainment business shows no signs of willingness to consider any of the above, the situation is by definition polarised". And that made me think that what your description leaves out is the attitude of Johnny Average Musician. Most musicians are quite confused about DRM - on the one hand, they don't want to see a society in which they can't dream of one day going professional, and making music to pay the rent, but on the other hand, any unsigned band worth its salt has free MP3s on their website - it's only when they get signed that the record company stops them. And many musicians, being by and large Mac users, resent the domination of M$ and the potential lockout that Palladium could cause.

It strikes me that music makers, and other content providers, ought to be at the forefront of deciding what "measure of DRM might be acceptable as part of a radical rethink of copyright". The problem is they're just too damn lazy, disorganised, and bad at business. But if the techie world were to provide them with some rallying point - the musical equivalent of open source, or at the very least the "free for non-commercial use" license - that many would support it. The point is that musicians only go along with the the music biz pigopoly because they don't see an alternative - musicians are always complaining about record labels, after all. And many "indie" (in the sense of "independent") musicians make their money through gigging rather than royalties anyway, much as many open source gurus make their livelihoods on the conference circuit. And, most importantly, the
pigopoly only gets access to the copyrights because the artist signs it away to them - get the artists onside and you *might* be able to gain some more leverage with the evil empires.

This isn't a terribly well-thought out argument, but I have to say that I think that we, as techies, can come up with something more appealing than "no DRM at any cost".

Richard Lanyon

I think I.P owners are entitled to fair remuneration for use of their I.P. ("Fair" is perhaps another conversation. Let's not go there now.) I am also a proponent of fair use. If I want to, I think I should be able to go thru all of, let's say, my Steve Winwood CDs, pull out selected tracks, and burn my own personal "Favorite Hits" CD for my own personal use without having to pay for the tracks again. Or make a CD of love songs for my girlfriend. (Hey, no one screamed when John Cusack made tapes for his loves in "High Fidelity". It's an old an honorable method of courting. Is it different on a CD? Nah.)

Ok, that said, maybe it's not really about Draconian Rights Management, and maybe a pound a single is a fair price for a tune. (I don't buy singles anymore, but $1.50US to $2.00US per track doesn't strike me as unreasonable, especially since they were $.75 back
when I was a kid in the early 1960s.)

What happened w/ Napster et. al.? Ate into the market, no doubt. Why? Sudden collapse of morals on the part of music listeners? Maybe. Convenience??
More likely. Is it easier to gear up to go to the local music store, find parking, yadda, yadda, yadda, or to search the web and download? Obviously the latter.

So, if I as Big Media can get you to pay a pittance for a trial listen or a locked copy, and can get you to pay pretty much what you pay now for an unlocked
copy (and cut my distribution overhead to almost nil), I can make more per track, and go back to not worrying too much about people's personal "Favorite Hits" and
"I Love You" compilations.

They guys who might want to be worried are the music stores....

Lee Webber

This reader provides an explanation of why China is so keen on Linux, very succinctly:-

I really think Microsoft s needs to be careful about what they wish for.

I hope Microsoft gets everything they want. So this means a movie studio can prevent people from watching pirated or non-approved versions of a movie. It also means a near end to software piracy. Software publishers will be able to disable, deny access or otherwise nullify pirated software. Microsoft is working to tie it all into the hardware and OS. The rest of the world does not view copyright the way the U.S. media cartel does. I think most Americans don't either.

So how is China going to feel about its military, government, or even businesses running any software controlled by the US software conglomerate?

How will France feel? How will Germany feel?

What if terrorists steel the keys, or otherwise hack into the system and issue a shut down command to millions of computers.

And no more piracy means everybody pays? Except that it seems 1st world nations are the only ones that can afford Microsoft s products.

I hope Microsoft succeeds beyond their wildest dreams. Foreign governments will be forced to move away from Microsoft and U.S. software. A year from now a decent business computer could be $200. And the Microsoft OS and Office Suite could be another $400 to $1000.

Microsoft could slit their throats on this.

Mark Pells

Thanks for your server room horrors, we'll be posting a full selection of dangerous places later today. Dell responds to our jibes, and due to popular demand, the Visual Basic thread will temporarily re-open, too. For one day only. ®

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