Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Copy killers

Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow has a new column with Guardian Unlimited about copyright issues, which he admits is basically to discredit DRM (Digital Rights Management)-based sales models in a digital society, and promote what he calls "copy-friendly" methods.

His first column is up today, and covers the most important stuff to know about DRM: why it will never work.
The companies that sell [DRM] are, at best, bunkum peddlers and, at worst, out and out fraudsters. Their wares simply can't work - not without changing the laws of physics, maths and information science.

DRMs are often designed by ambitious, well-funded consortia, with top-notch engineers from every corner of the industry. They spend millions. They take years. They are defeated in days, for pennies, by hobbyists.

Unfortunately for those selling DRM today we inhabit a networked world, where every customer is seconds away from a computer, a browser and a search engine. You don't have to be a genius hacker to get a copy of Ratatouille - you just need to plug "download ratatouille" into Google and get the copy that some more skilled person has thoughtfully made available to you.

Computers are machines for copying data. A good computer is one that copies well, quickly and cheaply. The internet is a machine for moving copies of data around. When the internet works well, it copies data quickly and cheaply.
It's hard to believe that companies still invest so much money in these systems, when even they admit that it's got little effect on anybody other than the honest consumers who wouldn't steal the movie anyway.

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