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thoughts after fritz MPAA

Hey buzzers heard the fritz interview and to throw in two cents. I used to spend about 5000 dollars a year on music and a fair bit more on movies. At either the end of 02 or the beginning of 03, one of the major labels, experimented with copy protected CDs. A friend of mine put it in her Mac and it grey screened, when she talked to Apple they told her that the warranty would not cover it because she had inserted a non standard CD. As it turn out the CD was not formatted to the accepted CD standard. Which, of coarse, she didn?t know, because there was no warning label or anything on the cd.

That day I stopped buying CDs. My thought was I don?t want a 20 CD to break my 2000 computer. And I pretty much decided that major manufactures weren?t to be trusted. Who knows what stupid scheme they will with come up with next. The Sony rootkit just solidified that opinion.

Anyway, I haven?t bought a cd from a major record label in 4 years. I bought mp3s when those were being sold but now with the major labels using drm, you can pretty much only buy mp3s from independent artists, so I only buy music from independent artists. I use emusic and if I want to hear popular artists I turn on the radio.

In their rabid quest to protect their investment, the record and movie companies don?t recognize that consumers have an investment to protect too. Molly always says she wants to do what she wishes with music she paid for. But more than that, I don?t want something I paid for to do damage to something else I paid for. I don?t want a root kit from one CD to jeopardize my computer and my entire collection of music. I don?t want the decision about what mp3 player I buy next year decided for me by the music I buy today.

I don?t have a tv or a dvd, or cd player anymore. And I don?t intend to ever get them again. I don?t need ; I have a computer. Why would I buy a dvd player, 100 CDs, 10 DVDs, and photo album when I could buy a 2inch by 3in box that can do all that for me. More and more companies are going to have to deal with a consumer base that expects digital content. And a consumer base that values what they are playing the content on more than the content itself. It?s not just ?oh, the dvd got scratched I?ll have to get a new one.? Its potentially ?the DRM corrupted my drive and I just lost 10,000 in media and the pictures from my family vacation.? I rather be choosy about the content I get then jeopardize the content I have.

If they are interested in better technology then they should invest in better technology. And that I think is what we a not seeing. What we are seeing is hastily planed and poorly executed DRM that isn?t safe for the consumer or effective protection for the companies. If they are serious about making digital content viable then they need to put their money where their mouth is and do the R&D to make it happen. But either way it is going to be a good long time before the major labels earn back enough of my trust for me to buy from them again. But on the upside, I have a LOT more disposable income these days.

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in praise of dumb media

In reply to: thoughts after fritz MPAA

Just like so-called smart protocols fell by the wayside compared to ethernet and "simple/heavy-weight" tcp/ip, I feel that so-called "smart/drm'd" media will also fail.

Both media developers and consumers have numerous successful examples including the success of non-drm'd tapes, records, laserdiscs, and CDs along with the outright failures of early copy-protected floppy discs and incidents such as the Sony rootkit.

In the end, if the MPAA won't realize the market demand for this, other non-MPAA and non-RIAA media developers (artists, content producers, writers, editors, etc.) will.

Just imagine a DRM'd internet where every website has its own 'license'. Text is just another form of media and even with 'copy-enabling' technology like a browser's "view source" and unencrypted HTML, plenty of successful business models have developed around this digital content--C|Net being a prime example. I'm rather surprised that the principles of TMV Consulting didn't bring this arguement up during the MPAA interview.

Then again, Fritz probably would have avowed away any discussion of non-movie-related media. A previous interview with him can be found here (

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Here's the problem...

In reply to: in praise of dumb media

The difference between previous physical formats and digital formats is that copying and distribution of physical formats was always time consuming, and the number of people mass-producing bootlegs was much, much smaller. Now in the digital world, one copy of one file on one server in one closet is available to potentially everyone.

The other problem is that the supposed "smart-DRM" seems utterly impossible. There's no way for software or for a chip to differentiate between "I'm burning this CD to stick on my shelf in case the original gets messed up" and "I'm burning this CD to sell to someone else" or "I'm converting this file from format A to format B because my player supports format B" and "I'm converting this file from format A to format B because format B is smaller and easier to distribute online." Cory Doctorow said "If we could design a chip with the reasoning of a fully empowered 9-judge panel we wouldn't have a problem."

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." -Albert Einstein

That's my biggest problem-that tech and media companies keep foisting DRM on us that really isn't any different than the last broken system, and that we as consumers keep expecting some mythical DRM system that will "know" who is honest and who is not. If a business wants to succeed on the Internet, it will have to take advantage of the open-ness and ubiquity that the 'Net offers and not work in spite of it. EFF has a proposal for an authorized and licensed p2p network, where users pay for access to the network and a royalty society collects those fees and apportions them appropriately. Of course if DRM is used it takes away value and therefore turns consumers off, but if you can add value (such as making entire catalogs available, even out-of-print tracks and movies) suddenly consumers have more of a reason to go there instead of BitTorrent. It doesn't stop or solve piracy, but it doesn't leave money on the table either, which is precisely what is happening now.

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good points

In reply to: Here's the problem...

Dr. Juice raises a very good point with regards to copying. In addition to the incrased ease, digital copies (w/o watermarks etc.) are absolutely indistinguishable from the original.

Aside from the technical discussions, I feel that the introduction of DRM changes the "culture" of media creation, distribution, and consumption.

1. It artificially fragments markets (region coding etc.)
2. It prevents spontaneous emergent experiences (mash-ups, mixes, etc.) For example, could this ever had existed ( if records were DRM'd?
3. Both consumers and producers are assumed to be irresponsible. It doesn't treat players as consenting adults.
4. It attempts to make all commerce 'water-tight', when normal leakage and disequilibriums due to waste, cultural norms, in-efficiency, and immorality exist in all healthy markets. Just because the product and distribution channels are digital doesn't make the business model any fundamentally different from other industries. The endpoints of digital media creation and consumption are still analog (i.e. people's minds and people's eyes and ears).

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I don't need encouragement to be honest

In reply to: thoughts after fritz MPAA

I need encouragement to buy products. The argument that we need to encourage people to be honest, and since technology isn't at a sophisticated enough level, well then it sucks to be a consumer right now, but hey, eventually we'll stop hosing you over, is something I find offensive. When I take a look at what they are doing and how they are doing it, I don't see an effort to give consumers what they want at all. I see an immense effort to try and force customers to buy the same movies multiple times for their multiple devices.

How hard is it to understand that the more restrictions you put on those who actually buy your content, the more likely you are to see more and more of them wander to the dark side. If you make it hard for someone to legally put a movie they have purchased onto their mobile device, forcing them to search for tools on the fringe of legality to accomplish something anyone not entangled in greed or ignorance would consider fair have just introduced them to 90% of what they need to never bother with step one....the actual purchase of the DVD. Should this be the goal of anyones business model? Upset your customers, and ensure a good percentage are introduced to piracy tools.

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