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Study: DRM makes pirates of us all

In Cambridge professor's report, she lays out the effect DRM restrictions have--namely, that people are driven to download illegally.

We here at CNET get all of our movies and music the old-fashioned way: through hard work, grit, and elbow grease. We roll up our sleeves, suck it up, and put in the hard work. (Sorry, I was going for the record of most cliches in one paragraph there. I can't confirm what I just wrote is actually true.)

So, yes, CNET does it the hard way (I think), but not everyone does. In University of Cambridge professor Patricia Akester's report titled "Technological accommodation of conflicts between freedom of expression and DRM: the first empirical assessment,"--which, no, I didn't read, because it's like 200 pages long--she lays out the effect DRM (digital rights management) restrictions really have.

Feel free to dive into that report if you have the time, otherwise I suggest you check out her much shorter summary here.

In the report she notes that when people who are legally attempting to access DRM content (like film lecturers putting together clips from movies for educational purposes) and they hit a DRM restriction, they are driven to instead download DRM-free, illegal copies of the content to get the job done.

Not the most surprising news, and it's another win for those who believe the way DRM is currently implemented hurts more than helps. Now we have a study that says because of DRM restrictions, people are driven to download illegally. I think that's the definition of backfire.

Also, she notes that while the Information Society Directive puts the onus on the content owner to voluntarily allow DRM-free access to said content in these cases, not all content owners do so until regulatory authorities step in.

The good news now is that I finally have an excuse to download all the movies and music I want for free!! Woot! Thank you, Professor Akester. Thank you for letting us laugh at DRM, again.