Excuses, excuses - Journal of Omnifarious
Jan. 16th, 2007
08:45 am - Excuses, excuses
In this article a convincing case is made that DRM (aka Digital Restrictions Management) isn't really about piracy, and much more about the big businesses behind various kinds of media wanting much more detailed control over their customer's behavior. But one comment struck me: "As to the topic, I think you're preaching to the converted. Unfortunately the uninformed masses will never care like we do.". This is both horribly elitist and a cop-out. It's exactly what I'd expect from people with this attitude. Basically the poster feels that people are dumb and can never be shown what kinds of problems this sort of thing causes them and that it's left to us digital elite to be the ignored voice in the wilderness. Bah!
As far as I can tell from talking to people, there is a nearly universal frustration with the stupidity of DRM restrictions. A lot of iTunes users purposefully (and illegally) remove the DRM. And this is not in order to do anything that's illegal other than removing the DRM, but just because it's a huge pain to do legal things with the song you bought.
I think the education job is easy. The hardest part is convincing people that something can be done about it, not convincing them that it's hurting them. And regardless, it falls to people who know to do the educating anyway. Throwing up your hands and saying "The idiots will just never understand." is not helpful.
Here is a list of good links for both education and learning how something can be done:
- Defective By Design
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (IMHO, these guys are just as important as the ACLU and work with a much broader range of issues than DRM)
- Digital Freedom
- And lastly, but certainly not least The Free Software Foundation. If all software were free (as in free market, not as in free beer) software, effective DRM would be impossible to implement. DRM relies crucially on taking control of your software and (by extension) your computer away from you.