In the digital age of the now, we all have our fancy computers, with our fancy access to teh interwebs. This presents us with a cheap and easy opportunity to share information, files, media and the sorts. This, is fantastic.
Though what is not quite so fantastic, is how some users are taking advantage of said service. The use of the Internet to digitally distribute copyrighted media has always been one of intense debate of legality and ethics. How did some companies solve this? Well, some companies sue their customers…others use copy protection and DRM, or Digital Rights Management…Google if you wish to learn more.
Now, I’m no expert on this subject, but here are my views:
I know a few people who don’t like the concept of being unable to use the media that they bought from, for example, iTunes, which only allows you use it on Apple devices or compatible products. That is, of course, unless you wish to pay an additional sum of money to have rights to use it freely.
Well. To this, I’ll state, “You get what you pay for.”
See, here’s the thing. If there’s so many people who hate the iTunes store and its policy on DRM, then why are there still so many people who use it? Well, for one thing, some people just don’t care. So long as it works, they’re fine with it. The other group of people either accept the fact and still purchase it, or they choose the get the premium purchase, paying the extra price.
I don’t feel like there’s any problem with having copy protection on digital media. Of course, I’m always open to the concept of open source. I very much enjoy artists and authors who release media for free, or partially for free, while maintaining a reasonable expectation of support in return. Such examples could be Nine Inch Nails, who releases a large percentage of tracks for their songs to be compiled by the user, or will sometimes release some songs or complete albums online for free. One author I’m aware of who releases digital copies of all his works for free is Cory Doctorow. In doing so, he advertises for is novels, and also encourages readers to then purchase the book in real life, or encourages users to give back, for example, by allowing user compiled editions of the novels in different file formats for different media.
Personally, I feel like this is the ideal situation. This is one of the things I enjoy so much of the Linux and the open source community. The main problem with the methods presented above though, is dishonesty. We can’t always trust the user to in return give back to the community. Until we get to can achieve a standard as such, DRM and other methods of copy protection are some of the best alternatives to prevent theft of digital property.
There’s my little blurb on DRM and copy protection. It may not be the most correct, I already disclaimed my lack of expertise, though these are my views on the matter.