Thursday, December 06, 2007

When DRM becomes a business

Apple Wants To Make DRM Extortion Explicit

For years, DRM critics have been arguing that the technology isn’t so much about stopping piracy as it is about taking away traditional fair use privileges and then selling them back to you. I’ve agreed with this for a while, but I never thought I’d see a major DRM vendor admit it so candidly: Steve Jobs has apparently been pitching Hollywood studios on the idea of selling “premium” DVDs that include an iTunes-compatible version of the movie. For an extra $3 or $4, you can buy the privilege of playing your legally-purchased movie on the device of your choice—well, the Apple-manufacturered device of your choice, anyway. Only the DMCA makes this kind of extortion possible.

The courts have held that “space-shifting” your CDs to a portable music device is a fair use. So you can legally import your CD collection to your iPod, or any other device, without paying a penny. But Steve Jobs apparently wants to charge you $4 for the privilege of doing the same with your DVDs.
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