Monday, April 2, 2007

Is this DRM's Katrina?

The thing about those levees surrounding New Orleans was that they didn't have to collapse all the way... just one little section gave way, and the lake came rushing in. The force of the torrent eventually collapsed the rest of the barriers, but it must have started with a single drop somewhere...

This morning's announcement that EMI and Apple would offer DRM-free music would have been unthinkable just a few months ago- Jobs' original anti-drm manifesto was greeted with derision by many in the content industry.

I believe this is the pivot point...that in a few months, the unthinkable will be actually spending money, time and effort to encrypt files that are being purchased by those with no intent to steal anyhow (duh, they're already buying it), especially when there is an easy way to illegally copy and distribute the software using existing, widespread technology. Anyone can rip any CD using iTunes and post it anywhere- all the DRM on the iTunes music store wouldn't put a dent in that.

What WILL put a dent in that is punishing those who egregiously break the existing laws of copyright violation, while easing back on the witch hunt aimed at the people you should be rewarding - the ones who buy music in the face of easily available (and illegal) downloads.

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