Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Digital Rights Management -- going away, but tricking paying customers; many ISP's don't understand Fair Use


Electronic Frontier Foundation has been reporting on the kafka-esque implosion of DRM (Digital Rights Management). On January 4, 2008 Fred von Lohmann reported that the last of four major music companies, Sony-BMG (which used to own RCA) is giving up DMG for at least some of its catalogue. The link is here.

Lohmann reports another irony, that the remaining “holdouts” on DRM are subscription services like Napster and Rhapdsody. Napster, one will remember, had started out with Shawn Fanning’s laptop in Hull, MA and almost tore apart the music industry, before Shawn (as a teen) could even grasp the legal and business model consequences of what he had invented. It was forced to convert to a paid subscription service.

Lohmann predicts that what will protect revenue for music is simply the good old standby – customer service. You pay a monthly fee for a blanket license and get the music content downloads that you want.

Even so, DRM is inconveniencing paying customers, such as certain Vista users who buy new monitors, and try to use certain subscription video streaming services like Netflix. The story was posted by Seth Schoen Jan 3, 2008 and is here.

There is also an interesting New Study on Copyright and Creativity from the Center for Social Media, story by Hugh D'Andrade, link here. Much of this has to do with lack of understanding of the Fair Use concept (especially with derivative works). EFF has a best practices “Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video Content” which should be considered in conjunction with takedown notices, link here.

The Center for Social Media is run by American University and the website is here.

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