Monday, December 16, 2013

DRM of the Future

Digital Rights Management isn't new. It's been around for a while (wow, the late 90's,, and while back in the early 2000's the concept of controlling media was the idea, in practice it's not something that was managable, however with each and every iteration of technology creeping into our lives, the stranglehold gets easier and easier to maintain. This piece is spawned from this article Lets begin.

Slowly my eyes begin to adjust, my alarm didn't go off. I look at my phone, oh I guess I was wrong, turns out for some reason the Beastie Boys didn't appreciate that I woke up to them, so they revoked my rights to listen to their music as an alarm. Whatever, I stand up walk to the bathroom and begin getting ready. I finish up head to the kitchen and get ready to check the news. Today feels like it's going to be rough. I check my news reader app, weird, something wrong with my account, I don't feel like messing with it. The news is depressing anyways. I look up some recipes and download them to my 3D printer. Pancakes and syrup sound nice. I finish up breakfast and head into work.

I sit down at my desk and turn on my monitors and computer. I wait for it to boot, the camera takes a snapshot and see's it's me, it proceeds to load some advertisements while I wait for the computer to boot (how nice). I work for a while go to lunch and come back. Once the computer attempts to login I'm told that the license for my OS is out of date and I need to pay to renew it. Bleh, call up Ted, "Ted, license is expired again, can you renew it for me?". "No can do, I guess our word processor got too popular, they refuse to re-license our PC's" said Ted. "Wait, are they legally allowed to do that? I mean isn't that a monopoly or something?" I asked. "Nope, we're free to compete, but we just can't use their products to compete, so no monopoly, although it looks like we'll have to start over if we want to continue, since we can't get into the PC's for the source code and the hard drives are encrypted." Ted explained,  "I think I'm going to pack up and go home, you might want to do the same, nothing for us to do here".  "Better update my resume" mutters Ted as he walks out the door.

Slowly I pack my things and walk out the door, as I climb into my car and tell it to drive me home, I ponder why we decided to develop on that OS. In fact I begin to ponder a lot of things. Why can't I listen to Beastie Boys whenever I want to? Why can't I just read the news? Why can't I just use the PC and the Operating System that I paid for? My head is hurting, I reach for an aspirin and look out the window. "Wait, this isn't the right way home". "Where are we going?". "Back to the dealership, I'm afraid they caught wind that the store shutdown, and they're revoking your lease" rattles off the car. We arrive, I guess I have to walk home, it's only 10 blocks better get going before it gets dark. I head home.

Exhausted I walk in the door and decide that tonight I need a break, I've been working a lot of overtime to get our app out the door. Tonight I am going to relax. I look up the spaghetti and meatballs recipe I bought a few months back, and program my printer to make it. I walk to the living room and turn on the television. I scroll through looking for the Sherlock Holmes Series I bought last month digitally but never got around to watching. I can't find it. I call up tech support, and I'm told that the new Sherlock Holmes is on The Onion, and since they own the original they decided that their customers should really be watching the new Sherlock Holmes when it's on, not the older Sherlock Holmes. "Great, so I can't watch it even though I bought it?".  "Nope" replied the tech. No apologies, like I'm expected to know this. I hang up in frustration, walk out to kitchen to grab my food and find that there is no food printed. I check the display, "Two options available Sherlock Holmes Bangers and Mash, Sherlock Holmes Fish and Chips", I call up tech support for my printer. "Hello, I am trying to print out some spaghetti and meatballs, there appears to be some kind of error on my printer", "Let me take a look real quick, it says here that you're planning on watching Sherlock Holmes tonight, is that correct?" "I was planning on watching the old Sherlock Holmes, but I'm not allowed to", "So you'll be watching the new one?", "No, I just wanted to eat and go to bed", "I'm sorry but The Onion has paid for advertising at this time, we'll only be able to make those two items, until 9pm after that you can cook whatever you want again". "Are you kidding me? I can't even cook what I want to eat, with food that I already paid for with a recipe I already paid for?", "Nope", I hang up irate.

All the things start small, DRM to protect the copyright owner from losing revenue by pirating. A little leeway for a corporation here, a little leeway there. Initially DRM was a nuisance, but not a big deal. When DRM was on DVD's corporations would have to chase down every person that bought a DVD and take it back (if they really wanted to recall their product). When these laws were first enacted, not many of us could have even envisioned corporation X stopping by our house and saying "I want my DVD back". We all just laughed it off, and didn't worry about it. As we move to digital content, it's easy to realize that with the click of a mouse everything you "lease" can be taken away from you. I will never buy a Movie, Song, or other digital relic, as long as someone somewhere can type a few words and take it all away. This needs to stop. Refuse to buy anything digital that contains DRM. Start making companies that compete with these companies, and offer DRM free. Show the world and these corporations that we refuse to sit down and take what we're given. They have the right to put DRM on any and all of their products, but we have the right to not buy it. We have the right to produce works of art that aren't taken away from the world at the whim of a president of a company.

No comments:

Post a Comment