Mossberg Says DRM Reaches Too Far

Walter Mossberg for WSJ: In some quarters of the Internet, the three most hated letters of the alphabet are DRM. They stand for Digital Rights Management, a set of technologies for limiting how people can use the music and video files they’ve purchased from legal downloading services. DRM is even being used to limit what you can do with the music you buy on physical CDs, or the TV shows you record with a TiVo or other digital video recorder.
The best-known example is the music Apple Computer sells at its iTunes Music Store. Using a DRM system it invented called FairPlay, Apple has rigged its songs, at the insistence of the record companies, so that they can be played only on a maximum of five computers, and so that you can burn only seven CDs containing the same playlist of purchased tracks. If Apple hadn’t done this, the record labels wouldn’t have allowed it to sell their music.
Instead of using Digital Rights Management to stop some individual from copying a song to give to her brother, the industry should be focusing on ways to use DRM to stop the serious pirates — people who upload massive quantities of music and videos to so-called file-sharing sites, or factories in China that churn out millions of pirate CDs and DVDs.

About David Burn

Fired up to write it down. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Chief storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands.