So what’s in place now? Mostly DRM – aka Digital Rights Management – (and other ways to reduce your legal rights to content you’ve purchased).
DRM (and other schemes of rights restrictions) are not effective means of stopping digital pirates. DRM regularly gets cracked within months – or less. Even avoiding digital production entirely is not enough to stop pirates. Further, DRM mechanisms end up annoying (and alienating) the legitimate customers that you do have.
I am not condoning piracy. I am saying that piracy – like viruses (digital and biological) – is a fact of existence, and one that content creators have to get used to. There are only two systemically effective ways to reduce (or manage) piracy.
What do I mean by systemically? I mean a solution that works across-the-board, without the content creator having to take action with each specific instance. DRM – if it worked – would be a systemic solution. A DMCA takedown notice (background, sample), however, has to be filed each and every time. Imagine having to get an injection each time you sneezed. Sooner or later, you’d just carry tissues.
So we need a systemic solution, but DRM – the one you always hear about – is as ineffective as orange juice against ebola.
Luckily, there are two systemic ways to reduce piracy, we’ll be talking about the first tomorrow. Look for the subject line “When Pirates Love You”.