Being Boarded By Pirates

Yesterday we reviewed the harm pirates cause to content creators (like me), and showed why it’s important to at least manage piracy.

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”.

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  1. August 5, 2010

    And the 5th Circuit Court's struck a big blow at it as well. But it's still worth considering as emblematic of the mindset: Lock it down until you have to play with the new format the same way you did with the old format. "Save the business model, save the world" malarkey.

  2. Baloo
    August 4, 2010

    The Library of Congress in it's biannual update of the DMCA ruled that DRM is effectively illegal at this point because it interferes with your legal right to fair use.

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