January 05, 2003
You're Buying the Key to Content, Not the Content

The NY Times reports that a DRM switch inside cable boxes allowing control over recording of pay-per-view and other special programs may soon be turned on by media companies wanting to charge additional fees for recording, on top of charging to watch the program at the time broadcast.

Media companies are investing in DRM technologies and companies in an attempt to control where digital content goes, but they may find that consumers feel that all the rules make the product not worth it. And what about fair use? Even commenting on these works by copying a snippet to write about it will be impossible if the copy disappears after a few hours or is locked up.

"You're not buying music, you're buying a key," says Larry Kenswil, president of eLabs at Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company, which offers 99 cent digital singles "...that can be burned to a CD but not copied to certain portable devices, like the Apple iPod. 'That's what digital rights management does: it enables business models.'" But if the business model so favors the business and not the consumer, then what? If you throw a party and nobody comes, is it still a party? What if consumers still think they are buying music?

Posted by Mary Hodder at January 05, 2003 09:54 AM

What people seem to forget is that all this DRM doesn't mean a think if you just run your video and audio out cables into your video card. DRM is simply going to stop the average user, which I guess is the point. However, as we have all seen the harder the entertainment industry grips the more slips through their fingers. They are inspiring a legion of global hackers to take them on. At some point they will realize that this is simply a pricing issue. Make the product affordable so that stealing it takes more work then buying it (think DVDs, which at $10 to $25 are so cheap that downloading a film and burning it over two or three hours is just not worth it for 99% of the users out there).

Jason @@@ Calacanis.com

Posted by: Jason McCabe Calacanis on January 6, 2003 09:03 AM
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