March 01, 2003
DRM Conference, Day 3

The conference was extremely interesting and very well done. I will post notes as updates, as I go through them. Transcriptions will be up in about a week through the conference site, and some streaming or webcast info might be available soon, too.

The first panel this morning was amazing on DRM-related legal and policy initiatives in the U.S. Pam Samuelson moderated, with Fritz Attaway of the MPAA, Jerry Berman of the Center for Democracy and Technology, Ed Black of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Richard Epstein from U. of Chicago Law School, Jon Healey of the LA Times, Emery Simon of the Business Software Alliance and Mozelle Thompson of the FTC. Will post notes shortly here.

One observation about the conference: it seems like the subtext around the DRM question in all the panels, discussions on breaks, and speakers presentations is that Microsoft is the 500 million dollar gorilla (this is what they recently were noted as spending on free DRM and this was never mentioned at all at the conference that I saw) strangely absent from the talk. MS has not been mentioned here much, other than in the couple of panels where MS people have participated or where an audience question has brought it up (and once, Ed Felten graciously agreed to act as MS spokesperson). It feels like people either don't want to mention them, because it might be just more of the same Microsoft-bashing, which is boring, or would further cement MS's control over this area of technology development, or people are nervous about making statements about them in public. But MS as subtext is everywhere, kind of like air. Prevalent, but unspoken. It almost feels like it's great that we are here, talking and debating these issues, but with MS defining standards and looking to control rights and access control standards, and having the market power to induce this, we are having a debate around the main issue which is that they exist and will control this.

Posted by Mary Hodder at March 01, 2003 05:15 PM
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