March 12, 2003
DRM Conference Continued....

James Grimmelmann has the best write up yet on the DRM Conf. A must read....

From James, at the end of his write up:

A Final Observation

And that, I think was perhaps the most striking theme of the conference: how many ideas wound up on the floor once their first presenter sits down. I've been talking about running "questions" rather than running "answers" for a very good reason: the conference was very short on answers. There were principles, articles of faith, tentative suggestions, and some moments of high comedy, but no one said anything that shook the DRM world to its very foundation.

Nor did it seem as though many people were walking away with their thinking much changed. And there were a lot of smart people kicking around at the conference; the ones on the panels weren't the half, or even the quarter of it. For this many heavy-duty Minds, and all that Conversation, there wasn't all that much Progress.

Or, to think of the issue in a different way, everyone knew coming in what the hard questions were. Will DRM work? How can we keep DRM from being a dagger aimed at the hearts of consumers? Without DRM, what will we do about the dagger aimed at the hearts of copyright owners? Is fair use dead? Why can't we code our way around this problem?

The conference, if it was about anything, was about restating these questions and systematically shooting down cheap attempts to weasel out of them. After three days and a lot of debate, perhaps all we know about DRM is how little we know about DRM. But that in itself is something, as Mary Krinsky would have pointed out.

I consider myself lucky to have been there; I think many of the other attendees felt the same way.

Posted by Mary Hodder at March 12, 2003 07:44 AM
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