Screw The Consumer

Before Morgan left for vacation, he posted his thoughts on the Wired article about the MS DRM initiatives before he left.

Here’s my novel idea. Screw the consumer. I hope that MS’s Digital Rights Management technology takes off, and more than that I hope they provide the movie studios with whatever content crippling technology they want. Am I a lunatic IP zealot? A corporate apologist? Anyone with access to my hard drive will know that’s not the truth.

Let’s say DRM finally convinces the major content producers to provide their IP libraries in digital formats. Major Pabulum Records allows you to download any song you want, but won’t allow you to copy that song to your devices. Obscure Indie Records allows you to download any song you want, and do anything with it you please. Isn’t it likely that the freedom Obscure Indie Records provides to their customers, the value add of being able to re-use the content you purchase as you see fit, will lead to increased sales for Obscure Indie Records?

My friend Lori will one day be a major artist who sells millions of CDs. Let’s say she decides to cut out the leech in the middle (a record company) and sell her music on the web. She’s concerned about piracy, so she decides that she’ll only allow people who download songs from her site to copy them to machines they own. As her relationship with her listeners develops, she realizes that her biggest fans are really pissed that they can’t listen to her music on their new 1000GB personal media devices. What is she going to do?

If DRM let’s us be free of the need to distribute physical media, if it convinces the content producers to stop blocking the hardware and software necessary for the digital future we all envision�who is to stop us from deciding to support only the content producers and distributors who have good fair use policies? Don’t like the DRM included with the hardware you were going to buy? Don’t buy it! Let’s speak with the only vote we still have left�the almighty greenback.

This consumer society had divided us into art producers and art consumers. Digital technology has the ability break down that artificial distinction by getting the businessmen out of the way.

Then again, maybe I’m being overly optimistic…

[Listening to: Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (06:06)]