A Rational Discussion Of DRM?

September 26th, 2005

I read Boing Boing religiously. I think Cory “Craphound” Doctorow has some interesting things to say, and seems like the kind of guy I would enjoy coffee or a beer with. That being said, his willingness to swing 100% to one side of an issue and apparent unwillingness to consider opposing viewpoints has rubbed me the wrong way for a while. I was never able to articulate it, but this page titled “Corey Jerks His Knee Again” hits the nail on the head.

Yes, DRM is troubling. But at the end of the day, I understand the realities of a free-market capitalist society and a free-information internet society. The fact is artists sell their art. They do so to support themselves so they don’t have to work at Burger King, so they will have time to produce art. The other side of this social contract is buying the product. If I like an album, I am asked to buy it, and support its creation. Nicking a copy online breaks that social contract, and ultimately may lead to that artist getting booted from his/her label, and getting that job flipping burgers.

The other side is what we expect when we buy the product. I paid for it, I expect to do whatever I want with it, within the constraints of the law. That is the part where DRM starts to bug me. And that is why I like Apple’s Fairplay. I have yet to bump into any real issues with it that couldn’t be resolved by changing the layout of Apple.com a bit to accommodate ease of use.

The fact of the matter is that there are shades of grey. By railing against DRM wholesale and intractably, Corey and his crew lose credibility and become the radical fringe, destined to never achieve their goals, and striding ardently to the tinfoil hat store. The fringe, of course, serves a real purpose, making those slightly more centric but still pushing an agenda seem less unrealistic. I dunno, is Corey sitting in his living-room, completely self-aware of his position as a borderline nut-case making the rest of us seem sane? I’m not sure that the answer to that would become apparent, even after that beer.

3 Responses to “A Rational Discussion Of DRM?”

  1. mrs. tgp says:

    what is perhaps most troubling is this:

    “If I like an album, I am asked to buy it, and support it’s creation.”

    it’s its!

    they’re i go again. the grammar police.

  2. Tucker says:

    I have no idea what you are talking about.