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Macrovision Responds to Steve Jobs on DRM 221

Posted by Zonk
from the thinking-out-loud dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Macrovision Corporation, best known for its long history of DRM implementations, (everything from VCRs to software copy protection), has responded to Steve Jobs open letter regarding DRM. With ample experience and despite the obvious vested interests, it's great to hear their point of view. In the letter they acknowledge the 'difficult challenges' of implementing DRM that is truly 'interoperable and open'. At the same time they also feel that DRM 'will increase electronic distribution', if implemented properly, because 'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership, and lowering risks for content producers. While I'm impressed they responded, I can't say I'm impressed by lofty goals that might not be reached for years. The reality is, current DRM implementations often leave users with the bad end of the deal. What do you think? Should people give DRM manufacturers more time to overcome the challenges and get it right?"
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Macrovision Responds to Steve Jobs on DRM

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  • renting content (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ravenspear (756059) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @04:35AM (#18049380)
    DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership

    Well, if the consumer recognizes that as a value at all. So far the trend (at least in DRM systems used in internet distribution) has been clearly indicating that people generally don't want to rent their content.

    The media companies certainly want this however, as it gives them more opportunities to get the consumer to pay for the same content multiple times, maybe in different formats or for different devices or uses.
    • Re:renting content (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DrSkwid (118965) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @04:55AM (#18049472) Homepage Journal
      There's a tiny store near us called 'blockbuster', I wonder if it will catch on?
      • Re:renting content (Score:5, Informative)

        by MMC Monster (602931) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @06:59AM (#18050044)
        I've got a pretty nice library near me. Selection is not as nice as Blockbuster, but the prices are somewhat better.

        Give to your local library. Either media (originals, of course) or via donations. Your entire community will benefit.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *
        And isn't it interesting that people continue to use Blockbuster and Netflix despite being able to rip and copy DVDs or download bittorrents? And people continue to buy music in an age of easy ripping of CDs?

        Sometimes, there's a benefit to having a wide and deep catalog. I will admit to using online music stores occasionally. Sometimes, you just need a copy of Ollie and the Nightingales singing "Just a Little Overcome" or a cut off of an obscure 999 album. Then, I turn to the marketplace, but not to DRM
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rg3 (858575)
        I don't fully disagree with you. Renting content at a lower price may or may not work, but in the mean time Blockbuster closed all their stores in Spain [google.com] because they were not profitable. So it's not a clear answer. Of course, they blamed piracy, but maybe people are no longer interested enough in renting movies and watching them at home when you can either watch them in the cinema or when they reach digital TV (and then you can record them). They are passed on digital TV maybe one or two months after they'r
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DrSkwid (118965)
          We've got Video on Deman on cable with quite a wide selection of films.

          If you just fancy watching a decent film it's the laziest, cheapest way of doing it. Just press yes and $3 later you're watching the movie and you can as much as you like for 24 hours.

          • by 2nd Post! (213333)
            Cheapest? You mean cable is free now?

            Granted DSL costs $15 a month in my area so if I were to download a $10 movie I would be spending $25 for one movie and $15 if you got three. You would have unlimited movie watching rights however.

            For a cable movie, how much is it a month?
      • by DannyO152 (544940)

        Remember VHS and Beta, besides making it more difficult for consumers to rent (because 1/2 of the tapes at the store were in the wrong format) it reduced title choice. For awhile, those of us with Beta machines weren't allowed to give the store our rental/buying money because Beta was losing. Also, originally, all video tapes were sold to the video stores at a price based on an $80 list price. Someone dared to think that there'd be money to be made if the video tapes were priced for sales and they were righ

        • by arminw (717974)
          .....Music is different than film.....

          Indeed true! However, the biggest difference is the fact that most people can and do listen to good music over and over again. Truly good music, memorable tunes, just don't get tiresome very fast. There are good movies, such as the Star Wars series Lord of the Rings and the many entertaining comedies and dramas. However, how many repeat plays will such a movie get compared to some of the Beatle songs or the classics? Another big difference is that music can accompany ot
    • Re:renting content (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dangitman (862676) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @05:05AM (#18049538)
      The wanker-in-chief Fred Amoroso says:

      Quite simply, if the owners of high-value video entertainment are asked to enter, or stay in a digital world that is free of DRM, without protection for their content, then there will be no reason for them to enter, or to stay if they've already entered. The risk will be too great.

      Quite simply, this is bullshit. Some of the greatest (sorry, "High value") music and film was produced in an era when there was no DRM. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, B.B King, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick, even Steven Spielberg created their work in a pre-DRM era and somehow managed to sell their work.

      Are we really to believe that people such as these would not pursue their art if there were not DRM? It doesn't even make sense from a hardcore businessperson's point-of-view. If someone stamps their feet and says "Fine, I'm not going to make my brilliant movie because I cannot use DRM," then there is no loss. Someone else with more sense will simply step up to the plate and make their movie instead, and profit from it. To think that one cannot make money on media without DRM is ridiculous. History has shown this. If there is money to made, somebody will do it.

      Some will argue that less profit would be made without DRM due to piracy. Even if this were true, less profit does not equal no profit. But various studies have shown that piracy does not affect sales much, and nobody has ever been able to demonstrate that DRM prevents piracy. In fact, it is more likely that DRM reduces profit, because companies have to pay a "DRM tax" to the ridiculolus companies who make crappy DRM, like Macrovision. It's basically an extra cost that doesn't even prevent piracy.

      We offer to assist Apple in the issues and problems with DRM that you state in your letter. Should you desire, we would also assume responsibility for FairPlay as a part of our evolving DRM offering and enable it to interoperate across other DRMs, thus increasing consumer choice and driving commonality across devices.

      Macrovision even think they can do a better job than Apple, and offered to "take responsibility" for Fairplay. This is hilarious. They are obviously jealous of Apple's success, and would love to be given access to Apple's products. Does anyone think that Macrovision could do a better job? Apple is one of the top software producers in the world. Macrovision is a bunch of hacks, a one-trick pony who has made a living from a stupid analog video hack. I doubt they are even competent to write software. We've all seen the kind of shit that bottom-feeding companies like this produce, and it ain't pretty. (think Sony rootkits)

      • Re:renting content (Score:4, Informative)

        by Phil246 (803464) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @05:48AM (#18049730)

        Apple is one of the top software producers in the world. Macrovision is a bunch of hacks, a one-trick pony who has made a living from a stupid analog video hack. I doubt they are even competent to write software
        ever heard of safedisc? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SafeDisc [wikipedia.org] Macrovision make that, and its fairly 'successful' in terms of publishers using it
        • Re:renting content (Score:4, Interesting)

          by dangitman (862676) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @05:54AM (#18049762)

          ever heard of safedisc? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SafeDisc [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] Macrovision make that, and its fairly 'successful' in terms of publishers using it

          Sounds like crap to me. Deliberately authoring discs with "weak sectors"? Sounds like copy protection from the Commodore 64 era. Probably breaks DVD standards, too.

          This is exactly the kind of shit I'm referring to when I talk about hacky software developers. When have they written some serious software that does something useful?

          And, from the Wikipedia article:

          Though SafeDisc protection effectively prevents regular home users from creating functional copies of CDs or DVDs, it is quite easy for skilled software crackers to bypass.

          So, it doesn't even work, does it?

          00000001.TMP CLCD16.DLL CLCD32.DLL CLOKSPL.EXE DPLAYERX.DLL And also by the existence of two files .EXE and .ICD (where is replaced with the acual game's name). The EXE executable is only a loader which decrypts and loads the protected game executable in the encrypted ICD File.

          Gee, that EXE file must work wonderfully with non-Windows systems.

          • by Phil246 (803464)

            So, it doesn't even work, does it?

            it works against the novice, clueless users who dont realise it can be removed yes, but not the more technically inclined who can crack it, download a crack for it, or work around it using emulation software.
            Its why i put 'successful' in quotes :)

            Gee, that EXE file must work wonderfully with non-Windows systems.

            Indeed, so well infact that it wont even let it *start* the game :D

            • Re:renting content (Score:4, Informative)

              by dangitman (862676) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @06:16AM (#18049838)

              it works against the novice, clueless users who dont realise it can be removed yes,

              The problem being that the novice clueless users are probably not inclined to try and copy a disc in the first place, and just go buy them at the store. So, it does nothing except cost producers profits, because they have to pay to license stuff from Macrovision, when they could simply release the product without those costs.

              Its why i put 'successful' in quotes :)

              Yeah, I got that, but I still think they remain a "one trick pony." the "SafeDisc" thing is really just the digital equivalent of their analog video hack. What are they going to do to "help Apple improve Fairplay? Have it include deliberate "bad samples" in AC3 files?

              I was trying to highlight what a joke it was of Macrovision to think they had anything to offer Apple - who have some of the greatest talents in the software field, and produce a greater breadth and depth of software than pretty much any other company. In comparison, Macrovision reminds me of those idiots who write the drivers for hardware copy-protection dongles.

              Indeed, so well infact that it wont even let it *start* the game :D

              Yup, but Macrovision claim they want to "lead the industry" in DRM. Yet they've written software for a grand total of one platform, and are basically only still around because of the prevalence of their video hack. not really ones to be in a position of leadership over anything.

              The funniest thing about their rant is that I actually know people who stopped buying DVDs, and started getting copied DVDs from friends because of Macrovision. You see, their DVD player is hooked up to their old TV via a VCR. This is because their TV only has an RF input. So DVDs look like utter crap. They eventually found out that this was because of Macrovision. But ripped DVDs that have been de-macrovisioned look perfectly fine.

              I'm not sure how Macrovision can be considered "successful" when illegally ripped copies of products that use Macrovision look better than the purchased original. I guess they are successful in the way the mafia is successful - but even the mafia adds more value for end users than Macrovision.

              • You see, their DVD player is hooked up to their old TV via a VCR. This is because their TV only has an RF input. So DVDs look like utter crap. They eventually found out that this was because of Macrovision.

                You're right. A lot of people claim that HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc will fail because making them look good needs a new television set that supports connectors compatible with HDCP. But you have provided evidence that this was also the case for DVD-Video: it needed a new television set that supported connectors compatible with Macrovision analog copy distortion. Yet DVD-Video caught on anyway.

          • by melikamp (631205)

            So, it doesn't even work, does it?
            Nope. Even a total noob can defeat it with Alcohol and Daemon Tools.
        • by cypherz (155664) *
          I'm not sure what you point is supposed to be. That MacroVision could distribute Apple's DRM since they were commercially successful with SafeDisc? Or was it irony? SafeDisc is horrible and has been cracked many times. Jobs argued that if FairPlay was released to many distributors, it would be much harder to contain breaches of Fairplay security. Given MacroVisions track record with SafeDisc, they would be a bad choice as a partner for Apple's DRM.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jbuda123 (1022623)

        The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, B.B King, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick, even Steven Spielberg created their work in a pre-DRM era and somehow managed to sell their work.
        DRM = Digital Rights Management. I don't think any of these people had to fear digital reproduction of their content when they made it. Or did your IBM 650 vacuum-tube machine have an LP duplicator?
        • by dangitman (862676)

          DRM = Digital Rights Management. I don't think any of these people had to fear digital reproduction of their content when they made it.

          What's your point? It could still be duplicated - and it was. What difference does it make if it is digital or not? Never heard of an audio cassette or videotape?

          • by tm2b (42473)
            That's pretty disingenuous.

            Compare a twentieth generation audio cassette or video tape copy and a twentieth generation CD copy and then get back to us and tell us that they're the same situation.
        • but it did start with analogue, and with VCR+Macrovision. The real fact here is "digital" is only a red herring. It should be called "copyrighted Media Right Management" as in "our wet dream is to put a good lock on this and every time you want to watch it or put on another computer/player you have to pay again. And again. And again". If they could apply the same method to analogue with the same sucess that they had with DRM and macrovision , they would. Alas, it is not that easy without breaking legacy ana
      • Re:renting content (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tim C (15259) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @08:08AM (#18050400)
        The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, B.B King, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick, even Steven Spielberg created their work in a pre-DRM era and somehow managed to sell their work.

        They also created their work in a pre-Internet era, in which essentially zero cost distribution to potentially hundreds of millions of people simply wasn't possible.

        I'm no fan of DRM, but you're (intentionally?) ignoring the fact that copyright infringement is a lot easier and on scales orders of magnitude greater now than in the period you're talking about, even ignoring the (solved) problem of generational loss of quality.
        • They also created their work in a pre-Internet era, in which essentially zero cost distribution to potentially hundreds of millions of people simply wasn't possible.

          They also did in a period before digital video and easy movie editing, before all digital pipe-lines that only require hi-quality inputs and then all the mixing stage can be done with common computer part all the way until the master data ready to be pressed, etc...

          Internet isn't the only technology that has progressed. We live in a time were th

      • by wass (72082)
        Some of the greatest (sorry, "High value") music and film was produced in an era when there was no DRM. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, B.B King, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick, even Steven Spielberg created their work in a pre-DRM era and somehow managed to sell their work.

        Don't be silly, back in those days you couldn't effectively duplicate your music. And even when audio/video tapes came around you could roughly duplicate it, but with notable loss in qual
        • by Danga (307709)
          Hell, even in the 60's and 70's, did they complain that if they bought a record and later scratched it, they should be entitled to a free new copy of that same album?

          How I stand on this issue is if they claim they are selling me a license to listen to the music on a particular format and they want to restrict me from making a backup for myself from that particular format then I damn well better be able to get a replacement if the original format gets broken. I am not talking about a free replacement, just
      • Quite simply, this is bullshit. Some of the greatest (sorry, "High value") music and film was produced in an era when there was no DRM. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, B.B King, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick, even Steven Spielberg created their work in a pre-DRM era and somehow managed to sell their work.

        I don't think that counts as much of an argument because during that era, the quality loss in making a copy was so great, and generational loss was great.
      • Macrovision offered to take it off Apple's hands purely because they are pissed that they aren't getting a cut. Macrovision HAD to put out something like this. I'm supprised they didn't do it sooner personally. The whole company is based upon scare tactics. If no one used DRM afterall, what else do they do? It's just one more licensing fee you pay when you buy legitimate media. DRM stops no one that they want to stop. Just punishes good customers.
    • In that case I'm sure DRM does increase value to the consumer. And I have no problem with special disk being released which you can rent with the DRMed content on them, under the precondition that there are non-DRMed sales as well, with equivilant market penetration to ensure that when the time comes the content enters the public domain, and to protect fair use rights.
      • to ensure that when the time comes the content enters the public domain
        In what year will that happen? In the 1990s, Europe and the United States "harmonized" their copyright term to that of Germany, which was life plus 70. In the 2010s, Europe and the United States are more than likely to "harmonize" their copyright term to that of Mexico, which is life plus 100. What will prevent this?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by chaoticgeek (874438)
      But if we are renting the license to use whatever we paid money for, movie or music than if we break the medium it came on or how we obtained it in the first place it should be replaced for us for free or for the cost of the medium. However if we bought the medium it came on such as a DVD/CD then we should have the right to do whatever we want. I don't think they can have it both ways. Either we buy the license to use it or we bought the entire thing that is ours, in which case we can do what ever we please
  • by bug1 (96678) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @04:39AM (#18049410)
    "such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership"

    Consumers don't get the opportunity to "own" media, consumers get no ownership rights at all, we cant resell, get a refund etc like you can with a TV you buy.

    Consumers get usage rights as granted by the copyright holder, DRM makes it easier to restrict these usage rights which takes us further away from what they would call "ownership".

    Smells like fud to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gregorio (520049)

      Consumers get usage rights as granted by the copyright holder, DRM makes it easier to restrict these usage rights which takes us further away from what they would call "ownership".

      Smells like fud to me.
      That's an extremely inappropriate use of this expression.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bukharin (344329)
      I agree...

      'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership

      This is such bullshit. The price differential between "renting" and "owning" is almost purely profit, and is specifically enabled by DRM. This decreases value, by allowing them to charge us more for something that costs them the same to provide. How stupid do they think we are?
    • by fermion (181285)
      Furthermore, the low cost has nothing to do with DRM, but changing attitudes and competition. I recall when a movie cost 50-100 dollars, or $150 in todays money. Why is this so? I believe that originally all movies were priced assuming that some would be shown publicly, and to compensate for that the prices were high. Then renting came along, and the fact that someone else was making a profit on the product forced prices to decrease. The only purpose of DRM on VHS was to impose the implicit licensing l
    • by Tim C (15259)
      Consumers don't get the opportunity to "own" media, consumers get no ownership rights at all, we cant resell, get a refund etc like you can with a TV you buy.

      Rubbish. With the possible exception of refunds (although even then if you're firm enough you'll get one) you most certainly do have those rights when you buy content on a physical medium. There's nothing in copyright law that prevents one from reselling a CD, DVD or any other item which is protected by copyright. You're not allowed to distribute copie
  • Added value (Score:5, Funny)

    by QuickFox (311231) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @04:40AM (#18049414)
    Of course DRM adds value! You get an interesting pastime, a puzzle to solve.
  • by codefrog (302314) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @04:40AM (#18049420)
    Those starving stunt men who show up in front of otherwise legitimate movies to warn us about how we (the theater-going evildoers of the world) are denying their kids a college education...
    I SAY LET THEM EAT CAKE. Let's take up a collection... and hire them to drive cars off cliffs ...said cars to be filled with DRM executives and other such indispensible consumer-value-enhancers.
    • by AC5398 (651967) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @05:12AM (#18049566)
      Nothing irritates me faster than being forced to watch that drivel BEFORE I get to watch the movie I PAID FOR!

      • by Legion303 (97901) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @05:55AM (#18049770) Homepage
        The really hilarious part here is that I've never seen those infomercials before movies, because I stopped paying for the movie theater "experience" (i.e., douchebags with cell phones, sticky floors, and 25 minutes of car commercials on the screen) long before the studios started adding them. So the people like me--who might actually feel a smidgen of guilt at seeing the infomercials--don't actually see them, while people who are doing the right thing by paying instead of stealing get to be annoyed by shit that doesn't apply to them in the first place.

        I guess I just defined irony.
  • by sunya (101612) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @04:45AM (#18049436) Homepage
    Here [daringfireball.net] is John Grubers translation. Spot on.

    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      Here [daringfireball.net] is John Grubers translation. Spot on.

      Spot on maybe, not for long though. How much music is out there? How many action movies? Comedies, TV series, cartoon, dramas...

      Can you own all of it? Can you afford all of it? People instinctively want to own all that media since there has never been a single central, *reliable*, *compatible* and *immediate* source where they can go to and rent their media.

      You buy it, since tommorow it may be out of stock and forever lost. You want to make sure
      • by noamsml (868075)
        What you are suggesting may be somewhat valid, and it is a slightly different approach to DRM: instead of making all digital media DRM in order to "suppress piracy" (ineffective), you are suggesting that DRM should be used for "restricted media" at a lower price and that full-license media can be unencumbered of DRM. I do, however, believe that since DRM is ultimately ineffective from a technical standpoint, it might be said that a metadata-based control system without faux encryption is actually as good a
  • by Lobais (743851)
    At first sight their argument about letting people rent videos might sound reasonable,
    but then in real life, why rent videos to a lower prize, when it costs the same (or even less) for the content manufacturers to give a real copy?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)

      The difference between buying and renting is who pays for storage. There are very few films I want to see more than twice, so I'd rather someone else pays for storage. Ideally, I would be able to download a film in an unencumbered format, transcode it to a format that suited my playback device (e.g. burn it to a DVD+RW as MPEG-2 or make a lower quality copy for a mobile device) then delete it when I'm done with it.

      The idea of DRM seems completely pointless for video content, since I have no desire to hoa

      • I thought capitalism was about the market providing customers with the services they want to pay for, not using technology to try to prolong obsolete business models.

        It is. And in a fair market customers would put businesses with other business models out of business as their business. Sorry, that last use of 'business' was gratuitous.

        Two issues that affect fair markets: cartels [mpaa.org] and regulatory capture [wikipedia.org].
      • There are very few films I want to see more than twice
        But have you considered the entertainment preferences of single-digit-year-old children? They tend to prefer watching a G-rated animated film well over twice a year. Try twice a week.
  • by Noonian Soong (1016626) <soongNO@SPAMmember.fsf.org> on Saturday February 17, 2007 @04:56AM (#18049484)
    I don't think DRM will ever develop to a good thing. Either it places restrictions on a user regarding OS, player, mobile device, etc. or it is available everywhere which will make the DRM system more vulnerable to cracks. Then it's a waste of money to develop such a system if it's unable to protect content. Was making analog copies of VHS tapes and DVDs really prevented by the Macrovision protection on there? No. So why develop it in the first place?
  • > DRM increases not decreases consumer value

    Can somebody explain me, how exactly DRM will increase the consumer value of
    a particular music piece. Let's take http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._9_(Beeth oven) [wikipedia.org]
    Symphony No. 9 as a very good music and well-known example.

    Well, I'm not Steve Jobs and it seems that nobody will answer...

  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @04:57AM (#18049492) Homepage Journal
    then you're in the wrong business
    • Please tell me exactly what business can compete with free?

      I think it does dramatically hurt. Please tell me the name of a Malaysian theatrical film made in the last ten years. Anyone? There's no point in making one because it would never post a profit, anyone that wants to see it can just buy a $1 bootleg.
      • by DrSkwid (118965)
        In a competitive market, the price of your product tends toward it's marginal cost, i.e. cost of manufacture incurred per item, over and above fixed costs.

        For some businesses i.e. car manufacturing this might be $20000 per product.

        Whereas for CD / DVD this tends toward zero.

        So effectively everyone is competing with free.

  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Saturday February 17, 2007 @05:15AM (#18049592) Homepage
    because 'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership

    That's like being happy you got into a car accident because you met a nice nurse at the hospital.
    • That's like being happy you got into a car accident because you met a nice nurse at the hospital.
      Well, if it wasn't a serious accident, and she was really hot...
  • How is this possible that anyone who buys tracks and listens to music can benefit from these Jokers
    who want to steal your right to own your own copy of a song, and share music with your friends at
    parties? (Things even our parents and grandparents could freely do when they were growing up).

    You buy a copy of a song or album, and play it all you want, and move it to another player for jogging,
    or to play in your car, or as a backup on your computer. But Macrovision and the music companies would
    deny you any of t
  • The prices of DVD's have gone down, with all of the illegal copying and downloading...

    Why in the world would the prices go down with DRM? DVD's when they first came out were not copyable, were not downloadable and cost a lot more than they do now...

    Now they're cheaper..

    Should we presume that they are cheaper because they are downloadable, copyable and so forth?

    I know the market is saturated with dvds but still. Frankly i think the piracy is a way keep their prices fair. If they eliminate piracy, the skyies
    • by Knetzar (698216)
      The alternative is other forms of entertainment. RIAA music competes with local/independent music. MPAA movies compete with film students, YouTube, TV, videogames, etc...

      Just because there is no alternative for a particular product, doesn't mean there is no alternative.

      Example: A Mercedes SL 55AMG is nearly $100,000, but the high price doesn't mean that people have to go without cars.
    • by mgiuca (1040724)
      This is true, and it's an argument I haven't seen before. Well done.
  • Mackerelvision (Score:2, Interesting)

    by izprince (1065036)
    So, the guys at Mackerelvision respond... DRM "increases" value for the consumer. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Up is down. Black is white. Anyway, I don't know whether to laugh or cry, I'd laugh if I thought there was no way people would believe them, but I cry because I know people tend to be stupid enough to believe something that absurd. How exactly, does a technology that by design, interferes with my fair usage rights, and interferes with my ability to play back the content I purchased usage ri
    • So, the guys at Mackerelvision respond... DRM "increases" value for the consumer. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Up is down. Black is white. ....And they get killed at the next Zebra crossing.
  • Why can't those of us who prefer buy-to-own just download in a standard, non-defective format? Then you can put time-expire DRM on the market once you've made it work in an open and efficient fashion (or invented a free-energy machine, whichever comes first).
  • Facts (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...com> on Saturday February 17, 2007 @06:31AM (#18049920) Homepage
    1. DRM costs the consumers money. That is, the producers license shit technology (that going by their track record they're batting .000) that they then pass the cost onto the consumer/customers.

    2. DRM doesn't actually work. Every single form of DRM from CSS to WDRM to Fairplay has been in one form or another broken or circumvented. Including the many methods (and millions of dollars that went into) CD and video game protection schemes

    3. Despite the ability to circumvent DRM, media says continue to increase.

    4. DRM often attempts to circumvent fair use rights preventing the social order.

    5. The introduction of the DMCA was a *crutch* introduced by lobbyists to do what DRM could not do.

    6. DRM vendors have no souls.

    7. Media studios leverage their market share to unfairly harm competition (see: payola).

    8. Media studios will boldly lie about revenue and other statistics to gain power over citizens of "free" nations.

    9. I ran out of facts.

    Tom
    • Re:Facts (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pembo13 (770295) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @07:25AM (#18050162) Homepage
      10. The executives who think this DRM stuff up, go to bed every night with a big smile thinking of all the money their making despite having cheated on their tests all the way from high school to college, since they are now putting their training to good use.
  • by mgiuca (1040724) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @07:22AM (#18050150)

    DRM is uniquely suitable for metering usage rights, so that consumers who don't want to own content, such as a movie, can "rent" it.
    I fully agree that the Single And Only Fair Usage of DRM is to enable rentals. I hate DRM, but if I'm going to pay $3 to rent a film, it's in everyone's best interests to give me a disc which I don't need to return, I can just throw away as it becomes useless after a week. That's great, and it's a great use for DRM.

    Problem: I don't want DRM to "meter my usage rights". In other words, I don't want DRM to say "you own this" "you rent that". By the very nature of DRM, I don't own it. In my eyes there is one and only one solution: Anything I am renting has DRM on it. Anything I own does not, or by definition, I don't own it.

    Similarly, consumers who want to consume content on only a single device can pay less than those who want to use it across all of their entertainment areas - vacation homes, cars, different devices and remotely.
    Correction: Consumers who want to use content across all of their entertainment areas can pay more than those who just want to consume it only on a single device. This was never about making things cheaper.

    The entire concept of this is complete bullshit. You buy content. You own it. You do whatever the hell you want with it. There is no free or convenient consumer market for "only using content on a certain device". No market like that is ever in the consumer's best interests.

    Abandoning DRM now will unnecessarily doom all consumers to a "one size fits all" situation that will increase costs for many of them.
    You know... if I could buy a shirt that fits any size body, like I can buy hats or socks that do, I'd be happier with my shirts (in case I grow, or I want to give it to my friends, or I don't want to fuss about with shirt sizes, or whatever, it's just more convenient to have one-size-fits-all shirts). Digital media is great, because it is one-size-fits-all! Yay! Now why would you use the phrase "doom all consumers to a one-size-fits-all situation"? One-size-fits-all is good for consumers, if it's feasible. And it is.

    "DRM needs to be interoperable and open"
    There is no such thing as open DRM. There is only different shades of interoperability. So you can get FairPlay vs Zune going at each other, or you can unify them into a single DRM model which is interoperable. That's better for consumers, yes, but it isn't open. DRM, by design, can never be open, because as soon as it is, it can be cracked. In other words, you may get the same DRM working on Zune, iPod, Windows and Mac, but you will never get it working in open source software (unless it's been hacked, like DVD).

    Without reasonable, consistent and transparent DRM we will only delay the availability of premium content in the home.
    The delay, I assume, being from the corporate shits who can't stand to see their content go on a format without DRM. What about the years of setbacks in products such as PS3 and Vista just to get the overblown and insane DRM specs working?
  • TFA is the usual corporate snake oil.

    "We don't give a shit about our customers and we don't want to see them as anything more than cows to be economically milked, but we can't let them know that because if they do find out, they have a tendency to jump the fences we're trying to build around them. The only thing we care about is money. We don't care about our own lives, the lives of anyone else, or anything else. The only thing that matters is getting as much money as possible. We don't even care if we
  • 'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership

    That statement takes advantage of the nearsighted. DRM's purpose is to maximize proffit, and to do that you have to maximize the money you squeeze out of the consumer. You cannot maximize proffit AND provide the customer with a better value, the two goals are opposed to each other.

    Yes, DRM allows a consumer to rent content for less, but it also requires them to rent it every time they wa
  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @08:41AM (#18050570)
    Macrovision's CEO's argument with Jobs seems to rest on a faulty foundation. Jobs didn't call for the death of DRM, at least not directly, he called for the big 4 to license their music for sale online without DRM.

    If, like most people reading this, you consider DRM a negative for the consumer, then you'd naturally think DRM-free licensing would obviously lead to the death of DRM, at least for music. But if, like Macrovision's CEO, you claim that DRM actually adds value for the consumer, then you should have nothing to fear from competition with non-DRMed sales. If a consumer thinks it is a better value to rent music with DRM, then they will do so regardless of weather music available for sale elsewhere has DRM or not.

    The idea that DRMed music cannot be successfully sold when non-DRMed music is also available is only valid if you assume that DRM has a negative impact on the consumer large enough to overwhelm any positives it might offer (like the ability to facilitate online rentals). The fact that Macrovision's CEO equates allowing DRM-free sales opportunities to denying DRMed sales opportunities, while asserting that DRM is a positive for the consumer, would seem to indicate that he is either arguing dishonestly or hasn't really thought this out (or both).

    That said, Macrovision's CEO's position actually suggests a compromise (if we assume that Macrovision's CEO is honest in his assertion that he believes DRM adds value for the consumer, and that decision makers at the big 4 agree with him, both of which are far from certain imho):
    If Apple were to license the RIAA (and it's international equivalents) the right to sub-license FairPlay DRM to anyone they liked, in return for the RIAA's members giving Apple license to sell all their music DRM-free under terms no worse than their current ~70% cut, then everybody wins (after a fashion).
    Apple gets to sell music DRM-free, the RIAA&co get to sell/rent DRMed music for the iPod under whatever terms they like, and the customer gets to have their choice.
  • In the letter they acknowledge the 'difficult challenges' of implementing DRM that is truly 'interoperable and open'

    Clearly too bloody hard for them. I got two new DVDs last week, was pretty happy with them. Both use RipGuard, meaning none of my Linux machines, using XINE, MPlayer or VLC can play the damned things.

    The sad fact is, these are fairly obscure UK TV shows, and basically, short of piracy, this is now the only way for me to get them on DVD. So what I have to do now is rip them to watch them on

  • Please, Apple... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by techmuse (160085) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @09:35AM (#18050904)
    "At Macrovision we are willing to lead this industry effort. We offer to assist Apple in the issues and problems with DRM that you state in your letter. Should you desire, we would also assume responsibility for FairPlay as a part of our evolving DRM offering and enable it to interoperate across other DRMs, thus increasing consumer choice and driving commonality across devices."

    ie. "Please, Apple. Give us the keys to your iPod and let us make money from your copy protection scheme while you abandon it" Huh?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @09:53AM (#18051028)
    I have not seen drm lowering prices. Maybe I'm missing something?
  • I've long said that I have no problem with DRM in cases like Napster, where the music is provided under a subscription contract, because it's not realistic to believe someone will delete their DRM-free music when a contract expires. If people want to rent music or movies, DRM is necessary. I don't want to rent music, but I will agree that there is a potential market for that. Suggesting, however, that DRM from iTunes increases the consumer value for that reason is stupid.

    If I rent something, I have no prob

  • No.

    I don't like DRM. I'm not happy with the concept. I don't like where copyrights have gone in the last 200 years. The first 120 years were okay.

    Life is far far far too short to be a complete fool spending my time, effort, money, and resources trying to make something as simple as looking at a picture, watching a movie, listening to music, or reading a book, into a huge wrestling match between me and my electronics. See, I've got a life. Not enough to stop me from making this comment, but enough that I'm n
  • The U.S. isn't governed by the people. When our opinions differ from big business, big business lobbying will win.

    It's pretty clear what Slashdotter opinion is, so why is the some old question being asked again when it certainly won't change anything?

  • FTA: "The solution is to accelerate the deployment of convenient DRM-protected distribution channels--not to abandon them."

    Of course they would say this. DRM is what they sell.
  • how about... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danielk1982 (868580) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @01:36PM (#18053052)
    How about DRM for 'rented content' (movies or music subscriptions for example) and no DRM for bought content?

  • Since this letter is full of PR speak, I'm providing a link to a Handy Translation Guide [daringfireball.net]
  • I think that we need to seriously re-evaluate the idea that information should be owned, and whether people are better off if we use the power of governments to enforce ones ability to own information.

    The only way we've been able to support information ownership is the one structure with exclusive right to control the army (the government) also works to enforce the interests of businesses to own information.

    While this hellish compact may have made sense in the past, we now exist in a world with near-instant

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