Debate: DRM, Introduction

Over the next few days/weeks I will be posting a debate, held with myself, on digital rights management and intellectual property in the Information Age. We all know that current laws are unclear in some respects, and unenforcable in others. Should information, including music, books, and other IP, be freely distributed, or should new measures be implemented and new laws passed in order to protect the rights of authors, musicians, and other IP holders who depend on their IP for a living?

Freedom of Information Abstract:

“Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy” therefore free sharing of files containing IP (hereby refered to as IPF) is, in fact, beneficial to the creators and keeping it privatized is to steal it from the ‘commons’. Beyond this, it is impossible to properly enforce protections on IPF. Given that free distrubution of IPF doesn’t harm the artists, and will exist regardless of the state of the law, it should be legalized.

Digital Rights Management Abstract:

Piracy of IPF is theft, cutting into or eliminating the profit margins of IP originators. Law enforcement should continue to make an example of those who distribute or use pirated IPF. By offering serious consequences for any who are caught pirating IPF, and through the use of improved DRM, there is no reason piracy cannot be minimized, if not eliminated. Lastly, IP law should be clarified to eliminate potential loopholes.

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If you have an opinion, an arguement, or a reference, feel free to post it in the comments or e-mail me.

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5 thoughts on “Debate: DRM, Introduction

  1. Thanks for the link, I think one of the key things that we need to address is “what constitutes a living”.

    The notion that one cannot make a living if they give what they have away for free is inherently false. There is always something that can be charged for, even if it is being heard live, or being the first person to listen to a piece of music (temporary exclusivity) in case of musicians.

    The music industry uses the “musician is a victim” argument, whilst the truth is that the industry has exploited the musician for commercial gain for years. This is not about the right to earn a living, but the right to be filthy rich. However when you frame the argument as “my right to own a mansion, and spend frivilously” the argument doesn’t hold as strong.

    Case in point, I now live by this means, you will find as many ideas as I can put up on my site for free. I still make a “living” and one day I may see these ideas bare fruit. I have been down the alternative route in the past, of IP protection, but it does not protect me as you still need the money to defend those rights. IP rights do not protect the freedoms of the creatives, but those of the rich.

    Why do we continue to preserve the rights of the rich? Because we believe one day we can join them. “I defend your right to live in a way that is detrimental to me, because one day I too hope to live in a way that is detrimental to society” What beautiful aspirations we hold dear.

  2. I’ll weigh in.

    As an author, I like to get paid for my work. That said, I would rather prefer being widely known over being paid. Being known equates a readership, fans, an audience for my work.

    In my humble opinion, the idea of DRM completely kills the notion of buyer’s rights — with books, which is what I’m talking about — that once you’ve bought a book, you can lend it to a friend or two, give it away, donate it to a library, that sort of thing. DRM kills the social nature of literature.

    In terms of ereader devices, DRM even kills the ability to transfer the product you have PURCHASED between your phone, your computer, your handheld, etc. That’s a pain in the patootie. I like to read ebooks on my handheld, but I have to purchase them on my PC because I don’t have wifi where I live, for example. It makes me angry if I can’t transfer something between the two devices.

    As a library worker, it is also my understanding that people are less likely to steal if a) the price is proportionate to the goods (i.e. no charging $25 for a fricken ebook, even if it’s new! I know people who won’t even shell out that for a HARDBACK!), and b) if there are less restrictions on it.

    I guess you could say it’s kind of like Prohibition… The more laws you have, the more people break them….

    Thought-provoking piece. Thanks. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Freedom of Information: IP Law is Unenforceable « Lucid Lunacy

  4. Pingback: Debate: IP Law and DRM Pt. 2 « Lucid Lunacy

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