March 22, 2005
Ann Livermore at HP.. On DRM
You know, I'm loving this thing Esther is doing, with PC Forum. We're watching lots of very cool women, accomplished, well spoken, powerful, talking about their areas of expertise. And their not here because they are women, they are here because they are brainy, cool and very insightful... the Open Source panel is *only* women, because those are the relevant people needed to talk about these issues.
But Ann Livermore from HP was up earlier .. talking about DRM .. and it was a scary thing. She talked about the hardware makers responsibility to make DRM based products to protect content makers, but then said there is an "... obligation that sits on individuals as well, technology companies can't do all of it..." in terms of respecting copyright. She says HP is an "... advanced and active proponent of DRM for Hollywood..." but admits "... it's the value chain that is going to be disintermediated." Which is code for the old networks of content makers and distributors.
Thank goodness. I'm really at the point where that old value chain is so clueless and obtuse, that I think they deserve what they get for not figuring out how to work with the web, and sharing and remixing of content, and instead fighting it so stupidly when it's been so obvious for so long that this was a folly. But HP isn't helping by allowing for temporary delay of this with DRM that will ultimately be cracked, or moved around, by the network.
The internet is a delicate ecosystem, and while DRM won't kill it, it will create a situation where most users of HP and other DRM based products won't even know they've been left out of socializing with technology and routed around by the network. The network will move on, but it's one of the many things that will keep some folks and some parts of it back.
Posted by Mary Hodder at March 22, 2005 09:19 AM
If you are really concerned about the indiscriminate use of content control systems one of the first things you can to to change the debate is to stop using the industry's misleading terms. Digital Rights Restriction technologies don't allow consumers to manage anything, so it is important not to perpetuate misleading terms like "DRM".
Content control systems are designed to limit the ways consumers can use media--not to empower consumers. Such limits are accurately described as restrictions, especially when they effectively prevent uses that are legal, including the right to resell copyrighted material as protected by the Doctrine of First Sale. Only when the content industry and electronics companies correctly call Digital Rights Restriction as such can we honestly debate what existing rights we are willing to give up for the lure of supposedly lower prices that DRR technology is touted as being necessary for.
We need a public debate about Digital Right Restrictions, but we'll never get one as long as we fall for using misleading euphemisms like "management" for technology that limits our rights.
I agree with the previous comment. By all means let's do some talking.
But Mary, your comment about the old value chain and its problems makes me think that we should look a little closer before we throw out baby, bathwater, bathtub, etc. It's true that there's a good deal of inefficiency and uneven distribution of power in the traditional content provider, paying consumer model. But even in that regime, authors, students, and scholars, were free to make a personal contact and negotiate specific terms of "fair use", or anything else, for that matter. The intermediaries were people, not just organizations (I'm not defending the stupid behavior).
DRM software is simply not equipped to negotiate anything. And for me this is the most disturbing element. Computers are great, but they don't know squat about me, or what I do, or why I do it, or where I'm headed. So computers can't be the intermediaries. If there are going to be any intermediaries at all, they need to be humans. Or else the negotiations need to move out to edges (where the people are) and away from the middle.