DRM: Dumbass Restrictions Maintenance

Everyone is talking about crime
Tell me who are the criminals
I said everybody’s talking about crime, crime
Tell me who, who are the criminals
– Peter Tosh

I can’t believe what I just read in a Forbes article about DRM.

Here is a quote from the article explaining why other members of the record label cartel are unlikely to follow EMI and Apple’s lead and start selling music online that is not infested with DRM:

Other online music retailers say they’re worried that following Apple’s lead will confuse customers who may already be baffled by a crazy quilt of restrictions that envelop the industry.

Isn’t that sort of like saying that poor people would be confused by having money?  Or at least like saying renters would be confused by ownership.

Anyone who’s lettered enough to make it through the registration process at some online music store will be able to distinguish between “restricted” and “unrestricted” and “$.99” and “$1.29.”  And even if some people automatically click on the cheaper DRM-infested option- so what?  People buy crappy stuff all the time because it’s cheaper.  The confusion argument is a canard.  As Forbes points out, rocket science is less confusing than the myriad of subscription plans these online stores offer.

Meanwhile, executives of other cartel members said at some OPEC, I mean record industry, event that getting rid of DRM is not a priority for them.

Really?  I’m shocked.

There’s no confusion there, only greed and shortsightedness.  It’s about trying like mad to protect a monopoly built on a dying business model.  It’s about the nominal cost of manufacturing a CD and the not so nominal cost the cartel charges to the buyer and the artist for doing so.  And it’s about how little respect the music industry has for its customers.  “We don’t want the whole world to be a college dorm.”  Are you kidding me?

It’s not about whether it’s good for the cartel.  It’s about what customers are entitled to and what they are disciplined enough to demand.  And sometimes, as Larry Borsato points out, what they are promised.

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