Neil got to go to a very interesting talk on Thursday by Cory Dotorow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation presented by Microsoft Research. The subject was on DRM and how it really served no useful propose to anyone nowadays. Not the studios, not the consumers, not the artists, and last but not least not the companies like MS which are trying to cater to it. The full text can be found here http://craphound.com/msftdrm.txt and IMO it's a must read. I'm normally a big EFF fanboy, and now is no exception. I'm a big believer that code should be free and open (open is probably redundant, but it's fine as long as you specify the free part) and that nothing but goodness will come from that position. I view that, however, as a special case of “Information should be free”. I feel that if I try to sum up this piece I will end up not doing it justice. However, there were certain salient points that Cory made (and Neil tried to explain to me) which I feel should be pointed out.
Cory feels that pursuing this goal of DRM as a company is a worthless endeavor because consumers will reject in whole-heartedly in the future, and MS will have spent a ridiculous amount of money on a flop. No one is benefited and MS loses in the long term. Instead he feel that we should be enabling consumers now even if it's possible that someone could construe it as potentially copyright infringing. He points to numerous cases and technologies over the past decades (if not centuries) that many considered to be harmful to both indistry and artists but which ended up giving more business to both and in the end supplying people with information in better more convenient forms. He feels that the internet is just one more step in that technological ladder, and to throw away all it's benefits in order to keep the status quo with today is ridiculous.
Cory, good luck with this. I'm hoping more people will listen.