I cannot resist ranting about Digital Rights Management (or other copy protection schemes) whenever I run across negative issues associated with them. When will the holders of intellectual property rights ever learn the basic lessons that seem to arise again and again?
Recently, Sony Music and other music publishers tried to institute a boneheaded copy protection scheme that met with such resounding protests that they immediately backed off on its’ implementation. This scheme relied on a technique that utilizes what is known as a “root kit” to do its’ duties. When copying music from these CDs onto your computer, bits of coding would insinuate itself deep into your computers file system. If you are at all familiar with Unix, Linux, or any of their derivatives, you will recognize that any user that has what is known as “root access” has virtually total control over the machine in question. Granting root access is thus a potentially dangerous situation. Root access techniques have become the “method de jour” for modern day hacking, and is a major security issue, particularly as employees shuttle laptops back and forth between home and office networks. No wonder there was an immediate and loud outcry about this technique (see previous post here).
Today, I ran across this article from cdfreaks.com (I love the monikers you run across on the web) “Tests find DRM shortens player battery life by up to ~25%” .
Basic lesson that is ignored at the publishers peril – “Do NO HARM unto those who legitimately purchase a license to utilize your intellectual property.” The revenue stream of any publisher depends entirely on the continued purchases made by these customers. Cripple them in any way, deprive them of the full use of the media that they have legitimately paid for, and they will abandon you at their very first opportunity. History proves me right on this issue (although we seem to be in a period where the lessons of history are often ignored). The pirates who blatantly disregard intellectual property rights always find a way to circumvent copy protection schemes anyhow, so why risk alienating your proven (and hopefully loyal) customer base. Your financial future depends upon them.
End of rant (for the moment).