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If any of you were having trouble with my RSS feed, I apologize – it was having trouble processing some characters.  Not sure why, but I fixed it manually.  Will have to look into it further.

The Berkeley DRM Conference, Again

James Grimmelmann has posted some great notes about the DRM conference.  I was particularly interested in the section on whether DRM will actually work, and Grimmelmann’s note that,

“And thus, the sixty-four dollar question: Is any of this really going to work? The question tends to come up about once per panel; most of the panelists do their best to avoid dealing with it…. I would have thought that the technical feasibility of effective mass-market DRM was the critical threshold question, but apparently not.”

This has got me thinking that I should start studying the newer DRM methods out there.  Does anyone know of cracks for pressplay’s DRM, or any of the other music services’ DRM?  How about the new WMA files?  I should start looking into this …

I feel like there’s a huge divide between people who think that DRM has no chance because consumers will always be able to get digital media for free, and the people who think DRM has no chance but consumers will still pay.

Within that first category, there’s another subdivision: people who think that means we need DRM that’s far more difficult to crack (TCPA, Palladium, etc.), and people who think we need a more radical solution (Professor Fisher’s plan, for instance).

I don’t know which side is right. But, I think a lot has to do with how good DRM can be and, perhaps more importantly, how good do we need it to be.  If all DRM is crackable or can be gotten around via the analog hole, how many people do we need to still purchase things legally to remunerate creators? 

(You can also take the position of Kevin Marks, who says that DRM no matter how good is doomed to fail, because it “destroys value.”  I’m not so sure of that, inasmuch as, if reasonable restrictions could be built into DRM, then perhaps consumers would accept it.  I also don’t know if such reasonable DRM could exist.)