What is it about DRM that Apple and the rest are getting so wrong? Why have groups like Defective by Design formed? Do they symbolize an underlying desire from all consumers that all media should be free to them?
This is an easy take-away from the standpoint of businesses who have embraced DRM. Apple and soon Microsoft will be sharing the mistake of deciding for consumers how they can play and share their content.
Afterall, iTunes Music Store and the Zune Marketplace are poised to be the online wholesalers of music and they will not be turning off DRM any time soon.
What is lacking is a real way to turn a growing movement in strict opposition to DRM. I forecast a general collapse of RCA and other major record labels in the next 5-10 years as the industry re-configures itself to monetize recordings through live performances and community networking.
The truth is, Apple, Napster, Real, and Microsoft are stuck in the middle of DRM concessions to the recording industry and ever-more-intelligent consumers. These companies need alternative methods for sharing music and must confront this leading edge of consumers head on with re-tooled thinking.
The concern should not be about confusing the great majority of the public who could care less about DRM so long as they can get the new P. Diddy single but instead about dragging their heels on a fresh look at DRM.
These technology companies cross their arms and guffaw knowing they are so smart to have “beat” the recording companies at their own game, but they are about to face the exact same problems as consumers circumvent the only over-restrictive option provided to them by Apple Fairplay and Zune’s DRM.
Have a look at Down With DRM’s recent selection of video contest winners here. The creators of these videos are not neo-luddites. They will lead consumers to a music sharing solution that always circumvents DRM until they are given a fair method for sharing content in the Creative Commons.