Wednesday, May 11, 2005

DRM Double-Take

Former RIAA chief executive Hilary Rosen has put her name on an amazingly insane article that makes one look twice in disbelief. We now have the former file-sharing crackdown queen poorly attempting to appear as a consumer advocate when in fact, it's obvious that she's now a shill for Microsoft. Rosen argues that Apple's iPod is being used as a monopoly lock-in device regarding the distribution of digital music. She goes on to point out how DRM that other distributors (i.e. Microsoft) employ is not compatible with the iPod. Perhaps true, but the shill-factor is laid bare when the following is noted but glossed over by Hilary -
"If you are really a geek, you can figure out how to strip the songs you might have bought from another on-line store of all identifying information so that they will go into the iPod."
So we now have the former RIAA chief executive quietly noting that legally obtained music cannot be universally played unless one is a real "geek" and can circumvent the DRM. Yes, DRM that squashes consumer rights yet was vociferously promoted by Rosen and the RIAA in the first place. The irony is remarkable.

And what now does the former RIAA head turned "consumer-conscious activist" propose?

Hilary disingenuously downplays the inherently oppressive nature of DRM by shifting gears and arguing that the companies implementing DRM must be more open through disclosure of their "proprietary technology" to fellow implementors (e.g. Microsoft). She says this is how to win the hearts of "consumers". She suggests that the current scheme with Apple on top is monopolistic, "anti-consumer", and "user unfriendly".

Hmm, kinda like the RIAAs p2p litigation against individuals, traditional "per copy" copyright licensing, the DMCA, and DRM itself, no?


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