Debating DRM

If you’re not a geek or really interested in the matters of fair use and digital rights management (DRM – the euphemism for copy restrictions), you may have missed the big dust up over the past couple of weeks.

It started when Apple CEO Steve Jobs posted his Thoughts on Music to the company web site.

In his essay, Jobs basically said that iTunes uses DRM because the music companies required it and that everyone would be better off (artists, consumers, and the companies) if we just did away with it.

That set off rants on both sides. Some, like the EFF, agreed with Jobs. Many of the music companies, of course, felt he went too far. And then there were others saying he didn’t go far enough.

One of the most hypocritical in support of DRM came from Macrovision, a company that has built it’s entire business model on licensing technology to impose copy restrictions. (Watch for their splash screen on many of your favorite DVDs)

John Gruber at Daring Fireball was nice enough to provide a very funny PR-speak to English translation of their press release. (Warning: link contains one of George Carlin’s seven deadly words.)

All this debate is interesting for those of us who follow the issue. I doubt the general public knows or cares much about DRM.

However, it won’t be long until they notice since the big media companies continue pushing their pet Congress critters to require circuitry to enable rights restrictions be built into all of the digital devices we buy.

If you’d like to know more about DRM, the legal restrictions being proposed, and the fair use rights you currently have, take a look at the EFF’s Battle for Your Digital Media Devices.

drm, steve jobs, eff