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Microsoft’s DRM Apologia

Rather scathing analysis of Microsoft’s PR for DRM (digital rights management) in the Register:

    Microsoft is putting a lot of money into Digital Rights Management, and expects to get a lot more money back out so long as it can persuade consumers that DRM is their fluffy friend, and most certainly not a fiendish plot to allow the music companies to squeeze even more money out of them. This time, the knife was pointing at Steve Ballmer when it stopped spinning, so the prez’s name went onto a DRM apologia sent out as Microsoft’s regular customer information email.

    It’s a tough one, but Steve rises to the challenge. Consumers benefit from being stopped from copying stuff through the efforts of “pioneering entertainment companies” (i.e., the ones using Microsoft DRM to stop the consumers copying stuff). “Online distribution offers a convenient way for people to access their favorite content wherever they are, at any time.” Hell yes Steve, why bother with portable MP3 players when you can just buy the stuff over and over again? Steve doesn’t directly mention MP3 players, but one does suspect they may be covered by the next bit: “But digital piracy is against consumers’ long-term interests; it undermines the economic incentives for artists and producers to continue creating and distributing the work we all enjoy. With rights-managed licensing, consumers can help sustain the flow of fresh creative work, confident that they have legitimately acquired rights to content that is authentic, of highest quality, and virus-free.”

    You begin to warm to the music industry’s pitch that piracy is killing creativity, no? Nor us. In further support of this much-needed shot in the arm (surely ‘snort up the nose? – Ed) for creative artistry, it is also A Good Thing that content providers be allowed to interfere with your computer as and when they feel like it.

    ….Ballmer’s pitch is therefore particularly dangerous in that it presents this process as good for everybody, not just for the content vendors. It’s an added convenience for these vendors and for the DRM supplier if everybody has it, it is most certainly not in everybody’s interest.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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