DRM is Evil

This was originally posted to benscomputer.no-ip.org, you can see it in the archive. It is, in fact, the first non-documentation post made to that site.

As many people now know Sony BMG is under heavy fire for their use of the XCP program in order to facilitate DRM. The use of DRM is unacceptable in any form, I do not condone piracy, however companies have to trust their consumers. It is like a pub that expects you to return to the bar every five minutes jsut to prove you havent given your pint to a minor.

Add to that the fact that DRM doesn't work, it is easy to circumvent. Yes that is illegal in the UK and several other countries, but so is downloading MP3's. How many people is it realistically likely to stop? Added to the fact that even if they do manage to make a DRM solution that can't be broken through software, anybody can buy a cable from Maplin that comes out one port on their soundcard, and back in another. All you do is play the file and record simultaneosly, and you have a DRM free copy. So why do they feel the need to use DRM? it isn't going to stop anyone.

To make matters worse I have heard rumblings that the next step will be to form a partnership with hardware manufacturers, and to include hardware DRM. This will still be circumventable with the cable above, and worse than that will make many open source applications illegal. This cannot be tolerated, it will restrict the free exchange of ideas, which already has enough restrictions on it, through companies such as MS trying to enforce software patents. If hardware DRM does come into force then the only people it will affect are law abiding users, after all if you are willing to download MP3s then I am sure you wont think twice about circumventing the DRM in one way or another. The law abiding users amongst us however will suffer greatly, did you know that Sonys XCP phones home regularly? Do you really want hardware that does that? What happened to trusting the consumer and respecting peoples right to privacy? Another clause in the EULA of XCP reads along the lines that if you are declared bankrupt you must turn over your CD! Why?? what purpose does this serve? you dont have to turn over a copyrighted book, so why an audio cd?

If you have read this far then you probably feel much the same way as me about this issue, we cannot and will not stand for these restrictions beign imposed. So what can you do about it? Simple really, send a letter to your MP as sooner or later this issue is likely to come up in the commons. Secondly completely boycott ANY DRM CDs, non DRM versions are usually availbale, so contact the vendor and ask for a DRM free version. You can tell whether a CD has DRM in a number of easy ways. If you are physically in a shop, check the case for the CD logo, Phillips will not allow any DRM on the registered CD format, so if this logo is there you are likely to be safe. If you are online shopping then check the description, they are not allowed to call it an audio cd if it contains DRM. If you feel like emailing Sony, the RIAA or anyone like that whilst I'm not sure they will listen, every little helps.