I love DRM

digital restrictions management …copyright holders are attempting to restrict use of copyrighted material in ways not covered by existing laws.” (wikipedia, 2008).

Why would I, happily go along with something as tyrannical, conservative and just plain evil as the above? I need to explain my ideas a little further and include a smidgeon of future-gazing.

Now before you all start throwing pies, I’m not a fan of DRM at the moment. It is broken, it doesn’t protect Intellectual Property (IP), as it gives no value to IP.

Mind Map of how DRM devalues Intellectual Property

As you can see, DRM devalues IP for the majority of people. If your music collection is worth less to you every time technology moves on then how are you supposed to care about legally and legimately aquiring more of it?

I think the solution is very obvious. When selling IP, just sell people the digital rights to access that song. If they want to hear it on an Ipod, they have the right to download it for the Ipod, if they want it on a Zune, they can download it on a Zune. By all means the distribution channels can apply a fee for each download to cover the cost of storage, bandwidth or even postage.

Why stop at music? When paying to see a film, the person pays for the digital rights to the film and a service charge to the Cinema for presenting the film. If that customer then wish to see it on DVD, they can get a copy posted to them, again incurring a charge for creating and posting the media. If they want to see it on Cable, again aside from a service charge for paperwork and bandwidth the film is delivered to them over cable.

What this would lead to is a permanent, database of access rights for every individual. For those that have stuck with one company (Apple & ITunes) this situation for them, is becoming a reality of sorts, Apple customers almost have a Digital Right to access the IP they own. However without a holistic Digital Rights initiative everyone is trapped in their own niche and is stung again and again. This limits growth, audience numbers and ultimately profit.

Imagine, genuinely having a share in a movie, having the right to watch it whenever it comes out again at the cinema as you own the Digital Rights. Imagine, sharing your collection with friends, not over something like MSN or Limewire, but being invited over as you have the rights to all the Monty Python films. Imagine building up your collection over the course of a lifetime, crafting (in almost an RPG way) a string of refined, classic films, songs and stories that you can share with and then bequeath your children.

Now those are some Digital Rights that I WOULD pay for.

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