The War Drums for Interoperable DRM are Beating

interoperable drm graphicCall it cross-platform DRM or interoperable DRM, either way advocacy groups, organizations, and tech companies are moving forward to obtain a friendlier digital media consumer market. After my recent articles on the topic (“My Inner Struggle with Microsoft, Linux, and DRM” and “It’s Time to Expand Consumer Rights to DRM“), I’ve received some great reader feedback and have been directed to sites of groups who are demanding change and need our help (us, as consumers) along with software and CE companies to help them “fight the good fight.”

Featured Sites: (please add more to the thread comments if you know of others)
International Digital Media Project (DMP)
Mission: To promote continuing successful development, deployment and use of Digital Media that respect the rights of creators and rights holders to exploit their works, the wish of end users to fully enjoy the benefits of Digital Media and the interests of various value-chain players to provide products and services.
Mission: To restore the balance between citizens and copyright holders by employing a Consumer Technology Bill of Rights.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Mission: Working to protect our fundamental rights regardless of technology; to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology; and to act as a defender of those liberties

I especially liked this article which featured a story on DMP.

Article excerpt: (echoes what I’ve been saying)

Hopes are high that the group’s recommendations [for interoperable DRM], largely focused on existing technologies, will bring more realistic content protection plans into the digital mainstream. The current approach—one that links DRM and specific playback devices from manufacturers including Apple, Microsoft, and Sony—restricts the content market along with the freedom of consumers to access content they’ve paid for across platforms and devices.

“If DRM is not interoperable, then 6 billion people on the earth lose their ability to exchange content that is at the basis of our society and how we communicate with one another,” notes Leonardo Chiariglione, DMP president. He is determined to “knock down the walled gardens” around devices and services such as Apple’s iTunes music download offer that hinder the ability of content owners and consumers to distribute content as they wish. “The DMP wants to give the people who create content the ability to distribute it and be paid for it and the people who buy it the freedom to play the content they buy on any device.”

Leonardo’s comments are interesting. I’m wondering if an industry created DRM is the way to go, or if a non-OS platform company should step up to the plate and create DRM technology with more liberal restrictions (DivXNetworks, up to the task?). Either option could avoid creating legislation – although I’m not against it – to secure more consumer rights over DRM-protected media.

Side Note: If there are any other Web Publishers, Technology Editors, or Technology Journalists out there who feel that this issue needs more exposure, please start shedding some light on the topic.

Filed in: Industry Buzz

  • theharmonyguy

    Hey, in thinking about this some more, here’s an idea: Rather than require that DRMs be interoperable, how about simply make it so that technologies which make a DRM interoperable are not illegal? Currently things like the DMCA prevent third parties from any attempts to make a DRM interoperable, as I understand it.

    Just a thought. :)

  • Alexander Grundner

    theharmonyguy said: Rather than require that DRMs be interoperable, how about simply make it so that technologies which make a DRM interoperable are not illegal?

    Yeah, I think you’re on to something. I’m guessing you’re referring to Real’s Harmony Technology.

    Harmony Technology lets you buy and transfer music
    to over 100 portable devices,
    including the iPod. So
    when you buy from the RealPlayer® Music Store, you,
    not your device, own the music.

    Harmony Technology, available in RealPlayer, supports:

    • Apple iPod
    • iRiver
    • Creative
    • Dell Digital Jukebox
    • Rio
    • Samsung
    • palmOne
    • and many more

    If you care about preserving your freedom of choice, we invite you to connect with like-minded people and explore

    Now if they could extend the technology to video, that would be cool. The only draw back is you have to convert all your files before you could transfer them to other devices.