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Rotten Circuits
October 27th, 2007
10:06 am


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Via balthcat this morning, a fascinating article from a fringer on the record industry on why it is doomed, and what we can do to help its fall. Basically, in the wake of Oink's death, we really need to be looking at what the copyright laws are actually doing for us.

The article also makes a point of the way the record industry has shot itself in the foot, not least by the repulsive, scaremongering propaganda they spread about themselves, and "the pirates" (their former customers). For example, every news article I've read about Oink so far makes a point that Oink users `paid "donations" to upload or download albums'. In point of fact, some Oink users paid donations (no quotes, thank you) to keep the site running, and uploaded or downloaded albums regardless.

Tides are changing a little: Ian Rogers of Yahoo! Music has even posted a rant about how DRM was never good for the industry, and how he won't ever be associated with it again. Good for him.

Of course, it's not just music. Just this week TV Links got shut down and the owner arrested. This is a site which provides links to TV shows hosted by other people - the guy never distributed anything, and I never saw an ad on the site - as far as I know, the guy never made a penny. As one of my colleagues said this week, "it's like being arrested for pointing at a thief". I think it's highly unlikely they'll be able to bring him to any kind of "justice", but it makes a good headline, eh?

It doesn't stop at TV shows, or even movies. Video games DRM has been talked about a lot recently, especially in terms of how it hurts the industry. The only games I've bought since BioShock have been console games or on Steam (which, while not perfect, is at least a sane DRM solution), so I'm a already on a path towards not supporting DRM in games.

My point here, if I have one, is that this is one issue for all media, not separate ones for music, film, tv, games etc. and as such these separate interesting points and plans of action apply to all the other media as well as the ones you know well. DRM isn't just a huge fiscal sinkhole for music - it's been a waste of time for everyone involved. And while some of them are the same companies (Sony in particular), it's the whole of the media industry that needs to change its attitude - not just the games companies.


(6 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
No one in control of content provision will ever willingly change their attitudes. The market (the entire market, including grey and black) will eventually force changes or drive them out of business while other, more flexible companies will take their place. It amounts to the same thing, I guess, except that I don't think any effort should be wasted on advocacy aimed at the established, intransigent corporations that be.
[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
I was thinking that too - looks like what we really need is a new business model, which is going to have to come from a new business! That's what I'm waiting for at this point.
[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
I tend to agree, although some companies (like Yahoo! Music and Verizon) are beginning to swallow the pill.

The author of the first article agrees with you too - it's entirely aimed at proving that point, and then discussing how we the consumer can expedite the fall of the current system so that the law is forced to catch up.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2007 08:58 am (UTC)
What pains me is they are punishing those who do by the products! DVDs all have that annoying "piracy is a crime" advert, plus more adverts you can't skip or fast-forward through before even the menu!

Console games are better and thats why I seem to be buying far more of them nowadays, the only games on PC i'm looking at is the mmorpgs.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2007 09:50 am (UTC)
I certainly agree. Again, it's the same for music and games - why should I pay to have a version of the song I want that I can't have on my MP3 player as well as my PC? Why should I pay to get my computer crippled with invisible software, when the pirate version of the game has no such restriction?

It's ridiculous - in this day and age, your products are BETTER when you get them illegally for free!

I'd disagree that "console games are better" - there are still a lot of good PC games being created, and I'll keep playing them - when they're DRM free. For example, I wouldn't have wanted to play Portal on X360 - it loves the mouse. But Steam at least is usually a sane DRM system - I can still have a copy of my games on every PC I want them on, and I can even lend them to my friends, and play them offline.
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