Avast ye, and listen well. Ol’ Joe Biden has turned his guns to North and is taking aim at our Great White Land o’ the Pirates, aye. Seems he and his Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus gave fair warning three years ago when they put us on a watch list, but e’en so we did not mend our piratin’ ways. Now they’ve in store for us a worse fate still: being put on another, even more serious, watch list, along with such salts as China, Indonesia, Russia and other scurvy rogues.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a committee member, is quoted in The National Post as saying, “Each year we lose billions of dollars worth of American workproduct and invention.” Oh, Mr. Schiff is being far too restrained. Beyond a buck or two, the price of a DVD is arbitrary, so why not say that each one is worth a billion dollars? Then they could say that they’re losing millions of billions of dollars, oh my! Much more impressive than mere billions, and since it’s all make believe anyway (including the notion that every unpaid for copy is a copy that would otherwise have been paid for), why not have some fun with it and go for the melodrama?
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is concerned about Canada as well. If you thought the RIAA was bad, if you thought the BSA was bad, if you thought the MPAA was bad, how about a coalition of all of them and then some? That is the IIPA. Ally them with the US Government and you have fascism with a capital “F”. With loads of cash (astonishing, given all the billions they’re allegedly losing) and the US Government in their pocket, will our politicians be able to stand up to them and place the interests of Canadians before those of the IIPA? Or will our leaders cave?
Sweden, home of thepiratebay.org, seems strangely absent from this discussion. Here’s an interesting Vanity Fair article with some background on that outlaw outfit (a bit long; the thepiratebay.org stuff is after the section on the author’s experience with bittorrent). Once upon a time I might not have admired its founders, but these days I can’t help but cheer for them. Go Gottfrid! Go Fredrik!
In past posts I mentioned Bill Gates’ dawning realization regarding the limitations of DRM, as well as Steve Jobs’ take on the subject. The President of a leading manufacturer of DRM, Macrovision, has responded to Jobs’ letter with a letter of his own, though the unspun translation by John Gruber of Daring Fireball is much more amusing. And you can add European music executives to the list of seemingly unlikely critics of DRM.
Could it be that reality is trumping the theory that corporations can force stupid consumers to behave as they wish by using technological means? Michael Geist of the Toronto Star thinks so.
The 2005 Sony "rootkit" debacle, which ultimately cost the company millions of dollars in class-action lawsuits, the market disappointments of new digital music players that rely heavily on DRM such as the Microsoft Zune, and the lack of support for digital music subscription services that insert burdensome restrictions on the use of downloaded music such as Rhapsody and Napster, offer compelling examples of why DRM has emerged as the industry's biggest impediment to consumer acceptance.
The only thing greater than the music industry’s stupidity is their greed. If we make it clear to them that they’ll earn more money by ditching DRM, eventually they will. It’s just a question of how long they’ll take to clue in.