D-R-Aime?

... and other observations
What is DRAime? It's a blog that talks about D, R and ...M! I know what the D stands for, I know what the R stands for, but I have yet to understand what the M is for.
Management? Mismanagement? Misery? Mystery? All bets are on!
(For those who don't know, Aime, in french, is pronounced M and means to like - which gives us DRM)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Is DRM the "stocks of the nineties"?

I remember back in the days when CNBC would play in restaurants in the silicon valley. Everybody became more educated about stocks, etc.

Sometimes I wonder if DRM will also enter our vocabulary in a similar fashion...

For exemple, will users be confronted with the Vista DRM or will it remain transparent?

http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2007/01/20/windows-vista-content-protection-twenty-questions-and-answers.aspx

If not that, how about the fact you can't take you Play for Sure songs and add them to your Zune? Or the Sony CD DRM fiasco...

Then again, stocks were maybe a bit more exciting :)

Friday, August 25, 2006

DRM and the future...

Raise you hand if you have a backup of some sort that you can't restore because the software or hardware you used isn't available anymore (it took me more than a few years to restore a backup that had been made with CPBACKUP and a DAT drive)

I think it will be very interesting to see if those archival copies will be usable in the future... It's already hard enough with keeping around the right OS, the right drivers, the right reader - we now have to worry about the lock on the media itself.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

France and DRM...

I thought what France tried to push was really innovative. It realy tried to open the playing field with respect to DRM. Right now, the model is as follow:
  • You either have a big audio offering (Launch.com, Napster, etc.) and no ipod
or
  • You have an ipod but only one music vendor (itunes) to choose from

I don't think that's very good for the customer. I recently purchased an MP3 player for somebody I knew. What did I get? An Ipod of course. It's a great device. I also wanted to upgrade my own MP3 player, but I couldn't get myself to order an Ipod. Why? Because I wanted to also use the Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go service. So what is the closest thing to an Ipod I can get that will support this service? A Zen Vision:M device that is nearly twice the thickness as an Ipod? That's not very impressive.

I think compatibility and openess would be of great benefit to the me. I'm curious to see if the watered down version of the bill actually makes any difference in the end. I'm also curious to see if Apple would actually close their itunes store if they were forced to open up their standards. Maybe they would be forced to deploy an Ipod firmware that supported DRMed Windows Media content!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Patents and patents...

Back in the 80's, if I remember correctly, there was a big war between Pepsi and Coke. I remember hearing someone argue that the end result wasn't that Pepsi or that Coke won, but it was that all the smaller vendors lost.

These patent wars are quite astounding. Let me preface my comments with the following information: I have helped some of my employers to file patents so I might be biased. Anyways, it's really hard to see who is really benefiting from all this. On one end, I can see the usefulness of patents. They do encourage research because they give an incentive to the person or entity doing the research that theire is something to be gained in taking those risks. On the other end, I can see how they can be used to threaten innovation and advancement.

For that matter, this is a bit like DRM. On one end, it can be used to encourage investment, on the other in can be used to stiffle creativity.

So I'm not sure what to think of the NTP v. RIM debate. While it's interesting to see who won between the two, what I really wonder is, did smaller players lose? RIM will survive this fight, but there definitely could be smaller players that won't take the risk of becoming a casualty in these patent wars.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

So do we want or do we not want regionally controlled prices?

I was reading the book In The Public Interest, written (or is it edited?) by Michael Geist and I learned this particular piece of information:
Of even greater concern is the increasing use of TPMs in completely unexpected environments. For example, Hewlett-Packard has begun to install into its printer cartridges. The technology is used to block consumers from purchasing cartridges in one region and using them in another, thereby enabling the company to maintain different pricing structures for the same product in different global markets.
This is contained in "Anti-Circumvention Legislation and Competition Policy: Defining A Canadian Way?" (written by Michael Geist).
First, I was shocked to hear that. Typically, the way I thought of product made for the US vs products made for the world was the "gray market". When you want to buy a Camera, for example, you can buy a "gray market" model: it will typically be the same as the model sold for the US but with no warranty. Those products are meant to be sold in other countries. Still, most products are identical, whether they come from the gray market or the black market. Learning that cartridges were becoming "region encoded" was quite a shock. But, this got me thinking.

Is it really bad that this is being done? What is the goal? Strictly maximize profits?

For every person that pays more for a cartdrige, there is somebody that is going to pay less. Not everybody on this earth can afford to pay the same price for commodities. This can enable companies to grant access to a greater number of people to technologies we enjoy in the industrialized world. If drug makers could do something similar, would we be against it? Don't we want AIDS medecine to be sold at a more affordable price in countries that cannot pay the same price as the US for medecine?

Some might argue with me: "Well, you are against regional encoding for DVDs, so what is the difference here?" For me, the difference is relatively clear. Preventing you to get a toner cheaper only costs you money. On the other hand, regional encoding also limits the flow of ideas and information. It's very different. Buying a toner meant to be sold in China won't do me any harm other than money, but not being able to take a Chinese DVD movie - one that is not available in the North America - and play it here is harmful.

Finally, there are not that many differences with printers and toners. You don't like HP's policy? Get another printer. On the other hand, every movie is unique and it's impossible to compensate for a movie that cannot be show in the whole world.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I wonder what THAT license agreement looks like...

Google seems to have released a version of their desktop search program that sends results back to Google. You can hence search your desktop ... remotely.

EFF discourages the use of it...

I really wonder what the license agreement says. I also wonder what they can do with your data and what they could be forced to do with it. I'm amazed people would want to use this. It's one thing to trust a company with a subset of your data. It's another to trust it with all your data. It's particularily troubling if that company can use the data for their own purpose.

When we accept to watch ads to have TV for free, the compromise is well understood. You watch the ads, you get free tv. In this case, it's harder to see what you are giving up, but there is no such a thing as a free lunch, so it's really a question of clearly identifying it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Copyrights...

A few months ago, I was having a discussion with my friend about the merits of DRM. I think part of the fundamental problem, as a society, is to understand where all these copyrights issues come from. I was recently reading this paper from David Lametti and I really liked this paragraph. (emphasis mine)

It is true that copyright serves a larger purpose or teleology, which comprises both individual and collective goals. It is meant to foster creative self-expression, and the advancement of a variety of artistic and educational discourses, thereby contributing to the overall benefit of society. This balanced approach to the goals of copyright — ensuring that incentives to create and the rights of users remain in harmony — has been often stated in the Anglo-American tradition, and was recently re-iterated in Canada in the CCH decision. ...

At the end of the day, it's unclear to me that this is currently the goal guiding our efforts. From one perspective, the technology used for DRM should be created independently of copyrights. I mean, to some degree, the use that will be made of the technology should be a reason to stop its creation, else we not only lose DRM technologies but the VHS, the MP3 player, etc.
Once we leave the technology for the sake of technology world, we now have to look on the usefulness of those "discoveries". Will they contribute to the advancement of mankind?

I'm sure this has been written about, but what I would really like to see is the evolution of art and sciences in different environments, ranging from environments very lax in terms of copyrights and environments where creators are given a lot of enforceable rights. I would be curious to see how the programmer earns a living, how the singer earns a living, etc. I'm curious to see how vibrant those spheres are.