RIAA Says "DRM Is Dead" - But Does It Mean It?

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News Posted: Sun, Jul 19 2009 11:13 PM

DRM, or Digital Rights Management, never did go over well in the court of public opinion. To the music industry at large, DRM was a mostly futile attempt to lock music down to certain players or systems, thus making it something harder--in theory, anyway--to freely distribute. In reality, however, those who were circumventing the rules in the first place just kept doing what they were doing: circumventing the rules. Meanwhile, honest music buyers were saddled with tracks that had all sorts of limitations, from where they could be played to how many times they could be burned onto a blank CD.

Slowly but surely, music outlets began to turn their back on the RIAA's favorite technology, and while suits within the industry didn't much care for that rebellion, consumers at large were big fans. Vodafone cut the DRM out of its online music store, and Apple even decided that its iTunes Music Store would be a friendlier place with no DRM dragging it down. By and large, it seems that record sales haven't sunk now that the vast majority of online music is DRM free. We're betting the RIAA didn't see that coming.

Now that DRM is mostly a nightmare of the past, it seems that the top brass within the Recording Industry Association of America are finally coming to terms with the new reality. RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol was quoted as saying that "DRM serves all sorts of pro-consumer purposes" just a few years back, when DRM was still on the rise and getting all sorts of unwanted attention. Now, Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA, has been quoted as saying the following:

"DRM is dead, isn’t it?"

The quote was made when responding to a question about the RIAA's take on DRM during an interview for SCMagazine. We'll have to wait for the full interview to be published before we know exactly what else was said, but really, that's the money quote. When the RIAA says DRM is dead, DRM must be dead. Or, at least we hope so.

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3vi1 replied on Mon, Jul 20 2009 1:15 PM

That's all they're going on? That one quote?

It sounds to me like he was making a facetious remark about the few vendors now offering non-DRM music.

Even if he wasn't, don't expect them to quit putting DRM and rootkits on CDs. This is the same group that said they had quit suing individual file-sharers LAST YEAR, and are STILL filing new lawsuits against individual file-sharers.

They didn't spend all that money lobbying for the DMCA to make it illegal to remove DRM just so they can back out now.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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Dave_HH replied on Mon, Jul 20 2009 4:24 PM

Yes, I think that was a wise-crack remark that was made by the RIAA spokesman more than anything.

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