Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Randall Munroe on Criminals

Randall Munroe, the writer of XKCD (from which this comic was borrowed – it’s under creative commons, of course), makes an interesting point. DRM, and all these other silly techniques of preventing us from sharing the things we buy, simply make us more and more inclined to pirate. Instead of driving us away from piracy with threats of fines and court, the people in charge of upholding copyright are simply creating an impassable labyrinth of twisted, crisscrossing traps. Sure, I suppose it makes sense, if you don’t try to apply it to people. But who’s going to want to buy a product that’s laced with all that junk? It’s not the same product, and it’s not really yours. Or at least, if it is yours, it’s only yours until your number of downloads runs out or you get a new computer. Most people will want to take the easier and more permanent products: the pirated ones. The legal companies suddenly get less service, and the pirating sites get more. That’s the very opposite of what all this protection is trying to do, but that’s really all it’s managing to achieve. I’m not sure if there’s anything the copyright protectors can do, without simply digging themselves into a deeper hole, but the tactic they’re going with right now just isn’t doing the trick.

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