Monday, April 17, 2006

Someone is always damaged

This morning I read some reports on the reaction to Sun's recent discussion
on open source DRM.  The reaction from the Stallmanites was not
surprisingly negative.  From what I gather, no DRM is the only solution
that would be acceptable however this has left me somewhat confused. 
Perhaps someone could leave me a comment and help me understand how this is
supposed to work.

Here's what I've got so far.  Stallman cites four basic freedoms. 
The freedoms to run the program you wish, to change said program, to distribute
said program, and to distribute said changes.  These freedoms fit neatly
into a software world but are being applied to the digial media and DRM

Apparently, according to Stallman, I should have the right, as the consumer,
to share with all my friends the music and movies I am listening to or
watching.  This sounds like a great deal.  No more heading down to the
music store to pick up that latest cd and no more grumbling because the one song
you like is not released as a single so you are forced to buy the whole crappy
album.  If I want a song in my collection, I simply fire up my BitTorrent
client and grab a copy.

Except what about the rights of the band or artist that produced the
music?  Living in Nashville and being friends with people who have made it
big in music, I can tell you that they work hard to produce good albums. 
What about their rights?  What rights do they have?  I suppose
Stallman would argue that they should give their music away and make money on
concerts.  However, doesn't that impose restrictions on their rights? 
Isn't that denying some of their freedoms for our sake?  What if they don't
want to spend months on the road away from their families?  What if they
want to simply participate in the normal producer-consumer cycle and produce an
item that has a worth such that someone is willing to give them money for

Do you see where this is going?  With no way to protect the content,
music producers will simply stop producing professionally recorded discs of
their music and they will only perform live concerts.  In this
scenario, we all lose.

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