Joe Sixpack doesn’t object to DRM because he doesn’t understand what it is.
Well, he thinks he knows what it is.
Joe watches the news and some of his workmates have PCs, so he’s fully aware
that he can download music from the internet. He does so regularly to make
compilation CDs for his car.
He knows he can download movies too, but isn’t too sure that the hours and
hours of downloading is worth the effort – especially when he has to watch
them on his PC. He doesn’t know how to turn a divx into a DVD, but Larry from
work is coming over next weekend to show him.
Joe’s understands copyright well enough to know that copying CDs, Videos, DVDs
etc is all wrong.
He knows that downloading songs and videos from the internet is a no-no, but
everyone is doing it and nobody he knows has been arrested for it. It’s not
like he is taking a camcorder into a cinema or stealing CDs from a shop –
that’s a huge no-no and he’d never do that!
His friends and co-workers try and justify their downloading by saying that
it’s not theft, nobody has lost out, and it’s not like the music or DVD was
good to buy anyway, so the companies can’t claim they “lost a sale”.
Digital Rights Management is some new technology that will stop him
downloading music for free. While he’s not exactly happy again, he’ll just go
back to buying his music on CD and make mp3s for his car.
Joe will care a whole lot about DRM when he realises that he won’t be able to
make compilation CDs for his car when he buys his first digital rights
Because Joe is a *fairly* switched on kinda guy, he’ll know that the reason he
can’t copy his CD is because of the whole DRM thing. He’s not really very
happy about that – if he’s bought the CD, he can’t see what’s wrong with making
a compilation album for his own use in his car.
Joe first encountered DRM when he got a free DVD player with his new TV. He
ordered some cheap DVDs from Amazon.com and when they were delivered, not a
single one worked. Joe’s other DVDs worked fine, so he emailed Amazon about
returning his faulty DVDs.
A reply from Amazon said that the DVDs he’d bought were Regiona1, and he was
living in a Region2 country, so obviously the DVDs would not play and as they
were not faulty, Amazon would not accept the DVDs back.
Obviously Joe was not happy about this, so he called up his friend Larry who
told him about a website with instructions on how to make his player
Joe didn’t know that DVDs from America wouldn’t work in his UK DVD player; as
far as he was concerned a DVD is a DVD is a DVD. He naturally assumed that
because the DVDs didn’t work, they were broken. It never really occurred to him
that DVD regions are a form of DRM.
Because Joe now knows about the different DVD regions, and his player isn’t
tied to a particular region, he regularly orders his DVDs from Amazon.com,
and he’s pretty sure that somebody will come up with a way of letting him
make compilations from digital rights enforced CDs so he can play them in
It won’t occur to most people that their DVD, or CD, is Digital Rights
protected until they try and do something that they’re not allowed to do,
like make a compilation CD for their car.
Just because the general population isn’t talking about DRM doesn’t mean
they’re all happy about it. They don’t really understand what it is and what
the implications are.
Explaining to a non-technically minded relative on Christmas day why the DVD
their wife just brought back from her holiday/shopping trip in New York won’t
work on his DVD player quickly got him a little upset about DRM.
Mike O’Hara – UK