It’s been a common subject in my blog, even more than I inteded to, about how new medias changed the way creators and audiences interact, and how most companies seems so far behind on the pace. Companies need to start to find new ways to do business,because just trying to apply old rules in new setting will stop working at some point.
The following information about law control in UK really disturbed me:
Make File-Sharing a Criminal Offense?
However, the thought of Miss Isabella Barwinska picking up a £16,000 bill from the civil courts recently for sharing one £10 game is outrageous too, but maybe even more so. Miss Barwinska didn’t turn up or defend her case, no-one seems to know why, but for a lot of people facing similar actions, the prospect of facing a legal system they don’t understand and can’t afford to participate in, financial issues are at the forefront of doing nothing about the threatening letters.
These people simply cannot defend themselves and this is why it might make sense to criminalize personal-use file-sharing. In a criminal case if you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you by the state and you get the benefit of proper justice at least, a right of reply within a proper structure, not grubby threatening letters designed to wear people down.
I’ll let you into a little secret. When people say file-sharing is “as bad as shoplifting”, in the UK that comparison is pretty ridiculous. Many shoplifters are let off with a simple caution and even the most persistent would have to be uniquely unlucky to get fined £6,000 (plus £10,000 costs) for a £10 game. If Miss Barwinska had been caught physically stealing it, a police caution would be likely, or perhaps a very small fine. In the ‘real-world’ she’d need to smash through the storefront with a truck to end up with a fine the size of the one she got.
It must really disturb content owners the fact that they’re losing control over things they own, but the fact is there’s still lack of culture of how to approach this matter, just like business models there’s a need for a new approach, but it’s not by trying to figure out new models of DRM, that we’ll find a solution for this.
The following excerpt from another Blog, match up with my way of thinking.
Then today we hear from Mary Jo Foley that Microsoft is further muddying the DRM waters by announcing the fact that they are joining the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE). This consortium of businesses that includes Cisco, Warner Brothers, Sony, Best Buy among a host of other companies; with the exception of Apple, proposes a policy of buy once, play anywhere.
Now before you get all excited at the prospect of the time when you might actually be able to do what you want with something you have paid for you might want to ask the same questions that Ms. Foley did
Will the DECE come up with some kind of new DRM scheme, one that will require brand-new, DECE-enabled devices? And will Windows somehow be part of this new mix? Engadget is reporting there will be some kind of “rights locker,” where digital purchases will be stored. If that is the case, what does that mean for the forthcoming “Skymarket” Windows Mobile 7 app store, the Zune VideoX initiative or even Live Mesh?
The problem is that nobody is answering those questions at this point.
The thing is that no matter what kind of consortium all these companies might want to create to protect their profit margins none of them will work in the long run. As each efforts at new forms of DRM are thought of they are just as quickly broken.
The fact is that people quite rightly feel that if they pay out good money for something then it is theirs and they will do what they want with it. This mentality has has also been compounded by the increasing attitude that stuff available on the Internet should be free.
It doesn’t matter whether or not someone has spent months or years on a product – the moment it hits the Internet it is suppose to be free and if it isn’t is will soon be made that way – especially for the more net savvy people. It doesn’t matter if we block the ads that are supposed to pay for the product you have downloaded – it’s free and it’s your right to have it without any cost.
We are building this attitude of entitlement into the very fabric of the web and there isn’t a company around that is going to be able to combat that with any type of DRM.
Just as there are people who say that the advertising supported business model is headed down a slippery hill the same can be said of companies who are relying on any kind of DRM technology. It’s just a matter of time.
I wonder what classic business or marketing would say under this scenario. You know those authors that we learn about in business class. Bet it would be something quite interesting.
I wonder if there will be some company really courageous enough to try something different, be the edgier experimental one that might actually be the pioneer for some real change, for getting really adapted to these new interaction. Even Apple for all their innovations, is still somewhat traditional.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see.