Thursday, April 26, 2007

MPAA getting smarter about DRM?

Great news, relatively speaking, out today that Dan Glickman, head of the MPAA is committed to fair use, interoperability and DRM. From a report on Arstechnica (by way of Public Knowledge):
"Glickman said the movie studios were now fully committed to interoperable DRM, and they recognize that consumers should be able to use legitimate video material on any item in the house, including home networks. In a major shift for the industry, Glickman also announced a plan to let consumers rip DVDs for use on home media servers and iPods."
This is a major step forward, publicly, for the MPAA. While the studios are still committed to digital rights management (DRM), they are at least realizing that consumers want to be able to play movies that they purchase on multiple devices and that current DRM schemes aren't up to snuff. Most people who study DRM think it will never work, but Hollywood is scared to death of piracy, so getting Glickman this far in his thinking should be considered a good first step.
The MPAA is eventually going to have to face the facts that soon consumers will want to mix/mash and sample video as well, and will do it whether or not the MPAA likes it. You should also be able to buy a film and give it to a friend - whether on DVD, tape or new formats. Under current DRM you can't, which studios love because they make more sales. But there's a legal precedent called "right of first sale" which says you are allowed to do this. Currently, DRM stops this, and the MPAA will have to address this or consumers will eventually revolt as well. But, a positive sign.