December 3, 2020

Industries to Form Yet Another DRM Consortium

A group of large movie and technology companies is about to form yet another consortium to solve the digital copyright problem, according to a John Borland story at news.com. This looks like one more entry in the alphabet soup (SDMI, CPTWG, ARDG) of fruitless efforts to standardize on an effective anti-copying technology.

The new entity will fail just as badly as the old ones, and for the same reason: there is no effective anti-copying technology on which to standardize. You can get together as many company representatives as you like, and you can issue as many joint reports and declarations as you like, but you cannot change the fact that the group’s goal is infeasible. This just isn’t the sort of problem that can be solved by negotiation.

But perhaps the group’s real goal is to limit the use of digital media technology by law-abiding consumers. That’s certainly achievable. And, as Ernest Miller notes, they may also be able to erect barriers to entry in technology markets, by creating “security” requirements that lock out smaller companies.

In the end, my prediction is that the new group will fail to reach any meaningful agreement. They’ll hold some meetings and issue some vaguely optimistic press releases, but when it comes to the hard technical issues, they’ll fail to reach a consensus.

Despite this, the group will provide its members with a certain piece of mind. It will help the movie companies sustain their fantasy of the infringement-free, pay-per-view future. And it will help the tech giants sustain the fantasy that they, rather than their customers, will decide the future of media technology.

Comments

  1. Industries to Form Yet Another DRM Consortium

    A group of large movie and technology companies is about to form yet another consortium to solve the digital copyright problem, according to a John Borland story at news.com. This looks like one more entry in the alphabet soup (SDMI, CPTWG, ARDG) of fr…

  2. Re: last para; piece of mind? Do they have much mind? Do they mind?

  3. The consortium was announced, and it is called
    AACS (pronounced “access”). It seemed to me
    to be a kind of successor to CSS, and I expect
    it will be neither more nor less successful
    than CSS.

    The member companies are IBM, Intel, Microsoft,
    Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Disney, and Time Warner.

    Consortia can accomplish more than discussion
    groups because they can kick out people who don’t
    agree (or invite only people who were likeminded
    in the first place).