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Digital Rights Management is not about piracy

If you have a Tivo, iPod, or anything else that lets you view videos or listen to music on a digital player, you’ve run up against DRM.  You may not be aware of it but its there.  It’s what’s kept TivoToGo from working on non-windows PC’s until last month, when the encryption was finally cracked.  Its also what keeps you from taking the music you buy from the iTunes store and listening to it on anything but an ipod or in in the iTunes program.  Its generally a big pain in the ass for consumers.  But its there to protect the artists and producers from unscrupulous pirtaes, right?

Ken Fisher looks at the real point of Digital Rights Management technologies – and its all about protecting business models than fighting piracy. 

Like all lies, there comes a point when the gig is up; the ruse is busted. For the movie studios, it’s the moment they have to admit that it’s not the piracy that worries them, but business models which don’t squeeze every last cent out of customers.

The article was prompted by the Businesweek article, "Why Hollywood Snubbed Jobs at Macworld"

What does Hollywood want from Steve Jobs? For starters, more protection for their films. "His user rules just scare the heck out of us," one studio executive told me. Indeed, under Apple’s video iPod digital-rights-management scheme, folks can share their flicks with as many as three other iPod users.