@ Digital Rights Strategies ’07: The Uses And Misuses Of DRM

Kicking off Jupitermedia’s Digital Rights Strategies ’07 conference, Talal Shamoon, CEO, Intertrust, a company that develops and licenses DRM platforms, sought to defend DRM as a form of risk management not restriction. One of the biggest misuses of DRM, Shamoon said, occurs as companies, such as Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), attempt to use the internet the way phone companies owned wires, i.e., to build old school distribution systems or silos, rather than protect content. In the past, pirates used compete with legitimate businesses to sell to consumers. “Now, consumers are the pirates, even if they don’t think of themselves that way,” Shamoon said.
DRM’s Misuse: Unless DRM is used to inspire users to pay for content, they will reject the restrictions and ultimately turn to piracy. “The trouble with most DRM is that it disrupts what people want to do, even legal activity. It’s either too strong or too weak. So, not only are you irritating consumers, but you’re usually making it too easy for them to subvert your system.”
Discouraging Piracy: In terms of drawing users out of committing piracy, the application of DRM should be invisible to consumers and promote interoperability, Shamoon said. “A world without DRM is like a world without doors and walls. Even when the offer of content is implicitly free, through the support of ads or subscriptions, DRM guarantees that the ads are watched and that subscriptions being used by the subscriber.”